Sunday 15 January 2017

Tolkien Transactions LXXVI

December 2016

Happy New Year!

Yup, I know: I'm late ... again.
Still, not as much as last month, and things are looking up, and I am now gnawing away slowly at the backlog – the ‘Mountain of Neglects’, as I joined Brenton Dickieson in quoting Tolkien last month. There are still old neglects to catch up on, but they are fewer than they were.

Some of the artworks this month show that I often like my illustrations to try out new routes; to add something new to our perception of Tolkien's work, even if – and perhaps particularly if – it doesn't fit withour usual perceptions or (to be honest) with Tolkien's text. This is also the main reason why I am saddened by the many illustrations trying merely to recreate someone else's vision – it doesn't give us anything personal, just an imitation (which might be flattering to the imitated, but not very interesting), and I am quite unlikely to include such pieces.

Another thing about the images this month is that three of the pictures are of pictures on my wall. For my birthday, my mother gave me a framing of three of my Tolkien pieces, and I have now finally managed to hang them (there have been a bit of problems with the frames and the wall etc.) and I want to show them off. But I do feel that I need to apologise to the artists – not for the frames, nor for wanting to have their art on my wall, but for my poor photography skills. Please believe when I insist that these pictures look much better when seen for real (the photographs were not improved by the fact that I had to take the photos quite close due to my Tolkien book case being about 1.5 metres from the wall). Still, I wanted to share my joy (and, I admit it, pride) in these pictures.

Middle-earth map by Elmenel (Tsvetelina Krumova)
This wonderful map of Middle-earth is astonishing! I am deeply sorry
about the reflections, but I am immensely happy for this wonderful map

As usual, I make or accept no claims 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: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: Other Reading
11: Web Sites
12: The Blog Roll
13: Sources

Marrer of Middle-earth ...!
by Peter Xavier Price


Anabelle Williams, The Times, Friday, 9 December 2016, ‘The story of Lydbrook Farm House
— “A Georgian property with connections to the Tolkien family is for sale”. As is so often seen, the connection to J.R.R. Tolkien quickly becomes rather weak, or even tenuous, but I suppose one cannot blame the seller for trying to cash in a bit on the connection ...
See also Alex Matthews, Daily Mail, Friday, 9 December 2016, ‘It's not quite Middle Earth: House where JRR Tolkien lived in the 1940s goes on sale for £2million

BroadwayWorld, Tuesday, 20 December 2016, ‘Marquette Purchases Rare First Edition, First Printing Of 'The Hobbit'
See also Judith Siers-Poisson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Thursday, 22 December 2016, ‘Rare Edition Of 'The Hobbit' Added To Marquette University Collection

Clive Hammond, Basingstoke Gazette, Thursday, 29 December 2016, ‘Basingstoke composer Joseph Purdue completes dream to take 'Tolkien' to the West End


Reports & comments on past events
14 April–10 June 2016, Various locations, Scotland (and 10 September, St. Anthony's College, Oxford), ‘Leaf by Niggle’, Puppet State Theatre Company.
Elspeth, The Puppet State Blog, Monday, 12 December 2016, ‘Leaf by Niggle Reflections
Reflections on the stage play of Leaf by Niggle which conquered the Tolkien Society at Oxonmoot this year. It was truly a privilege to be able to watch this play, and not least to be able to do so in the company of my Tolkien Society friends. Thanks to the Puppet State Theatre and to all those from the Society involved in getting this enchanting experience to Oxonmoot. Thank you!

Info on upcoming & on-going events (as of 1 January)
Bilbo and the Red Book by Jay Johnstone
Another piece that I am very pleased with. I
bought it early in 2016, and now I can finally
do it justice, having put it in a proper frame.
26 April 2016 – 27 February 2017, Various, Staffordshire, ‘Exhibition: J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918’, The Haywood Society
Staffordshire Newsletter, Wednesday, 28 December 2016, ‘JRR Tolkien exhibition comes to Stafford
Deniz Bevan, Wednesday, 28 December 2016, ‘Tolkien in Staffordshire and Birthday Toast
Jon Cook, A Little Bit of Stone, Thursday, 29 December 2016, ‘Tolkien exhibition celebrates link with Staffordshire

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

3 January 2016 and later, Lord of the Rings Online, ‘Explore "The Lord of the Rings" – On Location’, Signum Univiersity
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
2 July 2017, Hilton Leeds Hotel, ‘Tolkien Society Seminar 2017’, The Tolkien Society – The theme this year will be “Poetry and Song in Tolkien's works”
Anna Milon, The Tolkien Society, Tuesday, 6 December 2016, ‘Call for papers: Tolkien Society Seminar 2017

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

Eleanor Parker, Friday, 20 December 2013, ‘The Anglo-Saxon O Antiphons: O Oriens, O Earendel
Retweeted for the holiday, and thus I saw it ... :-)

John Garth, The Telegraph, Thursday, 8 December 2016, ‘When JRR Tolkien bet CS Lewis: the wager that gave birth to The Lord of the Rings
A very interesting article written with John Garth's usual clear and approachable style, pinning down the wager between Lewis and Tolkien that directly gave us Out of the Silent Planet as well as The Lost Road and, as Garth argues, indirectly led to The Lord of the Rings. I am very much looking forward to see John Garth's upcoming Tolkien book, Tolkien's Mirror: Creation in the Catastrophic 20th Century.

John Garth, Friday, 9 December 2016, ‘Tanks at Gondolin
An excerpt from John Garth's superb Tolkien and the Great War. If you haven't got that book yet, read here to get a sampling of John Garth's ability to present his research in a very readable and engaging form.

Amanda Gilmore,, Sunday, 11 December 2016, ‘Trees as a Central Theme in Norse Mythology and Culture
Trees and Old Norse mythology – how could that not have Tolkienian relevance :)

Matthew Firth,, Sunday, 11 December 2016, ‘Allegories of Sight: Blinding and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England

Dimitra Fimi, Saturday, 31 December 2016, ‘“Twas the Night Before Christmas” and J.R.R. Tolkien's Tinfang Warble
A comparison of two poems covering metre, imagery, phrasing and other elements. Very interesting, indeed!

Tom Bombadil by Anke Eissmann
I bought this piece at Oxonmoot after wavering back and forth about this
work and one or two others. Fortunately I had brought my daughter, who was
not in doubt, and so I bought this wonderful piece by Anke Eissmann.


T.J. West, Tuesday, 6 December 2016, ‘The Pleasures of Reading Tolkien Criticism
Some thoughts on Tolkien criticism ...

Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Saturday, 10 December 2016, ‘December
Discussing ‘The Pyre of Denethor’ (V,7).

T.J. West, Monday, 12 December 2016, ‘Why Are Tolkien's Villains So Compelling?
T.J. West, Thursday, 15 December 2016, ‘Reading “The Lord of the Rings”: “The Taming of Smeagol,” “The Passage of the Marshes,” and “The Black Gate is Closed”
T.J. West, Monday, 19 December 2016, ‘Reading “The Lord of the Rings”: “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit.”
These are some of the reflections by T.J. West during his ‘Tolkien Appreciation Month’ as he re-read The Lord of the Rings. You will find more on his blog.
Simon J. Cook, Monday, 19 December 2016, ‘the week before christmas – the story of the Ring begins
On the 79th anniversary (at the latest) of Tolkien setting pen to paper to begin the ‘second Hobbit’.

Tom Hillman, Monday, 19 December 2016, ‘The Price of Ilúvatar's Gift?
An interesting juxtaposition of On Fairy-stories and the Ainulindalë. I am not convinced (meaning, of course, that I am somewhat sceptical) that ideas and concepts expressed in On Fairy-stores can be ported to Tolkien's Silmarillion sub-creation in quite the way that Hillman, at least as I read it, proposes here, but I quite agree that it could be interesting to see where such enquiries might lead.

Number 3 Bagshot Row
by Joe Gilronan
Simon J. Cook, Tuesday, 20 December 2016, ‘LOTR – the very first pages
Cook continues his exploration of the earliest writings on The Lord of the Rings, and adds some very interesting comments along the way. When, for instance, he notes that “At this point in time, we must remember, Tolkien was very much in the world of The Hobbit and not at all in that which we now know as The Lord of the Rings.”, he also, almost incidentally, points out the vast difference between the worlds of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – differences that Tolkien ‘solved’ by the expedient, but brilliant, way of just ignoring them and ultimately only merging / importing those aspects of The Hobbit that were consistent with his Silmarillion world and The Lord of the Rings (a few hints of something else can, as Simon points out, be found in the early chapters – the thinking fox is an example of that).

Elin Nyberg, ScienceNordic, Tuesday, 20 December 2016, ‘The names of Tolkien's universe explained
A bit of etymology for a few of the names we meet in Tolkien's works.

Simon J. Cook, Wednesday, 21 December 2016, ‘LOTR: January & February 1938
Simon J. Cook, Saturday, 25 December 2016, ‘LOTR: Christmas 1937 to March 1938
Cook continues his explorations of the earliest work on The Lord of the Rings as the story slowly and with many false starts evolves ...

Edmund Weiner, Wednesday, 21 December 2016, ‘Hope and Leadership in The Lord of the Rings
Philogist Edmund Weiner has posted a blog post on the hard choices facing Aragorn from the fall of Gandalf in book 2 to Gandalf's return in book 3. Having been lucky enough to hear Liz Wright speak about Aragorn's leadership at Oxonmoot this year I couldn't help but compare the two approaches. Where Wright based her talk on modern leadership theory, Weiner is mainly focused on words, focusing on how Tolkien uses the word ‘hope’.

Bruce Charlton, Wednesday, 28 December 2016, ‘Tolkien and Barfield, Fantasy and Imagination - unexplored links

Tom Hillman, Wednesday, 28 December 2016, ‘The Uncouth Name of Shire
What, Hillman asks, is so ‘uncouth’ about the Shire?

Reviews and Book News

Dennis Wise, Friday, 2 December 2016, ‘3 1/2 Straussian readings of Tolkien!!!!
Mostly a review (sort of) of an article by Mary Keys

Brenton Dickieson, Monday, 19 December 2016, ‘Christmas With J.R.R. Tolkien: The Father Christmas Letters

John D. Rateliff, Thursday, 22 December 2016, ‘My Latest Publication (on THE FALL OF ARTHUR)
On Rateliff's essay, ‘“That Seems to Me Fatal”: Pagan and Christian in The Fall of Arthur’ in Tolkien Studies vol. 13.

Dennis Wise, Saturday, 24 December 2016, ‘And the newest issue of Tolkien Studies is out!

Tolkienian Artwork

The wall behind me as I sit at my computer
writing up these transactions ... I have just
to swirl my chair to find this kind of inspiration.
Peter Xavier Price, Saturday, 3 December 2016, ‘Marrer of Middle-earth ...!
Húrin cursing the Morgoth ...

‘aegeri’, DeviantArt, Sunday, 4 December 2016, ‘Steward of Gondor

Joe Gilronan, Monday, 5 December 2016, ‘Number 3 Bagshot Row

‘Alystraea’, DeviantArt, Tuesday, 6 December 2016, ‘Glorfindel With Battle Hair

‘Yeldabon’, DeviantArt, Saturday, 10 December 2016, ‘The Brandywine Bridge

‘Alystraea’, DeviantArt, Monday, 12 December 2016, ‘When Eowyn met Glorfindel

Tim Catherall, DeviantArt, Wednesday, 14 December 2016, ‘Wood elf

‘Szpondi’, DeviantArt, Thursday, 15 December 2016, ‘Unwanted guest

Gonzalo Kenny, DeviantArt, Friday, 16 December 2016, ‘Between the Nazgul and his prey

Tomás Hijo, Monday, 19 December 2016, ‘Work in progress
Not sure entirely which Tolkienian tower this is, but I look forward to seeing more.

Peter Xavier Price, DeviantArt, Saturday, 24 December 2016, ‘Young Turin and Beleg

‘AncaXBre’, DeviantArt, Sunday, 25 December 2016, ‘Bilbo and Lindir

‘Chechula’, DeviantArt, Monday, 26 December 2016, ‘Caradhras

‘Blacksanz’, DeviantArt, Tuesday, 27 December 2016, ‘The Great Horn

Elena Kukanova, DeviantArt, Wednesday, 28 December 2016, ‘The Swan-Maiden of Alqualonde

Magda Zwierzchowska, DeviantArt, Thursday, 29 December 2016, ‘Smaug

Story Internal (Ardalogy)

Michael Martinez, Monday, 5 December 2016, ‘What Happened to the Dúnedain after the War of the Ring?

Hawke, Monday, 12 December 2016, ‘Preview Review of Adventures in Middle-earth Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player's Guide

Michael Martinez, Friday, 16 December 2016, ‘Did Sauron Really Believe the One Ring Had been Destroyed?
One of the great discussions, and one that requires a bit of careful tracking of who knew what when in order to discuss. Martinez, in my opinion, does a good job (of course it also helps that I agree with his conclusion :) )

Jeff LaSala, Wednesday, 21 December 2016, ‘The Eagles of Middle-earth: Tolkien’s Special Ops
Possibly the most irritating of the Great Debates for me – why bother with something nobody would actually want to happen, when there are so many (and, frankly, quite obvious) reasons it would not be a good idea? Still, LaSala does a quite good job at it, including the role of the Eagles in the wider legendarium.

Other Stuff

T.J. West, Saturday, 3 December 2016, ‘Reading Tolkien in the Time of Trump
Starting his annual ‘Tolkien Appreciation Month’ at his blog, Queerly Different (likely to extend a bit into January), West shares some thoughts on setting out on his re-reading of The Lord of the Rings. As for the political application ... well, I suppose you all know where I stand with regards to mapping Tolkien to contemporary political questions and divisions.
This goes into my collection of articles tagged “Political Tolkien” that I created at one point when I dreamed of one day having something intelligent to say about the use of Tolkien or his works to promote this or that modern political point of view (beyond the fairly basic ‘such is a pointless exercise in futile foolishness’). I no longer have such ambitions, but I do maintain the list. I have found that regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the political opinion being argued, I invariably disagree with the reading of Tolkien used to make him relevant to the specifics of the argument (I am all for the relevance of Tolkien and his applicability to modern life in a far broader sense).

Dan Trynoski,, Saturday, 3 December 2016, ‘Want a new Medieval LEGO kit? Vote now!
Just because ... :-) (and it is, indeed, a very nice set!)

Stephen C Winter, Tuesday, 6 December 2016, ‘The Siege of Gondor: A Word to Those For Whom Hope Has Gone
This is a bit too ‘preachy’ for my tastes, but I'll leave it here for those who like this sort of thing ...

Young Turin and Beleg
by Peter Xavier Price
Eric Grundhauser, Altas Obscura, Wednesday, 7 December 2016, ‘Why do Dwarves Sound Scottish and Elves Sound Like Royalty?
Though the author advices us to “Blame Tolkien and time”, I cannot see what Tolkien has to do with it (look at Khuzdul – does that look like something that would yield a Scottish accent? And does Royalty sound Welsh? Because then I might understand it ...). I think it is better to look elsewhere, and ‘the times’ gets blamed for so much that a little more won't make much of a difference ...

Dimitra Fimi, Monday, 12 December 2016, ‘First impressions count? On academic book covers
I was not surprised to see this call for getting engaged from Dimitra Fimi. Her own enthusiasm and engagement is certainly contagious (not least in person), and her caring about the impression her book covers give rhymes well with my impression of a genuinely warm and caring person (which, in the end, is more important than being a brilliant scholar – which she of course also is).

John D. Rateliff, Monday, 19 December 2016, ‘Tollers and Jack
Follow-up on the earlier post about a stage play focusing on the friendship between Tolkien and Lewis.

Michael Martinez, Thursday, 22 December 2016, ‘Did Tolkien's Legendarium Have Anything to do with the Occult?
I cannot help but wonder about the specific questions and talking points – and the reason for asking. But that is not really relevant, and I think Michael Martinez does an excellent job at an explanation, with which I agree.

Nico Salvatori, Erie Times, Friday, 23 December 2016, ‘Nico Salvatori: Christmas with Tolkien

Rewarding Discussions

Tolkien Collector's Guide, ‘Collecting and sales
A question from Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull in preparation for the upcoming (is it September soon?) new edition of their J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.

LotR Plaza, ‘Humour in 'The Silmarillion'
On examples of wit and humour in Tolkien's Silmarillion tradition (not all in the published Silmarillion).

Other Reading

J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary
It is taking me quite a bit of time to get through Tolkien's Beowulf as I am, almost exclusively, reading on my Kindle in my lunch breaks, which means some 20 minutes per day (unless someone is keeping me company). Still, the pace suits me well, and allows time for reading other things when at home. I have finished the translation itself and am now reading Tolkien's comments.

Nancy Bunting, ‘Tolkien and the Boy Scouts’ in Lembas Extra 2015, edited by Cécile van Zon and Renée Vink.
Renée kindly pointed out this essay for me, and of course I had to get the collection for that :-)
The essay sums up what little is known about Tolkien's stint with the Boy Scouts (very little) and recounts a few things about the history and ideals of the early Scout Movement (probably good thing it wasn't me writing that essay – I probably would have had a bit more to say on those ;-) ). Bunting also tries to show how the Boy Scout motto, ‘Be Prepared’, can be seen as an undercurrent in Tolkien's work. Though I do not think we should look for a source connection here, I think that it would be worth doing more on the parallels between Tolkien and Baden-Powell simply seeing the latter as an exponent for some more general trends – after all, the Scout movement got a lot of early and eager support from all parts of society, which seems to indicate that Baden-Powell managed to connect to the zeitgeist of pre WWI England.

Web Sites

Baillie Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, ‘Letters from Father Christmas
An article by Baillie Tolkien about the Letters from Father Christmas, which she prepared. Note to self: remember to browse the Estate website more often ...

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.

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough
Archive of posts from December 2016

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

John D. Rateliff -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
Archive of posts from December 2016

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

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

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

Edmund Weiner, ‘Philoloblog
Archive of posts from December 2016

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

Simon Cook, Ye Machine
Archive of posts from December 2016

Southfarthing Mathom
Archive of posts from December 2016

Sue Bridgwater, ‘Skorn
Archive of posts from December 2016

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

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

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

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

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


No new sources in December 2016

For older sources, see

1 comment:

  1. Being the biggest Tolkien’s Fan, I am in aw to see your blog post about the middle earth. The most fascinating picture is Bilbo with the red book. Keep posting stuff like that!


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