Tolkien Transactionsm - October 2012
- Note: this is forwarded from the newsgroup alt.books.inklings. Some of the
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_Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen_
The leaves do fall golden (and gardners are busy raking and
collecting them) and the bones of the trees are gradually coming out
from behind the golden foliage. Driving to work this month has (when
it hasn't been raining) been a breathtaking experience, coming
through the woods of northern Zealand.
In the LotR Plaza we've been collecting the leaves of uncounted
years in discussions of _The Notion Club Papers_ now that all of the
story (except for the editing of the papers) lies behind us (the
story-internal frame being the discovery of the club records 'after
the Summer Examinations of 2012 on top of one of the sacks off waste
paper in the basement of the Examination Schools at Oxford.' We are
still not through (having only just started on part 2), so come and
This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
2: The Fall of Arthur
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Reviews and Book News
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: In Print
10: Web Sites
= = = = News = = = =
Ian Spittlehouse, Monday, 1 October 2012, "The plaque is here!"
From a Tolkien-interested perspective, this month began with the
unveiling of the Blue Plaque in Leeds. Sponsored by the Tolkien
Society, and very much thanks to the efforts of Ian Spittlehouse,
the Plaque was unveiled in Leeds on the first of the month -- thank
you, Ian! This blog entry also includes links to various articles
about the Plaque (none of which I will link to below).
_Film-News.co.uk_, Monday, 1 October 2012, "Tolkien Society to
unveil Blue Plaque in Leeds to J.R.R. Tolkien"
With the upcoming _Hobbit_ films, it is probably no surprise that
the Blue Plaque unveiling was mentioned in this on-line
Kyle Wells, _Victoria News_, Wednesday, 10 October 2012, "Inmates
find purpose in the world of Tolkien"
This story of inmates setting up Tolkien's _The Hobbit_ as a play,
setting it visually in a contemporary world (I wonder whether they
nonetheless do swords and bows?) oddly moves me: I think it's the
idea of the freedom of the mind combined with Tolkien's strong
message (in _The Lord of the Rings_) about 'the supreme value and
efficacy of Pity and forgiveness of injury' (_Letters_ no. 191).
Matt Tota, _Milton Daily News_, Saturday, 13 October 2012, "Franklin
students to tackle Tolkien"
The story of the 'readathon' at Horace Mann Middle School in
Franklin, which invites all students to read _The Hobbit_, promising
a field trip to watch the first film as the reward for getting
through the book in time (and answering some questions about it). I
like to read about how Tolkien's works are taken up in education,
though I'm a bit surprised that a teacher opines that the students
'will have to challenge themselves to get through the thick tale'
unless the time each student is set is much shorter than the six to
eight weeks time frame mentioned in the article (recall the children
around ten years getting through the Potter books in a matter of
days rather than weeks -- and though _The Hobbit_ may be more
challenging in a page-by-page comparison, there is so much fewer
JV, Sunday, 14 October 2012, "LEGO reveals upcoming 'The Hobbit'
sets at NY Comic-Con"
As is the case with their _The Lord of the Rings_ line of sets, the
Lego _Hobbit_ sets are not based on Tolkien's story, but on the
Jackson films. In that light it might be interesting to see that
there are Elves appearing in the set with the Mirkwood spiders, but
no Hobbit -- see below for a link to Tom Shippey's comments on
Bilbo's heroic progress.
See also <http://thehobbit.lego.com/en-us/>
JDR, Monday, 15 October 2012, "Middle-earth Coinage"
About the story that New Zealand is issuing Hobbit-related coins
that will be legal tender in the country. It boggles my mind too --
not the least because New Zealand is about as far away as you can
come on Earth from Tolkien's Middle-earth (at least if you want a
major land-mass and not just the way of the whales).
JV, Thursday, 18 October 2012, "Tolkien lawyers threaten 'Age of the
Hobbits' film with legal action"
So, here it seems we might get the trial-case with respect to the
use of 'Hobbit' for various purposes. Lawyers for the Saul Zaentz
Company (SZC) and their licensees are threatening legal action
against a studio planning to release a low-budget film about a race
of small early hominids called 'Age of the Hobbits.' I have no
interest in the film as such, but I do hope they'll fight out this
case and win it to curb the excessive zeal of the SZC lawyers.
See also JV, Thursday, 18 October 2012, "Tolkien lawyers threaten
'Age of the Hobbits' film with legal action"
Gordon Rayner, _The Telegraph_, Monday, 22 October 2012, "Tolkien
fan Prince Charles to meet Peter Jackson in The Hobbit film studios
on New Zealand visit"
I think the headline says all I could say.
Nathan Yau, _Flowing Data_, Wednesday, 24 October 2012, "Lord of the
Emil Johanssen's LotR Project statistics have been getting some
attention even from high-end data visualization bloggers such as
See also Ami Sedghi, _The Guardian Data Blog_, Wednesday, 24 October
2012, "Demographics of the Lord of the Rings - graphic"
The focus is on what is probably the two best of Emil's graphs: one
is the lifespan of the rulers of the Númenóreans and their
descendants, and one is the gender distribution by race.
JV, Tuesday, 30 October 2012, "Saul Zaentz Company forbids use of
'hobbit' in lecture on primitive humanoids"
Dr. Brent Alloway from the Victoria University in Wellington wanted
to give an open lecture titled 'The Other Hobbit' about the other
Hobbit: the hominid elsewhere named the _homo floresiensis_ after
the its place of discovery, but the SZC put their foot down
(possibly due to their current legal issue with a film called 'The
Age of the Hobbits'). In other media (not quoted below), Dr.
Alloway's misunderstanding that the rejection was issued by the
Tolkien Estate has been repeated uncritically, possibly damaging the
reputation of the Tolkien Estate.
See also Alison Flood, _The Guardian_, Tuesday, 30 October 2012,
"Hobbit banned as title of lecture on prehistoric 'hobbit'"
_Huffington Post_, Wednesday, 31 October 2012, "Air New Zealand
Launches Hobbit-Themed Safety Video"
Heh-heh! This is actually quite funny :-)
= = = = The Fall of Arthur = = = =
Since the rumours in July, the internet has been remarkably silent
on the topic of the publication of Tolkien's alliterative poem, _The
Fall of Arthur_. With official confirmation leading the way, the
news have certainly picked up this month. Below you will find both a
few selected links that each adds something to our knowledge about
this book, and then a series of links that are included (in an
abbreviated form) only to show how widespread the press-coverage of
this has been (and the links included here is of course merely a
Harper Collins: "The Fall of Arthur"
The description from Harper Collins of _The Fall of Arthur_
PC, Sunday, 7 October 2012, "New Tolkien book by J.R.R. Tolkien, The
Fall of Arthur, will be released in May 2013"
Being out early with his announcement, Pieter mainly adds some
context and tells us that 'Christopher Tolkien has been unable to
establish exactly when the poem was written.'
JV, Monday, 8 October 2012, "Unpublished Tolkien work confirmed to
be released next year"
Josh Vogt buffs up all the unknowns with some of the little that is
known by quoting from the published letters and Carpenter's official
biography about _The Fall of Arthur_.
Alison Flood, _The Guardian_, Tuesday, 9 October 2012, "'New' JRR
Tolkien epic due out next year"
As usual Alison Flood from _The Guardian_ seems to have a better
grasp of Tolkienian matters than most journalist. In this article
Christopher Tolkien and John Garth are quoted alongside the Harper
Collins editing director, Chris Smith. We are also treated to the
first nine lines of the poem that add themselves to the few lines
quoted elsewhere (e.g. in Humphrey Carpenter's _Biography_).
After Alison Flood's article in _The Guardian_, most news services
seem to have been content to repeat from the HarperCollins press
release and web-site and from _The Guardian_ article. However, as
time has progressed, some people have tried to say something more
about it, notably some of the Tolkienists, but also others:
_LotR Plaza_, "Fall of Arthur"
The discussion thread on the LotR Plaza is still an excellent source
of knowledge, including discussion of the medieval sources for
JDR, Wednesday, 10 October 2012, "THE FALL OF ARTHUR"
John Rateliff is mainly satisfied with collecting what is known
about Tolkien's book.
John Lundberg, _Huffington Post_, Sunday, 14 October 2012,
"Tolkien's Take on the Arthurian Legends"
John Lundberg wants to educate his readers about alliterative verses
(though this is unlikely to be necessary to most Tolkienists, and
certainly unnecessary for anyone familiar with _The Legend of Sigurd
and Gudrún_). There is, of course, much more to alliterative poetry,
but I will be particularly interested to see if Tolkien again sticks
to the stricter forms of alliteration found in Old English and Old
Norse poetry (Skaldic poetry), or if he will, in _The Fall of
Arthur_ be content to use the looser forms developed in Middle
English during the alliterative revival of late medieval times (the
alliterative _Morte Arthure_ and Layamon's _Brut_ come naturally to
DB, Monday, 15 October 2012, "The Fall of Arthur"
In addition to summarizing and commenting on the news itself, David
Bratman comments on the place of _The Fall of Arthur_ in earlier
_The Australian, "The rise of JRR Tolkien's fallen Arthur"
_The One Ring.net_, "New Tolkien work to be released next May!"
_Oxford Mail_, "Unseen work by Tolkien to be published"
_The Bookseller_, "HC to release previously unpublished Tolkien
_The Oxford Times_, "Unseen work by Tolkien to be published"
_WTOP_, "Unpublished Tolkien book to be released in 2013"
_Flavorwire_, "J.R.R. Tolkien's King Arthur Poem to See Publication
_ActuaLitté_ (French), "La Chute d'Arthur, poème inédit de Tolkien
_Tempi_ (Italian), "La scoperta de "La caduta di Artù" e
l'inesauribile sperimentalismo di Tolkien"
_La Stampa_ (Italian), "Un poema inedito di Tolkien scoperto negli
archivi di Oxford"
Iran Book News Agency, "HC to release previously unpublished Tolkien
_Huffington Post_, "New Tolkien Book: J.R.R.'s Epic Poem Out Next
_La Razon_ (Spanish), "Un poema inédito de Tolkien inspirado en el
Rey Arturo se publicará en mayo"
_Galleycat_, "J.R.R. Tolkien's Previously Unpublished 'The Fall of
Arthur' Coming Next Year"
_Huffington Post UK_, "New JRR Tolkien Book Announced: 'The Fall Of
_Kultura_ (Croatian), "Dosad neobjavljeni Tolkien uskoro na
_Helsingin Sanomat_ (Finnish), "Tolkienilta uusi kirja ensi vuonna"
_Svenska Dagbladet_ (Swedish), "Bortglömd Tolkien-bok ges ut"
_ShortNews_ (German), ""The Fall of Arthur": Unbekanntes J.R.R.
Tolkien-Buch erscheint nächstes Jahr"
_Sveriges Television_ (Swedish), "Bortglömd Tolkienbok ser dagens
_Hindustan Times_, "Tolkien's poem to be out in 2013"
_Le HuffPost_ (French), "Un poème de J.R.R. Tolkien sur le Roi
Arthur bientôt publié"
Bagnet (Russian), "??"
_Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft_ (German), "Neuer Tolkien: The Fall
_DiePresse.com_ (German), "Neues Tolkien-Buch erscheint 2013"
_Hypervocal_, "Mordor d'Arthur"
_Knack.be_ (Belgian), "Alweer nieuw oud werk van J.R.R. Tolkien"
_Lukor.com_ (Spanish), "Un poema inédito de Tolkien verá la luz en
_IGN_, ""New" Tolkien Epic Hitting the Shelves"
_My Boox_ (French), ""The Fall of Arthur" : une uvre inédite de
Tolkien à paraître en mai 2013"
Sarah Sloat, "Speakeasy", _The Wall Street Journal_, "J.R.R. Tolkien
Moves From Middle-Earth to Camelot"
= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
Various (_The Tolkienist_), October 2012, "75 reasons why you should
read "The Hobbit" before watching the films"
Marcel Aubron-Bülles has continued the series of people answering
the question of why one should read _The Hobbit_ -- certainly before
watching any of Peter Jackson's films, and preferably long ago ;-)
This month we have contributions from Chris Seeman (October 2nd),
who has the interesting point that while the book is _not_ a prequel
to _The Lord of the Rings_, Jackson's films will be prequels. Tom
Shippey (October 12th) writes about Bilbo's heroic progress, and
goes on to contrast Bilbo's heroic mode with that of Bard and Thorin
-- thoroughly good Shippey stuff! Colin Duriez (October 20) speaks
of the opening line, saying that 'the imaginative engagement of
these brief words which cast a spell that keeps the reader engaged.'
He further asserts that '[a] word like "hobbit" can be worth a
thousand pictures.' This recalls to me Tolkien's words in 'On
Fairy-stories' about the power of literature, unillustrated, to
invoke our personal images: one word is indeed often worth millions
of pictures. On October 23rd Guglielmo Spirito speaks about the
actual book as the basis, the frame and back of the mirror with the
adaptation(s) as the mirror image (no matter how good, no mirror is
completely perfect), and Jonathan Fruoco (October 24th) speaks about
the beauty of Tolkien's opening sentence and of the opportunity to
actually yourself perform the story inside your head while reading
JM, "Tolkien's Metaphysics of the Music"
Parts 22 through 26 published in October take us into more depth
about the act of Creation and God as Creator in both St. Thomas and
Tolkien's _Ainulindalë_ before moving on to an attempt to
'understand more precisely the metaphysical significance of the
musical imagery of Tolkien's creation-myth.' (Part 25).
TS, Tuesday, 2 October 2012, "Frodo's Vaunt"
An essay on Tolkien's use of the 'vaunt' (the, often boastful and
excessive, promise that _must_ be kept) in _The Lord of the Rings_.
Simon manages to deal with this subject without even touching on
that most fateful of all the vaunts in Tolkien's legendarium, the
Oath of Fëanor. His analysis is nonetheless very interesting and
JDR, Thursday, 11 October 2012, "Tolkien's Webley"
About J.R.R. Tolkien's revolver from the Great War, which can be
seen at the Imperial War Museum's website. Also notice John Garth's
comments about this item and how he believes it has come to the
museum. In addition to the link provided by Rateliff, you can see,
also in high resolution, the gun here:
MB, Thursday, 11 October 2012, ""The Lord of the Gaps": How
Tolkien's mastery of a literary technique would make ten Hobbit
films possible -- and they still wouldn't be enough"
Marcel, you need to work on the length of your titles and ensuing
Regardless of how you may apply this to the idea of film adaptations
of Tolkien's works, the discussion of Tolkien's mastery of the
literary technique of the gap, the untold story, is interesting.
Notice also that Tolkien doesn't necessarily rely on there actually
being a tale to tell (known to himself): examples from _The Lord of
the Rings_ are the cats of Queen Beruthiel (about which he much
later did write something) and Merry and Pippin's last years in
Rohan and Gondor, and from the Silmarillion we could mention e.g.
'the _Narsilion_, the Song of the Sun and Moon.'
TS, Thursday, 11 October 2012, "The Rhetoric of Middle-earth"
An analysis of Tolkien's prose style. Tom Simon takes the so-called
"New Criticism" to task for not being able to see literature as a
story that has to be experienced as a story, and then proceeds to
analyse Tolkien's prose, including his many different 'voices', in
light of exactly what it does for the story and for the reader's
ability to experience the story, to be caught up in the 'Faërian
Drama', Secondary Belief. Needless to say, I very much agree with
Simon's criticism of the various "New Criticism" approaches to a
See also comments from John C. Wright, Thursday, 11 October 2012,
"Superversive on Tolkienian Diction"
JM, Friday, 12 October 2012, "Salt Lake City vs. Treebeard's Eyes:
Tolkien and Descartes on Tradition"
The first of two posts contrasting aspects of Descartes' ideas with
Tolkien's ideas. Here it is Descartes' love for the ordered and
rational planning vs. Tolkien's apparent preference for a more
organic growth. In the second of these posts (from the 13th -- just
click "next"), McIntosh discusses their different approaches to the
relation of desires to reality and realism.
Ivona Elenton, _The Grey Havens Group_, Monday, 15 October 2012, "At
the Harbor of the Grey Havens, I clung on to the Pier for dear Life
(Or The Art of not Letting Go)"
Musings on the concept of letting go of _The Lord of the Rings_, in
particular in relation to a particularly immersive reading such as
the Grey Havens Group has been through, and with a charming story of
Ivona's childhood problems with letting go.
University of Leeds, Tuesday, 16 October 2012, "Tolkien: 'Sales are
not very great'"
The letter that Tolkien wrote to Arthur Ransome and which is kept at
the Univeristy of Leeds. For pictures of the two pages of the letter
Tolkien wrote to Arthur Ransome about _The Hobbit_ that 'sales are
not very great' and expressing doubt about the possibility of a
reprint on December 15th 1937 -- less than two months after the
publication of _The Hobbit_. I don't know what exactly Tolkien was
imagining, but on December 17th, two days later, C.A. Furth of Allen
& Unwin wrote to Tolkien about the reprint that was being 'rushed
through to meet demand in the Christmas trade' (Hammond & Scull,
_Chronology_, p. 209), so the sales can't have been all that bad.
Possibly Tolkien was merely trying to be downplay his success a bit
to the older author whose work he and his children admired.
Charles Jeanes, _The Rossland Telegraph_, Wednesday, 17 October
2012, "Frodo lives: Middle Earth, Evil, and the decline of religion
in the West."
This essay is not so much an analysis of Tolkien, but rather an
analysis of the cultural landscape (in the late sixties) where
Charles Jeanes encountered Tolkien, and about how they made
Tolkien's work apply to their own situation. Jeanes seems to me to
focus on the work's _applicability_ to himself and the people with
whom he discovered Tolkien's work and world.
JM, Tuesday, 23 October 2012, "Embodied Immortality in Tolkien and
The last of three posts that investigate parallels between Tolkien's
_Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth_ (in _Morgoth's Ring_) and works of
medieval Christian philosophical works such as the _Cur Deus Homo_
by Alselm of Canterbury and the works of Peter Damian.
= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =
Noble Smith, _Huffington Post_, Wednesday, 10 October 2012, "13 Life
Lessons From 'The Hobbit'"
I am sorry to say that this piece, to me, is only interesting for
being wrong in so many ways :-( The whole concept of trying to
teach life-lessons based on Tolkien's books may at first seem
attractive, but it would, in my opinion, require a wholly different
approach than this, which seems only suited to line the author's
pockets with as little work (including mental activity) as at all
possible. Do _NOT_ buy his _Wisdom of the Shire_!
JDR, Tuesday, 9 October 2012, "The New Arrivals"
A few comments on the book _The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook:
Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned From Tolkien_ by 'The
Shire Collective'. Looking at the available preview in Google Books,
it seems light-hearted; more meant for fun than for anything
serious, but a bit of humour is never comes amiss (unfortunately the
advice that Rateliff refers to on 'how to tell a Good Wizard from a
Bad Wizard' isn't part of the Google preview).
Jason Boog, _Galleycat_, Thursday, 11 October 2012, "Lord of the
Rings Trilogy Unabridged Audiobook is 54 Hours Long"
Recorded Books is doing an unabridged audiobook of _The Lord of the
Rings_ (to be distributed by Audible), which will contain some 54
hours of listening. I wonder what 'unabridged' means in this context
-- I could imagine some of the appendices being able to work, but
the family trees might be rather difficult to present in an audio
book . . .
See also Jenny Che, Thursday, 11 October 2012, "'Lord of the Rings'
and 'Hobbit' now available as unabridged audiobooks"
And Laura Miller, _Salon_, Thursday, 18 October 2012, ""The Hobbit"
uncut, at last"
Which discusses the availability ('finally') of Rob Inglis' reading
of _The Hobbit_ in the USA.
H&S, Tuesday, 16 October 2012, "Tolkien Notes 1"
'This is the first in a continuing series of brief notes on Tolkien
matters, that is, when the subject doesn't call for a longer post
all to itself, or when we don't have a lot to say about it.' In this
first collection of notes Wayne and Christina comments on
descriptions of their latest Tolkien book, _The Art of the Hobbit by
JRR Tolkien_, on their appearance at giving talks and at book fairs,
and on a couple of new Tolkien-related publications with pictures by
Jemima Catlin (an illustrated _Hobbit_ and the 2014 Tolkien
Janet Brennan Croft, _Mythopoeic Society_, Sunday, 21 October 2012,
"Mythlore 119/120: Table of Contents Announced"
Only one contribution this time that is obviously about Tolkien, Sue
Bridgwater's 'The Steward, The King, and the Queen: Fealty and Love
in Tolkien's _The Lord of the Rings_ and in _Sir Orfeo_' which I
look very much forward to. Other items that I find particularly
promising is about 'Yggdrasil and the Stave Church' by G. Ronald
Murphy, and a couple of pieces about Lord Dunsany. And then there
are the list of reviews, which will probably make their way to the
Mythopoeic Society website over the coming months, and in most cases
be mentioned here when they do.
JF, Monday, 22 October 2012, "How to review books"
Jason Fisher has put down his thoughts on what a good book review
should be: what its purpose is and how various aspects of the review
should be weighted (roughly). I read a lot of book reviews, and have
even written a few myself, which may account for my finding this
discussion very interesting (where others might find it gets at
least one meta-level too far from anyting about Tolkien). Still, if
you find that you rely on reviews for guiding your use of your
money, I think you will find Jason's thoughts interesting.
BC, Monday, 29 October 2012, "My Amazon reviw of the 1968 BBC radio
dramatisation of The Hobbit"
Bruce Charlton liked this dramatisation, giving it 4 out of 5 stars
despite some minor quibbles.
= = = = Interviews = = = =
Mitch Teich, "Lake Effect", _NPR Milwaukee_, Tuesday, 2 October
2012, "A Bit of Middle Earth in Downtown Milwaukee"
A long interview with John Rateliff on how Tolkien's manuscripts and
papers relating to _The Hobbit_, _The Lord of the Rings_, _Farmer
Giles of Ham_ and _Mr Bliss_ came to Marquette University Library
and about Tolkien's work and Tolkien studies more generally. Well
worth listening to.
JDR, Wednesday, 3 October 2012, "I'm On NPR"
John Rateliff's own comments on the interview, including a couple of
corrections of his own statements.
"All Things Considered", _NPR_ , Sunday, 21 October 2012, "A
Reminder To Tolkien Fans Of Their First Love"
Interview with Corey Olsen, "The Tolkien Professor", for NPR
programme "All Things Considered" about _The Hobbit_ -- for many of
us indeed where we found our 'first love' for J.R.R. Tolkien's works
and worlds. The interview is a good 6½ minutes, which sometimes
seems to be close to an age in the electronic media of our times.
Well said, Corey!
Leonie Harris, "Saturday Breakfast" _ABC Perth_, Saturday, 27
October 2012, "The Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen"
Another interview with Corey Olsen about _The Hobbit_, this one is
more than 16 minutes and covers a lot of different aspects of the
story making it well worth listening to.
= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =
JD, Wednesday, 3 October 2012, "Maedhros searching for the sons of
Another of Jenny Dolfen's First Age Elven motives -- Maedhros,
one-handed like Beren, holding up a lamp and looking for Elros and
Elrond during the Fëanorian attack on Doriath.
JD, Saturday, 20 October 2012, "Beren and Lúthien - lineart"
= = = = Other Stuff = = = =
Kelly House, The Oregonian, Monday, 1 October 2012, "Lunchtime
Laugh: Bilbo Baggins, from 'The Hobbit,' gets a Twitter account"
If we ignore for the moment the errors (even those in the headline),
the idea of tweeting the events of _The Lord of the Rings_ is quite
amusing. It appears that the story has started, this time round, on
June 30th with Gandalf meeting Ragast on the road (apparently events
before this and after the marriage of Arwen and Aragorn exactly a
year later are ignored to pack the tweeting of a story into a year
and a day).
Joe Carter, Wednesday, 10 October 2012, "The Most Beautiful Phrase
What is it with 'cellar door' that makes it a contender to the title
of 'the most beautiful phrase in English'? This blog post doesn't
attempt to answer that, but refers to a February 2012 article in
_The New York Times_ that investigates the history of this idea in a
little more depth.
AW, Sunday, 14 October 2012, "Some Tolkien links for you"
A collection of links to various Tolkien-related stories that Andrew
Wells has found for us. Do check them out!
Alex Cranz, Monday, 15 October 2012, "Incontrovertible Proof JRR
Tolkien Could Not Write Women"
Given that 23% of Tolkien's characters were female, the headline is
of course a bit of an exaggeration, but I think that it is correct
that something made Tolkien write significantly less women than men,
and that there is more to this than merely a similar skew in his
legendary sources (these should only to a very small degree affect
the description of the Shire). Investigating this reluctance is, I
would say, a reasonable line of research.
BBC, Tuesday, 16 October 2012, "JRR Tolkien letter reveals poor
sales of The Hobbit"
See also the article from the University of Leeds mentioned above.
In the light of the planned reprint (of which Tolkien was adviced at
the latest in a letter dated 17th December from C.A. Furth at Allen
& Unwin) 'Poor sales' is definitely a bit of journalistic license
(which appears to give no smaller margins for invention than
Deirdre Donahue, _USA Today_, Wednesday, 17 October 2012, "10
reasons we still love J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'"
A curious mix of well-researched points and groan-inducing
prejudiced idiocies this article took me through new reflections,
quiet smiles, laughter and the afore-mentioned groans of
exasperation. Well worth reading for the sheer range of my emotional
Eddie Makuch, _Gamespot_, Wednesday, 17 October 2012, "The
Troublesome Task of Translating Tolkien's Tome"
About the task of translating Tolkien's _The Lord of the Rings_ into
a Lego game -- though of course that is not what they did, rather
they translated Jackson's film trilogy into a game, which is not
quite the same thing (some would likely hold that it is a vastly
MB, Saturday, 20 October 2012, "Starting today: Presenting
Tolkiendili from all over the world"
An introduction to a new series of posts at _The Tolkienist_ in
which Marcel will let Tolkien societies from around the world
MB, Saturday, 20 October 2012, "Tolkien fandom in Lithuania and
A history of Tolkien fandom and societies in Lithuania and a
description of the current Lithuanian Tolkien Society, _Tolkien
Lietuva Draugija_. Doing both hikes and summer camps, they seem in
many ways to combine elements of two of my most cherished spare time
activities (though of course there's more to Scouting than camping
Nathan Yau, _FlowingData_, Wednesday, 24 October 2012, "Lord of the
Emil Johansson's Lord of the Rings Project is mentioned on
FlowingData in their Statistical Visualization blogging category. I
rather like the graph shown here -- it visualizes the actual
life-span of kings and rulers of Númenórë and the Dúnedain kingdoms
in exile, and the underlying assumption is of course that the
life-span of the ordinary people followed the same overall trends.
PC, Monday, 29 October 2012, "The Friendship of C.S. Lewis and
A nice and short article to intrude the topic of the friendship
between Lewis and Tolkien along with references to a couple of books
on the Inklings.
H&S, Tuesday, 30 October 2012, "Boston Book Festival"
A description of their trip to the Boston Book Festival, where they
were on a panel about _The Hobbit_ with Corey Olsen, moderated by
= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =
"The Notion Club Papers read-through"
Introduction and nights 54 through 60 (part 1):
Night 61 (part 1):
Nights 62-66 (part 2):
Quite entertaining and clever discussions of the _Notion Club
_Rohir_, or _rochir_ appears both in the Sindarin/Gondorian name for
the Riders, the Rohirrim, and in the name of one of Elrond's sons,
Elrohir. The word, its pronunciation and spellings is discussed in
this learned thread.
"Chunks of Poetry in The Silmarillion"
Comments and discussion based on an article by Carl Phelpstead and
the observation that there is very little actual poetry in _The
Silmarillion_ when compared to _The Hobbit_ and _The Lord of the
"What do you not like about Tolkien's works?"
A nicely provocative question, don't you think? The last part of the
thread (as of the end of October) ends up discussing Tolkien's
treatment of Éowyn and the general underrepresentation of women.
= = = = In Print = = = =
_Beyond Bree_ October 2012
Geoff Davies has guest-edited this humour-issue, titled _It's Beyond
Me_ in which Mark Hooker contributes a clever story about the
"discovery" of a Tolkienian hobbit pastiche of an inscription on an
old Roman bridge, Geoff Davies himself offers a list of Tolkienian
spoonerisms while Dale Nelson stands in staunch defence of Tolkien's
early poem _Goblin Feet_, lamenting the self-important Elvish
"warriors" and "ladies" of Tolkien's later writings. From the
_Gondor Herald Crier_ we get Scott Warner's obituary for Fangorn the
Ent, and Bernard Roessler has kindly translated a 1968 letter from
the Elf "Logo" to his friend, Dorion, in which is revealed the plans
to cover up for Tilion and the dragons when Men would land on Isil.
In the science section we also find a learned exposition of the
Ranger formula: E = m c^2. A collection of riddles, doodles, verses,
faux letters and a non-advertisement for the 2013 Beyond Bree
Calendar make up the rest of the bulletin -- except for the only
non-humorous bit (though it is far from being the only serious
part): the last half page is given to the usual list of news and
= = = = Web Sites = = = =
_The Guardian_, "JRR Tolkien"
A catalogue of articles from _The Guardian_ about JRR Tolkien and
his work going back to 1991 (though only two items are before 1999
when stories related to the Peter Jackson films began to appear).
Tom Simons, "The Superversive"
A blog by author Tom Simons
Tolkien Inspiration, "The Ring Verse ... in 56 Languages"
From Albanian to Valencian, the Ring-verse around the world.
Obviously I cannot understand them all, but I am not very happy with
the Danish translation, which I think has changed the meaning more
than was necessary.
= = = = 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
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"
Tom Simon (TS), "The Superversive"
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
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does
- Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882)
Web: http://hayesstw.tumblr.com/ (follow me on Tumblr)
Phone: 083-342-3563 or 012-333-6727