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17295The community of scholars [was Re: J. Chance / Tolkien Encyclopedia]

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  • David Emerson
    Dec 1, 2006
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      >From: Walter Padgett <wpadgett@...>
      >
      >At the Blackwelder conference, I approached T.A. Shippey, just after
      >his presentation. [...] He posed himself and looked to the left and right,
      >shaking my hand warmly and looking me in the eye.
      >
      >... I began a discussion with Jane Chance...
      >We talked for a long while, and others began to join us.
      >
      >And then I started a discussion with Richard C. West. Nasmith,
      >Bratman, Foster (who I had lunch with), Rateliff, Garth, A. Smith,
      >Hammond & Scull, etc., they were all there. I actually got to ride
      >in an elevator with Arden Smith and John Garth. Can you imagine what
      >a thrill that was? And I hadn't even read Garth's biography _Tolkien
      >and the Great War_, yet. Rateliff and Garth gave me copies of their
      >papers that they presented on the spot. Bratman mailed his to me
      >shortly afterward. Nasmith said "Hi" to me! Really... "Hi." Mike
      >Foster introduced me, and I had lunch with the Heron Istarion couple
      >from New York City.

      And that's the great thing about Tolkien fandom, the Mythopoeic Society, Mythcons, etc. This is a small enough world that people whose work you admire are very approachable, and for the most part very friendly and encouraging. It's quite a participartory activity -- not such a gulf between fans and pros. The first Mythcon I went to, I did a quick count and realized that fully a third of the attendees (possibly more) were on the program in one way or another.

      Come to Mythcon, Walter. You can talk to presenters and panelists and share ideas, and you'll soon realize that we're all "just folks". Sure, maybe some of us folks are employed at educational institutions and have the time & resources & impetus to research and publish, but a lot of us are amateurs in the best sense of the word: those who do what we do out of love.

      David Emerson
      computer programmer, part-time musician, amateur Tolkien scholar

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