Every now and then I send a note to the MythSoc list pointing out that there are actual groups around the country meeting on a regular basis to discuss "myth, fantasy and imaginative literature, especially in the traditions of the Inklings" as it was put to me more than 30 years ago when we started the Rivendell discussion group in the Twin Cities. Like other MythSoc chartered groups in Hawaii, California, Illinois, D.C., and so forth, we meet for regular discussions in person, without any computer screens mediating our conversations. Sometimes people who've joined this list are surprised to learn that there's a group meeting in their city in which they might be interested. I'm including here the announcement for our discussion tomorrow (probably too lat for anyone here in MN anyhow, but not too late for another time). But if this is too far for you, maybe there's a local group closer to you, or maybe you'll be inspired to start one
and seek a charter from the Mythopoeic Society so that your meetings would be listed in _Mythprint_ and on the Society web page at mythsoc.org.
Also, I used to send these notices to people outside of MN on my "Rivendell Adjunct" list, but that file was corrupted--so if you formerly received these, and haven't for a while, but would like to see them (the full Rivendell monthly notice is quite a bit longer) let me know. Many of the other groups, like Knossos in Washington, D.C. have occasional e-newsletters as well. We're on Facebook, too, now (and in fact the regular webpage hasn't been updated in months, though maybe later tonight...).
We have a meeting scheduled for this Saturday [May 8] at 1:30 at the Southeast Community Library, 1222 4th St. SE Minneapolis, MN (in "Dinkytown,"
near the U of M Mpls campus). Library phone: 952-847-2728. I previously sent a .pdf of a flyer for this meeting, so hopefully you were able to read the details there. Here are a few more. Plus additional news.
Sharin will read her paper-in-progress, working title is “‘It is enough to make the dead rise out of their graves!’: Tolkien, Oliphant, and Gendered Conventions of the Supernatural.” She writes: "In my paper for the panel on Tolkien Un-bodied, I will begin with Oliphant’s novella in order to discuss the gendered roots of discussions about the fantastic and the spiritual that spilled over into modern fantasy from eighteenth and nineteenth-century literary criticism. As we know from "On Fairy Stories," Tolkien saw a reason to intertwine the religious and the fantastic while at the same time wishing to separate the fantastic from the childish. Tolkien is attempting to counteract a narrative of the
fantastic that associates both the religious and the preternatural with women and children. After framing the terms of the debate, I then examine moments in _The Lord of the Rings_ where the spirit meets the incarnate, particularly in the narrative of the Paths of the Dead."
Then we'll give her feedback and talk about it. We'll probably eat cookies and drink tea and soft drinks.
Assuming that you've read the Tolkien, you might want to look at the novella by Margaret Oliphant, _A Beleaguered City_, which you can find on the web, since it was originally published in 1880 and is long out of copyright. Or I could probably send you the text as an attachment to an e-mail if you like. I found some notes about Margaret Oliphant on the web today--check out http://www.jimandel len.org/gothic/
Ghost.OliphantBe leaguered. html. _A Beleaguered City_ is a pretty short novel, and I thought it wonderful. But it's written in Victorian language and style, and some readers today may be quite put off by it--at least one former Rivendeller was quite emphatic about that. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11521.bibrec
[Personally, I loved the Oliphant novel, which I discovered thanks to Ruth Berman's dissertation, a chapter of which she read to Rivendell back in the 70s. I think it's been too often overlooked by critics of 19th C. fantasy, so I'm glad it's being noticed. And I was gratified that another Rivendeller contacted me today to say she "really enjoyed it" and she's never been a grad student.]