Friday 22 August 2014

Tolkien Transactions LI

July 2014

This is, without doubt, the most belated issue of my transactions ever. Let's hope that it will remain so in perpetuum, so I will put this on-line without further ado.

I have been busy and I shall not bore you with details, except, perhaps, to note that my wife and I had a most wonderful silver wedding anniversary in July, and that the Jubilee Banquet the Copenhagen Tolkien Society, Bri (Bree) in early August, was a most enjoyable event. Apart from that, I will merely note that all the usual disclaimers about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) of course apply :-)

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: Tolkienian Artwork
6: Other Stuff
7: In Print
8: Web Sites
9: The Blog Roll
10: Sources

= = = = News = = = =

The Tolkien Society, July 2014, ‘News items from July 2014
A little film-heavy this month to my tastes, but the Tolkien Society web-site is one of the best sources for general news about matters Tolkien.

Mark Shea, Wednesday, 2 July 2014, ‘Extremely Cool New Tolkien Recording Found
More on the recording from the 1958 Hobbit dinner in Rotterdam.

Sarah Giles, ConnectCannock, Thursday, 17 July 2014, ‘First Tolkien walk hailed a success
A report on the first of the Tolkien-walks in Staffordshire around Great Haywood – Tavrobel of The Book of Lost Tales.

Nancy Churnin, The Dallas Morning News, Friday, 11 July 2014, ‘When J.R.R. Tolkien gave a local children's director permission to adapt ‘The Hobbit’
Perhaps an example of what Tolkien really meant when he spoke of leaving room for other hands wielding drama ...

David Bratman, Saturday, 12 July 2014, ‘Christopher W. Mitchell
An obituary for Christopher W. Mitchell, the former director of the Marion. E Wade center.

David Bratman, Sunday, 20 July 2014, ‘Tolkien on film
In July it was revealed that there are two projects working on a so-called ‘bio-pic’ on Tolkien. One focusing on his early life and another focusing on his friendship with C.S. Lewis. The most intelligent commentary that I have found on this is David Bratman's linked here (make sure to read his supplement). I expect that he is completely right that this will only mean that “people concerned with getting the facts right have to spend the rest of their lives patiently explaining that It Wasn't Really Quite Like That.” – horrifying thought, and to tell the truth, I am apalled at the prospects.
And that is all I have to say on this issue – google for "Tolkien bio-pic" or some such if you want more.

Ted Johnson, Tuesday, 22 July 2014, ‘Judge refuses to disqualify Tolkien attorneys in 'Lord of the Rings' dispute
A very short piece about the on-going legal battle – I very much doubt that the Estate is particularly interested in more money, they just wish to be able to block some of the worst excesses of commercial debasement of Tolkien.

Ali Ryland, Friday, 25 July 2014, ‘The J.R.R Tolkien legacy at Bloodstock Open Air 2014
Sub-titled ‘How Tolkien is still inspiring the metal and rock community’ the article looks at this. The writer muses that “It is amusing to imagine what Tolkien, who died in 1973, would think of all this.” – though I am not sure that I would use ‘amusing’, I think it is curious that Tolkien's work continues to inspire music that would (presumably) lie so very far outside his range of sympathies.
See also RTÉ, Wednesday, 30 July 2014, ‘Tolkien delayed enlisting for First World War

Mary Griffin, Birmingham Mail, Wednesday, 30 July 2014, ‘Birmingham setting which inspired JRR Tolkien named the UK's top 'hidden spot'
The headline says it all, really ...

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
Highlights with some Tolkien connection from July:
From Old Norse to Modern Icelandic” (1 July)
Dreams in Old Norse-Icelandic Royal Biographies as Representations of the Dynastic Identity: The Case of the Fairhair Dynasty” (6 July)
Man, woman or monster : some themes of female masculinity and transvestism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance” (6 July)
Æthelstan, Anglo-Saxon King of England” (10 July)
Making Sacrifices: Beowulf and Film” (21 July)
Can you solve these Anglo-Saxon Riddles” (21 July)
The Byzantine Silver Bowls in the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial and Tree-Worship in Anglo-Saxon England” (22 July)
The Sisters of King Æthelstan” (24 July)

Simon J. Cook, Saturday, 5 July 2014, ‘The island at the heart of Tolkien's imagination
Being a Zealander (Danish Sjællænder) myself, I was obviously very intrigued to see this post focusing of the stage of the main part of the Beowulf poem (I have grown up and still live less than 10 miles in a straight line from the supposed site of the Heorot mead hall). It is, of course, important to notice that it is not so much our island itself as its literary representation in Anglo-Saxon (and other) poems, legends etc. that sparked Tolkien's imagination. To the best of my knowledge, Tolkien never visited Denmark.

Simon J. Cook, Monday, 14 July 2014, ‘Tolkien & the Religion of the North
Another piece by Simon J. Cook explorin the relation of Edwardian thinking about the mythoi of the ancient North. In this entry Simon Cook argues that Tolkien wanted to show how the ancient (pre-Viking age) northern mythology was separate from the classic mythology of Greece (a connection made by Edwardian scholars)

Simon J. Cook, Thursday, 17 July 2014, ‘‘Lord of the Rings’ as English Mythology
I cannot – certainly not yet – go the whole nine yards with Simon Cook on this (Aragorn as Ing / Scyld Scefing?), but the ideas are intriguing and deserve due consideration to try to set some limits to how far it will carry.

John Garth, Tuesday, 29 July 2014, ‘Why World War I Is at the Heart of ‘Lord of the Rings’
An excellent piece by John Garth building on his research for his book, Tolkien and the Great War (if you haven't read it, then get yourself to the nearest bookshop now!). The great tales never end, “‘No, they never end as tales,’ said Frodo. ‘But the people in them come, and go when their part’s ended.’” I hope that John Garth's part in the great unfolding tale about the life and work of J.R.R. Tolkien is not about to end any time soon.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

John D. Rateliff, Thursday, 3 July 2014, ‘Jill Paton Walsh disses Tolkien
On the appearance of Tolkien in a mystery by Jill Walsh who unfortunately lets her character describe Tolkien as “misogynist” (which, by all avaialable evidence, is untrue).
Also see the follow-up, from the following day, Three (or four) More Points about Paton Walsh

Ioan Marc Jones, Huffington Post, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, ‘Platonic Morality in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit
A short article relating the moral discussion of the Ring of Gyges to the morality of the Master Ring in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Andrew Higgins, Thursday, 17 July 2014, ‘Travels on the OloreMalle – Mythgard Academy – Talk on Tolkien's Languages
Andy Higgins has presented some of his research in a Mythgard Academy class, which I look very much forward to finding the time to hear (and see). Have I, by the way, complimented Andy for the brilliant common title for his bloggings on the Tolkien Society site? ‘Travels on the Olórë Mallë’ – travels on the Path of Dreams that lead to the Cottage of the Play of Sleep, or the Cottage of the Children, in Valinor. Brilliant title!

Henry Gee, Saturday, 19 July 2014, ‘A Time To Die: A Question for Tolkienists
On the theology of Aragorn's death and the willing relinquishing of life by the good Númenóreans in general. It is an interesting question.

John D. Rateliff, Thursday, 24 July 2014, ‘Another Unfact about Tolkien
Debunking some of the myths surrounding Christopher Lee's one tongue-tied encounter with Tolkien. I strongly believe that one of the responsibilities you have, when you have special knowledge on a topic – and even more when you are considered an authority on the topic – is to spread that knowledge and correct mistakes (see also Marcel Aubron-Bülles' ‘Things J.R.R. Tolkien has never said, done, written or had anything to do with’), so kudos to John Rateliff for joining in with this one.

Dimitra Fimi, Friday, 25 July 2014, ‘On Hobbits and Poetry: Musings on Newly Published Letters by Tolkien
Some reflections and comments based on the recent publications of letters by Tolkien.

Lydia Smith, Tuesday, 29 July 2014, ‘Fellowship of the Ring 60th Anniversary: How the Masterpiece Reflects JRR Tolkien's WW1 Involvement
On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, the co-inciding of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War is too good an opportunity to miss, and as John Garth has already amply demonstrated, there are many links to be investigated between Tolkien's WWI experience and his later fiction.

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

John D. Rateliff, Sunday, 6 July 2014, ‘The Shippey Festschrift
About the book, but little about the contents.
See also, Pieter Collier, The Tolkien Library, Thursday, 24 July 2014, ‘ Tolkien in the New Century: Essays in Honor of Tom Shippey
where you will find a little more information about the book.

Troels Forchhammer, Sunday, 27 July 2014, ‘Tolkien Inside Anglo-Saxon Society
My review of Deborah A. Higgens' book, Anglo-Saxon Community in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The short version: I like it.

John D. Rateliff, Sunday, 27 July 2014, ‘Tolkien Letters (WRITING Magazing)
On the article in Writing Magazine that tells the story of, and provides brief quotations from, a conversation between Tolkien and a young girl aspiring to become a poet.

David Bratman, Thursday, 31 July 2014, ‘Tolkien Studies 11: an announcement
The list of contents for Tolkien Studies 11 and the promise that it will soon be available. I am looking forward to this volume.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Graeme Skinner, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, ‘Old Man Willow

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

David Bratman, Thursday, 3 July 2014, ‘library day
A story about the frustrations you can run into when trying to research the Tolkien bibliography for the year ...

Michael Martinez, Friday, 11 July 2014, ‘What Do Tolkien Fans Want to Know Most?
Michael Martinez' long-running Middle-earth blog (see sources) where he attempts to answer various questions, primarily story-internal, is the source of information for this interesting post on what kinds of posts that attract the most interest.

The Clare Herald, Friday, 18 July 2014, ‘Tolkien's writings linked with The Burren
The inspiration that Tolkien found in certain Irish myths is well documented, as are his visits to the Burren after finishing The Lord of the Rings. The attempts to link features in The Lord of the Rings to the Burren have so far been spurious – not a shred of convincing evidence has been put forth. The very dubious methods employed by the Burren event (e.g. questionable auctioning methods that, in eyes, amounted to legal conning) and the undocumented claims made by people associated with the event makes me very highly dubious about these claims – to my eyes it looks like research misconduct / scientific dishonesty.

= = = = In Print = = = =

Paula Coston, Writing Magazine, July 2014, ‘Tolkien on writing ... and me
The story of Paula Coston's conversation by letters with J.R.R. Tolkien as a young girl and aspiring poet. In the event, she is now a published novelist, but here she tells the story of her conversation with Tolkien, and includes several quotations (though brief) from the letters she received from Tolkien. Digital access to this can be bought at a reasonable price.
See also the coverage in the news section of the Tolkien Society web-site.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Ye Machine
The blog of historian and Tolkienist Simon J. Cook.

Graeme Skinner
The blog and digital showroom of the photos, paintings, drawings etc. of Graeme Skinner – often inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
Blogs appearing on the list below are those where the blogger has posted in July (whether Tolkien-related or not), without giving details on the posts (beyond that which is given above).

Pieter Collier, ‘The Tolkien Library

John D. Rateliff, ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from July 2014

John Garth, ‘John Garth
Archive of posts from July 2014

Marcel Aubron-Bülles, ‘The Tolkienist
Posts from July 2014

David Bratman, ‘Kalimac's Journal
Posts from July 2014

Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny's Sketchbook
Archive for July 2014

Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Posts from July 2014

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

Various, The Tolkien Society
Posts from July 2014

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Posts from July 2014

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive for July 2014

Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Archive of posts from July 2014

Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers
Posts from July 2014

= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources in July 2014

Simon J. Cook, ‘Ye Machine
The blog of historian Simon J. Cook, whose research into the history of late Victorian and Edwardian scholarship has given him an excellent knowledge of the ideas that helped shape Tolkien as a scholar and author.
For older sources, see

1 comment:

  1. Incidentally – you may notice that, as I have decided to stop posting the full transactions to usenet, I have also decided to follow the excellent advice from John Garth to use the full name of authors and artists. Thanks for that advice!


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