Thursday 22 December 2016

Tolkien Transactions LXXV

November 2016

I will start this month with a post that I felt that I could have written myself, except for the details of the neglects
Brenton Dickieson, Tuesday, 22 November 2016, ‘Battling a Mountain of Neglects with J.R.R. Tolkien
The fact that it is (at the point of writing this) less than a week until Christmas is, I suppose, telling of my own situation. I have often enough thought of Tolkien's letters when writing these introductions, and Dickieson's clever use of Tolkien's phrase, and his elegant weaving together of his own situation and Tolkien's struck me as particularly apt.
For this reason, you will probably find that more of the links are given without comment than I usually do – even in months when I have been busy, but I hope you will nontheless find them interesting. This month I have also re-used a few of the best pieces of art-work that I have been permitted by the artists to use this year.

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: Story Internal (Ardalogy)
8: Web Sites
9: The Blog Roll
10: Sources

The Rescue of Maedhros
by Peter Xavier Price


David Oberhelman, Tuesday, 1 November 2016, ‘Mythopoeic Awards 2017: Call for Nominations
Also, The Mythopoeic Society, Tuesday, 1 November 2016, ‘Mythopoeic Awards 2017: Call for Nominations

The Bodleian Libraries, Thursday, 3 November 2016, ‘Editor and Scholar Christopher Tolkien awarded Bodley Medal
Once more, my heartfelt gratitude and warm congratulations to Christopher Tolkien!

Mike Fleming Jr, Deadline, Monday, 7 November 2016, ‘James Strong Set To Direct J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic ‘Middle Earth’; Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne Producing
I have been debating with myself what to do with this. It has been carried by countless news outlets, and they all seem to be purporting the same errors, so presumably errors are by the film producers, and not the individual journalist's (though many do quote this article).
There is also the commentary by John D. Rateliff, Friday, 11 November 2016, ‘Another Tolkien BioPic Project
Noting that the very short paragraph from the above about the plot “bears only a passing similarity to reality”. Yes, exactly.
However, see also Adam King, Ohio State Univdersity, day, 12 February 2015, ‘Telling Tolkien's story
This does sound a little more promising, and we may hope that the other stuff is just a garbled version of something that is more historically correct ... However, to tell the truth, I rather think I'll lean back and await the reviews by other Tolkienists with a solid knowledge of Tolkien's biography before changing my mind and going to see this film.

Callum Keown, Oxford Mail, Wednesday, 9 November 2016, ‘Son of JRR Tolkien welcomes highest honour of the Bodleian Libraries

Amy Stumpfl, The Tennessean, Sunday, 13 November 2016, ‘David Payne launches inaugural 'Lewis-Tolkien Festival'
On the Z. Alexander Looby Theater in Nashville staging a couple of Lewis & Tolkien inspired plays starring David Payne.


Reports & comments on past events
29 November 2016, Pembroke College, Oxford, ‘A Secret Vice: 85 Years On’, Pembroke College
Gabriel Schenk, Pembroke College, Thursday, 30 November 2016, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's 'A Secret Vice': 85 Years On

Middle-earth Beer & Music Festival
by Tomás Hijo
Info on upcoming & on-going events (as of 1 December)
26 April 2016 – 27 February 2017, Various, Staffordshire, ‘Exhibition: J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918’, The Haywood Society

3 December 2016, The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham, ‘Yulemoot 2016’, The Tolkien Society

3 January 2017, World-wide, ‘Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017’, The Tolkien Society

8 April 2017, Burlington, Vermont, ‘Tolkien in Vermont’, Tolkien at University of Vermont
Anna Smol, Wednesday, 30 November 2016, ‘CFP: Romances in Middle-earth

11–14 May 2017, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, ‘International Congress on Medieval Studies (K'zoo)’, Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute
Anna Smol, Tuesday, 29 November 2016, ‘New! Tolkien Symposium in Kalamazoo

1–4 June 2017, National Conference Center, Virginia, US, ‘Mythmoot IV: Invoking Wonder’, Mythgard Institute
Curtis, Signum University, Tuesday, 22 November 2016, ‘Are you ready for Mythmoot IV?

16–18 June 2017, Waddow Hall, Clitheroe, Lancashire, ‘The Middle-earth Beer & Music Festival’, The Ale House Clitheroe

3–6 July 2017, Leeds, ‘International Medieval Congress’, University of Leeds, Institute for Medieval Studies
Dimitra Fimi, Wednesday, 30 November 2016, ‘Tolkien Sessions at IMC Leeds, July 2017

28–31 July 2017, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA, ‘Mythcon 48’, The Mythopoeic Society

Essays and Scholarship

Tolkien on
A sampling of papers uploaded to in November (probably ... or thereabouts, the exact upload date is generally not available). Where a paper is indicated as having been previously published in a journal, this is included here:
Sara Brown, , ‘Stirring the Alembic. Alchemical Resonances in The Lord Of The Rings
Thomas Honegger, , ‘Laughter in Middle-earth: Humour in and around the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien
Thom Foy, , ‘Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien adapted for Readers' Theater by Thom Foy

The full list of papers tagged “J.R.R. Tolkien’ includes many that are not in English and some highly interesting papers for which only the abstract is uploaded (I've just ordered Hither Shore no. 12 as a result of one of these ...), so I can recommend taking a look at the list.
Edmund Weiner, Sunday, 13 November 2016, ‘Diction and narrative in The Lord of the Rings
“A paper given at the Tolkien Day, Liverpool Hope University, 11 November 2016”

Thijs Porck, Sunday, 13 November 2016, ‘The Medieval in Middle-earth: The Anglo-Saxon Habits of Hobbits

Trish Lambert, Thursday, 17 November 2016, ‘Friendship over Family in the Lord of the Rings
Some very interesting musings of the loyalties, and love, of friendship and family in The Lord of the Rings. I am not entirely sure that I agree entirely, though. Family ties play an important role in motivating characters in The Lord of the Rings, but there are no (close) family relations between the primary characters of the Company of the Ring, and therefore family ties do not appear so much in the forefront of the plot.

Juričková Martina, Saturday, 19 November 2016, ‘Boromir: The Misunderstood Hero?

Sverre Bagge, Sunday, 27 November 2016, ‘The Making of a Missionary King: The Medieval Accounts of Olaf Tryggvason and the Conversion of Norway

Karl E. H. Seigfried, Wednesday, 30 November 2016, ‘Wyrd Will Weave Us Together
As the Old Norse wyrd is among the inspirations for Tolkien's multi-faceted use of fate, I thought it appropriate to include this piece here.


Bilbo and the Red Book
by Jay Johnstone
Dennis Wise, Tuesday, 1 November 2016, ‘Tolkien and Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha
Following on from John Garth's excellent piece ...

Emily Asher-Perrin,, Friday, 4 November 2016, ‘We Can Probably Blame the Tarantula That Bit J.R.R. Tolkien For Most Giant Spiders in Fantasy
As a good friend often says, “He could of!” I'm afraid that I find this kind of amateur pseudopsychological jumping to conclusions to be examplifying poor critical thinking. The problem is that they move from "proposition A cannot be refuted" to "proposition A is true" with only a brief detour to "I would like proposition A to be true".

Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 12 November 2016, ‘First meeting in November
Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 26 November 2016, ‘Last meeting in November
Taking two meetings to get through ‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields’ seems to me entirely justified.

Tom Hillman, Monday, 21 November 2016, ‘The Fairy King's Honor and the Elven King's Shame
A comparison on one aspect of the Fairy King in Sir Orfeo and Tolkien's Thingol.

Jonathan McIntosh, Monday, 28 November 2016, ‘Ilúvatar's critique of socialism
Leaving aside the erroneous coupling of socialism with centralised totalitarianism, there is no doubt that was very much opposed to the idea of ‘governing’ as a central power dominating the minds of the subjects.

Reviews and Book News

C.R. Wiley Patheos, Tuesday, 1 November 2016, ‘Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle: What Will Become of Our Work?

Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Thursday, 3 November 2016, ‘The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun published

John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 8 November 2016, ‘The New Arrival: THE LAY OF AOTROU & ITROUN
John Rateliff likes The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun ... which is, of course, not a huge surprise, but still ... :)

John D. Rateliff, Saturday, 12 November 2016, ‘a second Tolkien film (TOLKIEN'S ROAD)
A review of a half-hour amateur ‘biopic’ of Tolkien. Let's just say that it does not come with Rateliff's recommendation.

Dennis Wise, Saturday, 12 November 2016, ‘REVIEW (Part 1): Special Issue of Journal of Tolkien Research 3.3
And Dennis Wise, Monday, 14 November 2016, ‘REVIEW (Part II): Special Issue of Journal of Tolkien Research 3.3
I am very grateful to Dennis Wise for providing a review of this issue of the Journal of Tolkien Research from a far more sympathetic view point than I would be able to. The first part deals with what Wise describes as “what may be one of the best -- if not the best -- article on Tolkien written this year” (till date). I will certainly look into ‘Attainable Vistas: Historical Bias in Tolkien’s Legendarium as a Motive for Transformative Fanworks.’ by Dawn M. Walls-Thumma (at least the first half). The second part of Wise's review is dedicated to rather shorter reviews of the other articles belonging to this special issue.

James Moffat, Saturday, 12 November 2016, ‘Approaching Tolkien: The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun
A favourable review of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by a young reader whose approach to Tolkien appears to be mainly through his enthusiasm for the New Line Cinema films (also seen in few mistakes regarding the nature and editor of the present book).

John Garth, The Telegraph, Wednesday, 16 November 2016, ‘Unseen Tolkien: sex, infertility, adultery and the birth of Galadriel
An excellent review by John Garth of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun. I have not had the time to read this work yet, and so I cannot agree or disagree about specific points. I look forward to seeing how the link is presented between the Corrigan of the Lay and the Noldorin noble-woman, Galadriel. John Garth's phrasing (“The Corrigan [...] leads us all the way to Galadriel herself”) seems carefully guarded, as there can be many ways to lead the way, not all of which imply a direct causal connection.

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, Thursday, 24 November 2016, ‘Tolkien Notes 14
News of Tolkien items at auction, of a new four volume set of critical essays on Tolkien (reprinted from older works) and a note on a reduced price on The Art of The Lord of the Rings on Amazon UK (though the reduced price seems to have expired as the price is now £17).

Lee, Tuesday, 29 November 2016, ‘The Story of Kullervo

Tolkienian Artwork

Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Tuesday, 1 November 2016, ‘Return
A vision of Finrod and Amarië after his return from Mandos.

by Jenny Dolfen
Peter Xavier Price, DeviantArt, Saturday, 5 November 2016, ‘The Rescue of Maedhros

Peter Xavier Price, Monday, 7 November 2016, ‘Taniquetil

Francesca Baerald, DeviantArt, Monday, 7 November 2016, ‘The Shire - Lord of the Rings
A map of the Shire that seems to me wonderfully appropriate for the myopic and insular self-satisfied views of the Hobbits, but therefore also, despite the hint of danger represented by a single dragon lurking in a corner, to represent all the ... I don't know ... ‘tweeness’ or ‘cutesy’ that frustrate me so much about the Shire …. All in all, very well done!

Elena Kukanova, Monday, 21 November 2016, ‘Fen of Serech
An illustration of Finrod in the Fen of Serech

Miruna Lavinia, DeviantArt, Tuesday, 22 November 2016, ‘Black Riders
I quite like this piece. It hints without being too definite in shaping the viewers ideas.

Fiona Dahmen (Alagvaile), DeviantArt, Friday, 25 November 2016, ‘Bilbo

Janet Georgiou West (Rearda), DeviantArt, Sunday, 27 November 2016, ‘Sam's shears

Story Internal (Ardalogy)

Michael Martinez, Monday, 14 November 2016, ‘Do the Nazgûl, Barrow wights, and Dead Men of Dunharrow have Physical Bodies?
Interesting reflections from Michael Martinez on this question. Personally I disagree with his assessment of the Ringwraiths, who certainly did have physical bodies, and while they may not have been ‘living’ in the normal sense, they were definitely not ‘dead’ in any sense (I even presented at the Oxonmoot on this very topic). As for the Barrow-wights, I think they are, to some extent, caught up between the earlier tradition in the independent poem about Tom Bombadil, and the later tradition making them servants of the Witch-king. The Dead Men of Dunharrow were indeed dead and had no physical bodies. Thus they could simply float across the water at Pelargir contrary to the Ringwraiths at the Ford of Bruinen where there physical bodies were caught in the flood.

Michael Martinez, Thursday, 17 November 2016, ‘What Were the Seven Stars Elendil brought to Middle-earth?
An interesting heraldic discussion ...

Michael Martinez, Monday, 21 November 2016, ‘Could Sauron have Unmade the One Ring?
I do recommend these posts by Michael Martinez, whose knowledge of Tolkien's writings, as well as of Tolkien criticism, is very great. Quite often Michael's answers fall in that category where the story internal, or Ardalogical, answer requires an amount of acute critical reading as well, and thus these small essays are not just relevant for those wanting to know ‘what really happened’.

Web Sites

Tom Harper, British Library: Maps, ‘What is a fantasy map?
Brilliant article on fantasy maps. And yes, Tolkien does of course get a mention.

Richard Derdzinski (galadhon), ‘Tolknięty
Derdzinski is pursuing Tolkien's German roots in Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland). While this blog in general is in Polish, the posts on Tolkien's ancestry are in English and can be found using the tag “Tolkien Ancestry”.

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.

by Peter Xavier Price
Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough
Archive of posts from November 2016

Dimitra Fimi, ‘Dr. Dimitra Fimi
Archive of posts from November 2016

John D. Rateliff -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from November 2016 – Rateliff has recently been investigating biographical dramatizations of Tolkien's life, and there are some further posts on this topic that are not listed in the above.

John Garth, ‘John Garth
Archive of posts from November 2016

Jonathan S. McIntosh, ‘The Flame Imperishable
Archive of posts from November 2016

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac's Journal
Archive of posts from November 2016

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny's Sketchbook
Archive of posts from November 2016

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Archive of posts from November 2016

Edmund Weiner, ‘Philoloblog
Archive of posts from November 2016

Robin Anne Reid, her blog
Archive of posts from November 2016

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
News archive

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Archive of posts from November 2016

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from November 2016

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from November 2016

Various, The Mythopoeic Society, ‘The Horn of Rohan Redux
Archive of posts from November 2016

Sue Bridgwater, ‘Skorn
Archive of posts from November 2016

Tom Hilman, ‘Alas, not me
Archive of posts from November 2016

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from November 2016

Various, ‘Middle-earth News
Archive of posts from November 2016

Jeffrey R. Hawboldt, ‘Expressions of Substance
Archive of posts from September 2016


New sources in November 2016

For older sources, see

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