Friday, 1 November 2013

Tolkien Transactions XLII

October 2013

A couple of days ago I vividly remembered composing the January transactions and being happy because it helped me remember writing the year right ... it felt like it was just a month or two ago, and yet here we are, it's November: we've had a bit of an autumn storm this week and there is now just two months to the new year.

How the time flies! (“with winged speed”) ;-)

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance — all of this is chosen from things that I have come across and chosen to suit my preferences ...

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien, alt.fan.tolkien, and alt.books.inklings, and the usenet version can be accessed at http://www.webuse.net/frameset.php?su=newsgroup.php&ng=rec.arts.books.tolkien
They are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books): http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum: http://www.lotrplaza.com/forumdisplay.php?14-The-Books

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
"The Pumpkin Seller" by Joe Gilronan
The Pumpkin Seller
by Joe Gilronan

= = = = News = = = =

xkcd, Wednesday, 2 October 2013, ‘Shadowfacts’
http://xkcd.com/1272/
Just for fun ... ;) (don't miss the Jackson reference in the mouse-over)

Trish, Thursday, 24 October 2013, ‘Mythmoot II Agenda Now Available in PDF Format’
http://www.mythgard.org/2013/10/mythmoot-ii-agenda-now-available-in-pdf-format/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/py5ndlc
If you want to know what you'll miss ... or perhaps what you will be looking forward to ...

John Garth, Thursday, 24 October 2013
http://johngarth.co.uk/
John Garth has been interviewed for a BBC TV documentary at Thiepval Wood about Tolkien in the Great War. The documentary is scheduled to be aired in 2014.

AS, Sunday, 27 October 2013, ‘Popular Culture Association: Tolkien Studies — deadline Nov. 1st’
http://annasmol.net/2013/10/27/popular-culture-association-tolkien-studies-deadline-nov-1st/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pwjyyrr
It will be too late to submit an abstract when this is posted, but this might also help garner a bit of interest in the conference itself ...

PC, Monday, 28 October 2013, ‘Do you have information on the BBC documentary Tolkien in Oxford?’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1116-who-assisted-for-bbc-tolkien-in-oxford.php
http://preview.tinyurl.com/op5syc5
"Researchers at Oxford University are interested in hearing from any member of staff who may have worked on a BBC production from March 1968 entitled ‘Tolkien in Oxford’, presented by John Izzard." For details see the post at the Tolkien Library — I just hope they succeed as I think it would be interesting to get to know the stories of these people.

Matt Wilson, Tuesday, 29 October 2013, ‘New York transit official decries fake, 'Lord of the Rings'-inspired signs in subway’
http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/15509.aspx
Can he really not see the fun? Does he really mean that a pop-art project like this is not worth a single person missing a train? On the other hand it is of course unforgivable that they have misspelled Dol Baran (they spelt it "Dol Barad"!) ;-) Nah, it's a good joke and well worth missing a train for ... in my opinion.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Medievalist.net
"Gandalf" by Jenny Dolfen
Gandalf
by Jenny Dolfen

http://www.medievalists.net/category/articles/
As I did for September, I will cut down a bit on my coverage of the scholarship from Medievalist.net and merely list headlines (in many cases I will not have time to read much beyond the headline in any case).
‘Why Cats were hated in Medieval Europe’ (1 Oct) — Tevildo, Berúthiel anyone?
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/02/why-cats-were-hated-in-medieval-europe/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/obgz6hs
‘Trial by Battle’ (4 Oct) — can anyone recall an instance of this practice in Tolkien's writings?
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/04/trial-by-battle-2/
‘The meaning, practice and context of private prayer in late Anglo-Saxon England’ (5 Oct) — a Ph.D. dissertation with a focus on ‘three eleventh-century monastic codices’ including Ælfwine’s Prayerbook ...
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/05/the-meaning-practice-and-context-of-private-prayer-in-late-anglo-saxon-england/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/nc9qxhy
‘Looming Danger and Dangerous Looms: Violence and Weaving in Exeter Book Riddle 56’ (10 Oct) — Riddles and the Exeter book, how could I not be intrigued? An article from Leeds Studies in English from 2011.
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/10/looming-danger-and-dangerous-looms-violence-and-weaving-in-exeter-book-riddle-56/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/q38qurc
‘Top Ten Monsters of the Middle Ages’ (13 Oct) — Naturally with dragons at the top. Nothing about the critics, though.
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/13/top-ten-monsters-of-the-middle-ages/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pvztu7o
‘The millennium King Arthur: the commodification of the Arthurian legend in the 20th century’ (15 Oct) — A Master's thesis about the appearance of King Arthur in twentieth century (mostly American) pop-culture. From 2008, but it probably wouldn't consider Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur even if it had been possible.
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/15/the-millennium-king-arthur-the-commodification-of-the-arthurian-legend-in-the-20th-century/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/p8f4lyq
‘Alfonso the Slobberer and Ivar the Boneless: Worst Nicknames for Medieval Rulers’ (22 Oct) — No Danish kings in the list, but a good assortment of undesirable nicknames. No Renewer or Elfstone on this list, though.
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/22/alfonso-the-slobberer-and-ivar-the-boneless-worst-nicknames-for-medieval-rulers/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/l2sfvle

Kristine Larsen, ‘The Astronomy of Middle-earth: Astronomical Motifs and Motivations in the Work of J.R.R. Tolkien’
http://www.physics.ccsu.edu/larsen/tolkien.html
A recent picture showing an artist's impression of the Solar System with names in Quenya for the planets has attracted some attention. Unfortunately the research behind the naming is not as sound as that of the foremost Tolkienian astronomer, Dr. Kristine Larsen, and so I will point people to her web-site rather than the flawed picture. A number of her papers are available on-line and form a true treasure hoard of Tolkien scholarship.

Coventry University, Thursday, 3 October 2013, ‘Vikings: More social than savage?’
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/03/vikings-more-social-than-savage/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/nusndob
OK, so this is the exception that proves the rule ;-) I am enchanted by this study not just because it studies the Icelandic Sagas or because it refers in passim to Tolkien, but also because it is another example of how statistical studies are entering the realm of literary studies (and of course it was first published in a physics journal which just adds to the ‘coolness’ ;-) ). We have the lexicometry that studies the frequencies with which certain words occur in a text, and which has been used to settle certain long-standing author disputes (Michael Drout's ‘Lexiomics’ is essentially a lexicometry project), and of course various scientific methods have long been used to place ancient manuscripts in time and place, but the statistical study of networks is a quite recent invention (or at least it has grown big with the growth of on-line social networking sites) that is now creeping into literary studies where it aims to study the social networks described in literature. In this case it is the networks from Icelandic Sagas that are being studied and found on some parameters to be more alike to real social networks than to the networks usually described in medieval heroic fiction.

John Garth, The Telegraph, Friday, 4 October 2013, ‘Battle of the Somme: the ‘animal horror’ that inspired JRR Tolkien’
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/inside-first-world-war/part-two/10356085/jrr-tolkien-war.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pwasllr
John Garth's articles about Tolkien's WWI experiences are always worth reading — well researched and engagingly written this is an excellent introduction to the importance of the Great War.

Nick, Mythgard Institute, Monday, 21 October 2013, ‘Lord of the Rings III’
http://www.mythgard.org/2013/10/lord-of-the-rings-iii/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/qgapjjh
Mythgard Institute is offering a free course on The Return of the Ring that can both be followed in live sessions and as podcasts (e.g. for those in timezones where the timing is unfortunate). It has already started, but you can still catch up on the podcasts. I just hope that I can get into some of the live sessions ...

AS, Monday, 21 October 2013, ‘Year's Work in Medievalism becomes open access’
http://annasmol.net/2013/10/21/years-work-in-medievalism-becomes-open-access/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/px5lyfy
As the title says ... Year's Work in Medievalism is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal on ... surprise! ... medievalist subjects ;-)

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Lynn Forest-Hill, Wednesday, 2 October 2013, ‘Last Meeting in September’
http://southfarthingmathom2012.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/last-meeting-in-september/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pesom7w
Reporting the reading group's discussions nn the last chapters of John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: if you have read Garth's book, you will certainly find the discussions of the Southfarthing Smial's reading group well worth reading.

Gibbelins, Wednesday, 2 October 2013, ‘Why Tolkien works for readers of all faiths’
http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/10/02/79943-why-tolkien-works-for-readers-of-all-faiths/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/osb75hs
I rather like the point Gibbelins makes here when (s)he emphasizes how we need to distinguish between the less specific underlying spirituality of (particularly) The Lord of the Rings and the more specific Catholicism that is actually very rare. Estel, in this view, is a trust, and belief, in some spiritual reality that is greater than and above us, but it is not necessarily in the God of the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, I think it is important also to realize that there are some elements that are specifically Roman Catholic — it is just that they are fewer and further between than it is at times claimed.

"The Last Ring of Power" by Jef Murray
The Last Ring of Power
by Jef Murray
Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Tuesday, 8 October 2013, ‘My Conversation With Tolkien's Daughter’
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/10/my-conversation-with-tolkiens-daughter.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/omccpxp
Perhaps as a bit of counter-weight to the article by Gibbelins above. While Gibbelins is probably making the error of ignoring the Catholic elements of The Lord of the Rings too much, I think that Fr. Longenecker makes the opposite error of seeing Catholicism everywhere, ignoring the non-Catholic elements and seeing anything that is not actually un-Catholic as Catholic. I think a more useful path for understanding the spiritual element of Tolkien's writings would lie in a synthesis / compromise between these two views.

HR, Tuesday, 8 October 2013, ‘The Results Are In’
http://teachingtolkien.com/2013/10/08/the-results-are-in/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/na3vmjc
Holly Rodgers has been adminstering reading assessments to her students, including the dwarves of her Teaching Tolkien class, and the latter have done quite well, a fact that Rodgers attributes in part to their reading of challenging, but good, literature. The Tolkienist in me is cheering loudly, completely drowning out the scientist in the back of my mind mumbling about sample sizes and controls ;-)

BC, Thursday, 10 October 2013, ‘"I name you Elf-Friend - the blessing of Frodo by Gildor Inglorion’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/i-name-you-elf-friend-blessing-of-frodo.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ozfvbbm
Bruce Charlton fastens on the two facts that the idea of the ‘Elf-friend’ is extremely important in Tolkien's writings and that Gildor Inglorion in LotR I,3 is the first to call Frodo an Elf-friend. I am not sure about the causality here (i.e. whether Gildor is the active agent blessing Frodo, or if he detects and points out a pre-existing condition — both seem to me equally likely), but the moment is nonetheless important for the reader e.g. in understanding Goldberry's reaction to Frodo. A re-reading of some of Flieger's writings on the issue of the Elf-friend may be called for ;-)

Lynn Forest-Hill, Monday, 14 October 2013, ‘First Meeting in October’
http://southfarthingmathom2012.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/first-meeting-in-october/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/q9bgu44
The Southampton Tolkien Reading Group of the Southfarthing Smial (are those actually identical? I suddenly realize that I do not know ...) finished John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War in September (if you start out on that book, I'd recommend to include the southerners' discussions in your readings) and have turned to Tolkien's own The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún. As usual the discussion is much too far-ranging to summarize, but very much worth reading.
See also the continuation, in which discussions move on to the first part of the poem, the ‘Upphaf’:
Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 26 October 2013, ‘Last Meeting in October’
http://southfarthingmathom2012.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/last-meeting-in-october/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ojaeae9

BC, Friday, 18 October 2013, ‘Was JRR Tolkien a pessimist? No, not really’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/was-jrr-tolkien-pessimist-no-not-really.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pkfm4gu
Charlton points out that Tolkien obviously was optimistic about the prospect of the ‘next world’, but I disagree with him on two counts. First I think that people such as Tom Shippey and Verlyn Flieger have already pointed this out, but they do not overemphasize it, which is what I believe Charlton does in his analysis of the ending of the Silmarillion (which is my other point of disagreement). It is very important that we keep Tolkien's Catholic faith in mind, but also that we do not assign it too much importance. Tolkien was a rather complex author, and while his faith was very important to him, so were many other things that also inform his work. I would say that Tolkien's faith is more often the source for giving other elements a twist rather than being the original source of the element itself.

BC, Tuesday, 22 October 2013, ‘The wind siezes them and drives them away... Failing to get to Faery: Tolkien's strangely lame recurrent plot idea’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/the-wind-siezes-them-and-drives-them.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ndhdmwc
First, Bruce Charlton seems to forget that the adverse weather (mists, winds, etc.) was always a part of the protection of Faery / Blessed Realm / Valinor / Undying Lands in Tolkien's mythology — what is special about the cases that he lists is that these sailors were allowed even a glimpse of the Lonely Isle, Tol Eressëa, before being blown back. This basic idea also seems to me both very believable and very powerful for any sea-faring people as the peoples on the north-western shores of Europe. The suggestion of Tolkien knowing ‘vivid visionary dreams’ the ‘Lands of the Gods and Elves’ is one that I would reject on the basis of the present evidence (i.e. there is no evidence and the burden of proof is entirely on anyone making such an unusual claim).

SH, Wednesday, 23 October 2013, ‘Chronological List of works by Charles Williams’
http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/10/23/chronological-list/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/nw8co4t
‘What is the best way to get to know a writer?’ asks Sørina Higgins rhetorically, answering her own question with the advice to ‘Read through his or her works in the order in which they were written’. She then proceeds to create a chronological list of the works of Williams by the order of writing, which made me wonder if there is any similar (and readily available) list for Tolkien except by extracting the information from Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond's ineluctable J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Chronology. Åke Bertenstam has collected a chronological bibliography in order of publication:
http://www.forodrim.org/bibliography/tbchron.html
and the Forodrim's Mellonath Daeron has also a list of the contents of The History of Middle-earth ordered (roughly) by time of writing:
http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/md_hmch.html
but that obviously doesn't include anything besides the thirteen volumes of the History (and Unfinished Tales). Creating the list and then reading it all ... now there's a project to embark upon ... :-)

Beachcombing, Thursday, 24 October 2013, ‘Tolkien, a Poppy and the Death of Traditional Fairies’
http://www.strangehistory.net/2013/10/24/tolkien-a-poppy-and-the-death-of-traditional-fairies/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/nluydby
A reaction to John Garth's article ‘Tolkien and the boy who didn’t believe in fairies’ (see last month). Sometimes it is good to be reminded that Tolkien's dislike of the diminutive Victorian flower fairies is so well known that it is surprising to many that this is where he started.

SH, Sunday, 27 October 2013, "Abstract: ‘King Arthur Was an Elf!"’
http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/10/27/abstract-king-arthur-was-an-elf/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pytg8ky
An intriguing idea, but I think Sørina Higgins means it more as a slightly provocative appetizer for a more traditional comparitive study of the Arthurian writings of the Inklings — a very good idea!

"Smaug" by Jef Murray
Smaug
by Jef Murray
BC, Monday, 28 October 2013, "Lord of the Rings: ‘Deeply sad, almost without hope...’ True - but only in a literary sense"
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/lord-of-rings-deeply-sad-almost-without.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/kpm264l
A curious post where I find myself more or less agreeing with nearly all of the points that Charlton bases his argument upon and yet find myself unable to agree with the overall conclusion. A part of the problem may (I am not sure) be that Bruce Charlton seems to me to base his argument partly on his own presumption of what Tolkien's religious feelings should be and then he interprets the texts to suit that presumption. This feels to me too much as affirming the consequent — or ‘begging the question’.

Ryan Jacobs, The Atlantic, Tuesday, 29 October 2013, ‘Why So Many Icelanders Still Believe in Invisible Elves’
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/why-so-many-icelanders-still-believe-in-invisible-elves/280783/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/o75kf2r
If we accept at face value the assertations in this, apparently quite well-researched, article, the Icelandic nation seems even more perfectly poised between believing and not believing in the Primary World reality of Elves than Tolkien's early versions of his essay ‘On Fairy-stories’, in which he also points out that
‘At the heart of many man-made stories of the elves lies, open or concealed, pure or alloyed, the desire for a living, realised sub-creative art, which (however much it may outwardly resemble it) is inwardly wholly different from the greed for self-centred power which is the mark of the mere Magician.’
See also
NMB, Wednesday, 30 October 2013, ‘Icelandic Witchcraft’
http://nancymariebrown.blogspot.dk/2013/10/icelandic-witchcraft.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/or4gxch
Which deals with another, and more human, aspect of what a properly enlightened scientist probably ought to call Icelandic superstition ...

BC, Wednesday, 30 October 2013, ‘Numenor as a nation of Elf-Friends’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/numenor-as-nation-of-elf-friends.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/la2vdk3
I am uncomfortable with Bruce Charlton's ideas about Elf-friends, but I cannot put my finger on it exactly. But whether one subscribes to that idea or not, the thoughts about Númenor and the Númenóreans as a middle ground between Faërie and Middle-earth and between Elves and Men are interesting. As so often before — including in posts this month — I find that agreeing or disagreeing with Charlton is not what it is about: for me it is about being challenged in my reading in a good way — a way that makes me think and re-think my position, which inevitably leaves me wiser even if I end up in the same place where I started.

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

Alex Mueller, Thursday, 3 October 2013, ‘Tolkien: The Fall of Arthur’
http://medievallyspeaking.blogspot.ca/2013/10/tolkien-fall-of-arthur.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/oke6awq
A review of The Fall of Arthur from a medievalist. Mueller does not just have praise for the book, and whether one agrees or disagrees, his criticisms are worth pondering, not just because they are well argued, but he makes it easier by delivering them with a great deal of respect for the poem and the book.

PC, Saturday, 5 October 2013, ‘Tolkien: the Forest and the City’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1108-tolkien-the-forest-and-the-city.php
http://preview.tinyurl.com/odzjrvk
Announcing a new collection, presumably the proceedings of the homonymous conference last year, Tolkien: The Forest and the City, to be published on 30 November. With contributions from a wide range of Tolkien scholars including the four keynote speakers, Michael Drout, Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger and Alison Milbanks this collection does sound promising — anyone in need of a review? ;-)

Sørina Higgins, Saturday, 12 October 2013, ‘Call For Papers: The Inklings and King Arthur’
http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/10/12/inklings-and-arthur/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/kttnh86
Sørina Higgins has put out a call for papers for a book on the Inklings and King Arthur that will be edited by herself and will probably appear some time in 2015. Though I think the comparison of Lancelot and Eärendel is rather missing the point, I do hope and expect that this volume will contribute valuable scholarship for putting Tolkien's Arthurian poem in context.

MT, Tuesday, 15 October 2013, ‘The Riddles of The Hobbit by Adam Roberts’
http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net/#post11
A review of Adam Roberts' book, The Riddles of The Hobbit, which still seems an intriguing work. Morgan Thomsen adds a bit of detail on the use of e.g. the Exeter riddles (see also the article from Medievalist.net on one of these), but otherwise this review doesn't change what I said based on Pieter Collier's review last month: ‘Though somewhat surprised not to find any mention of the Saga of King Heidrik the Wise, I am intrigued by the review here.’

JF, Tuesday, 22 October 2013, ‘In the new volume of Tolkien Studies ...’
http://lingwe.blogspot.dk/2013/10/in-new-volume-of-tolkien-studies.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pqqpqem
Jason Fisher has posted again :-) This time he comments on his own appearances in the latest issue of Tolkien Studies including reviews of his work, citations and of course the double review he did himself of the two Hobbit books by Mark Atherton and Corey Olsen.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

PC, Sunday, 6 October 2013, ‘Interview with Jemima Catlin about the new illustrated edition of The Hobbit’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1109-interview-jemima-catlin-illustrated-the-hobbit.php
http://preview.tinyurl.com/p9gkxa8
Another interview with Jemima Catlin, Pieter Collier has of course had the benefit of both the book and the interview in The Big Issue when preparing the questions, and since Pieter is also a keen Tolkienist, the interview covers some angles of particular interest to fellow Tolkienists such as e.g. the degree of inspiration from previous works to illustrate The Hobbit.

PC, Sunday, 27 October 2013, ‘Interview with Adam Roberts about The Riddles of The Hobbit’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1115-interview-adam-roberts-the-riddles-of-the-hobbit.php
http://preview.tinyurl.com/obrkpyo
There are some quite interesting answers by Adam Roberts in the middle of this on the more general role of the riddle in The Hobbit (not just in ‘Riddles in the Dark’). These answers have certainly helped put Roberts' book a little higher on my wish-list.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

"Treasure Bearer" by Jef Murray
Treasure Bearer
by Jef Murray
JD, Tuesday, 8 October 2013, ‘Gandalf walkthrough’
http://goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/gandalf-walkthrough/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/k8pa5n9
A very nice Gandalf there, in the midst of much Hannibal ...

JG, Sunday, 13 October 2013, ‘Coming soon Tolkien inspired Art exhibition’
http://joegilronanlordoftherings.blogspot.dk/2013/10/coming-soon-tolkien-inspired-art.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ovzesqn
Announcing an exhibition in Aberdeen on November 11-18th with several Tolkien-inspired artists.

PC, Wednesday, 23 October 2013, ‘The Ascent of Orodruin, a missing Cor Blok painting, resurfaces’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1114-the-ascent-of-orodruin-cor-blok.php
http://preview.tinyurl.com/qeo6ps9
Another of the missing Cor Blok paintings has been found. Now the list of Cor Blok paintings which location is unkown is down to a dozen or so.

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Ian Spittlehouse, Tuesday, 1 October 2013, ‘Happy Anniversary!’
http://blueplaque-tolkien-in-leeds.blogspot.dk/2013/10/happy-anniversary.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/nrbp6k8
Celebrating the first anniversary of the blue plaque and listing a number of resources (including some charming old photographs).

S&H, Thursday, 3 October 2013, ‘Every Inch Is Needed’
http://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/every-inch-is-needed/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/nlcpcz9
Christina Scull writes about the problem that will inevitably face any dedicated collector: lack of space. If one is furthermore a dedicated collector that desires to keep a degree of order in one's collection, the task will just become even more difficult. I admit that I occasionally lost track of books and shelves, but it is heartening to know that there is at least one place where all these editions are kept in order. A warm expression of gratitude to Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond for their dedication and hard work!

MB, Friday, 4 October 2013, ‘Why did you call this blog 'The Tolkienist'?’
http://www.thetolkienist.com/2013/10/04/why-did-you-call-this-blog-the-tolkienist/
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ozoex53
Well ... it seems like a perfectly natural thing to do, doesn't it? ;-) Another way to put it would be to ask ‘what is in a name?’ — a question that is seen very often in Tolkienian discussions where names are considered important. Marcel here tries to tell us what is in the name of ‘Tolkienist’.

BC, Saturday, 5 October 2013, ‘A previously unpublished letter from JRR Tolkien - 14 June 1973’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.dk/2013/10/a-previously-unpublished-letter-from.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ndfzwb8
Bruce Charlton received a kindly note from Tolkien written by Tolkien's secretary, Margaret Joy Hill — ‘MJH’ less than three months before Tolkien's death. Joy Hill handled much of Tolkien's fan mail from the offices of George Allen & Unwin, but she often visited Tolkien, the last time in August 1973 (see more details in Scull & Hammond, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Reader's Guide pp.366-7).

Damien Walter, Friday, 11 October 2013, ‘There's more to fantasy than the elves and orcs of Tolkien’
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/11/fantasy-novel-elves-orcs-tolkien
http://preview.tinyurl.com/logrgl7
I might add that there's more to Tolkien (and particularly his portrayal of good and evil) than the Elves and Orcs. When faced with this kind of oversimplifying misrepresentation of Tolkien, it is common among Tolkien enthusiasts to dismiss it as just ‘more of the same’ instead of engaging in a dialogue with it. But is it not true that the portrayal of Elves and Orcs in The Lord of the Rings gives an unsophisticated picture of good an evil? The sophistication is only added when you realise that these are in many ways embodiments of certain distillations of human nature — the Elves embodying the artistic, wise and generally good sides of humans (at least in LotR — the picture is more complex in The Silmarillion) and the Orcs the violent and hateful sides, but the human races of Tolkien's mythology, the Big Folk and the Little Folk (as they said in Bree), comprise all the various sides of humans and shows the sophisticated pictures of good and evil — with good being the extremely difficult choice that is nonetheless portrayed as possible.

PC, Tuesday, 15 October 2013, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien interest slowly rising again according to Google Trends’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1112-tolkien-interest-according-to-google.php
http://preview.tinyurl.com/qzxuc95
Pieter Collier has been looking at the trends of some Tolkien-related search terms in Google Trends, and he gets what we might say is the expected answer. Speaking as a scientist with some knowledge of statistics and data analysis, I am a bit dubious about how these things are used — there are some traps for the unwary (e.g. ‘correlation is NOT causation’), and there is the question of what lies behind a search term — what is it combined with, what is generating the interest (what is, for instance, the two or three searches from that computer before and after the one we're looking at), etc. etc. All in all I would warn against trying to interpret the data beyond the obvious (media coverage causes search interest ... that much is pretty obvious).
Update: The article has been updated with data from Google Books Ngram viewer stretching further back.

Noble Smith, Huffington Post, Tuesday, 29 October 2013, ‘The Hidden Hobbit: 10 Secrets from Tolkien's Classic’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noble-smith/the-hidden-hobbit-10-secr_b_4174846.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ojcf87f
I may regret the sensationalist presentation of these well-known bits of information about The Hobbit, and I may detest the unsuccessful attempts at hearty humour, but at least it is not exactly _mis_information ...

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Jef Murray: Artist, Author, Illustrator
http://www.jefmurray.com
Jef Murray has kindly given me permission to use his artwork for this blog (as you will have noticed). Personally I am completely enchanted by his sketch-work (as with Alan Lee, I tend to prefer their pencil-work). But don't let that deceive you — a work such as Tuor and the Swans is too good to miss (as you can see below).
"Tuor and the Swans" by Jef Murray
Tuor and the Swans
by Jef Murray


Joe Gilronan Tolkien Art
http://joegilronanlordoftherings.blogspot.com/
As you can see above Joe Gilronan has also allowed me to use his work for this blog. He paints some evocative paintings that at first sight seem to define the scene completely, but when you look closely, they still leave the viewer to define crucial details from their own mind's eye. As with some other recent artists, Gilronan cannot wholly escape the imagery of the Jackson films even where they contradict Tolkien.

Jenny Dolfen — Jenny's Sketchbook
http://goldseven.wordpress.com/
Like Jef and Joe, Jenny has kindly allowed me to use her work. Unlike Jef and Joe, however, Jenny's work is mainly character studies, and she tends to define her characters in detail. Her Tolkien work is, however, based on very close readings of Tolkien's writings, and I her paintings always manage to remind me acutely of Tolkien's texts, making me react to the painting as if to Tolkien's words.

= = = = 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’
http://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/
1 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013 which is listed above.

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’
http://lingwe.blogspot.com
1 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013, listed above

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/
13 Tolkien-related (and a couple of posts at further remove) posts in October 2013. Besides those listed above, there are a couple of posts on comic-book adaptations of Tolkien's works, a new deluxe edition of Unfinished Tales and a new boxed collector's hardcover set, as well as a short (and IMO somewhat exaggerated) guest post on Tolkien's influence.

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’
http://tolkienandfantasy.blogspot.com/
No posts in October 2013

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’
http://sacnoths.blogspot.com
No Tolkien-related posts in October 2013

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’
http://thetolkienist.com/
In addition to the post listed above, there are a couple of other posts about Tolkien fans.

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
http://kalimac.blogspot.com/
and the old home:
http://calimac.livejournal.com/
No Tolkien-related posts in October 2013

Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook’
http://goldseven.wordpress.com/
1 Tolkien-related post in October 2013, but the Hannibal paintings are definitely also worth your while (a word of warning, though — if you are not careful, you might learn something there!)

Holly Rodgers (HR), ‘Teaching Tolkien’
http://teachingtolkien.com/
2 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013. In addition to the post listed above, there is the 10 October post describing an outrageous critique at a teachers' training session.

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
http://annasmol.net/
1 Tolkien-related post in October 2013 and one of medievalist interest. Both listed above.

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
http://www.mythsoc.org
No posts in October 2013

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’
http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net
1 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013 — the review listed above.

Emil Johansson (EJ), ‘LotR Project Blog’
http://lotrproject.com/blog/
2 posts with Tolkien-related humour in October 2013

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’
http://middle-earth.xenite.org/
23 Tolkien-related, mostly story-internal posts in October 2013

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/
12 Tolkien-related posts in October 2013. The posts I've listed are supplemented by a post on alliterative poetry (linking to another blog of Charlton's), another on Tolkien's poems in general, a brief praise of Paul Kocher's Master of Middle-earth, a short comment on Tolkien's Lay of of Aotrou and Itroun, and the lay itself (which I should think is under copyright?)

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in October 2013

For older sources, see http://parmarkenta.blogspot.com/p/sources.html

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