Monday, 7 July 2014

Tolkien Transactions L

June 2014

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

These transactions are posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books) and on the Tolkien Society web-site.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
Essays and Scholarship
Reviews and Book News
Tolkienian Artwork
Other Stuff
Rewarding Discussions
Web Sites
The Blog Roll

= = = = Beowulf = = = =

BC, Sunday, 1 June 2014, ‘Review of JRR Tolkien - Beowulf: a translation and commentary
As idiosyncratic a review as one could expect, but not without virtues. The idea that Tolkien's commentary on Beowulf shows Tolkien at work as philologist is intriguing, though Charlton appears to forget — or chooses to ignore — that the old-fashioned philology that Tolkien practiced was close to being an exact science: it was a matter of rules and predictability; indeed the predictability is at the very heart of the so-called asterisk-forms, which Shippey has emphasised.

Ken Raymond, NewsOK, Sunday, 1 June 2014, ‘Tolkien's 'Beowulf' battles critics
Fortunately I do not have to try to assess the impact of Tolkien's Beowulf translation and commentary on modern Beowulf scholarship. At a guess, the new book will probably be cited more than most (if not all) other Beowulf research published in 2014, though that is, of course, not necessarily a good measure of its impact. It would seem rather unfair to expect it to revolutionise the field like his 1936 Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture, Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics – few scholars get to completely revolutionise their field twice within the same sub-branch (I've tried to think of an example in physics, but failed, though I can come up with a couple that revolutionised their field in two different sub-branches). Though this review by Ken Raymond is generally positive, it does repeat some of the misunderstandings about Tolkien's own view of his transation that also Kevin Kiernan has propounded. For an intelligent answer to these misunderstandings, I recommend reading the ‘Beowulf - Reactions and Reviews’ thread linked in the discussions section., Monday, 2 June 2014, ‘Eight Videos about Beowulf
It would probably take quite an effort to completely convince me that the timing of this post on featuring eight videos (ranging from 1'28" to 18'30") has nothing to do with the recent release of Tolkien's Beowulf, but it doesn't really matter, does it – the videos are quite interesting. The one with professor Patrick Brian McGuire shows him in Lejre, not far from where the photos from my May transactions were taken.

MM, Tuesday, 3 June 2014, ‘In the Grokking of the Beowulf
Some interesting notes on the dating of various lecture notes in the new Beowulf and the relation (in terms of time of composition) between various material from Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary and material from the composition of The Lord of the Rings published in The History of Middle-earth volumes VI—IX

Jim Beckerman, Wednesday, 4 June 2014, ‘New Tolkien translation music to the ears of Ramapo teacher
Not so much a review as an interview with Yvette Kisor abour her impression of the book (I presume that most of the facts that are not in direct quotations are nonetheless supplied by Kisor). I do wonder, though, if Kisor really intends to assign all of Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary to her spring 2015 class.

Jeff Sypeck, Sunday, 8 June 2014, ‘‘Bless with a hard heart those who surround me…’
A frank and intelligent review of the new book. Jeff Sypeck, at least as I read it, seems to suggest that Tolkien was too obsessed with conveying the meaning of the poem, and thereby lost some of its other qualities – “lest some beloved philological pebble be lost,” as he says.

Dimitra Fimi, Tuesday, 10 June 2014, ‘Dr Dimitra Fimi on Sellic Spell and Folktales
From the Tolkien Society and Middle-earth Network Launch Party for Tolkien's Beowulf, Dr Dimitra Fimi talks about the story Sellic Spell and its character as a folk-tale.

Ben Gardiner, Harper Collins, Tuesday, 10 June 2014, ‘Designing Beowulf
A short description of the visual design of the dust-jacket for Tolkien's Beowulf and the process leading up to it, this provides an interesting insight into one of the many processes that take place in the publishing of a book like this.

‘Greendragon’, Wednesday, 11 June 2014, ‘Tolkien's Beowulf – a review
A review of Tolkien's translation of the Beowulf poem and of Christopher Tolkien's preface and notes (the author has not completed the rest of the book yet).

Almudena Nido,, Saturday, 14 June 2014, ‘Grendel: Boundaries of Flesh and Law
Though not related to Tolkien's Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, this article (a paper from a 2012 conference) diving into Grendel would still belong here, I think. We know how Tolkien championed the monsters of the poem as essential, and this article, takes an even closer look at Grendel, specifically.

SM, Saturday, 14 June 2014, ‘First Saturday in June
The Southampton Tolkien Reading Group has started reading Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary in June. As usual the comments arising from their discussions are well worth reading, including a likely error in the translation (they where thy should have been).

= = = = News = = = =

Please refer to the news section of the Tolkien Society web-site: news for June 2014
News appearing on that site will only be reported here if I have something to add beyond what is said there.

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, Tuesday, 10 June 2014, ‘Warner Bros. Wants to Disqualify Tolkien Lawyers in “Hobbit” Fight
I suppose it will be no surprise to anyone reading this that I would like to see the rights of Saul Zaentz Co. and Warner Bros. reduced and limited at much as at all possible, and preferably revoked entirely. Reading about these incessant legal battles, however, is tiring – how on earth can it be a problem that anyone wishes for the people who know best to be heard in a case?

David Emerson, The Mythopoeic Society, Wednesday, 11 June 2014, ‘Mythopoeic Awards finalists announced
Ooohh! Exciting! As usual I focus on the scholarly awards, and particularly the one in Inklings studies. I don't know the two books on Lewis that are among the finalists, but the Tolkien books look good. While I think that not all of the contributions to Jason Fisher's book meet the standards he sets out in his own paper, I would still say that this book is a very welcome contribution to Tolkien studies. The same is, I would say, the case with Mark Atherton's book, though I have not yet finished it. Corey Olsen's book seems to me to be aimed more at an introductory level – but it is undoubtedly a great resource for drawing in younger students who need a taste of how one can approach a beloved text with respect that increases one's appreciation rather than lowering it (as was, unfortunately, often the case with the literary criticism I was supposed to do when I went to school).

Joe Gilronan
Lake Town (13 Dwarves and a Hobbit named Bilbo)
Adi Bloom, TES Connect, Wednesday, 11 June 2014, ‘Tolkien: 'The Hobbit goes down well at school, but teaching is depressing'
The story of a letter sent to teacher Anne Mountfield from J.R.R. Tolkien in response to a letter from one of her fourth-graders that she had forwarded to Tolkien with a covering note, thanking him for helping her (throught the means of The Hobbit) to keep her class silent and attentive. To the typed response, Tolkien added a more personal response to the teacher, showing his desire to go back and tell his own teachers of long ago what impact they had made on him. An image of the whole letter can be viewed at the auction site: Bonhams – lot 277
See also Alison Flood, The Guardian, Thursday, 12 June 2014, ‘JRR Tolkien called teaching 'exhausting and depressing' in unseen letter and Peter Jacobs, Business Insider, Wednesday, 18 June 2014, ‘J. R. R. Tolkien Has A Touching Message For His Former Teachers In Newly Discovered Letter

Lynn Maudlin, Mythopoeic Society, Saturday, 21 June 2014, ‘Mythcon 46 Dates & Location Announced
Hoping to go to the 46th MythCon next year? Then see here where you might find yourself as July turns to August in 2015 ... See also the Progress Report 2 for this year's Mythopoeic Society Conference (June 27)

Kris Swank, Mythgard Institute, Tuesday, 24 June 2014, ‘CFP: Tolkien at Kalamazoo 2015
In this call for papers, you can also learn what the paper sessions on Tolkien will be at the 2015 Kalamazoo International Medieval Congress:
  • Tolkien's Beowulf (no big surprise there ...)
  • Tolkien and medieval Victorianism (nice title – inviting curiosity)
  • Tolkien as linguist and medievalist (thinking set theory, I wonder if they mean the union or the intersection here ...)
See also Kris Swank, Mythgard Institute, Wednesday, 25 June 2014, ‘Sneak Peek @ K'zoo 2015 includes Tolkien panels as well as the more detailed information from Anna Smol below.

Trish, Mythgard Institute, Tuesday, 24 June 2014, ‘Mythmoot III: Ever On…. Registration is open!
On the third Mythmoot to be held in January 2015.

Idan Schneider, C-Section Comics, Friday, 27 June 2014, ‘Politically Incorrect Tolkien
This one has been making its rounds in Tolkien circles, and it's a good enough joke to share. But though most of these more stupid accusations (Tolkien being misogynist, racist, anti-semitic, etc.) can be easily refuted and summarily rejected, we also do need to keep in mind that Tolkien did hold some views on the importance of biology (both in terms of inheritance and sex) that would be very controversial today (and which science would have severe issues with), though he was very moderate, possibly even progressive, eighty years ago.

AS, Sunday, 29 June 2014, ‘Tolkien and medievalism sessions, K'zoo 2015
The most detailed break-down of Tolkien and related sessions at the 2015 K'zoo congress that I have seen so far. As always I regret that I am unlikely to be able to attend ... some day, perhaps.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
Highlights from June:
Viking Nicknames” (1 June), — Thorinn Eikinskjaldi, anyone? I wonder if a Dunlending could be called Ulf? At least one of the examples mentioned is ‘Ulf the Squint-Eyed’, which of course reminds me of the squint-eyed southener in Bree. Tolkien's work is full of nicknames, many of which follow the old Germanic forms.
‘Warrior-women’ in Viking Age Scandinavia? A preliminary archaeological study” (3 June), — Not quite Éowyn, but almost ...
Quid Tacitus . . . ? The Germania and the Study of Anglo-Saxon England” (6 June), — OK, so I'm a bit slow, but reading Deborah Higgens' book on Tolkien and Anglo-Saxon culture has brought it home sharply how much of our knowledge of the early Germannic tribes we owe to Tacitus.
Anglo Saxon and Viking Ship Burial – The British Museum” (9 June), — A report from a talk at the British Museum by Norwegian archaeologist, Jan Bill, who talked about “various Viking burials and attempted to compare and contrast English and Norwegian funerary methods.”
Demonic Magic in the Icelandic Wizard Legends” (25 June), — Oooh!
The effects of Viking activity on Scandinavian society” (29 June), — more Troels than Tolkien, I admit, but still. It might be highly interesting also to see some research on how the popular image of Viking mythology and society influences contemporary Scandinavian societies – this might actually have a more Tolkienian angle as the presence of the old mythology in contemporary culture in the Scandinavian countries was one of the things that Tolkien mentions as something he missed in his own England.

Michael Flowers, The Tolkien Society, Monday, 9 June 2014, ‘A Hemlock by any other name…
An excellent piece of research by Michael Flowers into the possible dating of the 1917 event that led to the fictional event where Lúthien and Beren meet and she danced for him in the woods. Looking at the flowering periods of some likely species of white umbellifers in the most likely spot (Dent's Garth by Roos), Michael Flowers argues that the event must have taken place in the latter half of May (roughly). As the conclusion is based on a number of assumptions regarding the specific species of umbellifer, the specific spot, and the exact correspondence of flowering periods in 1917 and 2014, I cannot share Flowers' confidence in the strength of his evidence, and at this time I would say that his argument opens possibilities, but that it is not strong enough to refute other possibilities.

JDR, Tuesday, 24 June 2014, ‘Lithe
A nice little personal discovery by John Rateliff – it may be that many people knew this already, but I knew as little as John Rateliff.

DF, Friday, 27 June 2014, ‘Mythgard classes, Tolkien's Beowulf, JTR, Tolkien Companion and Kalamazoo
Yay! Dimitra Fimi is blogging – for real! This blog-entry summarises a lot of recent news from Dimitra Fimi on Tolkienian matters, including a video of a Mythgard lecture from Fimi's course on ‘Celtic Myth in Children's Fantasy’.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Ralph C. Wood, Monday, 2 June 2014, ‘“Sad, but Not Unhappy”: J.R.R. Tolkien's Sorrowful Vision of Joy
Despite a few errors (a couple of which touch, I admit, fairly sore spots with me), and despite the obvious Christian agenda making me cautious, I found this opinion piece quite interesting. Filing it under ‘opinion’ emphasises the nature of applicability in this piece, which is an advantage, not least because the author's interpretation differs from Tolkien's interpretation on a number of specific points (some of which are quite central to the piece). Overall I would say that the piece, despite the inclusion of Tolkien's description of The Lord of the Rings as ‘a fundamentally religious and Catholic work;’, clearly shows that the author is unfamiliar with The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, which I think is quite a shame as that might have enabled the author to enter into a more informed dialogue with Tolkien himself on the interpretation of the text. If you read this, you should be aware that it does not agree with Tolkien's own interpretatation of his story on a number of points, but with that in mind, it is still an interesting reaction to a couple of Tolkien's stories.

MB, Sunday, 8 June 2014, ‘Not a Tolkien quote: You can only come to the morning through the shadow
I agree wholeheartedly with Marcel that “You can only come to the morning through the shadow” is not merely incorrect, it is a distortion of what Tolkien actually wrote. So, now remember it!

DB, Wednesday, 25 June 2014, ‘Hwæt! am I going to talk about today?
About a talk by Arden R. Smith on Tolkien's Beowulf – I'd have loved to have more details from the talk, but we can hope that they will come at some point anyway.

= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

JF, Tuesday, 3 June 2014, ‘New Book on Tolkien and Modernism
An early (before reading the whole book) pre-review of Tolkien and the Modernists by Theresa Freda Nicolay. At this point Jason Fisher seems cautiously positive, with the main issue being the odd lack of earlier work on the topic in the bibliography.

H&S, Tuesday, 3 June 2014, ‘Aragorn, Part Two
Christina Scull's review of Elizabeth M. Stephen's book on Aragorn, Hobbit to Hero: The Making of Tolkien's King. Coming after the review of Angela P. Nicholas' book, Aragorn: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Undervalued Hero in part one (see transactions for May), it is difficult not to compare the two reviews. Christina Scull seems a little less enthusiastic in this case, and uses more space to simply summarise the book's contents. In the end, I am, however, left with the impression of a book that will complement Nicholas' book quite well, for a reader who is willing to make the investment of time and effort.

The Telegraph, Tuesday, 3 June 2014, ‘Britain's best-loved children's book? Winnie-the-Pooh
The relevant point here is of course that Tolkien's Hobbit comes in at fourth place after Winnie the Pooh, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (perhaps I ought to get hold of the latter, which I haven't read). Personally I think Tolkien's book deserves a place on such a list mainly for its incredible suitability for reading out loud.
I agree with Tolkien's own assessment of the narrator, and with Flieger's assessment (‘Tolkien on Tolkien: ldquo;On Fairy-stories,” The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. In Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 54–64), and I think that Tolkien's greatest mistakes with the 1960 Hobbit was that he didn't go far enough, and that he didn't go through with it.

A. A. Nofi, Saturday, 7 June 2014, ‘Tolkien and the Peril of War, by Robert S. Blackham
A short review of Bob Blackham's 2013 book on Tolkien in WWI. Judging by this very brief review, it would appear to cover a sub-section of the grounds covered by John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War, which Bob Blackham surely knows well, and it would have been good to have a discussion of what Blackham's book adds to the knowledge that is in Garth's book, but such a discussion would probably be more at home in a review for a periodical by one of the active Tolkien and Inklings societies.

JDR, Sunday, 8 June 2014, ‘TOLKIEN'S BEOWULF (First Impressions)
As he says, some first impressions of Tolkien's Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary that does not go into details about the contents, but looks at it at an overview level – what is actually in the book, and what is not.

JF, Monday, 9 June 2014, ‘Another new Tolkien collection from McFarland
About a new collection edited by Brad Eden, The Hobbit in Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on the Novel's Influence on the Later Writings. The collection does look promising, and with some very interesting contributions by leading scholars (and also a few that I would not normally seek out), but while the title suggests a very narrow topic field, it does not seem that it has been possible to stay within that topic – several contributions (even some of the promising looking ones) appear to wander rather far from the titular topic of how The Hobbit specifically influenced the later evolution of Tolkien's legendarium.

James Hamilton, Wednesday, 25 June 2014, ‘Book Review: The Hobbit – J.R.R.Tolkien
A nice little review of The Hobbit – perhaps not such a bad thing to remind people that there is an actual story behind those films ...

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Lauren Davis, Tuesday, 3 June 2014, ‘These Medieval-Style Tolkien Illustrations Are Like Nothing We've Seen
The Tolkien illustrations by Sergei Iukhimov are of course not new, but this collection is quite nice, and as Iukhimov does not appear to have a web-site of his own, I suppose this is a way to make his work better known.

Jenny Dolfen
JGi, Monday, 9 June 2014, ‘We are pleased to announce we sold this original of Joe's for £1000. This is the 4th original of his we sold in the last 30 days. Get one while you can!
Congratulations to Joe Gilronan, and it really is a very good picture!

JGi, Thursday, 19 June 2014, ‘Lake Town (13 Dwarves and a Hobbit named Bilbo).
A new charming picture by Joe Gilronan depicting the arrival of Bilbo and the Dwarves in the vicinity of Lake Town. A slightly different take than most, but it makes for a good composition.

JD, Monday, 21 June 2014, ‘Thoughts about crowdfunding for graphic and written projects
Upon the fully deserved success of Jenny Dolfen's Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for her Darkness over Cannae illustrated novel, Jenny Dolfen has collected a few thoughts.
Also, though it is not really Tolkien-related, make sure to check Jenny's wonderful picture, Imbolc, which she posted on 21 June on her blog!

Sergiu, Thursday, 26 June 2014, ‘Fire and Smoke
I am not sure what Sergiu may have had in mind here, but to my eyes it would be a great illustration of Smaug – or perhaps even more of one of the dragons of the original Fall of Gondolin from The Book of Lost Tales.

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

EJ, Saturday, 7 June 2014, ‘Character age at the time of the Hobbit
Emil Johansson continues his commendable effort to plot and graph us through Tolkien's best-known works, here with a chart of the ages of the various characters at the time of the events of The Hobbt.

MB, June 2014, ‘Not a Tolkien quote
In June Marcel Aubron-Bülles has added three more ‘Things J.R.R. Tolkien has never said, done, written or had anything to do with’ to his over-growing series. I am very grateful to Marcel for the work he puts into this, and I am only too happy to try to spread the word. These are all found in the quotes section of The Tolkienist's blog, as they include the non-Tolkienian quotations, ‘You can only come to the morning through the shadow’, ‘Living by faith includes the call to something greater than cowardly self-preservation’, and ‘It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit’. And let's take it one more time: THESE ARE NOT BY J.R.R. TOLKIEN! So stop passing them on as his work!

JGa, Tuesday, 17 June 2014, ‘Secrets of The Hydra: how Tolkien research uncovered lost Wilfred Owen magazines
Though the Tolkien connection is rather tenuous (a sidetrack from his Tolkien research), the story that John Garth tells in this post is still captivating and heart-warming.

Jeanette Sears, Sunday, 29 June 2014, ‘In Tolkien's Footsteps in Switzerland
The charming story of a journey to Switzerland following in the footsteps of Tolkien's famous 1911 trip.

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

User ‘Lord of the Rings’, The LotR Plaza, May – June 2014, ‘Beowulf - Reactions and Reviews
A collection of intelligent responses to Tolkien's Beowulf and the reviews.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Dr Dimitra Fimi
Dimitra Fimi has redesigned her website, so that it now appears with a fresh and inviting look. More importantly (at least for those of us for whom contents are more important than form) there is also a blog – hopefully we will here get a bit more than just headlines for the papers and classes, perhaps even some of the insights that have earned Dr Fimi such great respect in the wider Tolkien community (nudge-nudge, wink-wink).

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
I've just reduced the list to those who have posted in June (whether Tolkien-related or not), without giving details on the posts (beyond that which is given above).

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (S&H), ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough

Jason Fisher (JF), ‘Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish

Dimitra Fimi (DF), ‘Dr Dimitra Fimi: Academic and Writer

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library

John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium
NN (+NN) Tolkien-related posts in June 2014

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist
See archive for June 2014

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac's Journal

Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)

Various, Southfarthing Mathom

Emil Johansson (EJ), ‘LotR Project Blog

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers

= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources in June 2014:

Dimitra Fimi (DF), ‘Dr Dimitra Fimi: Academic and Writer
Now also with a blog, and a nice subscribable feed! Also see above.

James Moffett(JM), ‘A Tolkienist's Perspective
Claiming to be ‘meant for beginners, and avid fans alike, to J.R.R. Tolkien’ this blog seems to me mostly directed towards the beginners (but then, I am not sure I know what would suit the ‘avid fan’).

For older sources, see

Monday, 9 June 2014

Tolkien Transactions IL

May 2014

What a fantastic month! It's May, it's full spring, it's Tolkien's Beowulf and all are happy! Wonderful :-D

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien,, and alt.books.inklings, and the usenet version can be accessed at
These transactions are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books):, on the Tolkien Society Web-site,
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Beowulf
2: News
3: Essays and Scholarship
4: Commentary
5: Reviews and Book News
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: Web Sites
10: The Blog Roll
11: Sources

= = = = Beowulf = = = =

It will surprise no-one that the release of Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary has got a lot of attention towards the end of this month, but unlike earlier, I will here focus only on the few pieces that have provided interesting perspectives for me (whether I agree or not).

Taking Beowulf back to Heorot
Reading for my daughter at the historical site of the 7th-9th century mead-halls in Lejre
Photo: © Troels Forchhammer
I have not yet found the time to sit down and read through Tolkien's book. I did take it on an excursion, though, going to the historical site of the kings' mead-halls in Lejre, and there read for my daughter Tolkien's translation of the approach of Beowulf and his men to this particular site. A fine afternoon that was.

Ethan Gilsdorf, New York Times, Sunday, 18 May 2014 ‘Waving His Wand at 'Beowulf'
A preview, really — one gets the impression that Gilsdorf has not had an advance copy to read and is reporting on the fuss about the upcoming release rather than on the book itself.

Katy Waldman, Slate, Tuesday, 20 May 2014 ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf translation finally arrives.
I cannot help but think that the basis of the comparison of Tolkien's and Heaney's Beowulf translations is fundamentally flawed. The two translations have completely different purposes, making them essentially incomparable. Still, the review is certainly interesting even if one finds the comparison irrelevant.

Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Telegraph, Tuesday, 20 May 2014 ‘Beowulf, translated by JRR Tolkien, review
Another review that primarily looks at the translation as intended as a work of art to attract and captivate a reader, but while I agree that this perspective is also relevant, I do not think that it is reasonable to make it the primary perspective since this was evidently not Tolkien's primary purpose in making the translation.

Jamie Portman, Montreal Gazette, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 ‘Behold! A new Tolkien work
Jamie Portman has spoken with HarperCollins' publisher of Tolkien's Beowulf, David Brawn, who offers some other perspectives. At one point Brawn is cited for saying (about Sellic Spell) that ‘It was the sort of thing he enjoyed doing - creating something in the form in which it might have existed had it been written a thousand years ago.’ It seems that the ideas first suggested, as far as I know, Tom Shippey, about Tolkien's work as asterisk-myths and ‘writing into the gap’ are now accepted as truth (not surprisingly, and I fully agree with it, by the way).

Tish Wells, McClatchy DC, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 ‘Tolkien's 1926 translation of ‘Beowulf’ published
Overall this is a fairly sober review that focuses on the Beowulf translation, as well as on ‘Sellic Spell’ and the two poems. In comments on the translation itself, Tish Wells writes that ‘What comes through clearly in Tolkien’s translation is a reflection of a time and a culture.’ This seems in many ways to echo well with the position of Deborah Higgens in her recent book, Anglo-Saxon Community in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Andy Orchard, Thursday, 22 May 2014 ‘Beowulf translation 'shows Tolkien's originality'
A 3'23" interview / review by current Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor at Oxford. A couple of excerpts: ‘It's excellent. It's very Tolkienian, I'll put it like that’ and ‘What Tolkien has to say is fresh and original.’

Patrick Worrall, 4 News, Thursday, 22 May 2014 ‘Tolkien's Beowulf: a 'great gift'
Even without anything else, this would be worth it just for the opening: ‘The long Hwaet! is over’ (yes, I like my puns raw and unpolished) :-) Fortunately for others with a different taste in puns, there is also other aspects to commend this review — primarily the discussion of Tolkien's deep understanding of the culture of the Old English poem: both the culture described in the poem and the culture in which it was composed.

Joan Acocella, Monday, 26 May 2014, ‘Slaying Monsters: Tolkien's “Beowulf”
(This article is currently dated 2 June, but it first appeared in my feed on 26 May) This is probably one of the best reviews that I have seen (along with John Garth's). Not just because Joan Acocella likes the book, but also because of the attention to, and respect for, what Tolkien was trying to do with the translation: ‘And what is won by the archaism—or just by the willingness to sound strange, as in the 'feet and hands'—is a rare immediacy.’

MD, Monday, 26 May 2014 ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf Translation
‘Some quick thoughts’ according to Michael Drout himself, but clearly of great value to the rest of us. Obviously his praise of Tolkien's alliterative translation of Beowulf (some 600 lines according to Drout) leaves us yearning even more for this additional bit, wondering why it was not included in the present volume.

Kevin Kiernan, Thursday, 29 May 2014 ‘Publishing Tolkien's Beowulf translation does him a disservice
Kiernan's criticism of the decision to publish Tolkien's Beowulf translation has in some ways come to stand as the exponent of this criticism. Though I, obviously, do not agree with the conclusion, I have to say that some of the reviews that I have seen makes me more appreciative of the concerns. Where Kiernan is wrong is, I believe, in two issues: first of all, Tolkien's criticism of his own work should always be taken with a grain of salt (and sometimes with a pound of salt), and the fact that he had his son, Christopher Tolkien, type out his manuscript translation some fifteen years after completing the initial version also shows that it was not a work that he merely put in a drawer and tried to forget. Secondly, despite the reviews that seem to contradict this, I think that most readers of this book will be able to discern that Tolkien's purpose with this translation was different from e.g. Heaney's — after all, most of the reviewers seem to grasp this fact quite well.

Michael Alexander, The Guardian, Thursday, 29 May 2014 ‘Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary review — JRR Tolkien's long-lost translation
Another review and commentary by a man who is himself a scholar of Beowulf (and has published a translation). Alexander is more appreciative of the work than Kiernan, but he also states that ‘The felicities of Tolkien's version will be evident only to readers familiar with the Anglo-Saxon original.’ I hope that this is not true, though perhaps the rest of us will have to work a bit at fully grasping these felicities.

John Garth, New Statesman, Thursday, 29 May 2014 ‘J R R Tolkien's Beowulf: one man's passion for the threshold between myth and reality
Unsurprisingly, Tolkien scholar and biographer John Garth adds new perspectives on the new book. John Garth's review has a focus on what this book tells us about Tolkien as a man, and about that particular Beowulf part of the leaf-mould from which so many fantastic tales grew.
A view of the field where a succession of Scyldinga
mead-halls are marked by turf banks in the terrain.
Photo: © Troels Forchhammer

= = = = News = = = =

The Tolkien Society
The News aggregation on the new Tolkien Society web-site is a great place to watch — I am seriously considering to not mention anything that has appeared there unless I have something extra to say about it.

Duncan OfJordanstone, Thursday, 1 May 2014 ‘Concerning Dragons
An animation master class project that is also a tribute to Tolkien's work. Beautifully done! In more than one way, I actually think that this style is more appropriate for Tolkien's work than what we have otherwise seen.
Mary McCool, Friday, 9 May 2014 ‘Students on fire with Hobbit animation raking in 30,000 online views
Telling the story of the animation above — and of the reception.

Daniel Helen, Tolkien Society, Wednesday, 7 May 2014 ‘Omentielva Enquea
On the sixth Omentielva conference, which will be held next year, 6-9 August 2015, at the Greisinger Museum in Jenins, Switzerland.

Wulff & Morgenthaler, Thursday, 8 May 2014 ‘New business partner
Just for laughs ...

Annalee Newitz, io9, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 ‘Man Attacks Car with Sword in Attempt to Slay the Dark Lord Morgoth
Just for laughs ...

EJ, Wednesday, 21 May 2014, ‘Re-read the Hobbit today and found a passage I had forgot about ...
Another ‘just for laughs’ ...

Noble Smith, Thursday, 22 May 2014 ‘J.R.R. Tolkien Reveals TRUE Meaning Of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ In Unearthed Audio Recording
Much has been made of the upcoming publication of this audio recording of Tolkien from his 1958 trip to Rotterdam. It IS exciting and interesting, but I wish that we could have been spared the hype of this ‘true meaning’ idiotic nonsense. Either this true meaning is the same as Rossenberg reported in his paper for the Centenary Conference (thanks to Janet Brennan Croft for drawing my attention to this) (i.e. ‘nothing at all’), or we have Tolkien purporting two different versions on the same evening of the ‘true meaning’ of his work. The latter should, of course, not surprise anyone — Tolkien was never consistent in his analysis of his own work, and there is no reason to put one version above any other. Still, I nonetheless look forward to being able to hear this recording, but not because I believe I'll learn anyting new about the ‘true meaning of _The Lord of the Rings_’.
For more examples of inane media hype, see also:
Sarah Fox, Friday, 23 May 2014 ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's lost speech regarding the One Ring, the series and the future has been found, and awaits release
Rob Bricken, Saturday, 25 May 2014 ‘JRR Tolkien Explains Lord Of The Rings In Legendary Recording

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
A few highlights:
Approaches to paganism and uses of the pre-Christian past in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Snorri Sturluson" (5 May) — I trust that the relation of the topic in the headline to the Beowulf poet, and perhaps particularly Tolkien's discussion of the Beowulf poet, is not lost on my readers.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf published today" (22 May) — not so much a review, but a collection of a few reactions, mostly from medievalists.
Edward I and the Appropriation of Arthurian Legend" (26 May) — As it says in the abstract, this follows in a tradition of " increasing interest in the appropriation of folklore by political leaders [that] has led scholars to investigate potential instances where this may have occurred in the past."
The King in Disguise: An International Popular Tale in Two Old Icelandic Adaptations’ (27 May) — An essay which ‘is intended as a contribution to the current reassessment of the relationship of Old Icelandic saga literature to the European mainstream and of the ways of literary tradition in dealing with oral sources.’
Joe Gilronan, Farewell to Rivendell

AS, Sunday, 4 May 2014 ‘Tolkien Studies at PCA 2014, part one
AS, Tuesday, 6 May 2014 ‘Tolkien Studies at PCA 2014, part two
Report on the Tolkien tracks at the April conference by the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association. Anna Smol's report highlights two particular sessions, a round-table on the state of scholarship on Tolkien and another round-table (in which Anna Smol participated herself) on the Tolkien collection at the Marquette University Archives.

AH, Friday, 16 May 2014 ‘Travels on the Oloremalle — Kalamazoo 2014 Round-Up
Andy Higgins was at Kalamazoo this year, and has written a report — so much there that I wish I could have heard, and now want to see in print ...

AS, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 ‘Kalamazoo blogs and videos
I haven't been through all these to check which ones report on the Tolkien sessions, but there's a long list here, and even if not Tolkien, most of these reports etc. will surely be interesting.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Lynn Forest-Hill, Southfarthing Mathom, Saturday, 10 May 2014 ‘First Meeting in May
The Southampton Tolkien Reading Group is currently reading and discussing Unfinished Tales and in May they have discussed the Narn i Hîn Húrin — follow these blogs to find valuable insights into this work.
See also Saturday, 24 May 2014 ‘Last Meeting in May

Jonathan Witt, Monday, 12 May 2014 ‘Tolkien, Hobbits, Hippies and War
A very interesting commentary on Tolkien and the idea of the just war. This certainly manages to make me interested in the book Jonathan Witt is writing with Jay Richards.

MM, Wednesday, 14 May 2014 ‘A Blog of Lost Talo
There are some good thoughts here that rhyme well with what scholars are saying elsewhere about Tolkien's ability to immerse himself in medieval (and particularly in Anglo-Saxon) thought. When we remember what Tolkien himself says about the importance of languge in the thoughts and tales of a culture, it is not surprising that he would easily slip into the idiom, vocabulary and structure of the thinking he was trying to portray (as also indicated by the draft letter Martinez quotes from in length).

BC, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 ‘Why modern man is like the orcs
Some thoughts on the matter of Orkish redemption, and more specifically, on Orkish repentance. Charlton posits that the Orcs were not immanently incapable of repentance, but that the lack of repentance was a simple fact of history. Since there is no reference to which Orcs Charlton is considering (that is, from what period of Tolkien's conceptualisation), it is difficult to comment precisely. Tolkien's various comments in various texts related to the second phase of the later Quenta Silmarillion (roughly 1958-62 if I take a very broad view including certain letters) make it clear that Tolkien, at that point, did consider Orcs to be incapable of repentance by their innate nature, and of course the whole question is void for the Orcs as he saw them until some point in the mid-forties. All in all, I think the solution is attractive, but that Tolkien's writings suggest that Tolkien took a different route. I do hope that Charlton himself sees the irony of his claim that people that he disagrees with politically are (almost) like Orcs in this respect.

MB, Monday, 26 May 2014 ‘Tolkien quote: For not all tears are an evil.
By Marcel Aubron-Bülles on quoting Tolkien on the 'net — yes please! Thank you, Marcel.

= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

The Tolkien Library
It is, as far as I can find, unfortunately not possible to get a sorting of new posts for a specific month on Pieter Collier's Tolkien Library site, but May 2014 has some interesting posts about the 2015 Tolkien calendar (featuring art by Mary Fairburn), a Tolkien art book, and the release of Tolkien's Beowulf, and the upcoming 60th anniversary edition. Also a couple of articles by other authors (by James Lopez and Simon J. Cook).
Joe Gilronan, Disturber of the Peace

Tolkienseminariet, Monday, 12 May 2014 ‘13 mars 2014
The Swedish Tolkienseminariet continues the series of highly worthwhile reviews of new Tolkien literature — a must read for anyone capable of reading Swedish!

DA, Saturday, 24 May 2014 ‘Lo! Beowulf and Other Topics
On the Tolkien Beowulf, the new on-line Journal of Tolkien Research (also see my transactions for March 2014) and on the paperback release of Tolkien on Fairy-stories.

H&S, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 ‘Tom Bombadil Cover
The cover for their upcoming edition of The adventures of Tom Bombadil.

Miss elfgirl 11, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 ‘The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien — review
A short review in The Guardian's children's review section, where children post reviews for other children.
H&S, Saturday, 31 May 2014, ‘Aragorn, Part One
A review by Christina Scull of Angela P. Nicholas' book on Aragorn, Aragorn: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Undervalued Hero. There is little to say — the review is very positive and Faramir's comment about the praise from the praiseworthy struck me forcefully. The book has immediately been bumped up considerably on my wish-list.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

JGi, Tuesday, 1 April 2014 ‘New work: Farewell to Rivendell (The Passing of the Elves).
As noted in my last issue, I seemed to have missed some things due to a feature in my RSS reader. This wonderful picture of Elves leaving Rivendell (for the Grey Havens and Tol Eresseä, surely) was among those I missed, but I now try to make amends.

JGi, Friday, 9 May 2014 ‘Farewell To Bagshot Row
A small piece depicting a scene from, I suppose, Three is Company (it cannot be from The Grey Havens as it would then have to be New Row instead of Bagshot Row)

JGi, Saturday, 10 May 2014 ‘This Week in Middle-earth features one of my works
The work in question being a very nice picture of Rivendell with the Last Homely House.

JGi, Tuesday, 13 May 2014 ‘Disturber Of The Peace
Gandalf arriving in The Shire.

If you haven't yet, I'll encourage you to hurry over and support Jenny Dolfen's brilliant ‘Darkness over Cannae’ project that is doing a pre-order/fundraiser at Indiegogo:

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

MB, Wednesday, 7 May 2014 ‘Call for Papers: 'World made of heroes' at University of Porto, Portugal
A call for papers for this converence to take place in November in Porto in celebration of the the 60th anniversary of LotR.

Daniel Helen, Tolkien Society, Friday, 30 May 2014, ‘Staffordshire Tolkien Walk’
Three walks through Staffordshire with a focus on places linked to Tolkien, who lived in Staffordshire with Edith when Tolkien was stationed in England during the Great War.
The first walk goes from Penkridge Library over Gypsy Green to Brocton Camp on Thursday, 3rd of July.
A walk of Cannock Chase starting out from Brocton Coppice on Thursday, 18th September.
The last walk goes from Brocton Coppice to Great Haywood with a tour of Great Haywood on Tuesday, 7th October.

Daniel Helen, Tolkien Society, Friday, 30 May 2014 ‘Tolkien Translates Beowulf
Announcing a presentation by Tolkien linguistics scholar, Arden R. Smith of the Elvish Linguistc Fellowship. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, 24th June, in San Francisco, and if anyone is in the area to hear it and write about it, I'd be grateful.
Joe Gilronan, Rivendell – A Hobbit's Tale

EJ, Saturday, 31 May 2014 ‘How far and for how many days Frodo travelled in each book
The idea is brilliant, but I have to admit that I find it somewhat odd to stop the whole thing at the end of chapter 3 of book VI and forget about the substantial travelling done in the last six chapters. I know that Fonstad only includes pathway tables for that part in her Atlas of Tolkien's Middle-earth, but it is not particularly difficult to estimate the last bits, particularly since Fonstad does include a map of ‘The Road Home’ giving her best estimate of the route that was taken.

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

The Thread (TM)
The URL is, unfortunately, not going to help you unless you are a member of the Tolkien Society Facebook Group. The Thread is, as one poster described it, a collection of highly concentrated whimsy. As of writing (9 June) the Thread is up to 4721 comments — it's good fun, and though the posting frequency is decreasing, I do not doubt that we'll hit the 5000 mark before too long.

MB, Monday, 14 April 2014, "A History of ‘The One Thread up’ until commentary 2,533."
But you should in any case be able to enjoy the summary that Marcel did. Of course it only covers the first 2533 posts of the Thread, but it gives a good impression of what the Thread is.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

The Tolkien Society
I know I mentioned it a couple of months ago also, but the Tolkien Society has a new web-site with the same high-quality contents as before, and with addition of blogs, news etc. The news, blogs etc. have been taking off a bit more slowly than the main site, but this has now become a very valuable resource, that I hope can continue (being depending on voluntary work, there is always the risk of other things taking priority). Make sure to check the news regularly (or subscribe to them) and if you haven't already, I recommend you to join our fellowship:

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
I've just reduced the list to those who have posted in May (whether Tolkien-related or not), without giving details on posts not discussed above.

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (S&H), ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough’

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

The Tolkien Society (TS)

Southfarthing Mathom (

Emil Johansson (EJ), ‘LotR Project Blog’

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in May 2014

For older sources, see

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Tolkien Transactions XLVIII

April 2014

This issue of my Tolkien Transactions is already much delayed, and there is, I think, no reason to delay it any further. It does seem to me that I must have missed some things at the start of the month, but though I have tried to look back, it is a feature of my RSS reader that posts that I have marked as unread nonetheless disappear from sight after little more than a month.

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien,, and alt.books.inklings, and the usenet version can be accessed at
These transactions are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books):
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: News
2: Essays and Scholarship
3: Commentary
4: Reviews and Book News
5: Interviews
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: The Blog Roll
9: Sources

= = = = News = = = =

Daniel Helen, TS, Wednesday, 16 April 2014, ‘Beowulf Launch Party’
On the on-line launch party for Tolkien's Beowulf translation that the Tolkien Society organises along with others.

Shaun Gunner, TS, Sunday, 20 April 2014, ‘Inaugural Tolkien Society Award Winners’
The winners of the first Tolkien Society Awards — congratulations all!

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
As usual, I don't think you need me to point out the many intriguing headlines on old Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian culture, so I will just point out ones that have stuck out more than usual for me:
‘The Concept of Time in the Medieval World View’ (2 Apr) — The concept of time is of course also hugely important in Tolkien's Faërie, so this article is quite interesting, though I would have liked to see even more about the meeting of secular time with eternity.
‘Returning the King: The Medieval King in Modern Fantasy’ (5 Apr) — A 2012 Master's Thesis.
‘Theories of the Nonsense Word in Medieval England’ (8 Apr) — A Ph.D. dissertation from Princeton, 2013 ... confusticate and bebother these scholars ... :-)
‘Old Norse Influence in Modern English: The Effect of the Viking Invasion’ (12 Apr) — I guess there was just no way that I could leave out something with that headline, was there ;)
‘Enabling Love: Dwarfs in Old Norse-Icelandic Romances’ (27 Apr) — On the role of dwarfs in medieval and later folklore — including a role as enablers of love.
‘Boethius’s Misguided Theodicy: The Consolation of Philosophy’ (28 Apr) — Anicius Boëthius is often mentioned in relation to Tolkien. Though I think it is often because Boëthius offers a philosophical foundation that is medieval and yet relatively accessible to a modern audience, it is nonetheless relevant for the student of Tolkien to also keep an eye out for insights into the medieval religious philosophy represented by e.g. Boëthius.

Susan Abernethy, Friday, 18 March 2014, ‘Offa, Anglo-Saxon King of Mercia’
You do know, I trust, that Tolkien identified himself as Mercian or Hwiccian, but how well do you know the history of Mercia and Hwicce? My own knowledge is certainly not above appreciating a bit of a history lesson on King Offa of Mercia.
Jef Murray
Echoes on the Road

AH, Monday, 21 April 2014, ‘Travels on the Oloremalle — The Musings of a Tolkien Researcher’
Andrew Higgins has started blogging on the Tolkien Society web-site, calling his series of blogs the ‘Travels on the Oloremalle’ (referring to the Olórë Mallë — the Path of Dreams — in The Book of Lost Tales). Andy is doing a Ph.D. on the earliest stages of Tolkien's mythology, and his bloggings are a must-read for anyone interested in the genesis and emergence of the Middle-earth mythology.

Shreyas Warrier, Thursday, 24 April 2014, ‘Guest speaker explores the mysteries of Tolkien’
A report from a speech by Maria Cecire on ‘Unfashionable Creatures: Tolkien’s 1931 Curricular Reforms and the Fantastic Imagination’ at Brandeis University.

MM, Tuesday,29 April 2014, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien Slept Here’
Being of a scientific persuation myself, I might wish for just a bit more justification / confirming evidence (in the Bayesian sense) than just getting the hypothesized cause before the proposed effect, but otherwise I largely agree with what Martinez has to say here.

Andrew Higgins, Wednesday, 30 April 2014, ‘Travels on the Oloremalle — Questing for The Leaf-Mould of Tolkien's Mind’
Here Andrew, in addition to talking about his current projects, gives some excellent resources for someone interested in trying to understand something of the mind-set of the literature with which Tolkien grew up and which he studied while at university (perhaps it would be more appropriate to describe it in the plural — the many mind-sets of many authors that all form a part of that leaf-mould of the mind in which Tolkien's works grew).

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Josh Jones, Wednesday, 2 April 2014, ‘Read an Excerpt of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1926 Translation of Beowulf Before It's Finally Published Next Month’
Along with an introductory discussion of the poem, Jones compares a few lines from Tolkien's alliterating translation that are, IIRC, known from Michael Drout's work on Tolkien and Beowulf, to Heaney's 1999 translation.

Mabel Slattery, Saturday, 5 April 2014, ‘Why J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf translation is one of the best things to happen to literature’
A coherent argument from someone who is not herself a fan of Tolkien's fiction, but a huge fan of his work on Old English.

Sean Michaels, National Post, Tuesday, 22 April 2014, ‘On J.R.R. Tolkien’
‘This is what sets [Tolkien's] Middle Earth [sic] apart from [...]: those lands have fine yarns, but they never taught me anything about myself.’ Need I say more? This is exactly what sets Tolkien's work apart: it allows the attentive and thoughtful readers to learn something about themselves!

Jef Murray
The Knighting of Gimli
Daniel Hannan, Monday, 28 April 2014, ‘Supposing him to be the gardener: Sam Gamgee, the Battle of the Somme and my Great Uncle Bill’
Perhaps not terribly interesting from a Tolkien perspective, but still a good way to approach Faramir's commnet, ‘You are a new people and a new world to me. Are all your kin of like sort? Your land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardeners be in high honour.’

= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

PC, Saturday, 26 April 2014, ‘Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in The Lord of the Rings’
The question of religious meaning in Tolkien's work is probably always going to be contentious because people will insist on reading their own meaning into his work, and thus tend to either exaggerate or understate the importance of Tolkien's own faith in shaping his work.
Sometimes it is merely a matter of language — I am often far more comfortable with a statement that ‘this is what I get from reading it’ compared to the claim that ‘this is what Tolkien intended us to get from reading it’.
In any case, I have long since found that a bit more than a passing knowledge of medieval Catholic philosophy is invaluable when trying to carefully excavate deeper layers of Tolkien's work.

AS, Sunday, 27 April 2014, ‘Dictionnaire Tolkien review in Medievally Speaking’
Commenting on her review of Dictionnaire Tolkien from Medievally Speaking (see last month), Anna Smol takes up on the question of the translation and reception of Tolkien's works in other languages. This is indeed an interesting topic. Most of the discussion that I know of looks at single languages (comparing translations, discussing translation choices etc.) and it could be interesting to see a thorough study of translations in general (there is Allan Turner's contribution, ‘A Theoreticl Model for Tolkien Translation Criticism’ in the book Tolkien in Translation (ed. Thomas Honegger, Walking Tree Publishers, Cormarë series no. 4).

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Philipp Rhensius, Der Spiegel, Monday, 7 April 2014, "J. R. R. Tolkien und der Erste Weltkrieg: ‘Mordor erinnert an Schlachtfelder und Schützengräben"’
An interview, in German, with John Garth, about his book, Tolkien and the Great War, which has been published in German. The description of the TCBS core as believing with ‘jugendlichem Übermut’ that they could help change the world through Art sticks out — if the interview was conducted in English, I suspect that Garth did not use ofermod to describe the TCBS, but it might not be wholly inappropriate.

Corey Olsen, Wednesday, 16 April 2014, ‘Listen In - Dr. Robin Reid Interview’
An interesting interview with Dr. Reid who will be teaching a course on the cultural studies and audience reception approaches to Tolkien's work.

Stacia Joy, Thursday, 3 April 2014, ‘Author/Illustrator Interview: Jenny Dolfen and 'Darkness Over Cannae'’
A good interview with Jenny Dolfen — mostly about her newest project, ‘Darkness over Cannae’, but of course it is not possible to avoid Tolkien entirely.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Graeme, Saturday, 12 April 2014, ‘Where are we?’
The two ‘lost’ blue Wizards ...

MB, Wednesday, 16 April 2014, ‘A wealth of art at HobbitCon’
On the Tolkien-inspired art at HobbitCon — and yes, those artists really are good!

Jef Murray, Thursday, 24 April 2014, ‘The Knighting of Gimli’
Gimli being knighted by Galadriel — an interesting way of showing the bond between the two.

Jef Murray, Friday, 25 April 2014, ‘Echoes on the Road’
A scene from Three is Company where one of the three Hobbits (Frodo? He's a bit sturdy, as Frodo was when they set out, and seems the older of the three) is looking behind them with some concern, listening, I think, for the sound of hooves.

Joe Gilronan
A Stroll Through The Shire
JGi, Sunday, 27 April 2014, ‘A Stroll Through The Shire’
Is that Bilbo taken a stroll? Or perhaps a young master Frodo who has gotten used to being the master of Bag End ...

Jools, Monday, 28 April 2014, ‘The Grey Wanderer’
A knitted Gandalf ... and he's a wonder!

JD, Tuesday, 29 April 2014, ‘It's a GO! Darkness over Cannae on Indiegogo!’
Though strictly speaking not Tolkien, I can break my own rules as often as I like, and there was no way that I would not mention Jenny Dolfen's brilliant ‘Darkness over Cannae’ project, that is doing a pre-order/fundraiser at Indiegogo:
This promises to be a both interesting and beautiful historical novel, so get yourselves there and help bring even more perks to the supporters :-D

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Brian Sibley, Thursday, 17 April 2014, ‘Here There be Dragons’
A single Tolkien-inspired work, but otherwise also a fantastic gallery of artwork from a book of art by Ian Miller — including dragons, and ‘the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever cost of peril.’ Though not (at least not all of them) Fáfnir, Miller's dragons do make the world a richer place.

Dean Burnett, The Guardian, Thursday, 24 April 2014, ‘Here be dragons: the science of the flying fiery reptiles’
Posted on the day after St. George's day, this article on dragons in general seems highly appropriate. Looking at the plausibility of dragons is, of course, a bit of good fun, but as Tolkien also knew, there is something incredibly attractive about the idea of the Dragon — something that leaves the world both richer and more beautiful for being.

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
This month, being late and all, I've just reduced the list to those who have posted in April (whether Tolkien-related or not), without giving details on posts not discussed above.

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’

Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook’

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

The Tolkien Society (TS)

Southfarthing Mathom

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’

= = = = Sources = = = =

No new sources in April 2014. For older sources, see

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Tolkien Transactions XLVII

March 2014

It will surely not come as a surprise to any regular reader of these transactions that the last five months have been rather busy for me — editions have been delayed and shortened. This has in part been due to my starting in a new job in September, being busy getting to know my responsibilities and learn to perform them well, and partly because of my being extra busy in Scouting. Now, however, things do seem to be lightening (and just in the right time for some highly welcome and interesting Tolkien publications!), so now I just hope that this will last.

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or any other implication of responsibility) :-)

These transactions are posted to the usenet newsgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien,, and alt.books.inklings, and the usenet version can be accessed at
These transactions are also posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books):
and on LotR Fanatics Plaza in the books forum:

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the following headlines:
1: Beowulf
2: Tolkien Reading Day
3: News
4: Essays and Scholarship
5: Commentary
6: Reviews and Book News
7: Tolkienian Artwork
8: Other Stuff
9: Rewarding Discussions
10: Web Sites
11: The Blog Roll
12: Sources
All images are used with the permission from the artist.
Joe Gilronan
Three is Company (A Starry Night In The Shire)

= = = = Beowulf = = = =

The big thing this month was of course the 19th March announcement from Harper-Collins and the Tolkien Estate that they will publish Tolkien's translation of Beowulf along with commentary and Tolkien's associated story, Sellic Spell — to be released on May 22nd.
‘Mu-um, pleeease! Is it May yet?’

Let us start with the best, shall we?
JGa, The Guardian, Saturday, 22 March 2014, ‘JRR Tolkien's translation of Beowulf: bring on the monsters’
John Garth discusses the setting and what we may expect from Tolkien's work — going a long way towards answering the question of why we should bother about this book. Two points that I found particularly interesting was about the monsters (which is based on Tolkien's famous lecture-essay on Beowulf) and about Verlyn Flieger's view on Beowulf as representing the darker, dystopic, side of Tolkien (also represented by Galadriel's statement about ‘fighting the long defeat’).

User: ‘Lord of the Rings’, Sunday, 23 March 2014, ‘Sellic Spell’
User ‘Lord of the Rings’ explains what is known about Tolkien's story Sellic Spell, which will be published in the Beowulf volume, and includes information about the philological context in which Tolkien was writing.

MD, Thursday, 27 March 2014, ‘Tolkien's Beowulf: The Real Story’
It is a pity that a scholar such as Michael Drout has to go out of his way to set things straight because journalists and others start repeating errors that had been thought sorted out years ago, but there you are. So, before reading a lot of mistakes about professor Drouts work on an edition of Tolkien's translation of Beowulf, you should read what he has to say himself.

A number of Tolkienists have, of course, posted comments about the upcoming volume with varying level of detail. I list them here with no further explanation on comments:

MB, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, "Finally: Tolkien's translation of ‘Beowulf’ to be published on May 22"

JGa, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘Tolkien's Beowulf translation and Sellic Spell to be published’

AS, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘What a day for Tolkien news!’
No rules without exceptions ... notice that Anna Smol also includes the news about a new on-line peer-reviewed scholarly journal about Tolkien.

PC, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary will be published world-wide on 22nd May 2014’

JDR, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘Tolkien's BEOWULF’

JDR, Friday, 21 March 2014, ‘SELLIC SPELL’

JDR, Friday, 21 March 2014, ‘Tolkien's Beowulf postscript’

As far as I have been able to find, the news first broke on Wednesday 19 March in The Guardian and The Telegraph:
Alison Flood, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait’

Anita Singh, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published for first time’

And then the storm hit ...
(The following stories do try to add something, though not always successfully, but at least they try ...)

Nick Clark, The Independent, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, ‘JRR Tolkien's translation of Beowulf to be published after 88 years’

Lydia Smith, International Business Times, Thursday, 20 March 2014, ‘JRR Tolkien's Translation of Beowulf to be Published After 88 Year Wait’

Adela Talbot, Western News, Thursday, 27 March 2014, ‘Tolkien translation of Beowulf adds little - beyond cash’
It is a pity that Adela Talbot would choose to further her negative commentary with so many factual mistakes that it has greatly undermined the point, she appears to be trying to make, and also reflects negatively on her cited source, Jane Toswell, though we must remember that quotation marks in the hands of a journalist doesn't necessarily mean that the person actually said that. This has also spurred some interesting discussion of what scholarly value this publication will have, and the general consensus seems to be that it will indeed have great value also for research and scholarship in Old English. See also under discussions.

To give a further idea of how much has been said (in English alone) about the upcoming release, I have collected links to additional pieces in varioius news-outlets and blogs. None of these really add anything new to our knowledge that hasn't been discussed in the above, but are intended only to give an impression of the interest (these links are given without shortened forms).

19th March

20th March

21st March

22nd March

23rd March

= = = = Tolkien Reading Day = = = =

I had an absolutely magic Tolkien Reading Day! Bri (Bree), the Copenhagen Tolkien Society, had organised an event in a Copenhagen shop selling equipment for Live-action Role-playing (Faraos Cigarer — they also have nearby shops for comic books and table-top role-playing games). With a break in the middle I read from The Hobbit for two hours, and besides my companions from Bri (who didn't have much of a choice) five people, a father with a child, and a mother with two children, chose to stay for the whole reading. After the reading the mother told us that she had at first thought me a professional actor, which I took as very high praise (though surely not deserved it was nice anyway). I find that reading a good story to an attentive audience adds something extra to the enchantment of the story.

MB, Thursday, 6 March 2014, ‘Tolkien Reading 2014 — Event calendar, worldwide’
While it would be foolish of anyone to lay claim to exhaustiveness, I am sure that Marcel's calendar is the one that comes closest ...
MB, Friday, 21 March 2014, ‘A map and a calendar: Tolkien Reading Day 2014’
And Marcel followed up with a new version that included a map ...

The My Middle-earth site set up for Tolkien Reading Day:

User ‘badgaladriel’, The Grey Havens Group, Sunday, 2 March 2014, ‘TOLKIEN READING DAY’

Jean Lotus, Tuesday, 18 March 2014, ‘Middle Earth at the comic book store Tuesday’

EJ, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, ‘15 Tolkien quotes about life for Tolkien Reading Day 2014’
Chosen from more sources than the usual two or three, and with citations including book and chapter, this is how I like to see my selections of Tolkien quotations for any occasion — tack, Emil!

Zoe Mintz, International Business Times, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2014: 25 Inspirational Quotes From The Books Of J. R. R. Tolkien’
Well, from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, actually, but at least the quotations are both correct and with source, which puts them miles above the average thing you see on the 'net ...

Brigid Brown, BBC America, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, ‘Tolkien Reading Day 2014’

Graeme McMillan, Wired, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, ‘Happy Tolkien Reading Day: If You've Never Read Lord of the Rings, Today's the Day to Start’

User ‘Demosthenes’, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, ‘Today is Tolkien Reading Day. Which Tolkien book did you pull open?’

Wes Venteicher, Chicago Tribune, Thursday, 27 March 2014, ‘Devotees celebrate Tolkien reading day at Forest Park comic shop’,0,4158942.story

Sean Kirst, Friday, 28 March 2014, ‘Open invitation to our annual Tolkien Reading Day: Saturday, 11 a.m., DeWitt Community Library’
Jef Murray

Laura Amann, Oak Leaves, Monday, 31 March 2014, ‘Tolkien parody night raises funds for Opportunity Knocks’

= = = = News = = = =

Hannah Hiles, Birmingham Post, Monday, 3 March 2014, ‘Funding to expand Tolkien's favourite nature spot’
Funding has been found to do something for Moseley Bog and Joy's Wood, where Tolkien roamed as a kid in Sarehole. Hopefully this will mean that also future generations of Tolkien enthusiasts will be able to visit this tract of land.

Mythgard Institute, Friday, 14 March 2014, ‘The Lord of the Rings’
A Mythgard Institute course titled ‘The Lord of the Rings: A Cultural Studies and Audience Reception Approach’ to be taught by Robin Anne Reid.

Ethan Gilsdorf, Boing-boing, Saturday, 22 March 2014, ‘Lost Bakshi Lord of the Rings footage found’
As far as I know, Ralph Bakshi was the first to successfully adapt a part of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings for the cinema, and his adaptation is as much worth knowing as any other.

EJ, Sunday, 23 March 2014, ‘9 things you didn't know related to Tolkien's works’
The URL suggests that Emil Johansson initially included a qualification in the title — things we maybe didn't know. He did succeed in finding one item I didn't know (which, given the way I have trawled most Tolkien-related news-stories for the past four years, is probably attesting to the thoroughness of Emil's research) — I hadn't heard of that Chinese Hobbit-based Harry Potter sequel.

Tom Peacock, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, ‘From Beowulf to Gandalf: a new approach to Old English’
While I know it is quite common to take up some of his Old English and other medieval sources of inspiration when teaching Tolkien, I cannot recall having heard before of a professor taking to Tolkien as a means of mediating the Old English subject of a course on Old English. Interesting take on it.

Christina Sterbenz, Business Insider, Wednesday, 26 March 2014, ‘Here's The Epic Real-Life Inspiration For Tolkien's 'Lord Of The Rings'’
The headline promises a bit more than is kept, but there is a photo montage that includes some relevant and interesting pictures both from Sarehole and from WWI.

Shaun Gunner, TS, Friday, 28 March 2014, ‘Welcome to our new website!’
A welcome and an introduction to the new Tolkien Society web-site by TS chairman, Shaun Gunner. It's a really nice site — do take a look!

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =
As usual, I don't think you need me to point out the many intriguing headlines on old Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian culture, so I will just point out ones that have stuck out more than usual for me:
‘Enter the Dragon: Legendary Saga Courage and the Birth of the Hero’ (9 Mar) — Starting out by quoting the Völsungasaga is certainly a good way to get my attention, and discussing directly the relationship of Sigurdr, Regin and Fafnír should immediately recall to us Tolkien's assessment that ‘the world that contained even the imagination of Fàfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever cost of peril.’
‘All the King's Men: Icelandic Skalds at Scandinavian Court’ (10 Mar) — I am reminded not just of Icelandic Skalds, but of the Anglo-Saxon skald in Tolkien's Notion Club Papers ...
‘Mordred: Treachery, Transference, and Border Pressure in British Arthurian Romance’ (12 Mar) — I haven't read this thesis, but of course it is before the publication of Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur so it cannot take that into account, though it touches on topics that are also present in Tolkien's treatment.
‘’ (18 Mar) — the answer, as you may suspect, is not just ‘because it helps us understand the background of Tolkien's work a little better’, though of course Albrecht Classen's answer doesn't quite have the imperative force of mine :-)
‘What we now know about the Staffordshire Hoard’ (19 Mar) — about this fantastic Anglo-Saxon hoard, which is called the archaeological mirror of Beowulf ...
‘The Process of State-Formation in Medieval Iceland’ (22 Mar) — just because.

JGa, Wednesday, 5 March 2014, ‘Tolkien at fifteen, a warrior-to-be’
Based on the recent surfacing of a picture of the King Edward's School Cadet Corps (later known as the Officer Training Corps) in which Tolkien was a corporal. The picture is from 4 April 1907 and shows a young Tolkien in his cadet uniform. John Garth explains the context of the picture, and puts it in perspective by discussing the young boys at the school as they emerged for him from the pages of the school chronicle and other sources ... and not least by discussing the fate of this generation less than a decade after this picture was taken. If you allow yourself to stop and think, a picture and a few words in school chronicle can be a powerful spell.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

Donald T. Williams, Touchstone, November/December issue 2013, ‘The World of the Rings’
An interesting take on one of the significant differences between Tolkien's story and Jackson's — and certainly some of the explanation of why people such as myself feel that the latter feels wrong and trivial in comparison.

MB, Friday, 7 March 2014, ‘Tolkien, Anglo-Saxon England and the Viking exhibition at the British Museum’
Unless Marcel has access to insider sources, this (and his February 28 post about Beowulf in Old English) must be a nice bit of serendipidity as it ties in very well with the later news about the upcoming publication of Tolkien's translation of Beowulf. I went to see the ‘Vikings’ exhibition last summer in Copenhagen, and it really is very nice: if it comes to a place near you at some point in the coming years, I can recommend taking the time to see it.
See also the blog from the British Museum:
Gareth Williams, British Museum, Friday, 7 March 2014, ‘The Vikings are here ...’

Lynn Forest-Hill, Saturday, 8 March 2014, ‘First Saturday, March’
Discussion of the last bits of The Fall of Arthur ...

Albert Mohler, Tuesday, 11 March 2014, ‘From Father to Son — J.R.R. Tolkien on Sex’
Based mostly on letter no. 43 from The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (to Michael Tolkien, 6-8 March 1941). The context of this letter seems quite special, and Tolkien is saying things here that he contradicts elsewhere, so I would take this letter with more than a single grain of salt. Mr Mohler, however, seems to take the letter at face value, making his reading fairly straight-forward, but also not particularly interesting.

BC, Sunday, 23 March 2014, ‘Is it immature to regard Tolkien as a great writer?’
Well, of course it is not immature to regard Tolkien as a great writer — rather the opposite, I would say. On the other hand, it may be bit immature to insist on the existence of one single ‘greatest writer in the world’ in ‘the strict sense’ of that term.

Philip Kosloski, Wednesday, 26 March 2014, ‘Is There Occult Magic In The Lord of the Rings?’
While I do not particulary agree with the specific approach, there is nonetheless an interesting underlying question of how to convince concerned people that fantastic fiction, despite featuring magic, does not promote occult practices in the Primary World. We can shake our heads and call them nutcases, but some of these are keeping their children from some of the best literature available for completely fallacious reasons ...

Sue Brunning, British Museum, Wednesday, 26 March 2014, ‘Sutton Hoo, treasure hunters and a lucky escape’
Just because the Sutton Hoo treasure is fascinating and is often mentioned together with Beowulf of curent Tolkien topicality.

= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

Journal of Tolkien Research
Had it not been for the more or less simultaneous announcement of the publication of Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, I am sure that this exciting bit of news would have gathered quite a lot more interest in the Tolkien community. It is a pity that these two things should co-incide, but such is sometimes how things go. I hope this can help spur interest, and once we start seeing articles from this journal, I am sure that much more will be made of it.

PC, Wednesday, 5 March 2014, ‘The Ideal of Kingship in the Writings of Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien by Christopher Scarf’
A review of Scarf's book from June 2013. The idea of a comparative study of kingship in these three Inklings authors, looking at the topic from literary, and historical as well as from a religious point of view seems intriguing.

PC, Wednesday, 5 March 2014, ‘Middle-Earth in Magic Mirror Maps... of the Wilderland in Wales... of the Shire in England by Steve Ponty’
A preview of a book that seems to take a cartographic look at Tolkien's maps. I must admit that I remain unconvinced by the descriptions here — it will take more to persuade me that this is more than another poorly researched attempt at straw-grasping source-hunting.

JF, Sunday, 9 March 2014, ‘New Tolkien collection — and a new publication credit’
Half the story of Jason Fisher's own involvement with the two volumes of the French Tolkien, le façonnement d’un monde (vol. 1 about botany and astronomy, vol. 2 about astronomy and geography), and also in part a review of particularly the latest which is newly published. French is, unfortunately, a language that is beyond me (and likely to remain so), so I will only have access to that which appears also in English.
See also PC, Sunday, 9 March 2014, ‘Tolkien, le façonnement d'un monde - vol. 2, Astronomie & Géographie’
Which is more of a review, commenting on, I think, all the contents of this volume.

MB, Mythprint, Friday, 14 March 2014, ‘J.R.R Tolkien: The True Lord of the Rings’
A review by Marcel Aubron-Bülles of a graphical biography of Tolkien, J.R.R Tolkien - The True Lord of the Rings. Given the brilliant biographical works by Carpenter and Garth and, for the more advanced students, Scull & Hammond, I think this comic-book approach is at best of value to young people whose interest for J.R.R. Tolkien's works are only just branching out into an interest also in Tolkien as a person.

JDR, Saturday, 15 March 2014, ‘Shippey Lectures’
About an audio-book with lectures by Tom Shippey on Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature, which starts out with a lecture on Frodo Baggins. Given Shippey's fantastic ability to reach out to his audience, this is probably well worth the money.

Oloris Publishing, Thursday, 20 March 2014, "Pre-release Excerpt from Dr. Higgens' ‘Anglo-Saxon Community in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'"’
See also the release notice below (25 March).

AS, Monday, 24 March 2014, ‘Dictionnaire Tolkien, ed. Ferré’
Anna Smol's review of Dictionnaire Tolkien (edited by Vincent Ferré). As with the books discussed by Jason Fisher above, I will have to hope that some of this will eventually be translated into English and made available to the wider Tolkien community (a lot of very excellent stuff is coming out in other languages — German, Spanish, French etc. — but English is, I think, likely to remain the primary language of Tolkien research).

Oliris Publishing, Tuesday, 25 March 2014, "Announcing the Release of ‘Anglo-Saxon Community in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'’ by Dr. Deborah A. Higgens"
Announcing the release of this book. The book has of course been underway for quite a while, and so the timing with respect to the news of the release of Tolkien's Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary can only be said to be a stroke of luck — hopefully that bodes good for Oliris Publishing.

PC, Wednesday, 26 March 2014, ‘Tolkien Calendar 2015 features artwork from artist Mary Fairburn from The Lord of the Rings’
I do not normally buy the calendars (preferring art-books or prints if I want to buy Tolkien-related art), but this is darned tempting ...

PC, Thursday, 27 March 2014, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings 60th Anniversary Edition will be released in June’
About the sixtieth anniversay edition of The Lord of the Rings, which will be released in June. Personally I am hoping for a later hard-cover edition only with Tolkien's own illustrations and some well-produced maps, as I am not particularly fond of having other illustrations in my Hobbit and LotR editions (it's an idiosyncratic quirk — I like the illustrations, but I don't want them in the books ...)
See also
TS, Friday, 28 March 2014, ‘60th Anniversary Edition of The Lord of the Rings’

Kris Swank, Mythgard Institute, Thursday, 27 March 2014, ‘New CFPs — Tolkien, Whedon & Medievalism’
Calls for papers for the new Journal of Tolkien Research (see above), and for two conferences (not particularly Tolkien-related).

MB, Thursday, 27 March 2014, ‘Call for Papers: Overlooked Aspects of Middle-earth’
A call for papers issued by the Dutch Tolkien Society, Unquendor, for their Lembas Extra journal.

Wiley, Ultimo March 2014, ‘A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien’
The publisher's page for this upcoming (May 2014) book. I hope, however, that it will become available at a somewhat lower price, as the price quoted at the Wiley site seems rather steep. Note that the list of contents, the index and chapter 1 are all available as pdf files from this page.

H&S, Monday, 31 March 2014, ‘Tolkien Notes 11’
An update on various Tolkien projects, additional information on the Beowulf and the 60th anniversary edition of LotR, a review of The Forest and the Hill and other notes of Tolkien interest. As usual these notes are densely packed with very interesting information.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

JM, Monday, 3 March 2014, ‘Narya’
Gandalf with Narya on his finger

Jef Murray
Meeting Bilbo
JM, Monday, 3 March 2014, ‘Meeting Bilbo’
Gandalf meeting a very young Bilbo who has crawled up a tree. ‘Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures? Anything from climbing trees to visiting elves—or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores!’ Oh, yes, Bilbo. That Gandalf! Brilliant sketch by Jef Murray!

Sergiu, Tuesday, 4 March 2014, ‘Misty Mountains’
I don't know how it's made, but the title is apt, and I like it!

JGi, Monday, 17 March 2014, ‘Three is Company (A Starry Night In The Shire)’
The title says it quite well — the three hobbits are only just setting out from Bag End in this painting by joe Gilronan.

Graeme, Monday, 24 March 2014, ‘Escape to the eyrie’
Bilbo hanging on to Dori's ankles in the Eagle-assisted escape from the wolves and goblins in The Hobbit. See also the later image ‘Still escaping’ (image_id=6228 from the 25th).

JM, Monday, 24 March 2014, ‘Jef Murray Studio Tour’
A video tour of Jef Murray's studio, guided by the artist himself. The place is very nice, but Jef's explanations are, to me, at least, even more interesting.

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Corinne Keer, Tuesday, 18 February 2014, ‘The British Strike Again! Heros for Our Time: Frodo Baggins and Harry Potter’
A report from a lecture by Tom Shippey titled ‘Heroes for Our Time: Frodo Baggins and Harry Potter’.

Thomas Morwinsky, Other Minds, Sunday, 9 March 2014, ‘Other Minds, Issue 14 published!’
Other Minds is an on-line magazine focusing on Role Playing in Tolkien's Middle-earth.

Noah Berlatsky, Salon, Monday, 10 March 2014, ‘10 songs Tolkien fans will love’
I don't know why I should love these song, but then I prefer not to call myself a ‘fan’, so perhaps the headline doesn't apply to me ... The Tolkien references in these songs are generally trivial and uninteresting — seeming more a space for some artists to say ‘look, I read books, too’ than any genuine response to Tolkien's work. Though my taste has since mellowed, I did listen to a lot of punk-rock and heavy metal in my youth, but I still fail to see what in Tolkien's works that would inspire that kind of reaction. Not that I think that the Sally Oldfield song is much better (as Berlatsky asks, ‘Is “Three rings for the elven kings,” really supposed to sound quite so cheery?’). Of the oeuvre on offer, the Oldfield, the Sangster, and the Rahman seem to me reasonable artistic responses to Tolkien's work.
That leaves the two songs that set music and tune to Tolkienian lyrics. The Walking Song from The Hobbit is not exactly the same as the one from LotR, but it is close, and, in my opinion, more successful than both The Tolkien Ensemble (usually my favourite band for setting Tolkien's lyrics to music) and Donald Swann, and almost as successful as Shore's tune to the song for the New Line Cinema films. The last one, setting the Ring-verse to music, I am in at least two (and probably more) minds about.

EJ, Thursday, 20 March 2014, ‘The Perks of a Geeky Project’
A very personal post by Emil Johansson reflecting over his own motivation for his continued work on his LotRProject web-site. I can certainly recognise a lot of what he says, in case you were wondering what has kept me posting monthly summaries of Tolkien-related activity on the internet (mostly) for nearly four years. For my own part, I would want to add a deep yearning to learn — to increase my knowledge and understanding and to share that simply for the joy of shared knowledge in and of itself (I would, however, not be surprised if Emil is also affected by this).

MythCon, Friday, 28 March 2014, ‘Mythcon 45 Room & Board Now Available’
For those attending MythCon 45 ...

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

Mythsoc, Yahoo group: ‘Fwd: Tolkien's 1926 Translation of Beowulf To Be Published in M...’

With the new Yahoo groups interface they seem to have ditched the threaded view (a great pity), and I do not know if you can see the messages if you are not a member of the list ... But still, the discussion is certainly worth-while. Around post 50, I ask to the academic / scholarly interest in the publication of Tolkien's Beowulf translation (with commentary and Sellic Spell), and there are some very good answers to that.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Tolkien's Beowulf
The official home page for the book ...

The Journal of Tolkien Research
The site for the new peer-reviewed on-line journal – there you can also find how to submit articles for the journal.

The Tolkien Society
The Tolkien Society has launched its new web-site – very smart and with a nice RSS feed to keep up with new stuff on the site.

A fascinating new on-line map of Middle-earth ready for exploration.

= = = = The Blog Roll = = = =

These are blogs you really should be following yourself if you're interested in Tolkien ...
Contents from these blogs will only be reported here if there is something that I find particularly interesting, or posts that fit with a monthly theme, but I will here note the number of Tolkien-related posts in the month covered by these transactions (while the number of posts with a vaguer relation — e.g. by being about other Inklings — are given in parentheses).

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (S&H), ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough’
A single Tolkien-related post in March 2014 (see above), and one post about the garden waiting for spring.

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’
1 Tolkien-related posts in March 2014 (see above).

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’
9 Tolkien-related posts in March 2014. Besides the 6 mentioned above, there is an update from the Tolkien Library shop (detailing items for sale), an extra post on Tolkien's Beowulf and one by a guest-writer with inspirational quotations, some of which are by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’
No posts in March 2014

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’
4 (+1) Tolkien-related posts in March 2014, the four listed above, and the last a mere allusion to The Brief History of the Hobbit (‘cutting a 400,000 word book by about 40%’). In addition there are a number of posts on other writers of fantastic fiction, Pratchett, Lovecraft, Grahame, Dunsany etc.

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’
7 (+3) Tolkien-related posts in March 2014. In addition to those mentioned above, there is a post about an attempt at marketing slogans based (mostly) on Tolkien, a post about a film-promo using a picture from the real Middle-earth (the English Midlands), a Jackson-inspired wedding cake, a post about first edition Hobbits coming up for auction (for those with some thousand quid to spare ...), and a post on Middle-earth in the English Midlands, the Midlands landscape as a source of inspiration for Tolkien.

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:
No Tolkien-related posts in March 2014.

Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook’
No Tolkien-related paintings in March 2014

Holly Rodgers (HR), ‘Teaching Tolkien’
No posts in March 2014

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
1 Tolkien-related posts in March 2014, for which see above.

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
1 (+1) Tolkien-related posts in March 2014 — a review and the Mythcon 45 announcement. See both above.

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’
No posts in March 2014

Emil Johansson (EJ), ‘LotR Project Blog’
2 (+1) Tolkien-related posts in March 2014. All are listed above.

Michael Martinez (MM), ‘Middle-earth’
No posts in March 2014

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’
3 Tolkien-related posts in March 2014. Beyond the one listed above, there is a list of seven books about Tolkien that Charlton does not recommend. I suppose that it is fair enough to mention that three of these books are on the Tolkien Society recommended list of books about Tolkien that I have contributed to:

= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources in March 2014
Bradford Lee Eden and Douglas A. Anderson (editors), (JTR), ‘Journal of Tolkien Research’

The Tolkien Society (TS)
In addition to the posts listed above, you can also find announcements of a number of Tolkien events around the world in 2014.

For older sources, see