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Tolkien Centenary Conference Proceedings

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  • David Lenander
    Perhaps the MythSoc should purchase some issues from the TolkSoc and make them available if they have demand in the U.S. Regarding making older, partial issues
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 3, 2005
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      Perhaps the MythSoc should purchase some issues from the TolkSoc and
      make them available if they have demand in the U.S.

      Regarding making older, partial issues available online, the Society
      could do that itself if no online service was interested in adding
      additional content. I'd guess, though, that some would be interested
      if the content could be made available in such a way that the provider
      didn't have to spend much effort making it fit into their delivery
      system.

      Regarding indexing, which I think is even more critical, I remember
      realizing, years ago, that one reason that one of the indexes (I think
      it was the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, but it might have been the
      Humanities Index, was so dramatically behind was that they (at least
      partly) depended upon volunteer indexers, and no one had volunteered to
      index the missing issues of _Mythlore_. There was also the difficulty
      that Glen didn't seem to understand that including abstracts, even
      author-written abstracts, was important to the indexing services. We
      argued about this, but, as others may recall, it was difficult to
      persuade Glen of anything.

      On Jan 3, 2005, at 4:03 AM, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote:

      > Message: 2
      > Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2005 07:24:12 -0500
      > From: "Wayne G. Hammond" <Wayne.G.Hammond@...>
      > Subject: Re: Mythlore articles online
      >
      > David wrote:
      >
      >> *except the Tolkien Centenary Conference Proceedings, which as the
      >> only
      >> "book" issue of Mythlore, and one of the best issues**, is the one
      >> people
      >> are most likely to want. That's just plain out of print.
      >
      > I believe that its co-publisher, the Tolkien Society (it also counts
      > as an
      > issue of the TS journal _Mallorn_) still has copies available for
      > purchase.
      > There was a mention in the TS bulletin _Amon Hen_ a while back about
      > plans
      > to reprint the Proceedings, but as far as I know, nothing has come of
      > that.
      >
      > Wayne Hammond
      >
      >
      >
      David Lenander
      d-lena@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113
      651-292-8887
      http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html
    • Joan Marie Verba
      Since this issue came up during my tenure of Mythopoeic Press Secretary, allow me to address it. The Mythopoeic Press didn t let the Proceedings go out of
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 3, 2005
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        Since this issue came up during my tenure of Mythopoeic Press Secretary, allow
        me to address it.

        The Mythopoeic Press didn't "let" the Proceedings go out of print. We very much
        wanted to reprint it, since it was one of our best selling titles.

        We did import a lot of extras from the Tolkien Society. I won't bore you with
        the complications involved in importing so many boxes, but getting them out of
        customs involved a lot of forms and other issues (including having the boxes
        inspected for Mad Cow Disease--I kid you not). But we did it. Those sold out in
        about a year.

        In discussions with the Tolkien Society, we found we could not just reprint it.
        The Tolkien Society told us that some of the authors signed contracts
        specifying that the Proceedings would be printed once only. However, no one
        ever produced a contract for me to examine, and some of the authors reported
        that they could not recall signing any contract.

        In the end, we determined that the only way to reprint the Proceedings would be
        to contact each and every contributor to obtain the various permissions needed.
        However, we did not have contact information for every author, and some of the
        authors have since passed away. In the end, the idea of reprinting was
        abandoned with great sadness.

        (To the best of my memory, this is also the reason for not giving back issues
        of Mythlore to Gale to reprint. We did not have permission from the authors to
        do so, and we did not have contact information for many of the authors.)

        These issues have since been addressed for both the Mythopoeic Press and for
        Mythlore, and now all authors sign a contract specifying that we can reprint
        and that the information can be given to Gale and other sources.

        Joan Marie Verba
      • David Bratman
        Joan Marie Verba writes partially and misleadingly on the subject of Mythopoeic Press books. Unless she has entirely forgotten her tenure as Mythopoeic Press
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 3, 2005
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          Joan Marie Verba writes partially and misleadingly on the subject of
          Mythopoeic Press books.

          Unless she has entirely forgotten her tenure as Mythopoeic Press Secretary,
          she will remember establishing a policy to allow books to exhaust their
          print run and then go out of print. Perhaps this policy was changed after
          my time, but since it was the policy over which I left the Council, if it
          has been changed it was uncommonly thoughtless for nobody to inform me of
          this. If it has not been changed (and even if it has) it was either
          totally disingenuous or uncharacteristically forgetful of Joan not to
          mention it in her reply.

          I should add that this policy was established despite my making sure to
          request that the contract for the book that I edited (The Masques of Amen
          House) did include a clause allowing us to negotiate payment with the
          copyright holders for a reprint, if desired.

          I do not remember whether the subject of future reprints of the TCC ever
          came up during the long and wearying process of negotiating for the
          publication of that book. But I would be very surprised if it did not.

          I should also add that the Society Orders Department has been, on orders
          from customers, running off photocopies of out-of-print Mythlores for years
          without ANY contract with the contributors to do so.

          David Bratman
        • Joan Marie Verba
          ... From: David Bratman ... No such policy was ever established. David B., I believe, misinterpreted a statement that I made to him in
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 3, 2005
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            --- Original Message ---
            From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>

            > Unless she has entirely forgotten her tenure as Mythopoeic Press Secretary,
            > she will remember establishing a policy to allow books to exhaust their
            > print run and then go out of print.

            No such policy was ever established. David B., I believe, misinterpreted a
            statement that I made to him in private about reprinting the Masques. I am
            sorry that this misunderstanding took place; I have done my best to clarify my
            statement in the past, but apparently this misapprehension lingers.

            My record shows that no such policy existed, as Sayers on Holmes was reprinted
            twice under my tenure and The Pedant and the Shuffly was reprinted once. I
            stated for the record on more than one occasion that it was my desire to
            reprint the Proceedings if possible. I believe, if asked, my editorial board,
            as well as the current Mythopoeic Press Secretary, would have a different
            recollection of what my policy was.

            Thank you for allowing me to clarify this misunderstanding once again, and I
            would ask that any further questions be directed to me offlist.

            Joan Marie Verba
          • David Bratman
            Joan has got to be kidding. She defended this policy of no reprints with great passion, but never gave a reason for it, despite my earnest requests for her to
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 3, 2005
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              Joan has got to be kidding. She defended this policy of no reprints with
              great passion, but never gave a reason for it, despite my earnest requests
              for her to do so. It would be particularly ironic if it only applied to
              the Masques - which she NEVER said to me - as I had, as I mentioned in my
              earlier post, asked for provision to be made for reprints of the Masques to
              be kept open as a possibility, ONLY if we wanted to, and at NO cost to us
              until and unless we actually requested the reprint. It would also be
              greatly insulting if it only applied to the Masques, for she has now said
              that other books have been reprinted. Why, should the Masques go out of
              print, should it only (of books it was legally possible to reprint) not be
              reprinted?

              David Bratman
            • Joan Marie Verba
              Let me touch on this subject once again briefly, as I m sure this topic may be only be of interest to me and Mr. B. The policy I stated and defended was as
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 4, 2005
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                Let me touch on this subject once again briefly, as I'm sure this topic may be
                only be of interest to me and Mr. B.

                The policy I stated and defended was as follows:
                If a title is selling well, the Press would reprint it.
                If a title was not selling well, the Press would probably not reprint it.

                For the Masques, I stated the following:
                If the title sold out the initial print run of 300 copies in the first 6
                months, I would reprint it. If it sold out within the first year, I would
                strongly consider reprinting it. If it did not sell out within 2 years of the
                first printing, I would be reluctant to reprint it.

                Mr. Bratman seems to have mistaken my statement that a title that did not sell
                well within a reasonable period of time would probably go out of print, as a
                statement of no reprints, ever. He has previously taken my statement that
                whether or not to reprint a title after a period of time has elapsed is
                essentially a judgement call, as "no reason."

                (By the way, my policy did not apply to the Masques only. Had I remained
                Mythopoeic Press Secretary, Chad Walsh Reviews C. S. Lewis would very probably
                not have been reprinted, either.)

                I can understand Mr. Bratman's disappointment in my reluctance to reprint the
                Masques. I understand that contributors want their works to remain in print
                indefinitely. Mr. Bratman worked hard on the Masques and the results were
                outstanding, in my opinion.

                My 2000 Mythopoeic Press Budget, as with most (if not all) of my budgets, had a
                line item for funds set aside for reprinting titles. That is a matter of
                record. As the Masques was the only title eligible for reprint at the time, I
                believe that backs up my statement that I would have been willing to reprint
                had the sales been better.

                Allowing works to go out of print if sales do not meet certain expectations is
                not uncommon in the publishing industry. While I understand the feeling that
                the Mythopoeic Press is special and should be dedicated to the mission that
                works be in print indefinitely (the current Press Secretary may be of this
                opinion, but I would not wish to quote him without his direct input), this is
                not always financially realistic.

                One last item: if Mr. Bratman wished the Press to be run his way, he was always
                free to run against me as Press Secretary in the Steward elections, and I would
                have been happy to hand the Press over to him if he had won such an election.

                I am, again, sorry that this misunderstanding ever took place, and hope that
                this clarifies the record.

                Joan Marie Verba
              • Wayne G. Hammond
                Humphrey Carpenter died today (4 January) at age 58. He had spent several years with Parkinson s Disease. An obituary is on the _Daily Telegraph_ website, at
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 4, 2005
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                  Humphrey Carpenter died today (4 January) at age 58. He had spent several
                  years with Parkinson's Disease. An obituary is on the _Daily Telegraph_
                  website, at www.telegraph.co.uk: it mentions Carpenter's biography of
                  Tolkien and his book on the Inklings among many other accomplishments.

                  Wayne Hammond
                • Wayne G. Hammond
                  ... Christina has found in our files a letter that _Proceedings_ co-editor and Conference co-chair Pat Reynolds wrote on 14 August 1992 to those intending to
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 4, 2005
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                    Joan wrote:

                    >The Tolkien Society told us that some of the authors signed contracts
                    >specifying that the Proceedings would be printed once only. However, no one
                    >ever produced a contract for me to examine, and some of the authors reported
                    >that they could not recall signing any contract.

                    Christina has found in our files a letter that _Proceedings_ co-editor and
                    Conference co-chair Pat Reynolds wrote on 14 August 1992 to those intending
                    to present papers at the Centenary Conference. This stated that the
                    Conference Committee had long planned to publish all of the papers in more
                    than one volume of _Proceedings_ (as was then thought, rather than one
                    thicker volume) "as part of the series of both _Mallorn_ and _Mythlore_".
                    At that time there was also the possibility that some of the papers "on a
                    specific theme" might appear in a volume "published by a major British
                    publishing house" (this fell through). But it was quite properly left to
                    the individual presenter's wishes where his or her paper might appear, and
                    the recipient of the letter thus was asked to choose from a list of
                    options, with order of preference indicated if more than one option was chosen:

                    I would like my paper to be considered for the themed volume.

                    I would like my paper to be included in the _Proceedings_.

                    I would like my paper to be forwarded to the editor of _Mallorn_ for
                    consideration.

                    I would like my paper to be forwarded to the editor of _Mythlore_ for
                    consideration.

                    I prefer to submit my paper elsewhere/not to submit my paper for
                    publication at all.

                    And after these was a blank to fill in "titles of foreign-language
                    publications where I may submit my paper".

                    This was all the "contract" that was sent out, except for a two-page "notes
                    for contributors" which included the statement: "The copyright of each
                    paper will remain with its author. The author's right to be associated with
                    his or her work will be upheld. These right[s] apply similar to artists and
                    photographers." If I recall correctly, the list of options was, at least in
                    small part, in response to my huffing and puffing that the editor of
                    _Mythlore_ did not, by any means, have an automatic right to publish any of
                    the papers just because the conference counted as a Mythcon (any more than
                    he did for papers at ordinary Mythcons, as he had been claiming), not
                    without written permission. It was also, I believe, set out this way
                    because a handful of presenters had already said that they did not want
                    their papers to appear in _Mythlore_ (that is, in an individual issue,
                    never mind that the _Proceedings_ counts as _Mythlore_ 80), for personal
                    reasons having to do with its editor.

                    There was certainly nothing in these materials, or in anything else the
                    presenters received, which stated that the _Proceedings_ could be printed
                    only once. It may be, however, that some of the individual authors
                    specified this privately as a condition of publication, or it was specified
                    as a condition of permission to republish one or more of the essays that
                    had already appeared in print prior to the conference, or it was a
                    condition applied by the Tolkien Estate as part of their omnibus permission
                    which covered quotations from Tolkien's works.

                    Wayne Hammond
                  • David Bratman
                    Humphrey Carpenter first came to my notice in 1977, when his biography of Tolkien was published. This book distracted my attention effectively from a few
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 5, 2005
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                      Humphrey Carpenter first came to my notice in 1977, when his biography of
                      Tolkien was published. This book distracted my attention effectively from a
                      few workaday nuisances, such as final exams. It's amazing how well it's
                      held up over the years. Certainly none of its successors (except John
                      Garth's _Tolkien and the Great War_, which isn't a full biography) have
                      measured up to his achievement. Carpenter made a fair number of factual
                      errors, as it later turned out: some of them because Tolkien's papers had
                      not been adequately sorted at the time he did his research, so info on what
                      Tolkien wrote and when he wrote it was lacking. But his errors are mostly
                      in details: what's important is how well Carpenter captured the spirit and
                      intellect of the man. His picture of what drove and interested Tolkien was
                      impeccable, so it's unfortunate that Carpenter lost interest in later
                      years, and once wrote a radio dramatization script that depicted Tolkien as
                      nothing more than an absent-minded coot.

                      Soon afterwards came his book on the Inklings, also still the standard
                      resource on the subject, though perhaps a less successful work. Carpenter
                      found Lewis's and Williams's idiosyncracies more puzzling than Tolkien's,
                      and didn't really have the measure of the men. But he delved deeply into
                      sources and wore his learning confidently.

                      After that he was established as a famous literary biographer, and went on
                      to many other subjects. The first of these was W.H. Auden, possibly
                      Carpenter's best book, a rich amusing and lucid portrait of the man and his
                      work. But later books tended to lose something. I was quite disappointed
                      with his book on Benjamin Britten, which drew him as a man with a really
                      interesting erotic life who also might have composed a little bit of music
                      from time to time. But Carpenter could still turn a phrase and make telling
                      points: I'm especially fond of a footnote in _Geniuses Together_, his book
                      on the American writers in 1920s Paris, saying something to the effect of
                      noting that Hemingway is believed to have written most of his fiction while
                      mildly drunk; and that it works best if the reader is in a similar
                      condition. (I haven't tried this myself.)

                      Carpenter also wrote a number of other books, including children's fiction,
                      that I mostly have not read, but _Secret Gardens_, his critical survey of
                      the golden age of English children's literature, is another brilliant and
                      insightful book.

                      David Bratman
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