Wednesday 8 July 2015

Five years! (and a couple of months ...)

Five years! (And two months) I have just noticed that this May (the seventh, to be precise – Danish time ...) marked the fifth anniversary of the very first example of my Tolkien Transactions, then posted to the newsgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien and

When I started posting my short ... well, shorter, at least ... posts back in 2010, I had no idea they would grow into this, much less that they would be read so widely. It was originally a service for the old-time inhabitants of the Tolkien newsgroups – tried warriors of the usenet battles of old – and only listed few items; the first issue had sixteen URLs plus the shortened versions (for those whose NNTP-readers would wrap the URL, making it useless), and five sources.

Already the sixth issue became available on the World-Wide Web on a blog as professor Larry Swain kindly offered to post it on his blog, The Ruminate, but already the next month, I had started this blog (which will celebrate its fifth anniversary this coming November), inspired by another usenet poster, Steve Hayes (Khanya, Notes from underground and Notes from underground), who blogged favourably about blogging. Since then, I have posted all issues here at Parma-kenta, at the Tolkien usenet groups until the 49th, at the LotR Plaza (issues 26 through 48), and since issue 50 I have been honoured with an invitation to post them also on the new Tolkien Society website.

You can find a full list (updated as of today) of all the issues with links to at least one representation of each at my Tolkien Transactions page.

Some truly gifted artists creating Tolkien-inspired art, Jef Murray, Jenny Dolfen, and Joe Gilronan, have also agreed to let me illustrate my posts with their artwork, for which I truly am very, very grateful.

Over these five years, I have received many expressions of encouragement and recognition, for which I continue to be exceedingly grateful – really, it is knowing that the effort is appreciated that makes it worth the effort every month, so thank you! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

8 July 2015

Tolkien Transactions LIX

June 2015

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

These transactions are posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books) and on the Tolkien Society web-site.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: News
2: Events
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: In Print
10: Web Sites
11: The Blog Roll
12: Sources
Star Kindler
by Jef Murray

= = = = News = = = =

Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Wednesday, 3 June 2015, ‘Tolkien Gateway celebrates its 10th anniversary
Congratulations to the Tolkien Gateway!
I have found that the Tolkien Gateway is generally reasonably reliable – more so, certainly, than other encyclopaedic web-sites. I will still, however, caution anyone to never trust an on-line resource without double-checking with material in print (and yes, that also applies to anything written by myself).

Pieter Collier, Saturday, 6 June 2015, ‘Signed copy of the Hobbit sells for record at auction
I know that there are some serious collectors with too much money on their hands, but this is ... well ...
Let's just say that I'm astonished. But evidently I am not the only one to be impressed: the story of the record-fetching price for a first-edition Hobbit has gone around the world:
Robert Dex, The Mirror, Thursday, 4 June 2015, ‘The Hobbit first edition with Tolkien message in ELVISH sells at auction for £137k
Finnian Curran, The Irish Times, Thursday, 4 June 2015, ‘First edition of Tolkien's ‘The Hobbit’ fetches £137,000, Friday, 5 June 2015, ‘Rare Tolkien Book Fetches $270,000
Alison Flood, The Guardian, Friday, 5 June 2015, ‘Hobbit first edition with JRR Tolkien's inscription doubles sales record
and of course, from The Tolkien Society
Shaun Gunner, Sunday, 7 June 2015, ‘Rare Hobbit sells for £137,000

by Jenny Dolfen
Edward Lowton, Tuesday, 9 June 2015, ‘Searching for the science behind Tolkien's Middle-earth: Leicester University students map the hobbit metabolism
All in the spirit of good fun, I'm sure. Though why they'd use deer as a model for Elves is beyond me – Tolkien's Elves hunt deer! (And, though not the fault of the students, I start getting an allergic reaction to anyone writing about “Lembas bread”).

David Bratman, Thursday, 11 June 2015, ‘Sir Christopher Lee will live on
On the death of Sir Christopher Lee, whose work with the Tolkien Ensemble was brilliant and very much worth celebrating. See also Shaun Gunner, Thursday, 11 June 2015, ‘Sir Christopher Lee dies, aged 93

Shaun Gunner, The Tolkien Society, Monday, 22 June 2015, ‘New bug is named after Tolkien's dragon
On the appropriate naming of the Planois Smaug – a bug that has recently been discovered in el Tierra del Fuego – the Fire Country ...
See also the original story in Entomology Today: Eduardo Faúndez, Friday, 19 June 2015, ‘Patagonian Shield Bug Named After Middle's Earth's [sic] Smaug the Dragon

Edward Elliott, Oxford Today, Monday, 29 June 2015, ‘Peter Jackson comes to Tolkien's Oxford
As I have said elsewhere, I rather suspect that Jackson strongly underestimates the vituperation of Tolkien's reaction to his films, but we are fortunately not obliged to agree with Tolkien (just spare me fools who cannot tell the two apart).

Emil Johansson, Tuesday, 30 June 2015, ‘Importance of the Hobbits to the rest of Middle-earth
Just for fun ... :-)

= = = = Events = = = =

Reports from past events
13 May 2015, ‘Tolkien Lecture 2015: Lev Grossman
Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Thursday, 4 June 2015, ‘Watch Lev Grossman deliver the 2015 Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College

14 - 17 May 2015, Kalamazoo, Michigan, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies
Andrew Higgins, Thursday, 4 June 2015, ‘50th International Congress of Medieval Studies – Tolkien at Kalamazoo Round-Up
Anna Smol, Sunday, 28 June 2015, ‘Kalamazoo past and future

Info on upcoming events (as of 1 July)
4 July 2015, Leeds, ‘Tolkien Society Seminar 2015’, The Tolkien Society
Theme: ‘One Hundred Years of Middle-earth’

6 - 9 July 2015, Leeds, ‘International Medieval Congress 2015

17 - 19 July 2015, Spokane, Washington, USA, ‘Tolkienmoot 2015

31 July - 3 August 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, ‘ MythCon 46’, Mythopoeic Society

6 - 9 August 2015, The Greisinger Museum, Jenins, Switzerland, ‘Omentielva Enquea

2 - 26 September 2015, Sheffield, UK, ‘Artshow: Evil in the Shining Light

3 - 4 September 2015, Budapest, Hungary, ‘5th International Tolkien Conference in Hungary’, Hungarian Tolkien Society

5 - 6 September 2015, Sarehole, Birmingham, ‘Middle Earth Festival 2015
Formerly known as ‘Middle-earth Weekend’

10 - 13 September 2015, St Antony's College, Oxford, ‘ Oxonmoot 2015’, The Tolkien Society

5 - 7 December 2015, ‘Italian Ringers Con 2015

2016 Events
21 - 25 March 2016, Seattle, WA, USA, ‘PCA/ACA National Conference, PCA/ACA
Anna Smol, Tuesday, 30 June 2015, ‘Call for papers: Tolkien Studies at PCA/ACA, March 2016

Tolkien Reading Day 2015
by Jef Murray
25 March 2016, Worldwide, ‘Tolkien Reading Day, The Tolkien Society

17 - 19 June 2016, Leiden | Den Haag, ‘Lustrum 2016: Unlocking Tolkien, Unquendor – The Dutch Tolkien Society

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Stuart Lee, The Bodleian Libraries, Wednesday, 3 June 2015, ‘Writing The Hobbit: a perilous quest!
Having Tolkien's original dust jacket design for The Hobbit on display in the ‘Marks of Genius’ exhibition, the Bodleian Library has invited Stuart Lee to talk about Tolkien's writing of the book.

Carolyn Emerick, Wednesday, 3 June 2015, ‘Magic in Anglo-Saxon England
An overview article about Anglo-Saxon ideas about magic. Quite interesting.

Jason Fisher, Wednesday, 10 June 2015, ‘Tolkien and L.W. Forster
On the appearance of Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings in 1970 academic work by L.W. Forster, in which Forster makes it clear that he has been discussing the emergence of the mythology with Tolkien. Good finding, there! At another level, I cannot help but wonder if we are allowing ourselves to be blinded by Tolkien's statements about the philological / linguistic origin of his mythology. When you study the actual writings, it seems to be a more complex thing, where poetic or narrative necessity gave rise to linguistic invention, which then, again, inspired more poetic and narrative work.

by Jenny Dolfen
Carolyn Emerick, Wednesday, 17 June 2015, ‘The Fairy Faith: An ancient indigenous European Religion
An introductory article on the beliefs in Fairy – or Faërie – in Europe. Origins, connections, conceptions etc. “The truth is that fairy did not originally mean a ‘creature’ at all, small or large. It meant enchantment or magic, and the enchanted world or country in which marvellous people lived, great and small” – J.R.R. Tolkien, draft introduction to The Golden Key in Smith of Wootton Major: Extended edition edited by Verlyn Flieger. (Tolkien is not quoted in the article, though the origin of the word fairy is discussed.)

Stephen Mitchell, Thursday, 25 June 2015, ‘Continuity: Folklore's Problem Child?
An essay from the book Folklore in Old Norse – Old Norse in Folklore, edited by Daniel Sävborg and Karen Bek-Pedersen.

Sophie Hinger, Sunday, 28 June 2015, ‘Tolkien and the Viking Heritage
A 2014 master's thesis (Mag. Phil.) from the University of Vienna analysing “different aspects of Vikings culture and their influence on The Lord of the Rings the books and films.”

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Ernest W. Adams, Sunday, 7 June 2015, ‘Why Is Lord of the Rings [sic] Considered Such a Classic?
Let me hasten to assure everyone that the author does not claim to provide a full or exhaustive answer. What he does give is ”the two-minute version”. Unfortunately he doesn't really bring his perspective of a game design consultant into play, focusing on the depth of Tolkien's sub-creation.

Winter King
by Jenny Dolfen
David Freddoso, Thursday, 11 June 2015, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien, The Novelist Who Made Another World
Nothing new, really, and some inaccuracies along the way, but still they have at least tried to make an effort and this is no worse than most such synopses and better than many. A pity that their main source, one Tim Machan (a ‘historical linguist’; is that the same as a philologist? I am not entirely sure of the details of these distinctions), seems to be unaware of the serious Tolkien research that is going on – including Ph.D. (and other) theses focusing on Tolkien (or Tolkien's relation to something else: author, philosopher, movement, etc.)., Sunday, 14 June 2015, ‘Trees in the Middle Ages
Knowing how Tolkien felt about trees, this article caught my attention with its promise of “a few observations about the role trees played in the spiritual and cultural life of the Middle Ages.” While not deep and thorough scholarship, this might be a good starting-point for your own research into various aspects of the medieval views on trees – trees as meeting places, for instance (the party tree, anyone?)

Ben, Thursday, 11 June 2015, ‘The Children of Hurin – heimweh and suffering encapsulated.
An interesting analysis of The Children of Húrin in which Ben invokes the nostalgic pain that Michael Drout mentions in his paper, ‘The tower and the ruin: the past in J.R.R. Tolkien's works’ in J.R.R. Tolkien: the Forest and the City, and for which Drout uses the German word Heimweh (I admit that I find it a little difficult to see this word, meaning simple homesickness, used in this way – possibly because we use the same word in Danish with the same meaning). However, with the Narn specifically, I would argue that the sense of pain is immanently different as it is not, in my opinion, the pain resulting from the loss of the past, but rather a pain resulting from the loss of a future, of that which might have been rather than that which was.

Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Sunday, 21 June 2015, ‘June: First Meeting – main report
Just in case you've fallen out of the habit of following the reports from the Southampton Tolkien Reading Group ...
The group is presently on the second book of The Lord of the Rings with this report dealing with chapter 4, ‘A Journey in the Dark’. Two briefer items precede the linked post.

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

Business Standard, Sunday, 7 June 2015, ‘Tolkien's fantasy tale to be published 100 years on
About the upcoming publication of Tolkien's Story of Kullervo edited by Verlyn Flieger.

E.L. Risden, Journal of Tolkien Research, Monday, 8 June 2015, ‘Beowulf (2014), translated by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
E.L. Risden's review of last year's main Tolkien publication, Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary.

Shaun Gunner, Friday, 12 June 2015, ‘Gramarye 7 published
Issue 7 of Gramarye as been published by the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy. Besides other material, this issue includes a review of Tolkien's Beowulf by Tom Shippey, and other reviews by Alaric Hall of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Forest and the City, and by Jane Carroll of The Riddles of the Hobbit. The article ‘They Say England Has No Folktales’ by Jacqueline Simpson may also be of particular interest to people interested in Tolkien specifically.

Lynn Garrett, Publisher's Weekly, Wednesday, 24 June 2015, ‘C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien: Their Faith, Their Friendship, and the Worlds They Created
A listing, more than a note but less than a review, of three recent titles on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18
by Joseph Loconte, and C.S. Lewis & His Circle: Essays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society edited by Roger White, Judith Wolfe, and Brendan A. Wolfe.

Nerine Dorman, Monday, 29 June 2015, ‘Must-read for Tolkien fans
Though the title, despite its succinct phrasing, manages to light up two of my red lights (“must-read” and “Tolkien fans”), I find that this review from a Tolkien reader of The Children of Húrin is written with a fine balance of passion and humour.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

by Jenny Dolfen
I like this Legolas quite a lot, even if Jenny,
IMO, not quite captures how incredibly tough
and strong Legolas really was; the hardiest of
all the Company of the Ring.
Jef Murray, Thursday, 4 June 2015, ‘Star Kindler
Varda – Tintallë (O! Elbereth Gilthoniel!)

Jef Murray, Friday, 5 June 2015, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2015
Jef Murray's illustration for the 2015 Tolkien Reading Day on March 25th with the theme ‘Friendship’.

Lynn Edwards, Taruithorn, Saturday, 6 June 2015, ‘Finduilas of Nargothrond
Another of the women from Túrin's life (remember Jenny's picture of Nienor from last month).

Oh, and I won an A4 print in the June monthly raffle on Jenny Dolfen's Patreon page! Go Jenny! Go me! :-) To have your own chance of winning delicious Dolfen designs, support Jenny at

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Larry Swain, Saturday, 6 June 2015, ‘Tolkien Class
Descriptions, objectives, schedule and more for a summer class at Bemidji State University. Seven chapters from Splintered Light in a single week ... personally I think I digested it at a slightly more leisured pace.

Jason Fisher, Tuesday, 9 June 2015, ‘News and updates
a bit of a mixed post, with no clear place to put it ...
Jason Fisher has been been blogging on Lingwë for 8 years. A healthy dose of gratitude goes to Jason for his effort, which has produced many highly interesting posts! Then there are news about books and awards (Fisher has become a fixture as a contributor to finalists for the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies – congratulations on that, it is very well deserved!), and about “a special conference next spring”.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Friday, 19 June 2015, ‘What J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Pope's New Encyclical Have in Common
Probably a bit outside the normal scope of these transactions, but an excellent example of how Tolkien is being used in various contexts to promote various viewpoints. I rather suspect that Tolkien would not mind being used to promote a papal encyclical, though.

by Jenny Dolfen
Andrew Higgins, Sunday, 21 June 2015, ‘When Elvish Met Klingon - An Interesting Exchange of Two Art-Langs
A short note on a curious exchange in early Vinyar Tengwar involving Klingon ...

Emil Johansson, Sunday, 28 June 2015, ‘Hand Drawn Weathered Map of Middle-earth
Emil Johansson has made a very fine hand-drawn map of Middle-earth based on Christopher Tolkien's original artwork.

Ben, Tuesday, 30 June 2015, ‘A bizarre and occasionally insightful essay on ISIS (which mentions Tolkien!)
Ben here comments on another case of Tolkien being used to make a point that has nothing whatsoever to do with his work or person (neither his biography, scholarhip, fiction, poetry or artwork).

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

LotR Plaza, , ‘Sub-creation
An interesting discussion what the details of Tolkien's use of ‘Sub-creation’ (and the related ‘sub-create’ and ‘sub-creator’)

= = = = In Print = = = =

Parma Eldalamberon 22: The Feanorian Alphabet, Part 1 and Quenya Verb Structure by J.R.R. Tolkien
I have not yet had time to perouse this latest issue of Parma Eldalamberon, but I will look forward to having a look. Though, admittedly, much of the linguistic contents of the Parma Eldalamberon tends to go over my head, but not only is there usually some interesting tidbits hiding in the linguistic discussions, but getting some sense of Tolkien's linguistic / philological preoccupations is, I firmly believe, necessary for me to increase my understanding of the great author.

Mythprint vol. 52 no. 2, Summer 2015, Whole no. 373
This issue with information about the upcoming Mythcon (q.v.) and a report from the annual Tolkien in Vermont conference by Gerry Blair, and on the University of New Mexico Hobbit Society's annual spring colloquium, Intellectual Hooliganism, on 1 April 2015. The reviews in this issue are not Tolkien related.

Beyond Bree, June 2015
The item in this issue that stood out for me was the forteenth installment in Dale Nelson's series on the Days of the Craze – this time subtitled ‘WH Auden on Tolkien's “Hideous” House’.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Carolyn Emerick, Folklore, fairies, and mighty battle maidens
From an article on to her web-site. There are a number of interesting articles and other stuff here, so go look around.

= = = = 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. However, you will find below links to monthly archives of posts for months where the blog has featured interesting posts with at least some Tolkien connection. In some cases you may find a headline for a post, if I wish to recommend it particularly.

Jason Fisher, ‘Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish
Archive of posts from June 2015 (Yay! Jason Fisher is back :-) )

John D. Rateliff -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from June 2015

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac's Journal
Archive of posts from June 2015

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from June 2015

Various (Bradford Eden, ed.) Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Archive of contributions for the on-going volume 1, issue 1

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Remember to check out the full archive of posts from June 2015!

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from June 2015

Emil Johansson, ‘LotR Project Blog
Archive of posts from June 2015

Taruithorn, the Oxford Tolkien Society, ‘
Archive of posts from June 2015

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from June 2015

Pieter Collier, ‘The Tolkien Library
See the front page for a list of recent posts.

Ben, ‘A clearer thinking oasis
Archive of posts from June 2015

Grey Havens Group, ‘The Grey Havens Group
Archive of posts from June 2015

Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers
Archive of posts from June 2015

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in June 2015

For older sources, see