Sunday 1 April 2012

Tolkien Transactions XXIII

March 2012

So, March has come and gone, and we are hopefully a bit wiser for the experience. As the size of this post bear witness to, it has been a rather hectic Tolkien month on the 'net, but fortunately it hasn't been quite as busy in the discussion fora — otherwise I don't know how I would've found time to compile this :)

This time, you will find the links sorted into the following sections:

1: Tolkien Reading Day
2: What's in a name? — And what if the name is 'The Hobbit'?
3: News
4: Essays and Scholarship
5: Book News
6: Interviews
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: In Print
10: Web Sites
11: Sources

As usual, I reject any implication of responsibility and apply the costumary disclaimers about newness, completeness and relevance :-)

= = = = Tolkien Reading Day = = = =

It is tradition! On the 25th of March each year, it is Tolkien Reading Day, and like the professor's birthday toast, this has a habit of getting into the news.

Tolkien Reading Day:
The Tolkien Reading Day page from the Tolkien Society.

MrCere,, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, ‘A Royal Tolkien reading in Denmark’
This happened to be quite close to where I live, and of course I went. Unfortunately they did not, as I had hoped, have Her Majesty's illustrations for The Lord of the Rings on display, but there were a rather nice watercolour series titled ‘Lost Legends’ where I am fairly sure that I detected several Tolkien-inspired pieces. The series was dated 1976-78 and I am convinced that I saw both Lúthien and Beren as well as Niënor Níniel in some of these pictures.
We also, of course, had a reading of the Danish translation of chapters 1 and 14 of The Hobbit (I had forgotten how funny chapter 1 actually is).

Altaira, Saturday, 10 March 2012, ‘Celebrating International Tolkien Reading day in Longmont, CO!’
Here announcing another Tolkien Reading Day event. It will, of course, be too late to attend by the time that this is posted, but many of these events are recurring, so you might want to find some reviews of the events near you — so as to be prepared for next year.

PC, Sunday, 11 March 2012, ‘Tolkien Reading Day on 25th March will be celebrating 75 years of The Hobbit’
Following up on the Tolkien Society's announcement that the theme this year is The Hobbit.

Josh Vogt, Examiner, Monday, 12 March 2012, ‘The Tolkien Society prepares for 2012 Tolkien Reading Day’
More general information about the Tolkien Reading Day, spreading the happy message to an even broader audience.

Emma McKinney, Birmingham Mail, Saturday, 24 March 2012, ‘Special day planned to encourage Brummies to read in memory of famous author J R R Tolkien’
I very much like that this is found in ‘top stories’ ;)

Josh Vogt, Examiner, Sunday, 25 March 2012, ‘This year's Tolkien Reading Day focuses on The Hobbit’
More reporting . . .

The Chronicle Journal, Monday, 26 March 2012, ‘Here's to Tolkien’
A report from a Tolkien Reading Day event in Thunder Bay — albeit with a little more than just ordinary reading, as the two sword-wielding women in the picture suggest :-)

= = = = What's in a name? = = = =

One of the most prominent pieces of news this month has been the story about the big bad Hollywood company (expertly played by Saul Zaentz' Middle-earth Enterprises (owned by the Saul Zaentz Company)) that tried to bully the small, independent British pub, ‘The Hobbit’.

Bethan Philips, Southern Daily Echo, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘Southampton pub The Hobbit in battle with Hollywood studio’
This is the earliest entry when I do a date-sorting on the news results from a Google search for this story.

Other early coverage includes the following

BBC, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘Hobbit pub in Southampton threatened with legal action’

Robert Nemeti, The Sun, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘Film firm's threat to call time on The Hobbit pub’

Emma Reynolds, Daily Mail, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘The battle of Middle Earth (Enterprises): British pub called The Hobbit for 20 years is sued by Hollywood giant over use of name’

Later in the day actor Stephen Fry weighed in on Twitter which of course just added momentum to the story

BBC, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘Southampton Hobbit pub campaigner on 'legal threat'’

Manawatu Standard, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, ‘Fry weighs in on Hobbit pub row’

BBC, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, ‘Stephen Fry backs Hobbit pub in Southampton over legal action’

And then they found out that the Southampton pub was not the only business that was threatened

BBC, Thursday, 15 March 2012, ‘Birmingham's Hobbit cafe may change name over legal row’

Perhaps not all is lost — Saul Zaentz apparently is still able to see when he has an extremely bad case of bad publicity

BBC, Thursday, 15 March 2012, ‘Hobbit pub row: Hollywood producer makes offer’

The problem is of course that this allows Zaentz to just take the name without a legal battle to see if he is actually entitled to do so

The next development (at least in my timeline of the events) was that Ian McKellen joined the fray on the side of the pub

Belfast Telegraph, Thursday, 15 March 2012, ‘McKellen backs Hobbit pub in row’

Radio New Zealand, Friday, 16 March 2012, ‘Actors support pub over Hobbit name fight’

Martin Halfpenny, AAP, Friday, 16 March 2012, ‘Rings star backs Hobbit pub in row’

The annual license fee is suddenly set to $100.- — one wonders how long it will stay that low?

New York Post, Saturday, 17 March 2012, ‘Pub keeps its Tolkien interest’

Seemingly everybody are happy, but I am still not sure about the outcome, and what about that Birmingham cafe? Do they, too, have the international star actors fighting for them (and, as we shall see in a few posts, covering their license fee)? I would have preferred to have it decided in court whether Middle-earth Enterprises really has the right to do this, or whether they are actually just trying to bully small businesses to accept their claims. Finally I am concerned for the pubs that the license fee will not stay at the current rather low level — if it is suddenly raised to a thousand dollars or more, then they will perhaps be sorry that they didn't have the claim tried in court.

Julian Robinson, Southern Daily Echo, Monday, 19 March 2012, ‘Stars to pay for The Hobbit pub licence fee’

Cory Doctorow, Boingboing, Thursday, 22 March 2012, ‘Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen pay to save The Hobbit pub from trademark trolls’
Saul Zaentz — one of the little known Olog TM . . . ;)

In the meantime Middle-earth Enterprises and/or the Saul Zaentz Company has filed for trademark rights to ‘the Shire’ and fans are once more gathering to fight the evil Olog TM

Middle-earth Network, Wednesday, 21 March 2012, ‘Save the Shire’

This time it looks as though the fight is aiming not at keeping a local business alive, but at preventing the company from registering the trademark.

. . . and now this campaign (‘Save the Shire’) has stepped in to help the Birmingham Cafe, The Hungry Hobbit, mentioned above, albeit the sought-after deal is still the nominal license fee that has no guarantees against raises in a couple of years (or perhaps in five years when the flood of money from the upcoming Hobbit films is dwindling down — one does tend to grow accustomed to having a lot of money).
Laura Payne, Solihull Observer, Thursday, 29 March 2012, ‘Hobbit cafe gets support in name fight’

= = = = News = = = =

James H. Burnett III, The Boston Globe, Monday, 5 March 2012, ‘Actor Viggo Mortensen honored at the Coolidge Corner Theatre’
It speaks to Mortensens' advantage that he can still speak a bit of Quenya . . . ‘Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta!'
A more in-depth treatment of the same news:
Michela Smith, The Daily Free Press, Thursday, 8 March 2012, ‘'All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us': The Profundity of Viggo Mortensen’
If Mortensen is as humble as it is stated here he would have to feel raher uncomfortable with the praise heaped upon him in this article ;)

Rokokoposten, Saturday, 10 March 2012, ‘Indere åbner første takeaway i Middle-earth’
The original is in Danish, unfortunately. The title translates as ‘Indians open first take-away in Middle-earth’ and the Google translation is reasonably OK — good enough, at least for you to be able to get the joke ;) (tinyurl pointing to Google translation)

Marie-Noëlle Biemer, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, ‘European Union funds cross-border co-operation between Tolkien societies’
This is the news that the European Union, through the Interreg IV programme, is supporting a collaboration between the German (‘Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft’ and Duch (‘Unquendor’) Tolkien Societies in celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit. Congratulations to our Germanic sisters and brothers — I am very pleased to see that at least some of the EU money are put to good use!

JF, Friday, 23 March 2012, ‘Leo Con 2012 — April 14, 2012’
It seems the conference season is beginning — I will only be attending The Return of the Ring in Loughborough in August, but Jason Fisher here presents an interesting opportunity in Texas already in April.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

JM, Thursday, 1 March 2012, "Tolkien's angels and Descartes's "angelism""
McIntosh continues his series of posts that relate to the nature of the Ainur, and in particular their relation to their assumed bodies (with a special focus on the Istari). In this post it is precisely the interplay between mind and body that is discussed, and the different relation of these for the Ainur and the Eruhíni.

JM, Friday, 2 March 2012, ‘Body and soul: Tolkien and Thomas's hylomorphic anthropology’
Following up on the discussions of the relation between body and soul, Jonathan McIntosh here moves the focus on to the Children of Ilúvatar, the Men and the Elves with a comparison of Tolkien's position regarding the _hröa_/_fëa_ duality to the position expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae. This line of inquiry is followed up in posts on the 3rd (‘'Yearn for your bodies': Tolkien and Thomas’s rejection of Platonic dualism’), the 4th (‘Elvish immortality: a matter of ‘mind over matter'’ — focus here shifting to Elves specifically), the 5th (‘From Reincarnation to Resurrection’), the 9th (‘Aquinas on whether the resurrected body is a 'recycled' body’), the 10th (‘The body as the 'art’ of the soul’)

MD, Tuesday, 6 March 2012, ‘Can Grendel Talk? Does he have Pockets?’
Can Balrogs fly? Do they wear pink slippers? OK, so the last bit is — for inscrutable reasons — not mentioned anywhere, but I found Drout's blog posting about Beowulf studies to be both interesting and in some ways relieving: here is a top-notch scholar discussing a very much story-internal question that is not terribly much different from some of the long-standing story-internal debates about Tolkien's works.

BC, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, ‘The mythic Oxford symbolism of Smith of Wootton Major’
Bruce Charlton argues in this post that Wooton Major offers a symbolic representation of Oxford. Ultimately I remain unconvinced, but the idea is interesting nonetheless, and not being convinced by the argumentation, I am compelled to think more closely on the role of the village in the story about Smith.

JM, Thursday, 8 March 2012, ‘On angelic language, miracles, and telepathy’
Some further comparisons of Tolkien's Ainur to St. Thomas' ‘angelology’ — in this case on the topics detailed in the title.

MD, Thursday, 8 March 2012, ‘How big was the dragon's head, anyway?’
Some further musings about oddities in the Beowulf poem — this time the question regards the size of the dragon in Beowulf and possibly the poet's understanding of what he wrote.

BC, SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2012, ‘Torturing Gollum’
Actually this is just a link to a post from May 2012 on Bruce Charlton's other blog, ‘Bruce Charlton's Miscellany’, where he discusses the incidents of torture of Gollum. While I don't agree with the premise that Tolkien's position is necessarily right (in this case I think Tolkien has his characters do things that are morally questionable), I think the ensuing discussion is very much worth reading.

JM, Monday, 12 March 2012, ‘Tolkien's metaphysics of evil’
Subtitled ‘Part 1’ Jonathan McIntosh introduces the discussion in this post, referring both to attempts to compare Tolkien with modern philosophers' attempts to explain evil, but ultimately reaching back to the classic two positions described by Shippey as ‘Boëthian’ and ‘Manichaean’. McIntosh promises to do a series of posts in which he ‘propose to compare the respective ponerologies (the branch of theology dealing with evil, from the Greek word poneros, meaning evil) of Tolkien and St. Thomas.’ The next parts are posted as
Part 2: 14 March, ‘Tolkien on evil: the Platonic context’
Part 3: 16 March, ‘Tolkien on evil: the Plotinian context’
Part 4: 18 March, ‘Tolkien on evil: the Manichean context’
Part 5: 19 March, ‘Tolkien on Evil: the Augustinian context’
Part 6: 21 March, ‘Some early observations on Tolkien’s Augustinian doctrine of evil’
Part 7: 23 March, ‘Tom Shippey’s dualistic reading of Tolkien’
Part 8: 25 March, ‘Other dualistic readings of Tolkien’
Part 9: 27 March, ‘Rejoinders to Shippey’s dualistic reading of Tolkien’
Part 10: 29 March, ‘Tolkien on evil: the Thomistic context’
Part 11: 31 March, ‘Can something good be the cause evil? Aquinas on “per se” vs. “accidental” causality’
This series of posts gives first an introduction to some of the relevant medieval philosophical theories of evil, and then moves on to summarize (briefly) what has been said by some of the commenters on Tolkien's work. I am thoroughly enjoying this whole series and looking forward to — or hoping for — further instalments.

JF, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘The already-dead, the not-quite-dead, and those who have clearly overstayed their welcome’
Inspired by the discussion thread for the torturing Gollum post by Bruce Charlton discussed above, Jason Fisher has posted about the nature of the Ringwraiths: the concept of being neither dead nor living does cause for some headache at times ;)

JM, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, ‘Atheism in Middle-earth: 'The Sea has no shore. There is no Light in the West.'’
Starting with the false Amlach's words at the ‘great council and assembly of Men’ that was called (The Silmarillion ch. 17 ‘Of the Coming of Men into the West’), this post investigates Tolkien's answer to this kind of philosophical atheism / reductionism (and here reductionism evidently means something different from what it does in science).

Jim DeVona, Thursday, 15 March 2012, ‘Thinking Critically About Tolkien’
A rather nice write-up of a couple of critical viewpoints on Tolkien from China Miéville and David Brin.

Jonathan Massullo, Thursday, 22 March 2012, ‘Middle Earth from Middle Europe: Medieval Manuscripts and an Inspiration for Tolkien’
This is an undergraduate art history paper, which can, I suppose, excuse some mistakes (though not really misspelling ‘Middle-earth’ in the title — or is that just me being arrogant?). The paper looks into medieval illustrations of various monsters and compare to Tolkien's descriptions, and though it isn't exactly error free (medieval 'dragons can always fly'? — haven't you heard of Fafnir?) there are still some interesting points worth considering.

MT, Thursday, 22 March 2012, ‘Hans Künzel Discovered The Lord of the Rings?’
Some notes on the history of the Swedish edition of The Lord of the Rings . . .

JM, Thursday, 22 March 2012, ‘Tolkien's use of parataxis’
Amidst all the philosophical stuff, a brief post about Tolkien's stylistic choices; particularly his use of parataxis, which McIntosh defines as the ‘literary technique of using short, simple sentences joined by coordinating conjunctions.’ My understanding is that the coordinating conjunctions are not necessary in themselves, though the construction needs to be coordinate rather than subordinate. Tolkien does, however, often use coordinating conjunctions as is shown by the examples Jonathan McIntosh gives.

TF, Friday, 23 March 2012, ‘The Artist Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks’
A response to Ruth Lacon's essay, ‘To Illustrate or Not to Illustrate? That is the Question...’ at the Tolkien Library site (see Transactions XXI for January 2012). Most of this piece has also been published in Mythprint no. 355, but here I elaborate a bit on my views. I mostly agree with Ruth Lacon's views, and in many cases I think she hits the nail exactly on the head, but while I applaud her overall conclusions, I think her specific criticism of Tolkien's position regarding illustrations misses the point and, possibly because of this, comes to read as an attempt to discredit Tolkien's ideas about illustrations.

MT, Monday, 26 March 2012, ‘The History of Middle-earth Index corrigenda’
Corrigenda to the index (vol. 13) of The History of Middle-earth

JM, Wednesday, 28 March 2012, ‘'I am the Servant of the Secret Fire': On Gandalf's Hobbit hobby’
Jonathan McIntosh calls these some ‘underdeveloped notes’ and I'd like to see a more developed version. As it is, I am not convinced that Tolkien equivalating the Secret Fire with the Holy Ghost, and Gandalf's statement that he is a servant of the Secret Fire can bear all of the superstructre that McIntosh here attempts to build on them. It is interesting and thought-provoking, and I think there is a promise of a very interesting argument, but it needs some more work to connect all the dots in a convincing manner.

JM, Friday, 30 March 2012, ‘'Make me a present of the pains I have caused': Tolkien's theology of forgiveness’
The subject of Tolkien's ‘theology of forgiveness’ is here introduced by way of his remarks in a 1948 letter to C.S. Lewis, where Tolkien apologizes for some remarks about one of Lewis' works (Letters no. 113). McIntosh particularly notes Tolkien's distinction between offending and causing pain, which seems to lead on to the promised continuation.

= = = = Book News = = = =

PC, Thursday, 1 March 2012, ‘Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire by Rainer Nagel’
Information about a new book by Rainer Nagel: Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire that focuses on the etymology, real-world as well as story-internal, of the place-names of the Shire, with coverage also of German translations of these names.

JDR, Monday, 5 March 2012, ‘The New Arrival: GREEN SUNS’
John Rateliff has also received the new collection of essays from Verlyn Flieger's hand, Green Suns and Faërie. He here lists the contents (which is also about as far as I have been able to reach in my own copy).

Ruth Lacon, Monday, 5 March 2012, ‘The 2012 Tolkien Calendar by Cor Blok - a review by Ruth Lacon’
Ruth Lacon again shows a remarkable ability to enable me to connect to the art of Cor Blok by explaining both strengths and weaknesses of the pieces for the 2012 Tolkien Calendar. When Lacon, however, speaks of the effect of the metafiction of the Red Book, I am not sure that I can follow her arguments, and I wonder if not her views are too narrowly those of an artist seeking inspiration in the text? In any case I'll warmly recommend reading Lacon's reviews of the two Cor Blok Tolkien Calendars before one finally decides not to buy them — there is a point to the artwork that goes beyond matters of taste when it succeeds (or nearly succeeds).

JDR, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, ‘The Wobbit’
A review of a parody of The Hobbit — since I am not really very interested in parodies, I'll just point to it in the case you're curious.

Éanna ó Caollaí, The Irish Times, Monday, 12 March 2012, ‘Adventures of Biolbó Baigín set out as Gaeilge in 'An Hobad'’
In addition to the story that The Hobbit is being published in Irish, the article also speaks of Tolkien's fondness for Ireland and its people, but aesthetic dislike but philological interest for the Irish language.

JDR, Thursday, 29 March 2012, ‘THE HOBBIT on Antiques Roadshow’
The story about a first edition Hobbit with a well-preserved dust-jacket and Tolkien's signature that turned up at one of these antiques appraisal TV series. The appraiser, Ian Ehling from Christies in New York, estimates the book at 80,000 - 120,000 dollars: but it truly is a fantastically well-preserved copy.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Svanur Gísli Þorkelsson, Thursday, 10 June 2010, ‘An interview with Tolkien's Icelandic au-pair’
The English text is a paraphrase of what Arndís ‘Adda’ Þorbjarnardóttir tells in the interview in Icelandic (link available from the English retelling). Adda, as she is consistently called in the English version, was one of the series of Icelandic au pairs that stayed with the Tolkien's in the late twenties and the thirties and she arrived in Oxford in 1930 when she was 20. In the interview she relates her recollections of the Tolkien domestic life as it appeared to a young foreign girl. Edith Tolkien is presented in a less positive light (e.g. getting jealous when Arndís and John Ronald Tolkien were speaking Icelandic), while the professor is described as ‘a really lovely man, very easy and comfortable to be around’ and who ‘loved nature, trees and everything that grew.’ Quite an interesting insight.

Lars Gustafsson and Morgan Thomsen, Sunday, 12 February 2012, ‘An Interview with R R Tolkien from OXFORD June 1961’
There is little new in this interview, unless it be Tolkien's response to why he couldn't write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings, ‘It became so dark that it frightened me.’ This is slightly different from the ‘Not worth doing’ from 1964 (Letters #256). The interview is, however, still interesting as a further illumination of some of Tolkien's thoughts: a new wording and a slightly different focus. Still, I do hope that there is more to the interview translation that has been submitted to Tolkien Studies.

Morgan Sweeney, The Hillsdale Collegian, Thursday, 15 March 2012, ‘Q&A Tom Shippey’
Shippey is always good — e.g. when he points out that ‘Every time there was a reader’s poll of the most popular book of the century, Tolkien always won. Except once, when actually you were allowed to nominate the Bible. So he got beaten by the Bible. Well, fair enough.’ Well, I think Tolkien would have felt that was entirely appropriate also ;-)

Josh Vogt, Examiner, Tuesday, 6 March 2012, ‘An interview with Dr. Michael Stanton, Tolkien scholar’
Pointing out an interview with the Tolkien scholar Michael Stanton, who shares some interesting thoughts. The whole interview is found here:

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Keith McDuffee, Cliqueclack, Monday, 5 March 2012, ‘The Hobbit — At what point in the story will the movie split?’
Well . . . ignoring it won't make it go away, will it ;-) Apparently the question of where in the plot the split will be made between the two films that are currently being made of The Hobbit is a ‘hot topic’ on the message boards, we've even seen it discussed in the normally film-indifferent surroundings of the Tolkien newsgroups. I shan't say if the musings here are any more relevant than those elsewhere (if I was really interested in the subject, I think I'd follow the discussions on, but here goes . . .

Letters of Note, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, ‘I have no ancestors of that gifted people’
Sometimes it is curious what makes it into the blogosphere — this time it is Tolkien's letter in response to the German publishers in 1938 asking to his racial status that has been doing the rounds. Still, it is a very welcome relief from the otherwise persistent accusations of racism. This story was taken up by other bloggers, such as
David Mills, Friday, 9 March 2012, ‘Tolkien Against the Germans’
Cyriaque Lamar, Monday, 12 March 2012, ‘What's classier than J.R.R. Tolkien telling off Nazis? Absolutely nothing.’
and even
JDR, Sunday, 18 March 2012, ‘Tolkien vs. the Nazis’

TF, Saturday, 10 March 2012, ‘Scouting and Tolkien’
We have seen many teachers writing or speaking about how they teach Tolkien to their students, and I thought it was time to take a look at incorporating Tolkien into the non-formal education of my choice: scouting.

JM, Saturday, 10 March 2012, ‘'Morgoth's Ring': Tolkien's 'Retractationes'’
In effect an advertisement and a (rather favourable) review of Morgoth's Ring — I can only add my own whole-hearted recommendations to these: if you haven't yet read Morgoth's Ring, now is the time to be gone from the internet and read it!

John, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, ‘Letter to a Friend: Coleridge Through Newman to Tolkien?’
About Cardinal Newman, the founder of the Birmingham Oratory were the Tolkien brothers lived with their guardian, Fr. Francis Morgan, after the death of their mother, and about the Cardinal's possible (posthumous) influence on Tolkien.

AW, Saturday, 17 March 2012, ‘More Tolkien and fantasy links’
Some more good links from the Wellinghall . . . Is there any way to avoid the pun when I want to say that the Wellinghall is the source of many good links here? ;)

AW, Saturday, 17 March 2012, ‘Tolkien slept here’
Whenever I see one of these ‘Tolkien slept here’ posts at the Wellinghall, I always think of the story of the Swedish king, Gustav Vasa, who in 1520 fled the troops of Christian II (of Denmark, Sweden and Norway) through Dalarna. Besides having given rise to an annual ski race, Vasaloppet, every second farm in the area from before 1800 now claims that Gustav Vasa spent a night there — had he done so, he would soon have been caught up with.
In this post, however, we get three links to posts about areas that claim a special importance to Tolkien and being the specific inspiration for some aspect of his world. Usually there is a link to Tolkien (however tenuous), and occasionally the story is actually credible . . .

Tom Hogan, The Irish Times, Saturday, 17 March 2012, ‘Tolkien's time in 'Erin'’
A letter to The Irish Times from the son of one of Tolkien's colleagues at the University College in Dublin with whom Tolkien stayed during some of his visits in Ireland as external examinator. Dr. Tom Hogan speaks of having several letters from Tolkien in which Tolkien speaks of his pleasure in visiting Ireland.
MT, Tuesday, 20 March 2012, ‘Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson about The Hobbit’
From a biography of Tove Jansson, Morgan has found some little known facts about Tove Jansson's work with the illustrations for the second Swedish edition of The Hobbit. Also very interesting is Astrid Lindgren's assessment that ‘it is evident that [The Hobbit] will be the children's book of the century, which will continue to live a long time after we are dead and buried.’ Curiously, considered as children's books, I would hold some of Lindgren's own (particularly Bröderna Lejonhjärta and Ronja Rövardotter) to be of higher quality than Tolkien's: "the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards"!

BC, Saturday, 24 March 2012, ‘The ‘meaning of life’ according to Tolkien’
While I think the title is going perhaps a bit too far, this quotation from Tolkien's reflections on his ‘Smith of Wooton Major’ is quite interesting, and the perspectives that Bruce Charlton brings out add to the interest.

Richard Scott Nokes, Monday, 26 March 2012, ‘Lego Battle of Maldon’
Second only to a rendition of Beowulf in a similar manner (though I agree with prof. Nokes that Old English narration and modern English subtitles would be preferable) — that is, there might also be some legends of the Scyldingas that would sit well with me (did I mention that I live about 25 km by bike from Lejre).

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

‘Kingship: Visual and Communicative Iconography’
An old thread from 2011 that got a revival in March with new postings. Based on the idea of looking at the iconography of kingship that Tolkien sets out (inevitably also touching on related aspects of kingship), the thread is an investigation of the kingly symbols and icons that are associated with Aragorn on his journey from Strider to Elessar.

‘Why did Saruman bit fear reribution for his treachery?’ [sic]
One sub-thread veers off into a discussion of liberalism, but the actual question of the thread, why Saruman did not fear retribution from the Valar and Eru for his actions (including clearly overstepping the limitations placed on his mission) turns into an interesting discussion of the beliefs and attitudes of both Saruman and Sauron.

‘A Creative Triumvirate’
Strictly speaking this is not much of a discussion — at least in the sense of an exchange of opposing viewpoints and arguments ;-) this is nonetheless still a rewarding investigation / discussion of similarities and relations between Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as authors of children's books.

= = = = In Print = = = =

Amon Hen 234, March 2012
Here you can find an invitation for the Middle-earth Beer Festival 2012 (Thursday 12th — Sunday 15th April): Also there are various reviews of A Short History of Story (a TV programme presented by Noah Richler), the 2012 Tolkien Calendar with pictures by Cor Blok (by Ruth Lacon, but also see her review on the Tolkien Library site referenced above), of Tolkien and Wales, a couple of music releases, and a more review-ish review of Jason Fisher's Tolkien and the Study of his Sources.

Beyond Bree, March 2012
Here are some further comments on Adam Gopnik's review of the Eragon and Twilight series (see the Transactions for December 2011), an appeal from Nancy Martsch to show greater respect for those who only know The Lord of the Rings through the films (sorry Nancy, but however great, Peter Jackson's work isn't Tolkien's and Tolkien specifically can only be found in the books), an attempt to link Tolkien's Ages to zodiacal ages as well as various items of news including a list of the papers to be read at the Tolkien section of the 2012 Kalamazoo.

Mythprint, Vol.49 no.3, March 2012, whole no.356
This issue of Mythprint contains a favourable review of Verlyn Flieger's own fantastic fiction, as well as a, similarly quite favourable, review by Mark Hooker of Rainer Nagel's Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

I have previously praised the Tolkien Index site (or, to be honest, its purpose), and here we see an associated blog from Morgan Thomsen, the man behind the Tolkien Index. Already in the first month, there are some interesting entries noted above. I have chosen not to include entries that refer to additions to the Tolkien Index, but such are also noted on the blog.

New Advent: ‘The Catholic Encyclopedia’
This is a site that I find myself returning to more and more often as I try to understand the possible influences of Tolkien's faith on his writings. Published originally in 1917 after several years' work, this encyclopedia gives a description of Catholic concepts and ideas that is contemporary with Tolkien's youth, which makes it a very valuable resource for me, as someone not raised in (or belonging to) the Catholic faith, in understanding how Tolkien might have understood various concepts.

= = = = Sources = = = =

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’

Michael Drout (MD) — ‘Wormtalk and Slugspeak’

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (H&S) — ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough’

Pieter Collier (PC) — ‘The Tolkien Library’

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA) et Al. — ‘Wormwoodiana’

Corey Olsen (CO), ‘The Tolkien Professor’

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:

Larry Swain (LS), ‘The Ruminate’

Andrew Wells (AW), ‘Musings of an Aging Fan’

Various, ‘The Northeast Tolkien Society’ (NETS), ‘Heren Istarion’

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’

Andrew Higgins (AH), ‘Wotan's Musings’

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

Henry Gee (HG) ‘cromercrox’, ‘The End of the Pier Show’

Jonathan S. McIntosh (JM), ‘The Flame Imperishable’

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’

John Howe (JH)

David Simmons (DS), ‘Aiya Ilúvatar’

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Tolkien Studies Blog’

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’

Troels Forchhammer (TF), ‘Parmar-kenta’

Mythprint — ‘The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society’

Amon Hen — the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society

Beyond Bree — the newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest Group of the Americal Mensa

- and others

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