Friday, 1 February 2013

Tolkien Transactions XXXIII

January 2012

As my list of sources continues to grow, I find that I need to be more critical in my approach lest I end up with no time for family and friends, and therefore I have this month been more selective, including only items that I have found adds something relevant. This means that I have omitted some items that would have made the list just a month ago (the Christmas holiday allowed me to handle an extreme amount of posts, but I cannot take a week's holiday every month to complete these transactions).

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and
relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Tolkien Day
2: News
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Interviews
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: In Print
11: Web Sites
12: Sources

= = = = Tolkien Day = = = =


The Birthday Toast, or Tolkien Day, is celebrated by Tolkienists all over the world on the third of January in memory of professor J.R.R. Tolkien who was born on that day in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. This year was Tolkien's twelfty-first birthday . . ..

The event invariably effects a number of postings by Tolkienists as well as newstories both about the celebrations and in memory of Tolkien. I have garnered a number of these to give an idea of how the world celebrates the birthday of professor J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE.

THE PROFESSOR!


TOLKIENISTS

The 2013 Birthday Toast at the Tolkien Society:
http://www.tolkiensociety.org/toast/2013/

MB, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Join the Tolkien Birthday Toast for 2013’
http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/01/03/join-the-tolkien-birthday-toast-for-2013/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b67ctxa
A little late for joining the Birthday Toast now, but still ;-)

JDR, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Happy Tolkien Day!’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/happy-tolkien-day.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ame5ysr
John Rateliff planned to spend the evening reading some of Tolkien's poetry.

Demosthenes, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘January 3: time for the Tolkien Toast!’
http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/01/03/67867-january-3-time-for-the-tolkien-toast/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/a2dum9t

Il, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Let's Raise a Glass’
http://ilverai.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/lets-raise-a-glass/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bdmtkko
‘So like the hobbits, let us all raise a glass to the Professor’ — indeed!

Brian Sibley, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘LORD OF MIDDLE-EARTH’
http://briansibleysblog.blogspot.dk/2013/01/lord-of-middle-earth.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/axgq8xf
A tribute.


GENERAL MEDIA AND OTHERS

Elizabeth Drake, Christian Science Monitor, Wednesday, 2 January 2013, ‘10 quotes by J.R.R. Tolkien on his birthday’
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2013/0102/10-quotes-by-J.R.R.-Tolkien-on-his-birthday
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ao3f3n5
Well, 7 quotations by Tolkien, actually, and three fallacies, and a biographical piece claiming that Tolkien worked at Cambridge after leaving his position in Leeds. Not OK!

Michael Wilkes, Wednesday, 2 January 2013, ‘Honouring Tolkien’
http://michaelwilkesblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/honouring-tolkien.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/afuodsj
A tribute to the professor.

Andrew Losowsky, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien Quotes: Our Favorites On His 121st Birthday’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/jrr-tolkien-quotes-our-fa_n_2398210.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aha2xft
All ten quotations actually by Tolkien . . .

Hannah Osborne, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘JRR Tolkien Fans to Toast ‘The Professor’ on The Hobbit Author's 121st Birthday’
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/420181/20130103/j-r-tolkien-birthday-121-today-fans.htm
http://preview.tinyurl.com/apfkxol
Quoting from the entries for the Tolkien Society Birthday Toast is a nice idea, I think.

Wolff Bachner, The Inquisitr, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Today In History: J.R.R. Tolkien Born 120 Years Ago On January 3, 1892’
http://www.inquisitr.com/466239/today-in-history-j-r-r-tolkien-born-120-years-ago-on-january-3-1892/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/awenl69
Yes, they DID post that this year :) This is actually quite enjoyable, despite a couple of mistakes, the worst, in my opinion, not being the mathematical error in the headline, but the implication that John Ronald died ‘just months after the passing of Edith’ — some 21 months actually passed from Edith's death on 1971-11-29 to J.R.R.T.'s death on 1973-09-02.

Leslie Gornstein, _E_, Thursday, 3 January 2012, ‘Happy 121st Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien: Star Wars, Harry Potter and More Reasons to Thank The Hobbit Creator’
http://uk.eonline.com/news/375593/happy-121st-birthday-j-r-r-tolkien-star-wars-harry-potter-and-more-reasons-to-thank-the-hobbit-creator
http://preview.tinyurl.com/askhljw
Celebrating the professor by pointing out elements of (very) popular culture that would not be (or would at least be very, very different) if not for J.R.R. Tolkien and his Middle-earth books. The quoted source is Corey Olsen — well done, Corey!

Jill Baughman, The Stir, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘12 J.R.R. Tolkien Quotes to Celebrate His 121st Birthday’
http://thestir.cafemom.com/entertainment/148997/12_jrr_tolkien_quotes_to
http://preview.tinyurl.com/arvjm5y
A nice pick of verifiable (and hereby verified) quotations including some interesting choices from outside Tolkien's legendarium.

= = = = News = = = =

Balthasar Weymarn, Russia Beyond the Headlines, Wednesday, 2 January 2013, ‘The Hobbit: Soviet adaption of Tolkien’s book’
http://rbth.ru/articles/2013/01/02/the_hobbit_soviet_adaption_of_tolkiens_book_21639.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/afu7uye
Like last month's reminiscences in Beyond Bree about the 1977 Rankin/Bass TV-special of The Hobbit, this is a reminisicence of an earlier, more primitive, Hobbit adventure. This one a 1985 Soviet live-action adaptation by Vladimir Latyshev for Leningrad Television.

Jim Durkin, Bournemouth Daily Echo, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘JRR Tolkien's fireplace attracts £50k bid on eBay’
http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/10140006.JRR_Tolkien___s_fireplace_attracts___50k_bid_on_eBay/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bj4uqgy
While demolishing the house that the Tolkiens inhabited rather briefly (July 1968 to December 1971) in Poole, the demolisher (who had apparently prepared well) secured a number of items that were probably in the house when the Tolkien's lived there, including the fireplace. Other items are less certain (some loose lions, for instance), while a post card addressed to Edith Tolkien is of course certainly tied to them. I don't really know whom to be outraged at — the enterprising demolisher or the gullible fools buying the stuff . . .

Angie Han, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Rumor: Universal and Tolkien Estate Planning Middle-earth Theme Park?’
http://www.slashfilm.com/rumor-universal-and-tolkien-estate-planning-middle-earth-theme-park/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b2ksc7r
About rumours concerning a Middle-earth theme park. Tolkien's Middle-earth and Rowling's Wizarding World are, however, two very different things, so even if the rumours are true, I would think that there is a long way yet to go. Time will tell.

Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza, Friday, 4 January 2013, ‘Flipping the Bird’
http://www.leasticoulddo.com/comic/20130104/
Just for laughs . . .

John Goss, News Junkie Post, Wednesday, 16 January 2013, ‘Tolkien's Hobbit Against Big Money’
http://newsjunkiepost.com/2013/01/16/tolkiens-hobbit-against-big-money/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/amnpyxq
You can call me a conservative traditionalist or a socialist, but in any case I am all there, cheering the battle to conserve local neighbourhoods and the friendly neighbour pub against big business interest, including local industrialists as well as the Saul Zaentz Company. Here the story of the long fight to save and keep Sarehole, Moseley Bog and the Hungry Hobbit sandwich bar.

University of Oxford, Thursday, 24 January 2013, ‘Oxford Tolkien Spring School launched’
http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2013/132401.html
See also
http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/news-events/upcoming-events/201303/oxford-tolkien-spring-school
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ajt5c7p
I wish . . . Actually I am going to spend my Easter helpting to set up a scout gang show in Denmark, but I wish I could be in two places at once :-)

Ted Johnson, Film News, Tuesday, 29 January 2013, ‘'Hobbit' lawsuits mire Shire waters’
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118065378/
About the various legal battles currently playing out around the various rights to Tolkien's stories — I cannot help but hope for the fall of Barad-dûr and Orthanc (i.e. the Saul Zaentz Company and New Line / Warner).
See also Graeme McMillan, Wired, Thursday, 31 January 2013, ‘Tolkien’s Estate Countersued in Legal Battle Over Lord of the Rings Slot Machines’
http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/lord-rings-slot-machines/

BBC, Thursday, 31 January 2013, ‘First edition Lord of Rings trilogy sells for £24,000’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-21270317
All three books are signed by Tolkien and the set is said to be from Rayner Unwin, which is doubtlessly the reason they are collecting as much as £24,000. If the image accompanying the article is of the actual books, they are also in a remarkably good condition.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Il, Saturday, 5 January 2013, ‘Reading The Hobbit: Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire or the Notion of 'Other'’
https://ilverai.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/reading-the-hobbit-out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire-or-the-notion-of-other/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bcmogh5
Ilverai continues his reading of ‘The Hobbit’. The discussion here of chapter six made me think also of how our knowledge and understanding of Tolkien's wider legendarium colours our reading of ‘The Hobbit’, which probably makes us see things in the children's book that are not there by the design of its author.
, Sunday, 13 January 2013, ‘Reading The Hobbit: Queer Lodgings or Gandalf's Usual Tricks and The Mystery of Beorn’
http://ilverai.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/reading-the-hobbit-queer-lodgings-or-gandalfs-usual-tricks-and-the-mystery-of-beorn/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/abmsurb
For all the post-fact contextual hypothesising, wasn't Medwed > Beorn just thrown in because Tolkien thought it would make a fun episode along the way? (Oh, and though perhaps slightly better naturalised than Bombadil, Beorn really is no more native to Middle-earth than Bombadil)
All of Ilverai's Hobbit read-through can be found here:
http://ilverai.wordpress.com/the-hobbit-read-thru/

Tolkiendil, Monday, 28 January 2013, ‘Tolkien 1892-2012’
http://www.tolkiendil.com/essais/tolkien_1892-2012
Very exciting! Here are the five originally English essays that were translated to French for l'Arc & le Heaume — Hors-série: Tolkien 1892-2012. Essays by Ted Nasmith, John Rateliff, Tom Shippey, Jason Fisher and Thomas Honegger. I have not yet had the time to read the essays, but I am excited and look very much forward to doing so. Merci! ;-)

JM, Wednesday, 16 January 2013, ‘Tolkien's Thomistic Metaphysics in Overview’
http://jonathansmcintosh.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/tolkiens-thomistic-metaphysics-in-overview/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bznqegv
The first of three posts constituting the conclusion of Jonathan McIntosh' doctoral dissertation (of which he has blogged about five chapters over the past circa a year and a half). I shall not be able to do justice to McIntosh' conclusion in a few lines anyway, so I'll just say that the short version is that when reading Tolkien and Thomas Aquinas together, they inform and enrich each other (I hope this is a fair one-sentence summary). Go read it for yourself instead of trusting my summary (hit ‘next’ to get to the other two parts of the conclusion).

Carl Phelpstead, Wednesday, 30 January 2013, ‘Tolkien, David Jones, and the God Nodens’
http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?28791-Carl-Phelpstead-Tolkien-David-Jones-and-the-God-Nodens
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bjzxup4
A very interesting essay by Carl Phelpstead, discussing parallels between Tolkien and the ‘London writer with Welsh blood and strong Welsh affinities’, David Jones, as well as inspirations by the former on the latter through his O'Donnel lecture English and Welsh as well as his scholarly work ‘The Name "Nodens"’.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Ruth Davis Konigsberg, Monday, 31 December 2012, ‘_The Hobbit_: Why Are There No Women in Tolkien's World?’
http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/31/the-hobbit-why-are-there-no-women-in-tolkiens-world/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bdrscog
Though more about the Peter Jackson film, the argument is of course also applicable to Tolkien's story. Konigsberg does acknowledge the argument that Tolkien does have some strong women, but I get the impression that this doesn't satisfy her. There is also a very lively discussion in the comments to this piece (though with more than 1300 comments, I haven't read them all).

Linda Serck, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Oxfordshire inspired Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-20894824
It did indeed! Quite a nice article on Tolkien's relationship with Oxford and Oxfordshire and how these influenced his writing. Obviously, if you know Garth's work and Tolkien's biography, there is little new to this, but I think it is important to get some solid information on Tolkien's life out to the many people who like his books, but who wouldn't dream of reading long books about his life.

David Smith, The Guardian, Thursday 3 January 2013, ‘A plaque, a Hobbit hotel and a JRR Tolkien trail that's petered out’
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/03/hobbit-author-tolkien-birthplace-south-africa
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b6uczdp
The only place outside Europe that is genuinely connected with J.R.R. Tolkien is South Africa, where his parents were married and where the author himself was born in Bloemfontein, where also his father, Arthur Tolkien, is buried. Strangely, this connection is not advertised in the tourist guides for Bloemfontein.

JPB, Monday, 7 January 2013, ‘Concerning Christopher – An Essay on Tolkien's Son's Decision to Not Allow Further Cinematic Licensing of His Work’
http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/01/07/68174-concerning-christopher-an-essay-on-tolkiens-sons-decision-to-not-allow-further-cinematic-licensing-of-his-work/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bklexju
Ostensibly written in support of Christopher Tolkien, the basic assumptions — and presumptions — of this piece have nonetheless offended many Tolkienists, who, for instance, find the reduction of Christopher Tolkien's life-long dedication to his father's work to the level of ‘true fan’ insulting of Christopher Tolkien.
A particularly well-articulated response is formulated by Marcel Aubron-Bülles, Tuesday, 8 January 2013, ‘A commentary on 'Concerning Christopher'’
http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/01/08/a-commentary-on-concerning-christopher/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4tbyqp
The discussions surrounding the issue have been heated, but those that I have seen and participated in have mostly been free of ‘flaming’ and other ad Hominem attacks.
See also Anjum Bhardwaj, Sunday, 20 January 2013, ‘The Jackson Quibble: Is the new Hobbit flick harming the greater good?’
http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1081-The-Jackson-Quibble.php?551

JF, Thursday, 10 January 2013, ‘Christopher Tolkien, Warren Hamilton Lewis, and Laurence Housman’
http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/01/christopher-tolkien-warren-hamilton.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/azxrc8w
Taking the cue from the above discussions of Christopher Tolkien's dispositions, Jason Fisher moves on to look at other literary executors — notably some known for (or falsely accused of) burning the papers of the author.

PC, Thursday, 10 January 2013, ‘Featured question: I want to learn more about Tolkien. What books about Tolkien should I read?’
http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1076-Books-about-Tolkien.php?546
Pieter Collier's list includes Carpenter's Biography and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien as well as Garth's Tolkien and the Great War, Shippey's _Author of the Century, and Hammond & Scull's Artist and Illustrator and Companion and Guide. The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide is perhaps not the place to start, but it is one of the unavoidable resources for any Tolkienist. I did wonder about Shippey's Author of the Century, but I think it makes good sense to include some literary criticism, and Shippey's books are excellent for this (either Author of the Century or The Road to Middle-earth — I think they'd probably work equally well).

JF, Tuesday, 15 January 2013, ‘More like a grocer than a burglar’
http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/01/more-like-grocer-than-burglar.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/asrzy7g
It's gross . . . (that was ‘a pune, or play on words’ as Pratchett would have said). Actually it's interesting and amusing, Jason's blog about the grocer Bilbo. I'm in two minds whether to think that Tolkien actually meant this in the way that Jason Fisher suggests, but that is, for me, not terribly important: the whole idea is both clever and enjoyable regardless.

JF, Sunday, 20 January 2013, ‘A Jewish analogue to The Doors of Durin’
http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/01/a-jewish-analogue-to-doors-of-durin.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/a5ry32r
A good catch here by Jason Fisher — and full points for pointing out that any cross-influencing either way is unlikely. However, this makes me think that there might be something to the more generic image that would be worth studying — the basic design of door(s) flanked by pillars and with an arch above is very common (it can, for instance, be found also at the entrance to the Birmingham Oratory's Retreat at Rednal), but could some of the decorations in Tolkien's design for the Doors of Durin (inscribed arch, trees, stars, crown, etc.) be well-known?

Mellone (Andrea), Sunday, 20 January 2013, ‘The Powers of Tolkien's Melian and Galadriel’
http://greyhavensgroup.com/2013/01/20/the-powers-of-tolkiens-melian-and-galadriel/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bhheeao
A look at Melian and Galadriel with a focus on their protective and counselling roles. It is quite interesting and perceptive as far as it goes, though I think there are some things that should have been included (Lúthien, Galadriel's desire to rule), but as an answer to the perpetual complaints that there are no women in Tolkien's writings, I think it misses the point.

MM, Thursday, 31 January 2013, ‘Q: Are There Female Orcs in Middle-earth?’
http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2013/01/31/are-there-female-orcs-in-middle-earth/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b8sxy3o
An excellent discussion by Michael Martinez which includes a statement that I strongly agree with: ‘Careful readers will keep in mind that there is no true ‘Middle-earth canon’.’ Hear! Hear!

= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

PC, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘Birthday gifts for hobbit and Tolkien fans’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1068-Birthday-gifts-for-hobbit-tolkien-fans.php?537
http://preview.tinyurl.com/9wuufz5
Pieter Collier here suggests choosing from a list of new editions of Tolkien's classic children's book. From the pocket edition of The Hobbit (I actually prefer the normal version with the dust-jacket that Tolkien designed to the deluxe edition) over a special collector's edition and a two-volume film tie-in that slightly misfired to the 75th anniversary paperback edition.

Suravi Chatterjee-Woolman, Saturday, 5 January 2013, ‘Tolkien translations: Tolkien in Bengali’
http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1070-Tolkien-in-Bengali.php?540
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aedozdf
About the Bengali translations of Tolkien's work. Follow the link in the article to see some of the illustrations in the Bengali translations — there is some quite interesting stuff there.

JDR, Saturday, 5 January 2013, ‘More Trivia’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2013/01/more-trivia.html
A review of Nick Hurwitch's The Unofficial Hobbit Trivia Challenge — apparently much better than the previous trivia quiz book that Rateliff reviewed, but seemingly taking its subject in the widest possible sense (i.e. it is not a Tolkien trivia quiz book as much as a ‘Hobbit’ trivia quiz book).

JDR, Tuesday, 8 January 2013, ‘The War of the Ring (SPI game)’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-war-of-ring-spi-game.html
A review of an old board-war-game — or perhaps a report on a day spent at an enjoyable game.

DB, Wednesday, 9 January 2013, ‘reviews of The Hobbit’
http://kalimac.blogspot.com/2013/01/reviews-of-hobbit.html
A review of a review of reviews? That doesn't make sense, does it? :-)
David Bratman has collected a few reviews of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that are all remarkable for being extreme in one way or another.

DB, Thursday, 24 January 2013, ‘digital publishing’
http://calimac.livejournal.com/639474.html
The question of the price of particularly academic books and journals has come up often enough, and Douglas A. Anderson's decision last year to leave the editorship of Tolkien Studies brought the issue in focus of the Tolkien community, and David Bratman who took over Doug Anderson's place as co-editor, here discusses the issue based on his experiences with Tolkien Studies.

H&S, Friday, 25 January 2013, ‘The Many Lives of the Hobbits’
http://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-many-lives-of-the-hobbits/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bczq3x5
An excellent and thorough review by Christina Scull of /The Hobbits: The Many Lives of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin/ by Lynette Porter. One thing that comes across quite strongly is the impressive knowledge that Christina Scull has of Tolkien and related matters, but also the sense of conscious choice not to go into certain areas such as fan-fiction (a choice I have also made myself). Overall Christina Scull is positive about Porter's book, though she doesn't agree with all the choices.

BC, Thursday, 31 January 2013, ‘Review of the Father Christmas Letters Audiobook’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/01/review-of-father-christmas-letters.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bymmvum
A caring, and praiseful, review of the HarperCollins audiobook of Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas read by Sir Derek Jacobi.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday, 6 January 2013, ‘Person of Interest: Janet Brennan Croft, Tolkien scholar’
http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/movies/person-of-interest-janet-brennan-croft-tolkien-scholar-669192/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bbb9ak3
An interview with Janet Brennan Croft, Tolkien scholar and editor of Mythlore (and a very nice person to boot).

PC, Tuesday, 8 January 2013, ‘Interview with Gary Raymond and John Howe about 3-Minute JRR Tolkien’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1074-3-minute-Tolkien-interview-John-Howe-and-Gary-Raymond.php?544
http://preview.tinyurl.com/awhwtc7
Gary Raymond and John Howe have written 3-Minute J.R.R Tolkien: — based on what they say here, this doesn't seem as a book that I will be spending my money on, but it may be just the right thing for fans who are discovering an interest for the author's life.

PC, Thursday, 17 January 2013, ‘Interview with Angela P. Nicholas, author of _Aragorn, J.R.R. Tolkien's Undervalued Hero_’
http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1079-Aragorn-JRR-Tolkien-Undervalued-Hero-interview.php?549
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aeb3mgv
Obsessing over something Tolkienian is of course a good thing (a good thing, you hear!), and Angela Nicholas' obsession with Aragorn commands respect and interest. Her book about Aragorn seems to look at Tolkien's work on its own premises (with a sharp focus on Aragorn) — an approach that I would like to see more of (not that I don't want the other approaches also, but this one has, in my view, been underrepresented in recent years).

PC, Friday, 18 January 2012, ‘Interview with Matthew Dickerson, author of _A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth_’
http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1080-A-Hobbit-Journey-interview-Matthew-Dickerson.php?550
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4vvg4a
I like the way Pieter Collier is show-casing some of the work by less well-known Tolkienist through the medium of these interviews. In some cases the interview seems as useful as a proper review, while in other cases it can make you aware of a book that you want to seek out the reviews for. The present interview with Matthew Dickerson lands his book solidly in the latter category for me — I want to see a review or two before I buy, but it certainly seems interesting.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Various, January 2013, ‘At The Sign Of The...’
http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/categories.php?cat_id=40
Fan art on John Howe's site, this month focusing on inns and inn-signs.

JD, Tuesday, 1 January 2013, ‘The Painting of the Sword’
http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/the-painting-of-the-sword/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b3uy2az
Taking up from last month's post about illustrating the scene when Fëanor draws his sword on Fingolfin in Finwë's hall in Tirion (the action that earned Fëanor his exile in Formenost). Jenny shows and explains the evolution of her latest attempt to illustrate this scene, and in the end we get to see the finished painting, which I find very good.

JD, Friday, 4 January 2013, ‘One little, two little, fifteen little Noldor’
http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/one-little-two-little-fifteen-little-noldor/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/a8her7o
Jenny Dolfen asks herself whether it is just she who can see the differences in the facial features of these Noldor.

JDR, Thursday, 17 January 2013, ‘The Return of the King, Uh-huh.’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-return-of-king-uh-huh.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b4nwade
Art need not, of course, be just paintings and other pictures. In this case the art is a filk song — the one that John Rateliff names ‘the best Tolkien filksong ever.’ Listen and judge for yourself if you agree.

JD, Sunday, 20 January 2013, ‘Custom sketchbooks!’
http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/custom-sketchbooks/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ba97nye
If you like to draw, you might want to consider walking about with a custom Tolkien sketchbook with cover art by Jenny Dolfen (now, you do a set of notebooks also, Jenny, and I'm buying — preferably 5-by-5 mm square, I am a man of the natural sciences, after all :-) )

Ruth Lacon, Monday, 21 January 2013, ‘Review of _Beyond Time and Place - The Art of Paul Raymond Gregory_’
http://tolkienlibrary.com/press/1082-Art-of-Paul-Raymond-Gregory.php?552
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aydhzxg
Ruth Lacon's husband, Alex Lewis, has helped make an art-book featuring art by Paul Raymond Gregory, which includes Tolkien-inspired art. A couple of works are featured in the review.

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Rachel Nuwer, Thursday, 3 january 2013, ‘The Tolkien Nerd's Guide to The Hobbit’
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/The-Tolkien-Nerds-Guide-to-The-Hobbit--185546102.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/a7aofyg
Unfortunately this article — and the associated graphics — is riddled with errors. There are factual errors in the graphics (the information purporting to be from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales is really from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), and if Michael Drout has really said that Peter Jackson ‘knows the lore pretty well’ or that the Tolkien Estate ‘are litigious’, I have to express my firm disagreement with Drout on these. I have seen nothing that suggests that Jackson knows the Tolkien lore (Drout may of course have information that I am not privy to), and unlike Saul Zaentz' Tolkien Enterprises, the Tolkien Estate does not appear particularly litigious.

JDR, Thursday, 3 January 2013, ‘I Am Interviewed (Smithsonian)’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/i-am-interviewed-smithsonian.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bfxzhb3
John Rateliff's commentary on the above.

Alice Philipson, The Telegraph, Wednesday, 9 January 2013, ‘Tolkien trail: tower that inspired Lord of the Rings trilogy to be opened to public’
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9787971/Tolkien-trail-tower-that-inspired-Lord-of-the-Rings-trilogy-to-be-opened-to-public.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/axabsny
Let's get some facts straight: Tolkien would undoubtedly have known Perrolt's Folly. There is nothing that suggests that Perrolt's Folly was a source of inspiration for anything in Tolkien's stories — this part is a tourist fabrication. Of course that doesn't mean that it would not be nice to be able to get inside even get a view of Birmingham from the top, or that many other sites on the Tolkien Trail in Birmingham are not genuinely relevant both for Tolkien's biography and for his books.

Phil Wieland, Sunday, 13 January 2013, ‘NW Ind. School plans J.R.R. Tolkien conference’
http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/indiana/nw-ind-school-plans-jrr-tolkien-conference
http://preview.tinyurl.com/azmgksp
About a Tolkien conference in Valparaiso arranged by Brad Eden, author of Middle-earth Minstrel. Plenary speakers so far are Douglas Anderson, John Rateliff and Verlyn Flieger, with further participation of other Tolkienists such as David Bratman, Christine Larsen and of course Brad Eden: http://conference.valpo.edu/tolkien/

BC, Tuesday, 15 January 2013, ‘The essence of The Inklings: idea for an Inklings Reader’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/01/the-essence-of-inklings-idea-for.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/abr8c52
I am not particularly interested in the Inklings as a group, so I can't really comment on Charlton's views on them, though by his own description (rejecting Carpenter and Pavlac Glyer alike) his ideas seem to be somewhat controversial. Charlton has also posted a couple of times about Charles Williams in January.

James Daily, Thursday, 17 January 2013, ‘Read a Lawyer's Amazingly Detailed Analysis of Bilbo's Contract in _The Hobbit_’
http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/hobbit-contract-legal-analysis
http://preview.tinyurl.com/be39ywd
This is actually not about Tolkien, but about the bogus contract made for the Jackson film, but it is good fun nonetheless, and a few points might also apply to Tolkien's much more succinct ‘contract’ (Tolkien calls it a ‘note’).

EJ, Sunday, 20 January 2013, ‘Visual timeline of the One Ring’
http://lotrproject.com/blog/2013/01/20/visual-timeline-of-the-one-ring/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/a7r8r8k
A neat, so-called ‘infographics’ of the nearly five millennia of the Ruling Ring — with some focus on where the Ring was and who bore it.

MB, Thursday, 24 January 2013, ‘Middle-earth Tea & Coffee Mug Special: Fond memories in ceramics’
http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/01/24/middle-earth-tea-coffee-mug-special-fond-memories-in-ceramics/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aumftp8
If Marcel keeps running things like this, I'll have to make a category for ‘Fan Boasting’ ;-) Mugs are lovely memorabilia — I think I need a Tolkien-related mug to take to work.

EJ, Saturday, 26 January 2013, ‘The true nature of the Ring’
http://lotrproject.com/blog/2013/01/26/the-true-nature-of-the-ring/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/a85mkhp
Emil couldn't resist, and as a long-time (albeit now former) Nokian myself, I of course can't resist either :-)

AW, Saturday, 26 January 2013, ‘Tolkien slept here’
http://wellinghall.livejournal.com/1038393.html
It's amazing what you can find — just don't trust it until you can verify it.

Tad Wise, Woodstock Times, Monday, 28 January 2013, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien and the Ballantines’
http://www.woodstockx.com/2013/01/28/j-r-r-tolkien-and-the-ballantines/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ab2x24e
An interview with 93 years old Betty Ballantine about the Ballantine paperbacks of Tolkien's books, and about meeting Tolkien in London.

JDR, Tuesday, 29 January 2013, ‘Also Coming Up Soon: More Tolkien at Marquette’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.dk/2013/01/also-coming-up-soon-more-tolkien-at.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/asqwmyk
About the last of the of the three special Hobbit 75th anniversay events at the Marquette — this one a round-table discussion of the latest Hobbit film. The list of round-table participants looks promising, but the topic is not one that I'd be much interested in.

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

‘Bettering the Bumbling Bestiary: A David Day Fact Check’
http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?25579-Bettering-the-Bumbling-Bestiary-A-David-Day-Fact-Check
http://preview.tinyurl.com/asyly2c
David Day is infamous in Tolkien circles for his creative re-interpretation of Tolkien's work, and here is a thread that goes through his A Tolkien Bestiary (or at least has started on it), with a view to point out and correct the creative imprecisions, errors and outright misrepresentations that litter Day's work.

‘Mesopotamia’
http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?28559-Mesopotamia
About Mesopotamian influences — inspired by (but also critical of) Nicolas Birns' article in Tolkien and the Study of his Sources, but moving beyond it to look at the topic with a greater degree of scholarly systematism (and rigidity).

‘Tolkien's Old English’
http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?22104-Tolkien's-Old-English&p=519066#post519066
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bbxnsoa
This wonderful thread has been revived, now with posts addressing Mercian as well as a list of all (in intention) the Old English found in The Shaping of Middle-earth, The Lost Road and Other Writings, and in ‘The Notion Club Papers’ in Sauron Defeated.

= = = = In Print = = = =

Beyond Bree, January 2013
The newletter unsurprisingly starts this issue with reactions to the new Jackson film and associated matters, both positive and negative. Nancy Martsch then reviews Jef Murray's 2013 calendar, and Mark Hooker (presumably) continues the series looking in to the word ‘hobbit’ by noting that it is, etymologically, a diminutive of ‘hob’. Bruce Leonard's report from the Return of the Ring also continues, covering Saturday and Sunday morning, and Jim Allen reviews Renée Vink's Wagner and Tolkien: Mythmakers (my own distaste for Wagner probably makes me a very unreliable commentator on that, though I think Allen's review makes Vink come across as an insufferably arrogant know-it-all, which she is certainly not in person). Various smaller letters and announcements along with the usual columns round off this issue.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

‘The LotrProject Blog’
http://lotrproject.com/blog/
By Emil Johansson — mostly a combination of Tolkien humour and Tolkien infographics.

‘Tolkien in Bengali’
http://tolkieninbengali.com/
Dedicated to the Bengali translations of Tolkien's work and their illustrations.

= = = = Sources = = = =

Added this month:

Emil Johansson (EJ), ‘The LotrProject Blog’
http://lotrproject.com/blog/

See http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html

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