Saturday 3 August 2013

Tolkien Transactions XXXIX

July 2013

Every month as I hurry to finalize this list of various Tolkien-related things on the internet that I have come across in the past month, I find myself wondering what I have forgotten this time. There is of course a lot of things that I just haven't discovered — though I spent far too much time scouring the internet, I will never be able to discover it all (and really I am very grateful when people point out their own or others' work to me), but also the things I did find, but lost the URL for — I do have procedures that should prevent this, but ... you know, nothing is entirely fool-proof it one is a big enough fool ;-)
- so, if there is something you think I should have included, I have probably forgotten, overlooked or never found it, and so please make me aware of it.

I have written various pieces this month on The Fall of Arthur both in Danish (for the journal of the Copenhagen and Malmö Tolkien Societies, Bri and Angmar) and in English. I plan to collect most of this (everything that is worth collecting, at least) in a post to appear on my blog, Parma-kenta in the next week or so.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Mythcon
2: News
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Interviews
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Web Sites
10: The Blog Roll
11: Sources

= = = = Mythcon = = = =

MythCon 44 is organized by the Mythopoeic Society and the place where the Mythopoeic Awards are awarded each year, and MythCon members seem to be much better at blogging about their experiences than attendees of most other conferences.

I will start this with noting the winner of the 2013 Mythopoeic Award in Inklings Studies, Verlyn Flieger's book Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien. Well deserved — congratulations!

Mythopoeic Society, Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythopoeic Awards: 2013 Winners Announced’
The official notice from the Mythopoeic Society on the 2013 award winners.

Mythopoeic Society, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘Acceptance Remarks — 2013’
The acceptance remarks of the winners of the 2013 Mythopoeic Awards.

... and John Rateliff's reaction:
Monday, 15 July 15 2013, ‘And the Winner Is . . .’

On to reports on the actual conference ...

Eleanor Farrell, ‘Confessions of a Brody Girl’
Posted earlier this year, Eleanor Farrell reminisces about by-gone days at the venue of this year's Mythcon ...

C.F. Cooper, Saturday, 13 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Day 1’
A brief report on the first day of Mythcon 44.
See also the folling reports
Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Day 2’
Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Day 3’
Monday, 15 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Final Report’

Lee's Myth, Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythgard at Mythcon 44’
Essentially a list of presentations attended (presumably). Linking to later posts elsewhere, it would appear that this post has been updated after the end of Mythcon.

HR, Monday, 15 July 2013, ‘Appendix A: Taking Tolkien on the Road’
Holly Rodgers went to MythCon to tell about the journey of herself and her ELL students — and to discover the camaraderie of Tolkien fans. I do hope that her hopes and ideas for the Teaching Tolkien blog will come true. You will certainly continue to hear about Holly Rodgers' Teaching Tolkien site in these transactions.

katyflynn, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44’
A curious report told from the perspective of, of all people, Samwise Gamgee (whom I, personally, find rather less charming in his ignorance than do many others — including the author).

DB, Thursday, 18 July 2013, ‘Mythcon in Mich., again’
Long-time Mythcon attendee and Tolkien scholar David Bratman gives his thoughts on Mythcon 44, including mentions of a couple of the students' papers, Megan Abrahamson on Tolkien and fanfiction and Megan Naxer's analysis of Donald Swann's The Road Goes Ever On. See also Bratman's further Mythcon blog entries:
DB, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘music at Mythcon’
On the music presented at this Mythcon
DB, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘one more Mythcon anecdote’
Relating, as the title tells, an anecdote from Mythcon — this anecdote being related to the attitude of Tolkien scholars to the Jackson films ... (see also the report by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond)

Lee's Myth, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘More on Mythcon 44’
A report on two of the presentations at Mythcon 44, Anna Smol's ‘Tolkien's Painterly Style’ and Trish Lambert's ‘How the Respective Cosmogonies of Narnia and Middle-earth Affect Grief and Hope in the Environment’.

H&S, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘Midwestern Journey’
The report by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond drives home the point also made by others that attending a Mythcon (or another conference) can be widely different experiences depending on how one puts one's programme together.

Anna Smol, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44. Day One: hot sun, fanfic, and ice cream’
Anna Smol's report of the first day of Mythcon 44, including a report on a paper on fan-fiction. See also her reports of the rest of the conference:
Anna Smol, Thursday, 25 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44. Day Two: the land and its inhabitants in fantasy’
Second day. Reports on papers by Doug Anderson, Anna Smol herself, David Oberhelman and Verlyn Flieger.
Anna Smol, Tuesday, 30 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44. Days 3-4: Multidisciplinary papers, awards, traditional entertainments, and an extended airport edition’
Day three. The items that I found most interesting was the reports on the presentations by Andrew Higgins and by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond; and not least the retelling of some of the traditions (some of which may be approaching rituals) of Mythcon.

talelmarhazad, Thursday, 25 July 2013, ‘Bloggers on Mythcon 44’
A collection of blog reports on Mythcon 44 — there's a few there you won't find here, and a couple here you won't find there.

And finally from the chair of next year's Mythcon:
MD, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘Untitled’
The scholar guest of honour will be Richard West, and the conference is to be held on August 8--11 2014 at Wheaton College. And beyond that, all we know is that Michael Drout is ‘very happy’ to announce it. Oh, and at least Marcel Aubron-Bülles will be attending ...

= = = = News = = = =

I shan't be covering every development of the suits and counter-suits between the Tolkien Estate (et Al.) and Middle-earth Enterprises (et Al.) — you can find plenty of coverage for this elsewhere, so unless there's something I find particularly interesting, you should not expect to see much reporting on this issue here.

Anna Smol, Wednesday, 3 July 2013, ‘Calls for papers on Tolkien’
A call for papers for the Tolkien at Kalamazoo track for 2014 and for the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association Joint Conference in 2014 — it is never too early, I suppose ;)

Mythopoeic Society, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘Call for Papers: Baptism of Fire’
A call for papers — contributions to a Mythopoeic Press book edited by Janet Brennan Croft, Baptism of Fire: The Birth of Modern British Fantasy in World War I about ... well, the birth of modern British fantasy in the Great War, of course ;)

DAA, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘In Memoriam: Recent Passings of Tolkien Scholars’
Spurred, probably, by the death of Anne C. Petty on 21 July, Doug Anderson here gives the memorials he would have written for Tolkien Studies over the last couple of years (since December 2011), including, of course, one for Anne C. Petty, and also for Dinah Hazell, Maggie Burns, and Michael Stanton.

Michael Noer and David M. Ewalt, Forbes, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘The Forbes Fictional 15’
Smaug is in second place this year, down from the top position last year, but still above the seventh place he got in 2011.
2012 list:

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

JDR, Saturday, 13 July 2013, "A Possible Riddle-Source (‘Time’)"
John Rateliff has identified what may be a source, or a partial source, for the time riddle in The Hobbit (‘Riddles in the Dark’) in a thirteenth-century French text that Chaucer translated as ‘Romaunt of the Rose’. There are some clear parallels, but as Rateliff says, this is ‘not the crown jewel we've been looking for, but an addition’.

Charlotte Russell, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘The Anglo-Saxon influence on Romano-Britain : research past and present’ have lately been posting some articles on topics that have been brought to my attention in connection with Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur, either directly from the book, or in various discussions of it. This topic is one of these — the relations and (mutual) influences of the Anglo-Saxon and the Romany-British cultures.

MT, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘Pauline Baynes' ‘There and Back Again’: Some Notes’
Morgan Thomsen has got hold of a copy of the poster with Pauline Baynes' 1971 map of The Hobbit, There and Back Again: Bilbo’s Journey through Eriador and Rhovanion, and writes about the map and his investigations into it.

DAA, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘The Mystery of Lintips’
On the mysterious lintips appearing in Tolkien's poem Once Upon a Time — a Bombadil poem published after The Adventures of Tom Bombadil in an anthology for children. There is something intriguing about creatures that are as much a mystery to Tom Bombabil, Christopher Tolkien and Douglas Anderson as to the rest of us :-)

Marie Helga Ingvarsdóttir, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘Queen Guinevere. A queen through time’
Though a 2011 B.A. thesis obviously doesn't consider Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur, the theme of the thesis, the portrayal of Guinevere through time, is very much a relevant topic for Tolkienists at this point.

Nick, Mythgard, Friday, 26 July 2013, ‘Philology Through Tolkien’
If you have the time (and the money) the Mythgard Institute here offers a wonderful opportunity to learn the basics of philology. Taught by philologists and Tolkien scholars Tom Shippey and Nelson Goering, this course promises good value — I just wish ... :-/

= = = = Commentary = = = =

MB, Saturday, 13 July 2013, ‘How a hobby turns into a Hobbit in Cape Town’
More a kind of cautionary tale, I think, but with the help of Edmund Weiner, deputy chief editor for the Oxford English Dictionary, and one of the three authors of The Ring of Words: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, Marcel here relates the story of a search for a alleged use of ‘hobbit’ that preceded Tolkien's. As can be see when you read the story, it turns out the word wasn't ‘hobbit’ at all.

Lynn Forest-Hill, Tuesday, 16 July 2013, ‘First meeting in July’
The Southfarthings have started on John Garth's excellent Tolkien and the Great War. As always it is well worth reading the comments made in their discussions. This month's two sessions together have covered the first five chapters. See also:
Lynn Forest-Hill, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘Last meeting in July’

TF, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘The Political Tolkien’
About the need for a study, not of Tolkien's own political views (that has been published already), but rather on how others have used Tolkien's work to argue for their political views (regardless of whether Tolkien himself would have agreed).

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

I'll start this off with a few bits on Tolkien The Fall of Arthur that have not made it in earlier issues (belonging to the ‘not discovered’ section that have since been kindly pointed out to me).

Anna Smol, Friday, 21 June 2013, ‘'Wild blow the winds of war': Tolkien's Fall of Arthur’
Focused mainly on the poem itself, this review gives us an interesting view on Tolkien's Arthurian effort — in particular I enjoyed the comments on the effectiveness (my interpretation) of Tolkien's use of the alliterative meter, including his ability, in this meter, to evoke vivid images with, as she writes, ‘a few strokes of light and colour and shape.’

Sørina Higgins, Friday, 21 June 2013, ‘King Arthur was an Elf!’
I think the identification of Éarendel with Lancelot is an error of interpretation. Despite the re-use of imagery related to the two voyages across the western seas to Tol Eressëa (which is identified as Avalon of Arthurian legend), the role of Lancelot would rather approach (but not be the same as) that of Eriol / Ælfwine — the Anglo-Saxon seafarer who came to Tol Eressëa — I very much doubt that Tolkien imagined Lancelot to be promoted to the role of the Morning Star ... Also, as Harm Schelhaas has perceptively commented on Facebook, it is rather doubtful that ‘Tolkien and Williams would ever have seen eye to eye about Merlin, Logres and all that.’ Still, Higgins' review is interesting and she certainly comes up with some connections that I would not have seen on my own.

Noah Cruickshank, Monday, 1 July 2013, ‘When do posthumous releases go too far?’,99577/
A review of The Fall of Arthur that questions whether this material warrants an independent release. Though I disagree with the authors eventual conclusion that an independent release is not justified (how and who to decide that is another question), I think it is quite reasonable to ask yourself what ‘value’ (and I don't mean monetary value) the book has for you — what extra value you get from Christopher Tolkien's commentary, etc. If nothing else, such reflection may help you next time you wonder whether to spend your money on a new book.

Stacey Bartlett, Friday, 12 July 2013, ‘Penguin re-releases Tolkien inspirations’
Penguin Classics are re-releasing Beowulf, The Saga of the Volsungs, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Elder Edda and The Wanderer — tales that Tolkien knew and which shaped his own creative writing in various ways, great and small. The translations are said to be at least of reasonable quality.

‘tintin’, Thursday, 18 july 2013, ‘The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - review’
A review, presumably by a child, of The Hobbit, calling it ‘one of the greatest books I have ever read’. Who am I to protest :-)

Project Muse, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘Volume 10, 2013’
Volume 10, the 2013 issue, of Tolkien Studies is now available for those with subscriptions to Project Muse ... the rest of us will have to wait until the West Virginia University Press and the postal services fulfil our orders. Sigh! ;-)

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Susan Hitch, BBC, Friday, 26 July 2013, ‘When Tolkien Stole Wagner's Ring’
Despite the tiresome errors in the introduction, Professer Nick Groom (Exeter University) and Renée Vink have some interesting points in this 20 minutes interview.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Jenny Dolfen has posted two (three) new Tolkien-inspired paintings this month
Wednesday, 10 July 2013, ‘Fingon and Aredhel – mixed media experiment’ (portraits of Fingon and Aradhel)
Sunday, 28 July 2013, ‘Harp lessons’ (Maglor teaching Elrond to play the harp)

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

R.J. Moeller, Monday, 8 July 2013, ‘Lewis on Tolkien: Narnia Reviews Middle-Earth’
Mr. Moeller, having found C.S. Lewis' review of The Hobbit from The Times Literary Supplement shares some excerpts. If you have not read the review, you really should :)

Montgomery Birts, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘Narnia residents delighted as immigrant loophole through wardrobe is finally closed’
A wonderful joke about the anti-immigration movement in Narnia ... just for fun.

David Kaufman, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘Tolkien and Terrorism: Perpetual War, PRISM, and the One Ring’
Another example of the thing I discuss in my post ‘The Political Tolkien’. Mr. Kaufman finds applicability in The Lord of the Rings to aspects of the current political situation in the United States (as indicated in the title) and asks: ‘Are we wielding this metaphorical Ring, or fighting to destroy it?’ The point here is not whether Tolkien (or I) would agree with Mr. Kaufman's analysis, but rather it is interesting to see how Tolkien's points are being used in argument, though Tolkien obviously could not in any way be construed as an authority on current politics in USA.

John Garth, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘The Magical Books of the Bodleian’
John Garth's review of the exhibition Magical Books – From the Middle Ages to Middle-earth at the Bodleian. For those of us who will not have any chance of seeing the exhibition, this is the best we can get, but this, too, is good.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
The web-site and blog of Anna Smol, professor of English at Mount Saint Vincent University (Halifax, Canada). In addition to the blog itself, you will wish to check out the current projects (links in ‘Welcome’ section) and the research section with its long list of work on Tolkien, including a pdf copy of a 2004 article.

Renée Vink, ‘Things that Ring in my Head’
Author of Wagner and Tolkien: Mythmakers, and translator into Dutch of several Tolkien books, Renée Vink.

Sørina Higgins, ‘Iambic Admonit’
Sørina Higgins is one of a new generation of Inklings-scholars — in her case with a focus on Charles Williams.

John Garth
I've posted it before, but John Garth has updated and refreshed his website in many small ways, including a nice picture from The Return of the Ring and some various updates to the text here and there.

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
Contents from these blogs will only be reported here if there is something that I find particularly interesting, or posts that fit with a monthly theme, but I will here note the number of Tolkien-related posts in the month covered by these transactions (while the number of posts with a vaguer relation — e.g. by being about other Inklings — are given in parentheses).

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (S&H), ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough’
A post about Mythcon 44 in July as well as posts on a ‘Nortwestern Journey’ seeing Tolkien friends, and a post about their collection of Maurice Sendak.

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’
No posts in July.

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’
No posts in July.

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’
2 Tolkien-related posts in July, both referred to above. The third post this month is a review of Building Imaginary Worlds by Mark J.P. Wolf.

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’
5 Tolkien-related posts in July. Apart from those referred to above, there is a post about the practices of editorial ‘meddling’ in philological editions at Tolkien's time ("Was Tolkien "An Inveterate Meddler"?"), comments on a Tolkien exhibition in Seattle (‘Twenty-one Years’), and a note on someone who has called Tolkien a ‘jerk’ in a documentary on Lewis (‘Eric Metaxas Calls Tolkien a Jerk’). There are also a number of Lewis-related posts.

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’
5 Tolkien-related posts in July, including reports from the Tolkien societies of Lithuania and Indonesia as well as a new post with a cautionary story (see above).

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:
3 posts on Mythcon (see above) and one about a Tolkien article (on livejournal) in July.

Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook’
In addition to the two posts with Tolkien-related pictures referenced above, Jenny Dolfen has posted an interesting post where she muses on artistic development.

Holly Rodgers (HR), ‘Teaching Tolkien’
3 Tolkien-related posts in July. In addition to the Mythcon report (see above), there are two posts that are more reflective — musings on what has been learned in the process of ‘Teaching Tolkien’ (and, of course, of learning Tolkien) and what might be done in the future.

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
4 Tolkien related posts in July — all referred to above.

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Four posts in July — three on Mythcon and the awards and a call-for-papers. Except for the announcement of the commencement of Mythcon, they are all reported above.

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’
One Tolkien-related post in July (see above)

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’
No posts in July

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’
2 Tolkien-related posts in July (plus three on Charles Williams).

= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources this month:

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’

Various, Mythgard Institute (MI)

For older sources, see

1 comment:

  1. One of the oversights have been pointed out to me (one of these things that ticked past my Facebook news feed, registering as interesting, but never popping up for the transactions).

    Jemima Catlin, the illustrator of the new Hobbit and of the official 2014 Tolkien Calendar will come to Oxonmoot, the annual Tolkien Society event, where she will talk about her work for the new Hobbit, display some original art, and sign books and calendars.


    Oxonmoot 2013 Facebook page:

    Jemima Catlin | Illustrator Facebook page:

    There will also be an opportunity for a visit to the current exhibition at the Bodleian, which includes 18 Tolkien items (see John Garth's review of the exhibition under "Other Stuff" in the transactions above).


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