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17232another new book with JRRT as a character

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  • John D Rateliff
    Nov 29, 2006
      Earlier this week saw that a new book I'd been on the look-out for is
      OF MIDDLE EARTH, edited by Brian Thomsen, who is probably best-known
      to folks here as compiler of HALFLINGS, HOBBITS, WARROWS & WEEFOLK.
      This collection reprints an old 19th century translation of BEOWULF
      along with four new stories of B's "futher adventures"--think of
      these as "Beowulf: The Lost Episodes", two of which are by friends of
      mine (Wolfgang Baur and Jeff Grubb; the other two are by Ed Greenwood
      and Lynn Abbey). However, interspersed between each story is a
      snippet from Thomsen's framing story, about a visit by Guy Burgess to
      Tolkien in 1936, with the notorious spy attempting to recruit JRRT
      for his network. From the quick glance I took at it it looks as if
      there's a pretty significant historical glitch, in that Burgess seems
      to be representing the Nazis here while in real life he was a
      Communist mole within the British intelligentsia and intelligence
      service. But even that pales for me against the magnitude of the
      blunder in Owen's HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS where JRRT at one point has
      to admit, shamefaced, that he can't actually read Old English or even
      Latin because he cdn't see the point of learning dead languages when
      there was a war going on. That pretty much sunk Owen to the bottom of
      the barrel for me, along with the recent spate of books portraying
      Conan Doyle as Holmes-like. I assume that at some point someone's
      going to use JRRT as a character or supporting character and more or
      less get it right, but looks like we'll have to wade through a lake
      of dreck to get there.

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