Monday 1 October 2012

Tolkien Transactions XXIX

September 2012

September . . .

No matter how you count it, when September's gone the autumn is definitely started in the northern hemisphere, and here in Denmark the leaves are gradually turning golden. We mark the passing of summer by remembering the death of JRR Tolkien on the second of September 1973 and / or by celebrating The Hobbit on its publication anniversary and the birthday of the Bagginses about the equinox (this year the equinox was on September 22).

Depending on how we count the seasons, the last moon of autumn will rise either on Wednesday 14 November (in Copenhagen it will rise 40 minutes after the sun) or set on Thursday 13 December (in Copenhagen this will be 32 minutes after the setting of the Sun). In either case, the new moon and the sun will be in the sky at the same time and it will be Durin's Day (something that occurs every year).

One of the ‘Big Things’ in the news this month has been the release of a new trailer for the upcoming Hobbit film. I suppose that anyone who is interested will already have seen it, or at least know where to find it when they have the time, so I have not linked to the trailer or any related articles in these transactions. Otherwise the usual disclaimers apply — this is my take, and you are welcome to add your own findings in the comments.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Remembrances and Tributes
2: News
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Reviews and Book News
5: Interviews
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: In Print
10: Web Sites
11: Sources

= = = = Remembrances and Tributes = = = =

On Sunday the 2nd of September 1973 J.R.R. Tolkien died after two days of hospitalisation. The thirty-ninth anniversary of this, which also fell on a Sunday, was remembered in articles etc. on the day.

Sunday Morning Almanac, CBS News, Sunday, 2 September 2012, ‘"Hobbit’ creator J.R.R. Tolkien"
A video tribute with transcription.

Iran Book News Agency, Sunday, 2 September 2012, ‘Today's Page: September 2nd’
The Iranian agency under the Iran Ministry of Culture focuses on Tolkien's literary achievement, including the posthumously published work, which they describe as forming a connected body of work together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (forgetting The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and The Road Goes Ever On, both of which were also published during Tolkien's life).

Tom Golway, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘Remembering JRR Tolkien’
Though presumably written on the second, this very nice piece was posted on the third. Tom Golway celebrates Tolkien not as ‘a fantasy writer,’ but rather ‘as the literary genius he was.’

The Guardian, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘From the archive, 3 September 1973: Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien dies’
On the anniversary of the article appearing in The Guardian, this article is a nice example of an attempt at an even-handed obituary in 1973.

Saturday the 21st of September 2012 marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. The date is acclaimed as ‘Hobbit Day’ and the Tolkien Society's Oxonmoot is held as close as possible to this date: this year on the date. The following items all mark the anniversary in some way. There are a lot of articles and postings relating to the anniversary and anniversary activities, and a number of them I will merely list without comment.

H&S, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘Happy Hobbit Day’
I'll put this first — themselves celebrating the anniversary, but also surveying a lot of the articles that have appeared about it, this post by Wayne and Christina is a very welcome start to reading about the anniversary of The Hobbit.

WHTC, Monday, 10 September 2012, ‘Hope to Host a Reading of ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien’
Hope College in Holland hosted, at its Pine Grove, a full reading of The Hobbit on Hobbit day. With readers changing every 10 minutes, it was estimated to take 11 hours to read the whole book.

Andrew Ffrench, Oxford Mail, Friday, 14 September 2012, ‘Hobbit fans gather to celebrate anniversary’
About this year's Oxonmoot which, serendipitously, fell on Saturday 22nd of September, the exact 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. The article tells of the Oxonmoot, about Tolkien and about some of the anniversary celebrations by Tolkien's publisher, Harper Collins.

Kathleen O'Dell, Monday, 17 September 2012, ‘Tolkien Festival starts Friday at library branches’

PC, Wednesday, 19 September 2012, ‘The Hobbit pocket edition to celebrate its 75th anniversary’
What it says, really — one of the titles being released in connection with the anniversary is the pocket edition.

Deirdre Donahue, USA Today, Thursday, 20 September 2012, ‘Tolkien's ‘Hobbit’ celebrates 75th anniversary’
Corey Olsen and Shaun Gunner quoted . . .

Matt Shaw, The Archdale-Trinity News, Thursday, 20 September 2012, ‘It's 'The Year of the Hobbit'’

Kelly Cowling, Grey Havens Group, Thursday, 20 September 2012, ‘75th Anniversary of the Publication of The Hobbit’

The Telegraph, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘The Hobbit 75th birthday celebrated worldwide’

Matt Buchanan and Lissa Christopher, The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘Why everyone's talkin' Tolkien’

Bruce Walker, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘Seventy-Five Years Later, The Hobbit Still Enchants Us’
We are all enchanted by the Hobbit in different ways, and if Mr Walker prefers to be enchanted only by the Christian themes, that will have to be his choice, though for my own enchantment I prefer something a bit more varied (albeit the Christian flavour is an essential part of the Tolkienian mix).

Matthew Rosenbaum, ABC News, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘'The Hobbit' Turns 75’
A better piece than most — Wayne Hammond quoted. I do suspect a connection here ;-)

MB, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘Happy 75th Birthday, Hobbit’

Amy H. Sturgiss, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘Long Live the Halflings! Praise Them with Great Praise!’

Paul Milligan, The Daily Mail, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘A new glimpse into The Hobbit: More Tolkien drawings emerge to celebrate the 75th birthday of the classic story’
A reference to The Art of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, but with some nice reproductions (though miscoloured — tinted a horrible shade of green).

The Independent, Sunday, 23 September 2012, ‘The Blagger's Guide To... The Hobbit’
Focusing on the films, and Andy Serkis' appearance at a Hobbit Day celebration at the Fulham Palace Gardens, this piece mainly shows the extent of the 75th anniversary celebrations, though it also makes me wonder how big it would have been had there not be a film coming out . . .

Tom Shippey, Sunday, 23 September 2012, ‘Tolkien Scholar Tom Shippey reads original version of Riddles in the Dark for’
A video of Tom Shippey reading from chapter 5, ‘The Riddle Game,’ from the first edition of The Hobbit — Shippey is doing voices . . .!

Talelmarhazad, Monday, 24 September 2012, ‘In the Grey Havens Hall of Fire’
The tale of how Hobbit Day was celebrated by the Grey Havens group in their Hall of Fire.

The Oxford Times, Monday, 24 September 2012, ‘Tolkien fans pay tribute at his graveside’
On Oxonmoot and Enyalië.

= = = = News = = = =

HKT, The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, 5 September 2012, ‘Supersizing ‘The Hobbit’ Spurs Debate’
Reporting briefly on the debate that has arisen in the wake of the decision to do three films based on The Hobbit (rather than the originally planned two films).

Allen Pierleoni, The Sacramento Bee, Sunday, 9 September 2012, ‘Between the Lines: Sac Library celebrates J.R.R. Tolkien’
The Sacramento Public Library has put together a programme of special events in celebration of Tolkien, ‘Full Circle: An Exploration of Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings.'’ The events run from September through December.

John Cameron, University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College Observer, Wednesday, 12 September 2012, ‘Professor connects Tolkien, Homer’
A professor David O'Connor has lectured on ‘Tolkien and Nostalgia’, drawing parallels to Homer's classic Odyssey. It is difficult to assess the quality of a lecture and much less of an hypothesis based on a short on-line summary, but as it appears in this summary, I admit to being somewhat sceptical, though not enough to dismiss the idea out of hand: certainly there's a nostalgia that is informing Tolkien's work, but I am unconvinced that The Odyssey is a particularly relevant basis for a comparative study centring around this sense of nostalgia.

Unknown, Wednesday, 12 September 2012, ‘LotR Cupcakes WIN’
I wonder if they also tasted nice . . . ;-)

JV, Friday, 14 September 2012, ‘New stamps and commemorative coin series to celebrate Middle-earth’
I sometimes worry if I'm becoming an old grumpy f-, eh, man, but I do occasionally feel ever so slightly nauseated by the efforts by New Zealand to brand themselves with some imagined connection to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. There really is _no such relation_! Fifteen years ago, I would have loved to visit New Zealand, but not any longer. Middle-earth — or at least the parts of Middle-earth where the action of Tolkien's stories occur, is meant by Tolkien to be the north-western part of Europe, and that is the only part of the world that has any claim to be related to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth (and the English West Midlands more than anywhere else).

Tom Kennedy, The Telegraph, Thursday, 20 September 2012, ‘Schoolboys film full-length version of The Hobbit on a shoestring’
A group of school boys from Tower House prep have created a full feature-length film of The Hobbit. The trailer (which is available with the article) shows a lot of dedication to the project.

Ian Spittlehouse, Monday, 24 September 2012, ‘The Final Countdown’
Posted only a week before the unveiling on 1 October, this is likely the last post before the event. As the unveiling of the Blue Plaque is scheduled for 11:30am on the 1st October 2012 at 2 Darnley Road, West Park, Leeds, it will probably have already happened when this month's transactions are published, and you should check in on the Blue Plaque blog for a report on the actual event. Thank you to all those who have made this possible.

Sam Casey, Yorkshire Evening Post, Friday, 28 September 2012, ‘Leeds: Did Meanwood Valley inspire Middle Earth?’
Not so much about the question in the title, but more about Tolkien and of course particularly his time in Leeds and the Blue Plaque set to be unveiled on October 1st.

Paul Cole, Sunday Mercury, Sunday, 30 September 2012, ‘Hobbit fans dismayed by state of Sarehole Mill’
It is a good thing that Sarehole Mill — both the buildings and the mill pond — are being repaired, restored and generally get a face-lift, but it is, of course, rather bad timing that the pond should be drained and the mill itself be covered in scaffolding covered in weather-proof sheeting for the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit. On the other hand the mill will hopefully open with improved looks before next summer, when Hobbit tourism can be expected to rise to new heights.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

BC, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘JRR Tolkien's psychological illnesses or 'breakdowns'’
Bruce Charlton here argues for his theory that Tolkien suffered from some kind of psychological illness or breakdown in the period around 1948-50. I still do not find the arguments entirely compelling — at least for a layman's understanding of these terms.

H&S, Tuesday, 4 September 2012, ‘Tolkien, Leek, and the Moorlands’
In response to the claims from Leek in Staffordshire that Tolkien wrote parts of The Lord of the Rings in a Leek pub (see the 3rd September post from Wellinghall under ‘other’). I am grateful to Wayne and Christina for their diligent work to uphold a high standard of evidence in biographical (and other) matters. I suppose it's only natural for various places to wish to get a share of the fame, but let's keep it factual, shall we.

AH, Wednesday, 5 September 2012, ‘A Rare Tolkienian Treasure’
On this day Andrew Higgins posted about a wonderful gift that he had received: a genuine letter from J.R.R. Tolkien addressed ‘Dear Mr Higgins’ — how good can it get? Unfortunately he had added a transcription of the text, which is still copyrighted (the copyright is held by the Estate), and so he has chosen to take down the blog post.

Tom Shippey, The Telegraph, Thursday, 20 September 2012, ‘The Hobbit: What has made the book such an enduring success?’
Tom Shippey writes on the success of The Hobbit — definitely a ‘must read’. Also, do yourself the service to at least skim through the comments — there are actually some gems there (and I am not speaking about my own comment here).
See also Marcel Aubron-Bülles' comments here:
MB, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘The Hobbit: What has made the book such an enduring success?’

Corey Olsen, The Wall Street Journal, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘Why J.R.R. Tolkien's ‘The Hobbit’ Isn't Just For Kids’
Another well-known Tolkien scholar speaking about The Hobbit. One of the things that Olsen really wants of us is to pay more attention to the poetry of the tales, and I must say that Olsen's comments on the poetry (particularly in his Hobbit podcast series) has made me appreciate the poetry even more.

MB, Friday, 21 September 2012, ‘Tolkien: The Forest & the City. Tolkien Conference at Trinity College, Dublin, Sept 21-22, 2012’
I really shouldn't keep reading about all the things that I cannot go to . . .

MB, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘75 reasons why you should read 'The Hobbit' before watching the films’
I debated a lot with myself where to put this, but the array of names so far warrant inclusion as scholarship. In this series of post Marcel has asked a number of Tolkienists to give their answer to the titular question. As of writing, there are answers from Brian Sibley, Verlyn Flieger and David Bratman, and they are well worth reading, even if, as I suspect is the case for most of my readers, you have long since read The Hobbit for yourself.

JF, Sunday, 23 September 2012, ‘A (late) spring harvest’
About G.B. Smith and his posthumously published collection of poems, A Spring Harvest which was edited by his two surviving TCBS friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Wiseman. Jason also relates the great news that not only are a number of the poems reproduced in full in Mark Atherton's There and Back Again: J R R Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit, but Doug Anderson is working on a new edition of A Spring Harvest.

JDR, Wednesday, 26 September 2012, ‘Me at Marquette (October 3rd)’
The Marquette University is hosting three events on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. At the first event, on 3 October, John Rateliff will speak on ‘how to become a Tolkien scholar.’ In the second event, to be held on 8 November, Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull are to speak about ‘J. R. R. Tolkien and the Art of Middle-Earth’ [sic]. For more details see
For a slightly different description of the topic of Rateliff's talk, see
Jackie Loohauis-Bennett, Journal Sentinel, Thursday, 27 September 2012, ‘Talk reveals how ‘The Hobbit’ came to Milwaukee’
where he is said to talk about how the manuscripts for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings came to rest at Marquette (though I suppose that the talk can easily cover this as well as, or as a part of, the topic of ‘how to become a Tolkien scholar’ that Rateliff mentions).

Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, Saturday, 29 September 2012, ‘The Hobbit unearths a hoard of myths’
The Telegraph comes up with one more piece of intelligent commentary on The Hobbit. Little more than a week after Tom Shippey Christopher Howse is here commenting with a focus on mythopoesis and philology and well worth reading.

JM, September 2012, ‘Tolkien's Metaphysics of the Music’
In this months discussions of the metaphysics of the Music (parts 15 through 21), Jonathan McIntosh focuses on St. Thomas Aquinas' concepts of music and beauty, going from his idea of music as a mathematical abstraction to his views on beauty (in particular the question of the rôle of the beholder — the subjective and objective elements of beauty). While interesting in its own right, the connection to Tolkien is not always immediately obvious, but I do look forward to see where this is leading.

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

JDR, Saturday, 1 September 2012, ‘J. R. R. Tolkien: The Comic Book’
John Rateliff has bought the new Tolkien comic book biography for his Kindle, but can't really read it on his B/W kindle. This is the comic book that was reviewed by Marcel Aubron-Bülles in the last issue (no. 361) of Mythprint.

PC, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘There and Back Again: J R R Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit’
About Mark Atherton's new book, There and Back Again: J R R Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit, in which he aims to explore the many inspirations and influences — literary, historical geographical, biographical and others — that marked Tolkien's grand work.

JDR, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘The New Arrival: PARMA Twenty’
John Rateliff has received Parma Eldalamberon vol. 20 and reports on the contents. The basis for this volume is documents written in tengwar, but the texts themselves are generally in English. This volume also includes some letters and some notes that the editors have chosen to title ‘Philosophical Thoughts.’

JDR, Thursday, 6 September 2012, ‘The New Arrivals & The New Publications’
The latest issue of Tolkien Studies as well as a copy of L'Arc et le Heaume (The Bow and the Helm), the journal of the French Tolkien society, Tolkiendil have arrived at the Rateliff home, just before departure for England. Focus is, understandably, on Rateliff's own contributions and reviews of his own work.

DAA, Saturday, 8 September 2012, ‘The Qenya Alphabet, Hrolf Kraki, Tolkien Studies 9, etc.’
Doug Anderson comments on the new Parma Eldalamberon, ‘The Qenya Alphabet’ (vol. 20), on Robert J. Lee's illustrations for the first chapter of The Hobbit (see also Morgan Thomsen's ‘Mythoi’ post of July 31st covered in the July Transactions (no. XVLL)), and on Tolkien Studies vol. 9, for which he adds some book notes he had drafted for this volume before he left the journal. A highly interesting post.

Eleanor La Prade, Delaware Newszap, Wednesday, 12 September 2012, ‘Corey Olsen to unveil companion to Tolkien's classic at Acorn Books’
About Corey Olsen (a.k.a. ‘The Tolkien Professor’) and his new book about The Hobbit, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's ‘The Hobbit'. We are reminded that Corey Olsen started his podcast series with podcasts on The Hobbit (his love for The Hobbit comes, in my opinion, through very clearly in these podcasts), and the evolution from there to the Mythgard Institute and the new book is covered nicely in this article / interview.

Molly Klinefelter, Laptop, Wednesday, 12 September 2012, "Hands-On ‘The Hobbit: Enhanced Edition’ E-Book for Tolkien Lovers"
The opening argument says a lot about the article itself: ‘With the anticipated release of ‘The Hobbit: Part 1’ this December, any self-respecting ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan will want to brush up on his or her knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel ahead of time.’ But regardless of the quality of the article, the enhanced e-book edition of The Hobbit seems attractive with a number of recordings of J.R.R. Tolkien reading or singing from the book, and with most (if not all — I'd have to check that more thoroughly to say for certain) of his finished illustrations and maps in reasonable quality. And I suppose that it is available for other readers than the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Alfred Duggan, Times Literary Supplement, Thursday, 13 September 2012, ‘Then and Now, 1954’
The Times Literary Supplement has republished Alfred Duggan's 1954 review of The Fellowship of the Ring. There are signs of a very perceptive reader in his calling Tolkien's achievement ‘a system of mythology as coherent, complete and detailed as that constructed by the ancients’ and elsewhere. I am not sure if the mistakes, such as claiming that ‘their only code is the warrior’s code of courage,’ is a result of having only FotR and not the whole story.

Nancy-Lou Patterson, Mythlore, Friday, 14 September 2012, ‘The Joyful Christian’
An old (first published in Mythlore 20 from the spring of 1979) review of C.S. Lewis' The Joyful Christian, which is a collection / anthology of devotional quotations that the reviewer rather liked.

Nancy-Lou Patterson, Mythlore, Tuesday, 18 September 2012, ‘Lewis Number Two’
The 1982 Mythlore (no. 31) review of C.S. Lewis' The Visionary Christian; another collection of quotations from C.S. Lewis.

JDR, Friday, 28 September 2012, ‘The New Arrival / I Am Interviewed’
Most of this post is taken up of a discussion of the new Latin translation of The Hobbit, Hobbitus Ille, but with a couple of hints of other things that we may hear more about later.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

PC, Wednesday, 5 September 2012, ‘Interview with Dr. Dimitra Fimi on lecturing online Tolkien courses’
A wonderful interview with Tolkien scholar Dimitra Fimi from the Cardiff Metropolitan University about her love for, and history with, Tolkien's work, and her own work on Tolkien, including the on-line courses that she teaches.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

JD, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘Maglor Sketch’
This is one of Jenny Dolfen's sketches of Fëanorians. Jenny seems fascinated with the First Age Elves — in particular the Fëanorians, but also Olwë and others (Eärendil also counts, I suppose), which is one of the things that I in my turn finds fascinating by her artwork: there has, as far as I am aware, been little effort to portray the people of The Silmarillion (the scenes, the monsters and the landscapes, yes but little work on the people). See also the following work.
Tuesday, 4 September 2012, ‘Olwë of Alqualondë’
Friday, 7 September 2012, ‘Fëanorean sketchdump’

Andres Jauregui, Huffington Post, Tuesday, 4 September 2012, ‘Jian Guo ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Stained Glass Designs Look Straight Out Of Middle Earth’
No doubt this is where it started, though this is where I saw it last ;) Though Chinese fan artist Jian Guo has been making and publishing these pictures at least since 2011, they got the attention of a much wider circle when they were advertised in Huffington Post. The pictures are created as stained glass images based on Peter Jackson's imagery.

Rosie Best, Tuesday, 4 September 2012, ‘Lord Of The Rings Stained Glass Illustrations’
This was the first that I saw — shared on Facebook.

JDR, Tuesday, 4 September 2012, ‘Tolkien-inspired Stained Glass’
And John Rateliff has also seen this . . .

Jian Guo, ‘LOTR Gallery’
The artist's gallery of stained-glass-style images based on Peter Jackson's /LotR/ trilogy.

Jenny Wotherspoon, Sky: Tyne and Wear, Tuesday, 11 September 2012, ‘Success For Tolkien-Inspired Artist Jay Johnstone After Lord Of The Rings Characters Appear In Dream’
A story about Tolkien-inspired artist Jay Johnstone (see also the Tolkien Library interview in the July Transactions — no. XXVII). Johnstone is using a medieval style to create his iconic Tolkien-inspired artwork, which I think is highly appropriate to the subject. Creating character portraits as icons is both original and gives the impression of ‘a great abyss of time, not measurable even by twe tusend Johr,’ (Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’) and though the implication of holiness that is created by the addition of aureoles to the portraits may seem to some sacrilegious, I think it is a fine way to reflect the ‘larger than life’ status that the heroes of the War of the Ring must have attained in the Fourth Age. See also the websites section.

Paul Tankard, Times Literary Supplement, Wednesday, 12 September 2012, ‘An unknown vision of Middle-earth’
An interesting, and moving, account of the artist Mary Fairburn and her illustrations of The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's response to them. In 1968 Tolkien praised her work for showing ‘far more attention to the text than any that have yet been submitted to me’ and said that he was beginning to ‘think that an illustrated edition might be a good thing.’ This, it would seem to me, is very high praise, indeed!
There is one picture reproduced in the article, and another is avaible here:
See also:
JV, Monday, 17 September 2012, ‘University researcher uncovers long-lost Lord of the Rings illustrations’
John Gibb, Otago Daily Times, Tuesday, 18 September 2012, ‘'Lord of the Rings' paintings unearthed’
As well as
Phys Org, Tuesday, 18 September 2012, ‘Previously undiscovered ‘Lord of the Rings’ illustrations unearthed by literary researcher’

JD, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘Because Thorin is a *Dwarf*!’
That he is, Jenny, that he is! And I really do like this envisioning of him :)

Celedor, Saturday, 22 September 2012, ‘Matchstick Minas Tirith Creator Tells All’
For me, this matchstick model of Minas Tirith is certainly a piece of art, though I suppose that my opinion may be debatable :-) Still, by whatever name you call it, it is impressive.

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

AW, Monday, 3 September 2012, ‘Tolkien slept here’
This time about the claim that Tolkien is ‘believed to have written much of Lord Of The Rings while downing cask ales in what was The Green Dragon’ — of Leek, Staffordshire. While there is evidence that Tolkien spent some time in Staffordshire during the First World War, I know of no evidence that he spent any time in this Green Dragon (one of numerous pubs and inns of that name in England). See also Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull on the 4th.

PC, Wednesday, 5 September 2012, ‘Fifteen places named after J.R.R. Tolkien to honour the author’
From an asteroid and the creater on Mercury over streets and a schooner (!) to hotel rooms and a tree; fifteen places named after J.R.R. Tolkien. A fun and interesting list.

JF, Wednesday, 5 September 2012, ‘Teaching Tolkien, revisited’
Teaching Tolkien at various levels of university gathers more and more attention in Tolkien circles. The recent Return of the Ring conference was attended by several teachers, some of whom also gave presentations where their teaching experiences if not were the main subject then at least heavily informed the presentation, and more and more papers are published on this topic. The immediate and personal interest that Jason Fisher has with this post is that the book he edited and contributed to, Tolkien and the Study of His Sources, has been assigned at an undergraduate Tolkien seminar, and he looks at the course planning and what context the essays of his books will used in.

Lauren Davis, IO9, Saturday, 8 September 2012, ‘Listen to J.R.R. Tolkien read his poem Namárië in Elvish’
I do wonder about the copyrights here . . .? In any case, this page has collected three performances of the Quenya poem Namarië (Galadriel's lament, found in book II ch. 10): spoken by Tolkien himself, the chanted version by Donald Swann and a version to music by Martin Romberg. Personally I am also quite fond of the version by the Tolkien Ensemble, which can (of course) be found on YouTube: though I think the tune probably works better with the English version.

H&S, Sunday, 9 September 2012, ‘Our Collections: Pauline Baynes’
A history and description of Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond's collection of artwork by Pauline Baynes.

DB, Tuesday, 11 September 2012, ‘cram’
On why having a second breakfast might be a good way to celebrate Tolkien's The Hobbit, while calling it ‘Second Breakfast’ is not. David Bratman once more demonstrates why his ‘Year's Work’ surveys in Tolkien Studies were often the first part that readers turned to (or the second part when new original documents were published).

Amber Williams,, Tuesday, 11 September 2012, ‘Middle-Earth Maven Creates Massive LOTR Family Tree’
Another article about Emil Johansson's ‘The Lord of the Rings Project’ ( The maps and the timeline ideas are absolutely wonderful, though I have some reservations about the character genealogies (I think that the conflation of many sources creates a gross misrepresentation of Tolkien's conception) and, speaking as a professional data analyst, some of the statistics should never have been made and much less published.

JDR, Monday, 24 September 2012, ‘Tonight, I Lecture’
John Rateliff is giving lectures for the Mythgard Institute about the writing of The Hobbit. He follows up with a report on how it went (‘Well, that went well,’ Tuesday, 25 September 2012) and on the second lecture (‘Another lecture,’ Thursday, 27 September 2012). These reports, with the questions from the students and the ensuing discussions, are really the more interesting, so do yourself the favour to find them and read them.

MB, Thursday, 27 September 2012, ‘Why the ‘film purists’ and the ‘book purists’ will never understand each other — on how (not) to appreciate Peter Jackson's work’
A sober and well-written look at the differences in perspective between those who adore Jackson's films and those who adore Tolkien's books. I am sure that there are lots of nuances that Marcel doesn't get into in this, but as an attempt at asserting a paradigmatic approach to three different perspectives, I think he does a good job.

AW, Thursday, 27 September 2012, ‘Oxonmoot lego’
Obviously they were playing with LotR Legos at Oxonmoot, and Andrew Wells was dutifully taking pictures — thank you!

AW, Friday, 28 September 2012, ‘Tolkien slept here’
More links in ‘Wellinghall's’ series of ‘Tolkien slept here’ posts — some of these things are quite genuine, but in many situations varius claims are made for which there is no supporting evidence. As a child I spent many summer weeks in the Swedish Dalarna (lit. ‘The Valleys’) through which the Swedish King Gustav Wasa fled to escape Danish troops in the sixteenth century — and if he had really slept in all the places that claimed so, he would never have managed to stay ahead of the Danish troops. I am always reminded of this story whenever seeing the ‘Tolkien slept here’ headline, and I always remember the lesson about not simply accepting the claims as true.

MB, Saturday, 29 September 2012, ‘Upcoming Category: International Tolkien Fellowship’
Announcing a category of postings to his Tolkienist blog, Marcel Aubron-Bülles also wishes to celebrate all those good people working in various voluntary jobs in the many Tolkien societies, smials etc. Hear! Hear!

DB, Sunday, 30 September 2012, ‘reasons to read The Hobbit’
David Bratman here links to his post in the ‘75 reasons why you should read “The Hobbit” before watching the films’ series at Marcel Aubron-Bülles' Tolkienist blog and also shares his reminiscences of encountering The Hobbit (also published in this month's Mythprint (q.v.)).

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

‘Why Dol Guldur’
A story-internal discussion of why Sauron chose to settle in southern Mirkwood when he began to take shape again after his defeat to Gil-galad, Elendil and Isildur.

‘more musings .....’
A discussion about Rings of power — and also with the many side-tracks such discussions often get themselves into.

‘The lesser rings of power's use by Sauron?’
This ties in nicely with the thread above, dealing with some of the same issues.

‘Warg Carcasses’
Another story-internal discussion, this one on how to interpret the disappearing carcasses of the wargs that attacked the Company of the Ring in Eregion (after their failed attempt to cross high passes of Caradhras).

‘The Lithe - Welsh?’
Some excellent commentary on a suggestion propounded by Mark Hooker in his book Tolkien and Welsh. Not much discussion, but very much worth reading.

= = = = In Print = = = =

Beyond Bree September 2012
This issue opens with reports from ‘The Return of the Ring’ conference in Loughborough (see also last month's Transactions) with Nancy Martsch providing links to my report (thank you, Nancy!) and to Kristin Thomsen's report at
Beyond Bree (BB) adds the first part of a report by Bruce Leonard, and various notes relating to this such as letters from other participants, a review of the arts catalogue and a report on the Beyond Bree awards that were presented at the conference.

Amon Hen no. 237, September 2012
The highlights of this issue are reports from the Return of the Ring by Julie Sinclair and Bob Blackham, some musings on the death of Lalia Took by Murray Smith and reviews of the Irish Hobbit (An Hobad) including transliteration of runic inscriptions in the Conversation with Smaug illustrations. I am normally impervious to the attraction of fan fiction, but recognizing the author's name fondly, I decided to nonetheless read a small piece set in the last years of masters Meriadoc and Peregrin after their arrival in Minas Tirith and was positively surprised.

Mythprint vol.49 no.9, September 2012, whole no. 362
This issue of Mythprint is a Hobbit celebration special issue — it features a series of reminiscences about reading The Hobbit and about translations of the book (four pages in all), as well as an interview with Mark Walker (the translator of the Latin version, Hobbitus Ille — in addition to talking about choices in the translation, the interview also gives examples of songs in Latin), reflections on the opening to The Hobbit by Mike Foster (for me this piece lacks a focus, and it seems to go in too many directions at once) and David Oberhelman's positive (though not enthusiastic) review of Corey Olsen's book about The Hobbit.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

‘The JRR Tolkien inspired art of Jay Johnstone’
Website for the Tolkien art of Jay Johnstone where you can see the pieces and buy prints and originals.

‘Blue Plaque for Tolkien in Leeds’
Ian Spittlehouse's blog about the efforts to get a Blue Plaque for Tolkien in Leeds . Planned to be unveiled on October 1st, reports from the unveiling are likely to have been posted when these transactions are posted, or be posted shortly thereafter.

‘Heart of England’
No new posts since November 2011, so why include it? Well, there's some posts with a clear Tolkienian angle: posts on Dormton and Bag End, on Warwick (and on Warwick Castle), and even a Tolkien biography post nicely illustrated with photos of places relevant to Tolkien and the blog (a pity that Rayner Unwin's name is consistently misspelled ‘Raynor’).

‘The Mythgard WikiMoot’
A wiki for and by the students at the Mythgard Institute. The focus is on a critical approach rather than the story-internal approach of e.g. the Tolkien Gateway (or the inconsistent mix of approaches in the Wikipedia). While still limited in articles, the contents are generally of a good standard. A sample article could be the one about the Kalevala (where relevant all titles should be read as succeeded by an unstated ‘and Tolkien’):

‘The Noldorin Herald’
A blog by Joseph Bradford on the My Middle-earth site

‘The Tolkienist’
New blog created by Marcel Aubron-Bülles

‘The Tolkien Ensemble’
A site dedicated to The Tolkien Ensemble. The site is in German, though the ensemble is Danish and English. On the ‘Musik’ sub-page you can, legally, find trials of several of their songs. The Tolkien Ensemble were the last (though certainly not the only) to achieve permission from the Tolken Estate to put their own music to Tolkien's poems and publish (and sell) that music before the Estate ceased to give such permissions (being swamped with requests).

‘Martin Romberg’
Composer and Tolkien fan Martin Romberg has created a number of pieces in a classical tradition inspired by Tolkien's works.

‘MythCon 35 Guest of Honour Speech’
A copy of the speech Neil Gaiman gave at MythCon 35 (2004) about the influence upon him of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien.

= = = = Sources = = = =

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’

Michael Drout (MD) — ‘Wormtalk and Slugspeak’

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (H&S) — ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough’

Pieter Collier (PC) — ‘The Tolkien Library’

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA) et Al. — ‘Wormwoodiana’

Corey Olsen (CO), ‘The Tolkien Professor’

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:

Larry Swain (LS), ‘The Ruminate’

Andrew Wells (AW), ‘Musings of an Aging Fan’

Various, ‘The Northeast Tolkien Society’ (NETS), ‘Heren Istarion’

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’

Marcel R. Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’

Andrew Higgins (AH), ‘Wotan's Musings’

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

Henry Gee (HG) ‘cromercrox’, ‘The End of the Pier Show’

Jonathan S. McIntosh (JM), ‘The Flame Imperishable’

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’

Steuard Jensen (SJ), ‘Strings, Rings, and Other Things’

John Howe (JH)

Jenny Dolfen (JD)

Nancy Marie Brown (NMB), ‘God of Wednesday’

Josh Vogt (JV), ‘Tolkien Examiner’

David Simmons (DS), ‘Aiya Ilúvatar’

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Tolkien Studies Blog’

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’

Troels Forchhammer (TF), ‘Parma-kenta’

Mythprint — ‘The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society’

Amon Hen — the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society

Beyond Bree — the newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest Group of the Americal Mensa

- and others