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RE: [mythsoc] Experiences in Tolkien Research

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  • Croft, Janet B.
    Sounds like you re having fun :). I m learning more about using Web of Science than I ever wanted to -- like the fact that they only index Mythlore up to
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 13, 2004
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      Sounds like you're having fun :). I'm learning more about using Web of
      Science than I ever wanted to -- like the fact that they only index
      Mythlore up to 1986!

      I have a few anecdotal answers below.

      Janet Brennan Croft
      Head of Access Services
      University of Oklahoma Libraries
      Bizzell 104NW
      Norman OK 73019
      Fax 405-325-7618
      "We're becoming nicely overextended. Some people regard that as
      Aral Vorkosigan in Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Edith.Crowe@... [mailto:Edith.Crowe@...]
      Sent: Monday, December 06, 2004 6:34 PM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [mythsoc] Experiences in Tolkien Research

      Janet Croft has twisted my arm, and I find myself scheduled to present a
      variation on this year's Mythcon paper. To jog your memories, I used the
      MLA International Bibliography to track journas publications on Tolkien
      over the last several decades--how much, where, when. In February I'll
      be doing yet another version for the Texas/Southwest Popular Culture
      Association. I would like to spice up the presentation with anecdotal
      information about the experience of scholars who have done research and
      published on Tolkien (or would have liked to). I won't mention your
      names if you prefer I didn't, but I would be very interested in your
      general impressions of the acceptability of Tolkien research in your
      particular situation, particularly those of you who are academics.
      Please reply to me directly at the address below, rather than forcing
      the uninterested to overuse their delete key!

      Here are some of the specific questions I have; no doubt you can think
      of answers to several I haven't asked.

      Have ever been discouraged, implicitly or explicity, from doing research
      on Tolkien? By whom--colleagues, mentors, personnel/RTP committees,
      senior faculty, etc.?

      *** While I haven't been discouraged in so many words, we have a very
      limited pool of librarians who can serve on our departmental tenure
      committee (have to be both tenured and not supervising any other
      librarians), and one perennial member is a classicist who's not too
      enthusiastic about any sort of modern literature, fantasy or otherwise.
      So I am hoping to get good reviews to show that what I am doing is
      actually serious research. But I was up front at my interview and said
      I expected to do much of my research on non-library, pop culture topics,
      and I was assured this would be acceptable. To hedge my bets, though, I
      still try to produce at least one library-related paper or presentation
      every year!

      What reason was given or suggested for avoiding this research topic? Did
      you get the impression that it was Tolkien specifically or fantasy in
      general that was unacceptable?

      If you've written journal articles on Tolkien, did you submit them to
      the most prestigious journals in your field? Less prestigious journals?
      Journals that specialized in Tolkien and/or the Inklings, or fantasy in

      *** I generally submit to Tolkien/Inklings journals. I have tried a few
      more prestigious journals, and when writing papers that combined Tolkien
      studies with another topic (say Shakespeare or war) I've tried journals
      that focus on the other topic of the paper, but I haven't had much
      success, and the audience I'm writing for is really the Tolkien/Inklings
      audience, anyway.

      Did you have reason to believe that the top journals in your field would
      not be likely to accept a Tolkien article? Did you submit and were
      rejected? Or did you just assume that journal would not be interested?

      Any similar experiences with books, book chapters, or dissertations
      would also be of interest, as would "demographic" information about your
      situation at the time--untenured faculty, tenured, independent scholar,

      *** I am currently tenure track, at the end of my fouth year. I haven't
      had any trouble with books -- my first book was accepted by a major
      scholarly publisher on my first try, my first edited book was suggested
      to me by the publisher, and my second edited book is under way with
      another scholarly publisher.

      Thank you very much for anything you can offer by January 31, 2005. Any
      information about your experiences will be useful for an audience that
      may not be composed solely of the kind of people who don't mind sitting
      in a room listening to someone blather on for twenty minutes about
      publishing trends & statistics on Tolkien!

      Edith L. Crowe
      Art & Humanities Librarian & Coordinator of Graduate Instruction San
      Jose State University Library http://www.sjlibrary.org
      (408) 808-2037 | edith.crowe@...

      Corresponding Secretary of the Mythopoeic Society http://www.mythsoc.org

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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