Sunday 3 April 2016

Tolkien Transactions LXVIII

March 2016

Oh, what a month! I had a good, long Easter holiday, getting rested up and re-energized, and on Tolkien Reading Day there was less than a handful of Tolkien-related stories that I hadn't already dealt with, so I thought I was in good time. Then something happened, and what a great week that was. The amount of great stuff that came out over the last week of March was impressive! So if you haven't caught up yet (and I won't blame you, if you haven't), you certainly have something to look forward to.

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
"TENGWARIN" ~The Art of Elmenel~ : "The Imladris Edition", Test Booklet
by Tsvetelina Krumova – Elmenel


Liverpool Hope Library, Friday, 18 March 2016, ‘Unusual Provenance Discovery in Special Collections
About the discovery, in their special collections, of a Latin-English Dictionary owned by Tolkien while at King Edward's School in Birmingham. The book has previously been owned by F. Henry Dudley (Ignatius) Ryder (the book is signed by him in 1859) of the Birmingham Oratory where he died in October 1907 – young Tolkien signed the book (with all his names in full) in 1908.

‘Greywolfe359’, Daily Kos, Friday, 18 March 2016, ‘It's Over Gandalf. We Need to Unite Behind Saruman to Save Middle Earth from Sauron!
An example of people using Tolkienian (or, in this case, perhaps more rightly Jacksonian) references to carry political messages. Whether Tolkien – or the characters referred to – would have any sympathy for the political views expressed generally doesn't seem to concern such authors. From a Tolkienian point of view, this, however, does show how Tolkien's work manages to stay relevant in its applicability for the modern reader (though sometimes one might wish that they'd be just a bit more concerned also with the views of Tolkien himself …).

Alex Wheatle, The Guardian, Tuesday, 15 March 2016, ‘Alex Wheatle: I was mesmerised by Tolkien's inventiveness of language
On how one author of young adult fiction was inspired by Tolkien's ‘inventiveness of language’ and says that ‘it is that force of Tolkien's innovation that has long remained with me.’

Leek Post and Times, Tuesday, 22 March 2016, ‘Three ways to celebrate Tolkien in Staffordshire during the Easter break
Most of these will also be available after the Easter break …

Hanna Somerville, Oxford Mail, Thursday, 24 March 2016, ‘Memorial plaque for J.R.R. Tolkien set to be created at Pembroke College
About the plans for a plaque at Pembroke. There is an error in the article, though: Tolkien was a fellow at Pembroke College from 1925 when he was elected Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford until 1945 when he was elected Merton Professor of English (at which point he became a fellow at Merton College, obviously).


Reports & comments on past events
22 - 25 March 2016, Seattle, WA, USA, ‘PCA/ACA National Conference, PCA/ACA
Anna Smol, Sunday, 20 March 2016, ‘Tolkien Studies at PCA 2016’ – not really a report, but a preview of what I hope to find some reporting / commentary on … and would it be too much to hope for some papers to be put on-line?

25 March 2016, Worldwide, ‘Tolkien Reading Day, Tolkien Society – the 2016 theme is “Life, Death, and Immortality”.
John Ledger, Yorkshire Post, Wednesday, 23 March 2016, ‘A precious Good Friday in store for lovers of Tolkien
Radagast the Brown
by Peter Xavier Price
Anna Swartz,, Thursday, 24 March 2016, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2016: Here's the Story Behind the Day Every 'LOTR' Fan Can Appreciate
Anna Smol, Friday, 25 March 2016, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2016
Anthony Venutolo,, Friday, 25 March 2016, ‘National Tolkien Reading Day 2016: Celebrate 'Lord of the Rings' author’ – missing an ‘Inter-’ in the title there.
Toni Betzner, Friday, 25 March 2016, ‘Life, Death, and the Immortal Four’ (thanks to Sue Bridgwater to pointing me to this!)
Christian Holub, Entertainment Weekly, Friday, 25 March 2016, ‘5 reasons to read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion – It is Tolkien Reading Day, after all.

Info on upcoming & on-going events (as of 1 April)
27 February–9 April 2016, Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton, ‘Dales of a Perilous Realm’, John Cockshaw, Shaun Richardson, Mill Bridge Gallery
See, John Cockshaw, YouTube, Monday, 22 February 2016, ‘INSIDE LOOK: "Dales of a Perilous Realm" Tolkien-inspired exhibition

7 March–24 April, Museum of Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, UK, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier recruitment and Myth Maker’, The Haywood Society
‘Greendragon’, One, Thursday, 10 March 2016, ‘‘J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier and Myth Maker’ exhibition in the UK

31 March–2 April 2016, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, ‘C.S. Lewis & Inklings Society Conference 2016 – ‘Is Man a Myth?’’, John Brown University C.S. Lewis & Inklings Society
Jason Fisher, Thursday, 24 March 2016, ‘Decennial conference

8–10 April 2016, The Middletons Hotel, York, ‘Springmoot and AGM 2016’, the Tolkien Society
Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, Sunday, 6 March 2016, ‘Alan Lee to be guest of honour at Springmoot
Francesca Barbini, SciFi-Fantasy Network, Saturday, 19 March 2016, ‘Alan Lee & The Tolkien Society

8–9 April 2016, University of Vermont, USA, ‘Tolkien in Vermont 2016’, Tolkien Club of University of Vermont
Anna Smol, Monday, 19 October 2015, ‘CFP: Tolkien in Vermont 2016

21&ndash22 May 2016, Hayworth, ‘ALS Weekend 2016’, The Alliance of Literary Societies
Daniel Helen, The Tolkien Society, ‘Alliance of Literary Societies AGM

14 April–10 June 2016, Various locations, Scotland, ‘Leaf by Niggle’, Puppet State Theatre Company. You can find the tour plan from there.
See also: Mary Palmer, Daily Record, Tuesday, 1 March 2016, ‘New play based on J.R.R. Tolkien short story to tour Scotland

6–8 May 2016, University of Jena, ‘Tolkien Conference 2016’, Deutsche Tolkiengesellschaft and Walking Tree Publishers. The 2016 theme is ‘Tolkien's Philosophy of Language’

12–15 May 2016, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, , ‘51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (K'zoo '16)’, The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University
John D. Rateliff, Friday, 26 February 2016, ‘Kalamazoo 2016 Tolkien Events schedule

28 May 2016, East Yorkshire, ‘Tolkien Tour: East Yorkshire’, the Tolkien Society

2–5 June 2016, Taylor University, Indiana, ‘C.S. Lewis & Friends Colloquium 2016’, Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis & Friends

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

3 July 2016, Hilton Hotel, Leeds, ‘the Tolkien Society Seminar 2016’, the Tolkien Society
This year's theme will be ‘Life, Death, and Immortality’ in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. See also Daniel Helen, Tolkien Society, Tuesday, 19 January 2016, ‘Call for Papers: Tolkien Society Seminar 2016

4–7 July 2016, Leeds University, ‘International Medieval Congress’, Institute for Medieval Studies

16 July 2016, Baruch College, New York City, ‘New York Tolkien Conference

18–20 July 2016, University of Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany, ‘International Conference on Medievalism – 2016: Tradition or Myth’, International Society for the Study of Medievalism &ndash: I am not sure if there will be anything specifically Tolkienian at this conference, but looking at the theme of the 2016 conference, I would very much expect that Tolkien will be mentioned ... more than once.

5–8 August 2016, San Antonio, Texas, US, ‘MythCon 47’, The Mythopoeic Society. The 2016 theme is ‘Faces of Mythology: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern’
Lynn Maudlin, Mythopoeic Society, Tuesday, 15 March 2016, ‘Mythcon 47 Room & Board packages available.
Lynn Maudlin, Monday, 21 March 2016, ‘Mythcon 47 Progress Report #1 Available

8–11 September 2016, Saint Anthony's, Oxford, ‘Oxonmoot 2016’, Tolkien Society — I have booked! :-)

Essays and Scholarship, Tuesday, 1 March 2016, ‘The Medieval Magazine: Anglo-Saxon England (Volume 2 Issue 5)
If you wish to learn more about the Anglo-Saxon England that loomed so large in Tolkien's professional life and in his imagination.

Hobbit Maiden
By Jenny Dolfen
Simon J. Cook, Journal of Tolkien Research, Monday, 14 March 2016, ‘Fantasy Incarnate: Of Elves and Men
Simon Cook's essay takes its outset in Tolkien's comments, in ‘On Fairy-stories’, about the relation between language and myth as well as the ideas expressed by Friedrich Max Müller and Owen Barfield. From there, Cook moves through discussions of the capacity for ‘fantasy’ in Men and Elves. Cook's paper is interesting and intriguing, and I think that the overall thrust is going in the right direction, but the going is rough, and the paper seems to me rather uneven, appearing in places very well-thought-out with well-developed arguments, while at other places it reads more as trying out some ideas for crossing some rough ground, and at times taking unnecessary and unconvincing detours. Overall, I am convinced that Cook is moving in the right direction, and that his overall thesis is sound, but there are still elements of the argumentation that fail to convince me, and where I think it would be better to find a different path.
See also Simon J. Cook, Monday, 14 March 2016, ‘Journal of Tolkien Research

Edmund Weiner, Wednesday, 23 February 2016, ‘Tolkien and the aesthetics of philology
This post, originally a talk given to Taruithorn, the Oxford Tolkien Society, in March 2015, explores what Weiner thinks is at the heart of Tolkien's delight in language and in linguistic invention. The post moves from simple delight in the sounds of a language, through enjoying fitting relations between sounds and meaning, to more complex ideas such as Tolkien's concept of ‘native language’, grammatical arrangements, language history, and the conscious construction and controlled change of languages. Weiner ends on the idea of language as music – language not as communication, but as art in and of itself (albeit still art that conveys a meaning, but so may a painting or more conventional music). It is in this way, Weiner argues, that we should understand at least parts of Tolkien's delight in languages, both real and of his own invention.

Edmund Weiner, Friday, 25 March 2016, ‘Wan, dim, and pale: the OED and Tolkien
Weiner continues posting talks about Tolkien and various aspects of language, here a talk about Tolkien's use of words that imply a lessening of light (in amount and / or quality). The three words are all among those that Tolkien have glossed in dictionaries, wan he edited for the OED and he included it in his Glossary to Fourteenth-century Verse and Prose, pale also appears in the Glossary, as does dim. In all three cases Weiner looks at Tolkien's linguistic notes for the word before turning to Tolkien's use of the word in his own writings. I am reminded of Tolkien's comment about wishing rather to “try to wring the juice out of a single sentence, or explore the implications of one word” – here much juice is wrung out of three words.

Dimitra Fimi, Saturday, 26 March 2016, ‘Authorial control and world-building: Some thoughts on J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Catherine Fisher and Umberto Eco
A fascinating post by Dimatra Fimi. The discussion of the relative weight of the author's intentions and the reader's perceptions in literary criticism is certainly not new, but the attempts by authors such as Tolkien and Rowling to control the reading (or at least the critical reading) of their own works add another aspect to this discussion.
Personally I am very comfortable giving more weight to the author than to anyone else – actually, more weight than to all else combined. To this there are two reasons. First, the author's intentions is still the only interpretation of the work that is shared by all readers – this is the common starting point, and the only perspective that doesn't make criticism wholly egocentric. And that is the other reason: I would be very uncomfortable with the idea that my personal ‘filters’ should be interesting to others, and, frankly, I am not particularly interested in how you might experience it differently from me.
Also, I think the importance of this personal reconstruction of meaning has been grotesquely exaggerated. Experience shows that words generally do get the meaning across quite well – and when the writer chooses their words with some care, the intended meaning is very nearly completely reconstructed in the mind of the reader (this is obviously even more so in the sciences where mathematical notation helps in making the intended meaning unambiguous).
So I will continue to focus on Tolkien's intention and Tolkien's opinions. Not that I always agree with Tolkien (or that he always agreed with himself, for that matter), but I do think it is important to attempt to understand what he felt about his own work, and it is certainly far more interesting and relevant for me than what any of the rest of us might feel.

Edmund Weiner, Saturday, 26 March 2016, ‘Sources of Tolkien's language-making
There has long been discussions about the possible sources for Tolkien's linguistic inventions – in a number of cases, a word in one of Tolkien's (sub-)created languages is too close to a real-world word with a similar meaning for this to be accidental (Black Speech nazg for ‘ring’ and Irish nasc for ‘link’ is just one example). In this talk, given to Taruithorn on 13 November last year, Weiner discusses this question, offering numerous examples from several both real-world languages and invented languages. Weiner suggests that Tolkien worked primarily from a sense of phonological aesthetics and a sense of the fitness of the assocition of sound and meaning (see also his earlier talk to Taruithorn, ‘Tolkien and the aesthetics of philology’). All in all a very interesting post (as are, indeed, all of the posts that Weiner has so far posted to his blog).

Edmund Weiner,, Sunday, 27 March 2016, ‘A possibly unnoticed instance of echoes of G. K. Chesterton in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien
Introducing the play Magic by G.K. Chesterton that premiered and was published in November 1913, and noting some thematic parallels between the ‘fantastic comedy by G. K. Chesterton’ and the, mainly poetic, work that Tolkien was doing in the following year, such as the first evidence for his ‘nonsense fairy language’ and the Eärendel poem.

Edmund Weiner, Thursday, 31 March 2016, ‘Tolkien and Language, especially English
Another Tolkien talk that Weiner has given, this one at Nine Worlds Geekfest 11 August 2013, and drawing on an earlier talk, which he has since also published on the blog (on 1 April). Weiner notes that ‘Seasoned Tolkienists will find little here that isn't common knowledge, but it may be of interest to others.’ – doubtlessly Weiner is well aware that his blog, in the few short days since his first post, has already attracted many ‘seasoned Tolkienists’ among its readers. Still, there is a lot to know about Tolkien and language, and I, at least, was reminded of much that I had forgotten. This post works quite well in conjunction with earlier posts about Tolkien's relations to language and language invention, and Weiner here also takes in Tolkien's use of language for the telling of tales (something I suspect Tolkien would have claimed was more than mere communication).

Sauron Brought Werewolves
by Peter Xavier Price – A (non-exhaustive) list of papers on Tolkienian topics uploaded to the website in March
I have not had the time to read through all of these, and so I will merely list them here as relevant. There are likely many more papers uploaded that should appear here, but these are the ones that I have noticed.
For a full list of papers that have been tagged ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’ (without date information), please see
Ana María Mariño Arias, ‘Women of Middle-Earth. An approach to the role of women in The Lord of the Rings
Simon Cook, ‘The Tragedy of Cambridge Anthropology:Edwardian Historical Thought and the Contact of Peoples’ in History of European Ideas
Janet Brennan Croft, ‘The Art of the Foreword: Tolkien's Shortest Works
Michaela Eskew, ‘Judging a Cover By Its Book: A Study of the Iconography in J.R.R. Tolkien's Dust Jacket Designs for The Lord of the Rings
Andrew Higgins, , ‘Glossopoeia and World-Building: Exploring J.R.R.Tolkien's Four Key Characteristics for Art-Languages by Other Practioners of the 'Secret Vice'
Thomas Honegger, ‘Splintered Heroes – Heroic Variety and its Function in The Lord of the Rings
William Matross, ‘The Shaved Chin: Cultural Imperialism and Gender Norms in Dwarves


Dwight Longenecker, Tuesday, 1 March 2016, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien Was a Great Catholic Evangelist
In some ways, I can understand what would make Longenecker feel the way he does, but at the same time, I have to disagree with him. In my opinion, Longenecker seems to believe that the applicability that he sees in Tolkien's work must be universal rather than accepting that this, as Tolkien pointed out, “resides in the freedom of the reader” and is not “the purposed domination of the author.” Many aspects of Tolkien's work are certainly inspired by his faith-based world-view, but the ‘arrow’ doesn't necessarily point both ways.

Tom Hillman, Sunday, 6 March 2016, ‘'Wraiths!' he wailed. 'Wraiths on Wings' -- (TT 4.ii.629-30)
A commentary & analysis of the situation where Frodo, Gollum, and Sam are passed by a Ringwraith in the Dead Marshes (book IV, ch. 2). Hillman's focus is on the changes this event brings about, particularly in Frodo and Gollum. There are some interesting ideas here, especially about the development of Frodo, though I do think that Hillman goes one or two steps too far in his analysis of Frodo's mental state at the Black Gate (IV,3).

Philip Kosloski, National Catholic Register, Wednesday, 9 March 2016, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien and St. Augustine Knew That We Are Exiles
Reading this as a comparative comment, there are some interesting thoughts. Personally I think that Kosloski applies a bit too much applicability to his reading of Tolkien, which I do not think is entirely consistent with Tolkien's concept of the Gift, but insofar as the comparison does hold, the parallels to Augustine are intersting enough.

Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom 2012, Saturday, 12 March 2016, ‘First Meeting in March
Discussions of ‘The Palantír’ (book III, ch. 11) and ‘The Taming of Sméagol’ (book IV, ch. 1).

Tom Hillman, Thursday, 31 March 2016, ‘And Yet Remain Evil -- Some Parallels in Tolkien and Sassoon
Tom Hillman has been reading The Memoirs of George Sherston by Siegfried Sassoon, and has there found aspects that remind him of Tolkien, and which Hillman believes stem from the parallel experiences of the two authors in the trenches of the Great War.

Bradley Birzer, The Imaginative Conservative, Tuesday, 29 March 2016, ‘Tolkien & Anglo-Saxon England: Protectors of Christendom
The first parts of this article gives a fine, albeit popularised, account of the origins of Tolkien's legendarium, moving through his fascination with Anglo-Saxon language and culture (though I think his antipathy to things French has been exaggerated), through his academic endeavours to keep language, and not least Old and Middle English, on the syllabus of the Oxford English school. From there Birzer moves on through Tolkien's friendship with C.S. Lewis to his work on his sub-created mythology.
Unfortunately Birzer, from this point, moves on to a special kind of applicability, but presented as if it was the intention of the author – something for which there is no evidence. Specifically, Tolkien's mythology remained very much an English mythology (though the aspect of it being about England largely disappeared). Tolkien is also careful never to preach – the spiritual elements of e.g. The Lord of the Ringscan easily be understood from a Catholic perspective, but they do not force that perspective upon the reader, leaving the reader free to understand the spirituality of the book through whatever religious (or non-religiously spiritual) applicability they would prefer.

Reviews and Book News

John D. Rateliff, Tuesday, 1 March 2016, ‘Flieger Day
On collecting contributions for the upcoming Flieger festschrift, A Wilderness of Dragons. I look forward to see this book, even if one should, of course, remember that the people who contribute to such a festschrift are not the scholar they celebrate. Still, if the Shippey festschrift is anything to go by, there is a very good chance of some first-class papers here.

David Bratman, Sunday, 6 March 2016, ‘at work
I am ... intrigued! My best guess right now would be to look forward to seeing the a list of contents for the Flieger festschrift, and otherwise there might be other projects about that I haven't heard of, which might be an even better thing.

by Jenny Dolfen
Eric Metaxas, Christian Post, Tuesday, 8 March 2016, ‘What Hobbits and Wardrobes Teach About Faith Amid Tragedy
Not really sure what to do with this one ….
This article is an advertisement for a now book, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War, by one Joe Loconte, who writes about C.S. Lewis' and J.R.R. Tolkien's experiences in the Great War. I don't recall hearing about this book elsewhere (anyone who has heard about it?), and I have to admit that I find it rather weakens my confidence to find it advertised like this by a writer who calls the book's author ‘my good friend’ – and the description doesn't really begin to rebuild my interest. I wonder what the author might have to say about Tolkien's WWI experiences that hasn't already been discussed better by John Garth and others. I will certainly steer clear of this book unless it comes with very favourable reviews by reviewers whose good opinion I trust.
Mark Sommer, The Examiner, Saturday, 12 March 2016, ‘A definitive Tolkien biography for a new generation
A very positive review of Colin Duriez' book, J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend. It is extremely frustrating to see the reviewer ignore Carpenter's authorised biography and the original research presented by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond in their J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide and the recent (2014) biography by Raymond Edwards, Tolkien, and say that “no comprehensive biography on Tolkien had come forth until now” – an easily refutable claim.
For a different take on Duriez' book, see the December 2015 review by Christina Scull, ‘Tolkien Biographies Continued, Part One

Andrew Higgins, Saturday, 12 March 2016, ‘Tolkien by Raymond Edwards
A review of Edwards' new Tolkien biography at the Goodreads site. Higgins is positive, as are most other readers, ranking the book with Carpenter's authorised biography and Garth's Tolkien and the Great War.

Jenny Dolfen, Wednesday, 23 March 2016, ‘Artbook update!
The forthcoming artbook by Jenny Dolfen, Songs of Sorrow and Hope has been delayed. Not that we're impatient to get it in hand … oh, no, not at all … just get it out yesterday, will you?

Sue Bridgwater, Monday, 28 March 2016, ‘Perilous and Fair
A ‘brief review’, as Bridgwater points out, of the collection Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie A. Donovan. Brief as it is, Bridgwater manages to sneak in phrases such as ‘an outstanding book’ and ‘a turning point in the study of women in Tolkien's life and writing’. High words, indeed, from a well-respected Tolkienist.

John Garth, Wedesday, 30 March 2016, ‘A turbulent darkness: Tolkien's first story
A reproduction of Garth's review of Tolkien's The Story of Kullervo (ed. Verlyn Flieger) from the Mail on Sunday. As Garth points out, “1914 was the Big Bang for Tolkien’s imagination, and in The Story of Kullervo you can just about sense Middle-earth waiting to take shape just months later.” Very perceptive, and I certainly agree.

Tolkienian Artwork

Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska, Sunday, 15 March 2015, ‘Lúthien & Beren
Starting out with a year old picture by Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska. This image was one of my top-three candidates for nominating for this year's Tolkien Society Award for Best Artwork (the other two were Cuiviénen by Jenny Dolfen and The Battle of the Pelennor Fields by Tomás Hijo), so when I realised that I hadn't included this work at the time, I just had to.

Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska, Thursday, 3 March 2016, ‘You are not helping me, master Peregrin!
Boromir carrying Pippin through the snow at Caradhras.

Peter Xavier Price, Thursday, 10 March 2016, ‘Radagast the Brown
A glimpse of Radagast seen through the trees.

‘Wait for me beyond the Western Sea ...’
by Peter Xavier Price
Peter Xavier Price, Thursday, 17 March 2016, ‘Wait for me beyond the Western Sea ...
Lúthien's farewell to Beren after Carcharoth's death.

Peter Xavier Price, Monday, 21 March 2016, ‘Sauron Brought Werewolves

Jenny Dolfen, Thursday, 24 March 2016, ‘Smaug
A wonderful picture of Smaug on his hoard (though to my eyes a rather excessive hoard)

Other Stuff, Tuesday, 15 March 2016, ‘Show Off Your Love of Dragons with Wallpaper by Todd Lockwood!
Not really Tolkien, I know … but … but … dragons! :-)

Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer,, Tuesday, 15 March 2016, ‘A Horse-lovers' Guide to The Hobbit
While I would certainly agree that it is possible to level some unfavourable criticism at The Hobbit (see for instance Verlyn Flieger's brilliant essay, ‘Tolkien on Tolkien: “On Fairy-Stories,” The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings’ in Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien), and I also acknowledge that people can find any or all of Tolkien's works to be entirely outside their sympathies – unreadable, even – this piece is merely nonsensical. It's like complaining that Bilbo and the dwarves apparently do not use the toilet – pointless.

John D. Rateliff, Sunday, 20 March 2016, ‘Birmingham's Folly (Perriot's Tower)’ [sic]
On the latest round of folly about Perrotts Folly in Birmingham. I would certainly support that Kickstarter without hesitation :-)

‘A Clerk of Oxford’, Wednesday, 23 March 2016, ‘'This doubtful day of feast or fast': Good Friday and the Annunciation
In J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, Tom Shippey notes that 25 March was once believed to be the original date of the crucifixion, and thus the original Good Friday, as well as the Annunciation. Having also noted that the Company of the Ring sets out from Rivendell on 25 December, he comments that “The main action of _The Lord of the Rings_ takes place, then, in the mythic space between Christmas, Christ's birth, and the crucifixion, Christ's death.” (p. 208-9)
Having this idea in mind about the symbolism embedded in The Lord of the Rings, I found this article that deals with the Christian symbolism of this date highly interesting. I do not doubt that Tolkien would have known at least the majority of the texts referenced in the article.
Eric, Monday, 28 March 2016, ‘Four dragons
Dragons and intricate devices … though not explicitly Tolkienian, there's enough right there to put it here :-)

Rewarding Discussions

LotR Plaza: ‘Ēarendil and Auzandil
A philological comment …
A philologist in Lejre –Nelson Goering at the site
of the earliest hall found (so far) in Lejre
Photo: Troels Forchhammer

In Print

Amon Hen 258, March 2016
Amon Hen is, to a large extent, the glue that holds our far-flung Tolkien Society together – a large part of our Zusammenhangskraft (or cohesive force). This is where we tell each other what is going on in the society, such as in the column ‘Behind Glass Doors’ (always my first read), ‘The Burning Palantír’ and ‘Mathom’, the newsletter from the Smials. This bulletin is also where members can try out new ideas, as in Anne Marie Gazzalo's piece, ‘The Effect of War on Tolkien's Mythology’ and Ellen Walker's ‘Whatever became of the Stone Giants’. The wider Tolkien world also has a place in Amon Hen, not least in Michael Flowers' collection of Tolkien-releated clippings from both paper and digital editions, ‘Michael's Miscellany’. Thank you, Andrew, for an always enjoyable read!
Beyond Bree, March 2016
The March issue of Beyond Bree has the 21st instalment in Dale Nelson's tale, Days of the Craze, this one subtitled ‘Lord of the Flies: The First Fan-organized Tolkien Conference, Belknap College, 1968, and Beyond’. An article on people trying to (ab)use Tolkien when peddling their pipes and tobacco and some comments on earlier articles completes what has not been dealt with in greater detail elsewhere.

Web Sites

Tsvetelina Krumova, , ‘Elmenel
Please consider supporting Tsvetelina Krumova's work to bring out books of beautiful Elvish calligraphy. I would very much like to think that Tolkien's dream of publishing his book in Elvish would today be possible as a project of art.

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.

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

Jason Fisher, ‘Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish
Archive of posts from March 2016

John D. Rateliff´, ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from March 2016

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

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

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

Andrew Higgens, ‘Wotan's Musings
Archive of posts from March 2016

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

Edmund Weiner, ‘Philoloblog
Archive of posts from March 2016

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Archive of news

Various (Bradford Eden, ed.) Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Archive of contributions for the on-going volume 2, issue 1

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

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from March 2016

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from March 2016

Sue Bridgwater, ‘Skorn
Archive of posts from March 2016

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

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

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

Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers
Archive of posts from March 2016


New sources in March 2016:
Sue Bridgwater, Skorn: A world of wanderers, wizards, deserts, seas, forests – and adventure.

Edmund Weiner, ‘Philoblog
Philogist at the Oxford English Dictionary, co-author of The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary.

For older sources, see