Thursday 5 September 2013

Tolkien Transactions XL

August 2013

This month's issue is a bit delayed, but I fail to feel sorry about it as the delay is due to my having been through a round of interviews resulting in my being offered a new, very interesting job starting on the next 16th. This may also affect the coming issues as I struggle to get into speed in my new position as Quality Coordinator and Test Engineer for medical devices.

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien,, and alt.books.inklings, and the usenet version can be accessed at
These transactions are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books):
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:

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

= = = = News = = = =

Mythgard Institute, Wednesday, 14 August 2013, ‘Our Indiegogo Campaign’
An opportunity to help shape the contents of the Mythgard Institute.

Kris Swank, Saturday, 17 August 2013, ‘Tolkien @ Kalamazoo call for papers deadline’
It's too late for submissions now, but <powerful expression for emphasis!> would I like to be at the ‘Tolkien’s Natural World and Science’ session? I'd give ... well, I don't really need that little finger, do I? ... :-)

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Edward B. Irving Jr., Friday, 2 August 2013, ‘Heroic Worlds: The Knight's Tale and Beowulf’
On Chaucer's creation of a heroic world in The Knight's Tale with special comparison to Beowulf.

Caitlin Garvey, Sunday, 11 August 2013, ‘Monsters: A Surprising Tool of Governments Past and Present’
Another article from that looks a promising read. The topic, monsters in medieval tales, was certainly one that Tolkien took an interest in, though I can't help but wonder what he would have said of this approach.

H&S, Tuesday, 13 August 2013, ‘The Sendak _Hobbit_’
Wayne Hammond here tells the ‘real story’ behind the abandoned project of an edition of The Hobbit illustrated by Maurice Sendak (see also Tolkien Transactions XI for March 2011 (published April)).

JDR, Thursday, 15 August 2013, ‘Tolkien and Sinclair Lewis’
On Tolkien as a reader of Sinclair Lewis. As Rateliff points out ‘this new information helps put to rest the idea that Tolkien was largely ignorant of literature after 1400.’ Tolkien indeed read quite a lot of modern literature, and he also liked a lot of it, though of course not all.

Simon Newcombe, Saturday, 17 August 2013, ‘'Sword-point and blade will reconcile us first': The Vikings in the English Context’
A paper, given at the 2013 ‘Forward into the Past Conference’, on the influence of the Vikings ‘on what would eventually become known as the United Kingdom’ and on the complexity of Viking society and culture. Here I feel that Tolkien would probably have been more sympathetic to the basic idea of the paper than the above look at monsters as a tool for governmental control.

JDR, Saturday, 17 August 2013, ‘Tolkien and Harry Bauer’
Mainly concerned with discovering who this Harry Bauer was, and what was his business with Tolkien?

Sefanit Tucker, Friday, 23 August 2013, ‘The Protocol of Vengeance in Viking-age Scandinavia’
According to the abstract the article ‘seeks to discuss the importance of honor and the established structure of revenge in Northern Europe, namely Iceland, between the 9th and 10th centuries. In spite of both modern and contemporaneous portrayals of a violent people without law, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate the specific cases in which Viking society condoned and employed violence.’ Does anyone know if there has been a study of the ‘protocol of violence’ in Tolkien's works (perhaps particularly The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion mythology), and how that compares to medieval norms?

Simon J. Cook, Monday, 26 August 2013, ‘Concerning Hobbits: Welsh Fairies in Oxford’
A remarkable piece concerning, among other things, relations between the Oxford scholar of Celtic, John Rhys, who edited The Text of the Mabínogían and other Welsh Tales from the Red Book of Hergest (1887), and Tolkien's mythology. If read as a study of some of the ‘intellectual leaf-mould’ in which Tolkien studied and lived then it is a highly interesting article. There are a number of claims and ideas of which I remain highly dubious — particularly where Cook seems to be suggesting a more direct source relation between Tolkien's work and Rhys' ideas.

Timothy Carlisle, Monday, 26 August 2013, ‘The role and status of the smith in the Viking age’
OK, admittedly this may be more personal interest than a Tolkien connection, though Tolkien does seem to put a very great emphasis on the the greatest smiths from Aulë, over Fëanor (who also made swords besides the Silmarils), Telchar and the Elven-smiths of Eregion. In the legendarium of Arda, Tolkien appears to use the word ‘smith’ a bit more broadly than just for one who creates iron tools (and the occasional work of iron-art), but the Smith of Wootton Major is an example of a smith who works in iron.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

HR, Thursday, 8 August 2013, ‘Appendix D: Tolkien's Touch’
Readers in community ... about the effect of reading Tolkien on children and adults alike. I am sure that there is also an important aspect in reading in community — sharing your fascination with the word and the thoughts and images and ideas that the enchantment of the words brings forth in you is, I believe, an important part of the success of literary societies such as both the Mythopoeic Society and the Tolkien Society.
The community and relationship-building element in reading (and achieving) together is also emphasized in the next post:
HR, Thursday, 15 August 2013, ‘Appendix E: Building a Strong Relationship’

H&S, Saturday, 10 August 2013, ‘Tolkien Notes 9’
Various minor notes of interest on Tolkien-related matters.

Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 10 August 2013, ‘First August Meeting’
The report of the first meeting of the Southampton Tolkien Reading Group. In August they have covered chapters six through 10 of John Garth's excellent Tolkien and the Great War, and the comments and discussions of the reading group are, as always, very interesting.
See also Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 24 August 2013, ‘Last Meeting in August’

TF, Saturday, 17 August 2013, ‘Philosophizing on Fall of Arthur’
The title is obviously an attempt by the author to create an alliterating title (while emphasizing why ‘alliteration’ is a bit of a misnomer — clearly it is not about letters but about sounds, and so the ‘head-rhyme’ is a better name). The author identified three topics / quesitons in relation to Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur that have been discussed, and which are worth thinking some more about — thinking which is here offered freely ;-)

Gibbelins, Monday, 19 August 2013, ‘What does Tolkien mean by the word 'DOOM'?’
Though I suppose that this will not be news to most of those reading this, I still think it is a good thing that there are people who make an effort to set these things straight, and we should encourage them.

JM, Friday, 23 August 2013, ‘Tolkien vs. Augustine on Difference of Sex’
Jonathan S. McIntosh here writes on the differences in the explanations of St. Augustine and Tolkien on the origin of genders. So far he just notes the difference, but one may hope that some further commentary will follow at some later point.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker , Tuesday, 27 August 2013, ‘Tolkien's ‘No’ to Narnia’
Despite the minor errors (will we ever tire of pointing out that the Inklings did not read to each other in the pub?), I think this is well worth reading. I disagree with the view that ‘only a Catholic could have written this’ (paraphrase), but if you can stand that kind of bias, there are some interesting points alongside the personal agenda.

AS, Friday, 30 August 2013, ‘Tolkien's Guinever’
With Anna Smol agreeing with me it would of course be odd for me to disagree ;-) Her thoughts on Tolkien's Guinever are very interesting, and I agree entirely that she is a more complex character than some commentators have given her credit for.

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

Kathy Cawsey, Thursday, 1 August 2013, ‘Lord of the Round Table’
Easily one of the best handful of reviews I have read of Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur — thank you to Anna Smol for pointing my way!

AS, Monday, 5 August 2013, ‘Fall of Arthur — more reviews’
Another round of catching up — a new set of reviews collected by Anna Smol

PC, Friday, 9 August 2013, ‘The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Illustrated by Jemima Catlin’
On the new illustrated edition of The Hobbit with illustrations by Jemima Catlin. Somewhere I saw the rumour that Jemima Catlin was chosen by Christopher Tolkien for the job, but whether or not this is true, I think what we have seen so far looks very, very promising.

DB, Wednesday, 14 August 2013, ‘Tolkien Studies 10: an announcement’
I will, with all due respect, politely point out that I had this announcement in my transactions for July ... ;-)

TF, Friday, 16 August 2013, ‘The Fall of Arthur — A Review’
My own review of The Fall of Arthur — not meant to be deep or profound, but rather a good old-fashioned review that gives the reader an impression of what is actually in the book.

TF, Saturday, 17 August 2013, ‘The Fall of Arthur — a collection of reviews’
A collection of reviews of Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur — while definitely very far from complete and exhaustive, I dare suggest that it is at least as comprehensive as any other list that you'll find on the internet :-)

Natalie Schachar, Tablet Magazine, Monday, 19 August 2013, ‘Yiddish-Speaking Wizards and Dragons Invade the Shire in 'Der Hobit'’
About the new Yiddish translation of The Hobbit and its translator.

Christopher Gilson, Tuesday, 20 August 2013, ‘Parma Eldalamberon Issue No. 21 - announcement’
Announcing issue no. 21 of Parma Eldalamberon and describing the contents, which are on the early Qenya language.
See also
and MB, Wednesday, 7 August 2013, ‘More on Qenya: Parma Eldalamberon 21 to be published in September’
and PC, Thursday, 22 August 2013, ‘Parma Eldalamberon 21 - Qenya Noun Structure’

Oloris, Friday, 23 August 2013, ‘20% off Silver Leaves from August 23 to September 12!’
What it says, really — you can still make it! I still wish that they would give a short abstract for each item, but anyhow ...

John Garth, Monday, 26 August 2013, ‘Tolkien's languages: John Garth reviews Parma Eldalamberon 15’
John Garth's review, originally for Tolkien Studies vol. 3 (2006), of Parma Eldalamberon issue 15, ‘Sí Qente Feanor & Other Elvish Writings’.

AS, Tuesday, 27 August 2013, ‘Now Available: The Body in Tolkien's Legendarium’
A newly available collection on corporeality in Tolkien's Middle-earth, The Body in Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on Middle-earth Corporeality edited by Christopher Vaccaro with contributions by e.g. Verlyn Flieger, Gergely Nagy and by Anna Smol herself.

Ross Brooks, Wednesday, 28 August 2013, ‘Penguin Designs A Series Of Tolkien's Favorite Books’
The series itself has been reported earlier, and now the cover art has also been revealed.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Andrew Burns, The Big Issue, Friday, 30 August 2013, ‘The Hobbit Reimagined — An Exclusive First Look’
An intervew with Jemima Catlin, illustrator of the new illustrated Hobbit. The paper edition of the paper reportedly includes examples of the art-work. The story of the rejection of her illustrations for Roverandom and subsequent approach for her to illustrate a new edition of The Hobbit reads as something out of Andersen :-)
The full interview, including illustrations, has since been published also:
Thomas Quinn, The Big Issue, Tuesday, 3 September 2013, ‘The Hobbit and I: Jemima Catlin on Reinventing a Legend’

John Garth, Saturday, 31 August 2013, ‘She Who Came After Tolkien, Before Rowling’
John Garth has here presented me to an author, Susan Cooper, whose books have instantly made it to my ‘to read’ list (ever-growing though it is), and I wouldn't withhold that experience from any others ... :-)

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

"The Darkening of Valinor" by Jenny Dolfen
The Darkening of Valinor
by Jenny Dolfen
JD, Thursday, 1 August 2013, ‘The Darkening of Valinor’
A work done on commission — the customer wanted a picture of Fëanor holding his dead father, Finwë. I keep wishing that I could afford to buy some of Jenny's originals (or perhaps even commission one ... Ælfwine speaking with Pengolod?), and this doesn't help! ;-)

Joe Gilronan, Monday, 26 August 2013, ‘Frodo's Inheritance’
A new work by Joe Gilronan depicting Bag End on the morning after Bilbo left and Frodo inherited the lot. The riot appears not to have happened yet ...

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

John Garth, Saturday, 3 August 2013, ‘The OED unbound’
An article about new directions taken by the Oxford English Dictionary and of course it doesn't fail to mention Tolkien :-) Now, how do I get a UK library membership?

Brotherhood Workshop, Wednesday, 7 August 2013, ‘LEGO Tom Bombadil (Why was he cut?)’
Was this why Tom Bombadil got cut from the films (both the Bakshi and the Jackson films)?

Peter Freeman, Friday, 9 August 2013, ‘Tolkiens Farmer Giles of Ham: Hero for Our Time?’
Another example of the attempts to make Tolkien the ass that draws someone's personal political wagon. In this case Farmer Giles becomes a proponent for the American right to bear arms because he successfully scares off a giant with his blunderbuss ... Sigh!

PC, Friday, 23 August 2013, ‘A generous gift - the tale behind a signed copy of _El Hobito_’
The charming story of how a copy of the Spanish El Hobito, with an inscription in Spanish by the author to his wife, Edith, ended in the library of Antonio Quevedo. For me it also leaves the question of whether Edith read Spanish?

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Angela P. Nicholas
The web-site of the author of Aragorn: J. R. R. Tolkien's Undervalued Hero. Obviously the book and its theme feature quite prominently.

= = = = 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’
2 Tolkien-related posts in August both of which are mentioned above. In addition there is a post about Pauline Baynes and her work for the Blackie edition of Andersen's Fairy Tales

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

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’
9 Tolkien-related posts in August — in addition to the posts mentioned above, these are mostly on recent or upcoming releases (The Fall of Arthur, the Beyond Bree Calendar, a new special collectors' boxed hardback set, and a book with Tolkien-inspired photographic art) and a story of a Tolkien-themed charity event in Australia.

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’
No posts in August

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’
4 Tolkien-related posts in August. In addition to the two mentioned above on Sinclair Lewis and Harry Bauer there is also a post on an interview for a Polish Tolkien journal and a post about a Thomas Wms Malkin who was also a world-builder and where Tolkien therefore is an obvious point of reference.

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’
5 (+1) Tolkien-related posts in August. The story on Parma Eldalamberon 21 reported above, one on Tolkien and social media, two with some fun random facts related to Tolkien, the announcement that Marcel will be attending the opening of the Greisinger Tolkien Museum (I am unfortunately prevented due to a family event) and a call for guest postings for ‘The Tolkienist’.

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:
2 (+1) Tolkien-related posts in August — one further on the article mentioned last month (‘still drafty in here’), one on Tolkien Studies (see in the books news above) and one that adds details to the story of Lewis, Eddison and the mention of the latter in Helen E. Haines 1942 book as reported by John D. Rateliff in June.

"Verlustmeldungen" by Jenny Dolfen
by Jenny Dolfen
Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook’
1 Tolkien-related post in August (see above). But Jenny's pictures of Hannibal are also worth spending some time with!

Holly Rodgers (HR), ‘Teaching Tolkien’
3 Tolkien-related posts in August — in addition to the two mentioned above, there is also a post on ‘Hope for the Future’.

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
4 Tolkien-related posts in August — in addition to the three posts mentioned above, there is also one on the Roman Association of Tolkien Studies.

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
No posts in August

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’
No posts in August

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’
A single post in August on Michael Martinez' participation at DragonCon.

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’
2 Tolkien-related posts in August — one on Tolkien's elves and the other on the epilogue to LotR. Also a post on Lewis and one on Williams.

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in August

For older sources, see


  1. Another excellent review of work, Troels, thanks!

    I did however want to note that I think you're being unjust to Fr. Dwight Longenecker, describing his comment (which was not "only a Catholic could have written this", but rather "This could only have been written by a daily Mass Catholic!"). First, it's not clear whether by "this" he meant "The Lord of the Rings" or rather the "beautiful and true detail" that occasioned the exclamation. Secondly, and most importantly, the qualifier "daily Mass Catholic", i.e., a Catholic who attends Mass daily (as Tolkien did), cannot be paraphrased away blithely. A "daily Mass Catholic" is one with a great devotion to the Eucharist, one who desires daily Communion with God, one whose faith and intimate relationship with God is a deep, abiding, ever-present aspect of their lives. That sort of life does _indeed_ inform ones world-view, and necessarily informs ones reflection and creativity. That's not a matter of "bias" or "agenda", it's what every religious knows and experiences.

    1. Thank you very much, Carl.

      I admit that things have been a bit rushed this month, and that may have led to this misinterpretation on my part.

      Re-reading the post at more leisure, I would agree that the exclamation probably applies to the specific “beautiful and true detail”, and my words were too judgemental.

      My apologies to Fr. Longenecker!

  2. It's too late for submissions now, but would I like to be at the ‘Tolkien’s Natural World and Science’ session?

    The last I heard, just a few days before the deadline, this is the one session for which no papers had been proposed! Unless that's changed, the session might be canceled.

    1. Thank you, Jason.

      While such an end might save me the regret of not being able to attend, it will bring me no pleasure as it is a topic I (perhaps naturally) find very interesting, and which I believe I might even contribute to (how about “The Inner Consistency of Reality: Magic as a Part of the Natural Laws of Arda”?)

      On the other hand I may hope such a session can be created at another time and place where I can attend ...

    2. Update: the session is happening after all. Apparently, some proposals were received in the final days. I must admit, though, they don't really fit my idea of the subject of the session.

    3. Thanks again, Jason.

      Now of course you have me wondering whatever the proposals are, but we'll see when it's published.

  3. Thanks for reminding me to write up some more substantial articles again, Troels :) Appreciated!


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