Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Fall of Arthur – a collection of reviews

This post is the third of my Fall of Arthur. As indicated in my earlier posts, this is just a collection of reviews and other writings on the new Tolkien book that are available on the internet. I think that I have included all, or at least nearly all, of these in my Tolkien Transactions over the past few months, but I thought it might be convenient to have them all collected here.

I will start with a couple of pre-publication comments that speculate on what the poem might be:

Ruth Lacon, 2013-03-20, ‘On The Fall of Arthur: Pre-Publication Speculation By a Longtime Student
Ruth Lacon here gives her speculations on the poem, presumably with some collaboration with Alex Lewis. I haven't had the time to go through the predictions myself and compare to reality, but Renée Vink has commented on a few of the points.

Sørina Higgins, 2013-04-26, ‘Arthur, Adapted
Sørina Higgins is, I think, best known for her work on Charles Williams, and the possibilities with the two Inklings with each their take on the Arthurian world must have been very tempting.

If you read only ten reviews (besides mine, of course ;-)  – ‘The Fall of Arthur — A Review’ and ‘Philosophizing on Fall of Arthur’), I recommend that you choose the ten listed below with a few comments.

John Garth, The Daily Beast, 2013-05-23, ‘Tolkien’s Unfinished Epic: ‘The Fall of Arthur’
John Garth has carefully studied the early evolution of Tolkien's Silmarillion mythology and he has an unerring sense for the parallels between the poem and Tolkien's mythology at the time Tolkien was composing it. Garth's review is very perceptive and highly recommended.

John D. Rateliff, 2013-05-23, ‘The Fall of Arthur
A rather short review posted on the day of release – possibly a result of having hurried through the book to be able to post his immediate thoughts.

David Bratman, Tuesday, 2013-05-28, ‘it's just a flesh wound
I admit that I have a weakness for David Bratman's reviews. His dry humour and his lack of patience with people who ought to know better are a relief. Read Bratman's review after you have read the reviews that precede it on this list ...

Renée Vink, 2013-06-04, ‘Lancelot's death in battle in The Fall of Arthur
Renée Vink is the translator of The Fall of Arthur to Dutch, and of course a Tolkien capacity in her own right. While translating the book she noted a confusing reference, which Carl Hostetter has kindly helped clear up (which may also help others, who might become confused at the phrasing of the reference). Renée's further comments on The Fall of Arthur of course also deserve attention (though I do think she goes a bit too far when saying that Tolkien's ‘picture of Guinevere could hardly have been more misogynist’).

Bruce Charlton, 2013-06-07, ‘Review of The Fall of Arthur by JRR Tolkien
Bruce Charlton often comes up with some unusual angles on Tolkien's work that nonetheless has the ability to make you stop and think. His review of The Fall of Arthur is no exception. He does, for instance, describe Tolkien's Guinever as evil, which has the effect of making me go back to the text and check why I believe this to be wrong.

Anna Smol, 2013-06-21, ‘'Wild blow the winds of war': Tolkien's Fall of Arthur
Anna Smol writes intelligently about the poem itself, it's form and the way that Tolkien paints images with his words, both as actual descriptions and as metaphors.

Sørina Higgins, The Curator, 2013-06-21, ‘King Arthur was an Elf!
The suggestions that King Arthur was an Elf, or that Lancelot was Eärendil must be in jest (there is no basis whatsoever for such suggestions in the book). I cannot quite figure out where Higgins is ironic / sarcastic and where she is serious – I suspect that her comments on why poetry is ‘more difficult than prose’ are meant seriously, though I don't think the example works particularly well, but that may be due to my familiarity with the head-rhyming verse forms.

Andrew O'Hehir, The New York Times, 2013-06-21, ‘Legend Retold: ‘The Fall of Arthur,’ by J. R. R. Tolkien
O'Hehir's review shows a good understanding for the poem and its author. Among other things, he suggests that Tolkien was concerned / sensitive to the conflict inherent in writing the language and verse-mode of the very people that the British Arthur fought, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. I am not ultimately convinced by this argument, but I am sure that Tolkien would have been aware of this issue while writing the poem.

Tom Shippey, The Times Literary Supplement, 2013-06-26, ‘Tolkien's King Arthur
Shippey discusses Tolkien's use of his medieval sources to that particular particular part of the Arthur story that Tolkien deals with in the poem as well as Tolkien's possible motives for writing the poem. And of course reading Shippey about Tolkien is always a treat – really, there is no excuse to skip Shippey's review.

Kathy Cawsey, Open Letters Monthly, 2013-08-01, ‘The Lord of the Round Table
Kathy Cawsey's review was one of these happy discoveries (thanks to Anna Smol) that one occasionally comes across. A section on Tolkien as a poet of alliterative verse is particularly interesting, and Cawsey's comments as a professional medievalist on Tolkien's Arthuriana are definitely also worth reading. I warmly recommend Cawey's review.

Finally some reviews that are here listed without further comment (many of these are from various web-sites or from people's personal blogs). These are, of course, merely a very small sampling – doing a search on-line for “"The Fall of Arthur" Tolkien Review” will yield thousands of hits

Tish Wells, McClatchy, 2013-05-23, ‘At last, we get Tolkien's take on King Arthur

Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times, 2013-05-23, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien's ‘Fall of Arthur’ and the path to Middle-Earth

Felicity Capon, The Telegraph, 2013-05-24, ‘Tolkien's epic about the legend of King Arthur published for the first time

Ethan Gilsdorf, Geekdad, 2013-05-24, ‘Unpublished Tolkien Epic The Fall of Arthur Is Released

Ray Palen, Bookreporter, 2013-05-24, ‘The Fall of Arthur

Fr. Daren J. Zehnle, 2013-05-24, ‘The Fall of Arthur: A Review

A.J. Connell, Geek Eccentric, 2013-06-04, ‘Review: J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Fall of Arthur”

Marama Whyte, Hypable, 2013-06-06, ‘Hypable Book Review: ‘The Fall of Arthur’ by J.R.R. Tolkien

Noah Cruickshank, A.V. Club, 2013-07-01, ‘When do posthumous releases go too far?

Steff Humm, Fantasy Faction, 2013-07-08, ‘The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien

Lee Duigon, 2013-08-07, ‘Review of Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur

And here at the end, for those who would like to see something that has a character of conversation, here are a few discussion threads from the on-line fora that I frequent:

rec.arts.books.tolkien: ‘The Fall of Arthur
LotR Plaza: ‘Arthur: Mythology and History
LotR Plaza: ‘'The Fall of Arthur' — connections to the Quenta
LotR Plaza: ‘The Fall of Guinever
The Barrow-downs: ‘The Fall of Arthur
Reddit/tolkienfans: ‘Thoughts on The Fall of Arthur

Philosophizing   on Fall of Arthur

This is the second of my posts on The Fall of Arthur. Here I intend to give some more thoughts on the three discussions I identified in the previous post, ‘The Fall of Arthur — A Review’:

  1. Tolkien's portrait of Guinever
  2. The connection to the Silmarillion mythology
  3. Juxtaposing the poem with his comments on the faults of the Arthurian world in his famous 1951 letter to Milton Waldman. 
Much of this is more or less a copy of things I have posted elsewhere before this, just slightly reworked for this format. The third and last post is intended to be simply a collection of links to reviews by others. 

The Fall of Guinevere

Tolkien's portrait of his Guinever is probably the issue that has attracted the most negative comments even from reviewers / commentators known to be sympathetic towards Tolkien. I have collected a few such comments below:

Renée Vink, ‘Lancelot's death in battle in The Fall of Arthur’, 2013-06-04: “his picture of Guinevere could hardly have been more misogynist - she resembles Morgan le Fay at her worst” (the ensuing discussing between Renée and Carl Hostetter, while severely hampered by the 160 character limit on comments, is also worth reading).

David Bratman, ‘it's just a flesh wound’, 2013-05-28: “[Mordred] rushes to the bower of Guinever, for whom he secretly lusts, and tells her she can be his queen or his slave, and she'd better choose quickly. Guinever defies him gallantly, and uses the little time he allows her to sneak off and run away, thereby earning herself a minor place among Tolkien's little-known list of gutsy female characters.

John D. Rateliff, ‘The Fall of Arthur’, 2013-05-23, “in Guinevere he's produced what I think must be his least sympathetic female character. That should make for some interesting discussions.

John Garth, ‘Tolkien’s Unfinished Epic: ‘The Fall of Arthur’’ on The Daily Beast, 2013-05-23: “Lancelot has an impulsive, glad optimism out of tune with the times. His love of Guinevere is misplaced: she is a “greedy hearted” hoarder of gold or love, whose feelings ill-suit the Round Table’s ethos of public service, honour and chivalry: a “lady ruthless, / fair as fay-woman and fell-minded / in the world walking for the woe of men.” Mordred is a slave to his lust for the Queen, finding no outlet for his thwarted energies except in scheming action.

Tom Shippey, ‘Tolkien’s King Arthur’ in The Times Literary Supplement, 2013-06-26, “The price of this tinkering with the story is paid, alas, by Guinevere, who is treated with something like the scorn and anger reserved for her in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. She seduced Lancelot. She betrayed Arthur. She does flee from Mordred, but her penitent death in Amesbury is removed, and the last words on her are, “Guinevere grew grey in the grey shadow / all things losing who at all things grasped”.

Anna Smol, ‘“Wild blow the winds of war”: Tolkien’s Fall of Arthur’ 2013-06-21, “In her we see a woman who is greedy for love and glory, dissatisfied with her present lot, and extremely clever in negotiating her precarious situation. There is much more that can and will be said about these characters by Tolkien readers and scholars.

Andrew O'Hehir, ‘Legend Retold’ in The New York Times, 2013-06-21, “As for Guinevere, the Helen of this particular war, if she is in some respects a stock female character — wily and manipulative, more than willing to trade on her sexuality for power — she is nonetheless an unusually robust woman in Tolkien’s universe, full of vigor and intelligence.

Kathy Cawsey, ‘The Lord of the Round Table’, 2013-08-01, “I don’t think Guinever, for example, could have been written today in the way Tolkien writes her [...]. Tolkien doesn’t spare much understanding or pity for Guinever. Throughout both the completed section and the fragments of drafts, Guinevere’s love for Lancelot is equated to greed, and Tolkien blames her (not Lancelot) almost entirely for the love affair.

Bruce Charlton, ‘Review of The Fall of Arthur by JRR Tolkien’, 2013-06-07, “This version of the Arthur legend is focused around the character of Guinevere - who is beautiful, cold-hearted, selfish and evil: she instigates the plots, and the main male characters - Arthur, Lancelot and Mordred - are in thrall to her fey glamour (only Gawain perceives her true nature).

Sørina Higgins is at best suggestive in speaking of “Lancelot and Guinevere’s treasonous love” (‘King Arthur was an Elf!’ on Curator, 2013-06-21), while other commentators and reviewers (Capon, Gilsdorf, Hand, Whyte) do not (yet) comment on this particular aspect of the poem.

It is tempting to begin to argue with every single of these comments — there is in each of them something that I think misses the point, even if just slightly, but that would soon grow far too bulky even for me.

Rateliff brings up an interesting way to look at this: Tolkien's other female characters. The character that comes to mind to me as the closest parallel to Guinever (obviously this is limited by my inability to recall all of Tolkien's characters) is Isfin / Aradhel — sister to Turgon of Gondolin. There is in her character some of the same wilfulness that I see in Guinever, the same spoiled belief in her own right to get her way both with things and with other people.

It is, to my mind, a serious mistake, a logical fallacy even, to extrapolate the portrait of Guinever to women in general: Tolkien's Guinever is a sample of exactly one, she is princess, queen and adulteress, and thus so exceptional in every sense that we can say absolutely nothing about Tolkien's, or even his Fall of Arthur narrator's, views on women in general. At best we can say something about how he viewed adulterous people whose position require them to act as role models of virtue (here we have in the poem a sample of two — still hardly enough for generalizations). I fully understand what emotional mechanisms prompt e.g. Renée Vink to call the picture of Guinever ‘misogynist’, but in terms of critical thinking this is nonetheless a logical fallacy.

And in these comments, I think I have already begun to give hints of my own reading of Guinever.

I think that Tolkien's characterization of his Guinever is overwhelmingly shaped by the inevitable role that she plays in the story: adulteress, one who should have been a role model, a ideal of faithfulness and virtue for all the court to follow and look up to, but who fell, and falling dragged with her the unity of the Round Table. From this, Tolkien tries to portray a woman who might play such a role, but he does not (as Charlton suggests) portray her as actually evil — he creates a wilful and strong woman, but one that is spoiled and who is used to have her way with other people, and who cannot accept rejection.
Guinevere grew grey    in the grey shadow
all things losing    who at all things grasped.
Grasping at all things, with little concern of what it might do to others — selfish, spoiled, grasping, but never evil.

I hope that someone manages to get in a paper about Guinever in the announced Mythopoeic Press book,  Women in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien, projected for spring 2014. I do hope that this book will not be dominated by a so-called ‘politically correct’ perspective (while Tolkien was certainly respectful of women and strongly supported women's education at Oxford, his views on women can hardly be called politically correct today) or by misogynists finding a kindred spirit in their own confirmation bias rather than in Tolkien. Fortunately both these scenarios appear highly unlikely with Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie Donovan at the helm.

The Connection to the Quenta

As explained in my review, Tolkien's notes to the unwritten ending of The Fall of Arthur indicate that he planned to send Lancelot across the sea to Avalon in the wake of Arthur, never to return, and they also reveal that Tolkien explicitly placed this Avalon as the Lonely Isle in the Bay of Faërie – i.e. Avalon was Tol Eressëa. Since we have, as demonstrated by Christopher Tolkien in The History of Middle-earth, already seen Tolkien linking from his mythology to the Arthurian world by stating, within the sub-created Secondary World of his mythology, that the Arthurian Avalon was identical to Tol Eressëa, the linking here is the other way around – here the link is shown to exist also in the Secondary World of King Arthur.

Strengthening this link by making it bi-directional has some rather significant consequences. In mathematical theory, a bi-directional implication is the same as an equivalence, and the implication here is that Tolkien is telling us that the Arthurian world (or at least his Arthurian world) and his Silmarillion world are equivalent – that they are the same. This also allows us to speculate what the consequences of this equivalence might be on the internal history of the Silmarillion world.

In his very perceptive review, ‘Tolkien’s Unfinished Epic: ‘The Fall of Arthur’’, John Garth asks
Was Tolkien’s decision to send Lancelot to Avalon, reconfigured as the island of the High Elves, simply self-indulgence by an author whose writings were so often drawn into the orbit of Middle-earth—something no more significant than when a whale carries the dog-hero of his children’s story Roverandom within sight of the Bay of Faërie and away again? Or was Tolkien actually planning to use The Fall of Arthur to introduce readers to his Silmarillion stories, making Lancelot the mariner who would learn those ‘lost tales’ from the Elves of Avalon? 
The idea of Lancelot in the role of Eriol / Ælfwine, the mariner who comes to Tol Eressëa / Avalon and there hears the old myths and legends from the Elves that live there, is, to my mind, a more likely scenario than the idea that Sørina Higgins suggests in her review, ‘King Arthur was an Elf!’, where she states “Here is the key: Lancelot is Eärendel.” Still, David Bratman has an important point on his blog-posted review, ‘it's just a flesh wound’, in which he points out
The suggestion that Lancelot is to be identified with Eriol/Ælfwine, the sea-wanderer who, in Tolkien's earliest tales, comes to Tol Eressëa and has the stories of the Silmarillion recounted to him, doesn't hold up for me, because the important thing about Ælfwine is that he comes back and passes on those stories. By longing for the West, but we never learn if he gets there or not, it seems to me that Lancelot here is to be placed with Tuor and Amandil, who share his yearning and his unknown fate.
David Bratman's protest is, I think, very valid. the role of Eriol / Ælfwine is not just to sail to Avalon / Tol Eressëa and there hear the legends told from the Elves – it is a far more important aspect, particularly in the earlier stages of the legendarium, that Eriol / Ælfwine bring the stories back to England. However, comparing Lancelot to Tuor and Amandil doesn't quite do it either: they may be Men and their fate be unknown (and in these respects they are fine matches), but their purposes are very different from Lancelot, as are the general circumstances of their voyages.

What we do know is that Tolkien explicitly identified Tol Eressëa with Avalon (as Bratman also points out, this should not really be a surprise as this is documented in The History of Middle-earth), that Lancelot (in a move unique to Tolkien's version of the story) takes sail to follow Arthur to Avalon and never to return, and that Tolkien in his drafting regarding Lancelot's voyage to Avalon refers to the imagery of Eärendel's voyage to Valinor.

There are parallels in Lancelot to all of the characters mentioned, Eriol / Ælfwine, Tuor, Amandil, and Eärendel, but in no case is the match of a quality that would allow us to assume that Lancelot is in any way fulfilling that exact role in the the legendarium, and this would indeed be very surprising: Lancelot, when all is said and done, is not English, at best he is a Briton, closely related to the Celtic people that inhabited England before it became England.

Having said all this, I do not think that it is in such specific links that we should seek the importance of the link.

To me, the significance is simply in the existence of this link. What has been revealed previously in The History of Middle-earth of the identification of Tol Eressëa with Avalon (once the idea in The Book of Lost Tales of identifying Tol Eressëa with Britain had been abandoned) is, like the initial linking of The Hobbit to the legendarium, a one-way link: the Quenta is linked to the Arthurian world. The references in The Fall of Arthur makes this link two-way by also linking the Arthurian world to the Quenta.

If we take Shippey's ideas about Tolkien's legendarium as a kind of asterisk-mythology for the English, this double-sided linking to the Briton / Celtic world of Arthur is important because it shows Tolkien understanding something important about mythologies in the real world: particularly how mythologies tend to merge and meld. When invading tribes take over a land, their myths and legends will become dominant, but the myths and legends of the people whom they have conquered will also enter into the mythology of the new place, just as elements of their language will sneak in. Neither language nor myth are, in Tolkien's views, independent of land – of the physical landscape of the people, and thus the myths and legends and language of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons in any case had to be adapted to the new physical lands that they found themselves inhabiting, and one, I think quite natural, route for this was to adopt into their own elements of those that had lived in, on and of the land before them.

So, if you will bear with me for a moment longer as I extrapolate my musings further into the realm of speculative hypotheses, I think I am inching my way towards suggesting that Tolkien understood that anything attempting to be an asterisk-mythology for the Ænglisc would, necessarily, also have to be able to explain much of the Celtic world, including the incorporation of the Arthurian world, and the reverse-connecting that we see in The Fall of Arthur is an expression of that understanding.

What is wrong with the Arthurian World?

This is actually a very interesting question. It is raised in a thread on the LotR-Plaza, ‘Arthur: Mythology and History’.

Essentially this is an exploration of the ties between Tolkien's treatment of the Arthurian world in The Fall of Arthur and his later letter to Milton Waldman in which he bemoans the absence of a truly English mythology, ‘and above all for heroic legend on the brink of fairy-tale and history’ that is ‘bound up with [the]tongue and soil’ of England of the quality that Tolkien sought.
There was Greek, and Celtic, and Romance, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Finnish (which greatly affected me); but nothing English, save impoverished chap-book stuff. Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world, but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English; and does not replace what I felt to be missing. For one thing its ‘faerie’ is too lavish, and fantastical, incoherent and repetitive. For another and more important thing: it is involved in, and explicitly contains the Christian religion.

For reasons which I will not elaborate, that seems to me fatal. Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary ‘real’ world. (I am speaking, of course, of our present situation, not of ancient pagan, pre-Christian days. And I will not repeat what I tried to say in my essay, which you read.)

Carpenter, Humphrey; Tolkien, Christopher. The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition. Letter no. 131 to Milton Waldman.
The key here is the quality that Tolkien sought – what was that quality?

One of the benefits of now having The Fall of Arthur is that it can give us yet another piece to the puzzle of figuring out what the quality was, that Tolkien sought – what he found in elements in the mythologies of other peoples, and which he evidently was trying to create with his legendarium. It might no longer have been the ‘mythology for England’ that Carpenter writes about, but the quality that Tolkien sought was doubtlessly much the same when he was writing Waldman as it had been when he set down the first of his Lost Tales more than thirty years earlier.

Another perspective on this that we may get to understand a little better by juxtaposing the letter with The Fall of Arthur is Tolkien's statement that the explicit inclusion of the Christian religion is a problem for the Arthurian world insofar as one would see it as myth or fairy-story. All this Matter of Britain of course have some strong ties to myth and, not least, to fairy-story – we have magic, a wizard, a special sword, etc. but also a divine object and a divine quest, but Tolkien nonetheless thought that this was fatally flawed as myth and fairy-story, even though his own poem also includes the Christian religion – the conflict between Arthur and the Saxons (and presumably also the Angles and the Jutes) is made one of Christian Arthur against heathens, and we are told how their souls are lost when they die.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The Fall of Arthur — A Review

This is the first of three (at least as currently planned ...) posts on The Fall of Arthur. These posts are mostly a collection of my thoughts and writings elsewhere on the Tolkiens' new book, The Fall of Arthur, written for Pibeurten (the journal of the Malmö and Copenhagen Tolkien Societies, Angmar and Bri (Bree), respectively), and for The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza.

This first post is mostly in the form of a review, though I am afraid that it has gotten slightly out of hand ...

As its predecessor, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, this is a poem in the old form, the head-rhyme. This poem follows the form of the Old English alliterative verse, which, as with the Old Norse forms, is somewhat stricter in the rules than is seen in the other Arthurian alliterative poems which stem form the Middle English alliterative revival.

The poem itself, in its latest form, constitutes nearly one thousand lines that are printed on just 40 of the more than 200 pages of the book. On the remaining pages we find mainly three essays by Christopher Tolkien, ‘The Poem in Arthurian Tradition’, ‘The Unwritten Poem and its Relation to The Silmarillion’, and ‘The Evolution of the Poem’, but also Christopher Tolkien's short foreword1 and an appendix on ‘Old English Verse’ from a lecture on the subject given by is father.

All in all I estimate that about 40%2 of the text in the book is written by J.R.R. Tolkien while the remaining 60% is written mainly by Christopher Tolkien interspersed with quotations from e.g. the Arthurian sources.

The poem consists of four more or less finished cantos and the beginning of the fifth. It opens in the first canto with Arthur who is with his army far east at eaves of Mirkwood3 in “Saxon lands”. The use of dark images in metaphorical language sets the tone of the campaign, giving the impression that Arthur is fighting not only the heathens, but also the land itself, the dark forests and the wild mountains, and perhaps even the heathen gods themselves. In the middle of all this a messenger brings news of Mordred's treason and Arthur hurries to leave home for Britain.

The second canto starts with a close-up of Mordred – a man whose treason and scheming is driven by his lust for Guinever.4 In a powerful portrait we see how Mordred is told that Arthur knows about Mordred's treason and is heading home, whereupon Mordred immediately journeys to Camelot to deliver an ultimatum to Guinever: whether she will bed him as his wife or as his slave. The queen asks for time, but escapes Camelot and Mordred's courtship, while Mordred must away to the coast to prepare for Arthur's invasion of Arthur's own realm.

The disastrous affair between Lancelot and Guinever is long over as the poem starts. Guinever is back in Camelot as Arthur's queen, while Lancelot is banished from Britain and expelled from the brotherhood of the Round Table. The affair and it's consequences is the subject of the third canto, in which we meet Lancelot in Benwick. Lancelot has also heard the rumours of the tide of time turning against Arthur and the reader gets another powerful portrait of a man torn by strong emotions: his pride, his loyalty – love, even – to Arthur, the fear of Gawain's judgement, the romantic love for Guinever (though the two appear at least partly estranged) – hope, shame, and anger fight within Lancelot and locks him in place. A summons from Arthur or Guinever would have resolved the deadlock, but no summons come and Arthur must prepare to attack Britain without the help of the kin of Ban.

The attack on Britain is the topic of the next canto, in which we first meet Mordred who is awaiting the invasion, and then get a graphic description of the naval battle where Arthur and Gawain fight the heathen sailors that Morded has bought. Here Gawain shines in earnest: the most valiant knight of all the knights associated with Arthur:

As straw from storm, as stalks falling
before reapers ruthless,    as roke flying 210
before the rising sun    wrathful blazing
his foemen fled.    Fear o’ercame them.
From board and beam    beaten fell they,
in the sea they sank   their souls losing.
Boats were blazing,   burned and smoking;215
some on shore shivered   to shards broken.
Red ran the tide   the rocks staining.
Shields on the water   shorn and splintered
as flotsam floated.   Few saved their lives
broken and bleeding   from that battle flying.220
Thus came Arthur   to his own kingdom
and the sea’s passage   with the sword conquered,
Gawain leading.   Now his glory shone
as the star of noon   stern and cloudless
o’er the heads of men   to its height climbing225
ere it fall and fail.   Fate yet waited.
Tide was turning.   Timbers broken,
dead men and drowned,   a dark jetsam,
were left to lie   on the long beaches;
rocks robed with red   rose from water.230

Notice the powerful images that Tolkien paints here – the tide running red, and the rocks that rise out of the water are ‘robed with red’.

Of the the fifth canto, Tolkien only wrote the beginning in which he describes how Arthur discusses with Gawain how best to win the passage of the cliffs, now that they have won the passage of the sea.

- – — * * * — – -
After the poem itself follows three essays by Christopher Tolkien. In the first essay, ‘The Poem in Arthurian Tradition’ he discusses how his father's poem relates to the medieval sources such as La?amon's Brut, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, the French romance Mort Artu (the source of a fourteenth-century end-rhyming ‘Stanzaic Morte Arthur’), but the primary sources for both Tolkiens are Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur and the anonymous Alliterative Morte Arthure. If, as it was mine, your prior knowledge of Arthuriana and the Matter of Britain is limited to a couple of twentieth century re-tellings of the myth, then Christopher Tolkien's essay is extremely valuable for the understanding of the source material that his father was working with, and his argumentation that his father's primary source appears to have been The Alliterative Morte Arthure will be worth reading also for those who are already familiar with the medieval sources.

For readers who come to this work through their interest in, and love for, J.R.R. Tolkien's fiction and particularly his legendarium, the second essay, ‘The Unwritten Poem and its Relation to The Silmarillion’, will of course be of great interest.

In this essay Christopher Tolkien quotes and comments the various notes that his father made while working on the poem. As with the plot notes we know from his other work, e.g. on both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, these notes outline how Tolkien imagined that the plot would progress and end, but we should of course treat them with the caution that is evident when we compare the plot notes for the finished works with the published story. The primary surprise here is probably that Tolkien was planning to let Lancelot follow Arthur to Avalon, never to return.

Christopher Tolkien has already, in The History of Middle-earth, shown how is father at one point5 linked his legendarium to the Arthurian world by identifying Tol Eressëa, the Lonely Isle, with Avalon, but in the notes to this unfinished Arthurian poem, we discover that he also planned to link the Arthurian world (presented in the poem) to his legendarium explicitly letting Lancelot arrive at Avalon,the Lonely Isle in the Bay of Faërie.

In the last of the essays, ‘The Evolution of the Poem’, Christopher Tolkien is back in one of the roles for which we know him from The History of Middle-earth: tracing the creation of the poem, unravelling the complicated threads of layer upon layer of corrections, emendations, manuscripts etc. Christopher Tolkien even attempts to trace the sequence in which his father had his ideas. This is probably the most academical of the three essays where Christopher Tolkien makes it possible for later Tolkien scholars to dig into the manuscripts and by help of his work sort out how J.R.R. Tolkien's ideas replaced each other. Less academically inclined readers might  find that they are better off merely skimming this part.

The last pages of the book is an appendix on Old English Verse. If you are interested in head-rhymes, or alliterative verse, then this is a gold mine, which excellently complements what Christopher Tolkien put in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún with surprisingly little repetition. The words are once again those of J.R.R. Tolkien, and they come from a lecture he gave on the subject, first for the BBC, and later elsewhere, and every time he emended and expanded his discussions. All this work come across quite clearly in the text.
- – — * * * — – -

As a dedicated Tolkien-enthusiast The Fall of Arthur is of course worth buying and reading simply because it is a book by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you like  alliterative verse (like Tolkien I prefer the phrase ‘head-rhyme’ or the Danish stavrim, stave-rhyme), you will not find many, if any, modern authors who can measure up to Tolkien in this poetic form, and that alone makes the book worth reading, just as an interest for Arthurian literature is a possible route to this book – John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is not just anybody among modern authors of myth and legend.

For me, however, it is the poem itself – the head-rhyme – that really makes this book a treasured contribution to my collection. I am overwhelmed by the power that this verse form can convey, and by the ability to create so strong portraits of people and situations, with the terse metaphorical and pictorial language and a strong sense for the natural rhythm of language. This is, to me, entirely incredible.

- – — * * * — – -
It would, of course, be presumptuous to pretend to know what topics will become the main focus of scholarly studies of The Fall of Arthur, but I can at least list three issues that I have already found are being commented.
  1. Tolkien's portrait of Guinever
  2. The connection to the Silmarillion mythology
  3. Juxtaposing the poem with his comments on the faults of the Arthurian world in his famous 1951 letter to Milton Waldman. 
These discussions will be the topic of my next post on The Fall of Arthur: ‘Philosophizing    on Fall of Arthur’.


1: Who on earth do so many people insist on mistakenly calling a foreword a “forward”? Different things entirely!  Return

2: My estimates have the book at some 45,000 – 52,000 words, of which I estimate that some 17,000 – 21,000 are by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Return

3: As many will know this is the Old Norse Myrkviðr which is known in this sense from e.g. the Völundarkviða.  Return

4: Tolkien spells her name ‘Guinever’ and I will follow him when speaking of his character, while adding the final ‘e’ when speaking of the character of the queen more generally in the Arthurian tradition, both ancient and modern.  Return

5: That is, after he had abandoned the idea that Tol Eressëa would become Britain itself.  Return

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Tolkien Transactions XXXIX

July 2013

Every month as I hurry to finalize this list of various Tolkien-related things on the internet that I have come across in the past month, I find myself wondering what I have forgotten this time. There is of course a lot of things that I just haven't discovered — though I spent far too much time scouring the internet, I will never be able to discover it all (and really I am very grateful when people point out their own or others' work to me), but also the things I did find, but lost the URL for — I do have procedures that should prevent this, but ... you know, nothing is entirely fool-proof it one is a big enough fool ;-)
- so, if there is something you think I should have included, I have probably forgotten, overlooked or never found it, and so please make me aware of it.

I have written various pieces this month on The Fall of Arthur both in Danish (for the journal of the Copenhagen and Malmö Tolkien Societies, Bri and Angmar) and in English. I plan to collect most of this (everything that is worth collecting, at least) in a post to appear on my blog, Parma-kenta in the next week or so.

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

= = = = Mythcon = = = =

MythCon 44 is organized by the Mythopoeic Society and the place where the Mythopoeic Awards are awarded each year, and MythCon members seem to be much better at blogging about their experiences than attendees of most other conferences.

I will start this with noting the winner of the 2013 Mythopoeic Award in Inklings Studies, Verlyn Flieger's book Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien. Well deserved — congratulations!

Mythopoeic Society, Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythopoeic Awards: 2013 Winners Announced’
The official notice from the Mythopoeic Society on the 2013 award winners.

Mythopoeic Society, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘Acceptance Remarks — 2013’
The acceptance remarks of the winners of the 2013 Mythopoeic Awards.

... and John Rateliff's reaction:
Monday, 15 July 15 2013, ‘And the Winner Is . . .’

On to reports on the actual conference ...

Eleanor Farrell, ‘Confessions of a Brody Girl’
Posted earlier this year, Eleanor Farrell reminisces about by-gone days at the venue of this year's Mythcon ...

C.F. Cooper, Saturday, 13 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Day 1’
A brief report on the first day of Mythcon 44.
See also the folling reports
Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Day 2’
Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Day 3’
Monday, 15 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44: Final Report’

Lee's Myth, Sunday, 14 July 2013, ‘Mythgard at Mythcon 44’
Essentially a list of presentations attended (presumably). Linking to later posts elsewhere, it would appear that this post has been updated after the end of Mythcon.

HR, Monday, 15 July 2013, ‘Appendix A: Taking Tolkien on the Road’
Holly Rodgers went to MythCon to tell about the journey of herself and her ELL students — and to discover the camaraderie of Tolkien fans. I do hope that her hopes and ideas for the Teaching Tolkien blog will come true. You will certainly continue to hear about Holly Rodgers' Teaching Tolkien site in these transactions.

katyflynn, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44’
A curious report told from the perspective of, of all people, Samwise Gamgee (whom I, personally, find rather less charming in his ignorance than do many others — including the author).

DB, Thursday, 18 July 2013, ‘Mythcon in Mich., again’
Long-time Mythcon attendee and Tolkien scholar David Bratman gives his thoughts on Mythcon 44, including mentions of a couple of the students' papers, Megan Abrahamson on Tolkien and fanfiction and Megan Naxer's analysis of Donald Swann's The Road Goes Ever On. See also Bratman's further Mythcon blog entries:
DB, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘music at Mythcon’
On the music presented at this Mythcon
DB, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘one more Mythcon anecdote’
Relating, as the title tells, an anecdote from Mythcon — this anecdote being related to the attitude of Tolkien scholars to the Jackson films ... (see also the report by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond)

Lee's Myth, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘More on Mythcon 44’
A report on two of the presentations at Mythcon 44, Anna Smol's ‘Tolkien's Painterly Style’ and Trish Lambert's ‘How the Respective Cosmogonies of Narnia and Middle-earth Affect Grief and Hope in the Environment’.

H&S, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘Midwestern Journey’
The report by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond drives home the point also made by others that attending a Mythcon (or another conference) can be widely different experiences depending on how one puts one's programme together.

Anna Smol, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44. Day One: hot sun, fanfic, and ice cream’
Anna Smol's report of the first day of Mythcon 44, including a report on a paper on fan-fiction. See also her reports of the rest of the conference:
Anna Smol, Thursday, 25 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44. Day Two: the land and its inhabitants in fantasy’
Second day. Reports on papers by Doug Anderson, Anna Smol herself, David Oberhelman and Verlyn Flieger.
Anna Smol, Tuesday, 30 July 2013, ‘Mythcon 44. Days 3-4: Multidisciplinary papers, awards, traditional entertainments, and an extended airport edition’
Day three. The items that I found most interesting was the reports on the presentations by Andrew Higgins and by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond; and not least the retelling of some of the traditions (some of which may be approaching rituals) of Mythcon.

talelmarhazad, Thursday, 25 July 2013, ‘Bloggers on Mythcon 44’
A collection of blog reports on Mythcon 44 — there's a few there you won't find here, and a couple here you won't find there.

And finally from the chair of next year's Mythcon:
MD, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘Untitled’
The scholar guest of honour will be Richard West, and the conference is to be held on August 8--11 2014 at Wheaton College. And beyond that, all we know is that Michael Drout is ‘very happy’ to announce it. Oh, and at least Marcel Aubron-Bülles will be attending ...

= = = = News = = = =

I shan't be covering every development of the suits and counter-suits between the Tolkien Estate (et Al.) and Middle-earth Enterprises (et Al.) — you can find plenty of coverage for this elsewhere, so unless there's something I find particularly interesting, you should not expect to see much reporting on this issue here.

Anna Smol, Wednesday, 3 July 2013, ‘Calls for papers on Tolkien’
A call for papers for the Tolkien at Kalamazoo track for 2014 and for the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association Joint Conference in 2014 — it is never too early, I suppose ;)

Mythopoeic Society, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘Call for Papers: Baptism of Fire’
A call for papers — contributions to a Mythopoeic Press book edited by Janet Brennan Croft, Baptism of Fire: The Birth of Modern British Fantasy in World War I about ... well, the birth of modern British fantasy in the Great War, of course ;)

DAA, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘In Memoriam: Recent Passings of Tolkien Scholars’
Spurred, probably, by the death of Anne C. Petty on 21 July, Doug Anderson here gives the memorials he would have written for Tolkien Studies over the last couple of years (since December 2011), including, of course, one for Anne C. Petty, and also for Dinah Hazell, Maggie Burns, and Michael Stanton.

Michael Noer and David M. Ewalt, Forbes, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘The Forbes Fictional 15’
Smaug is in second place this year, down from the top position last year, but still above the seventh place he got in 2011.
2012 list:

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

JDR, Saturday, 13 July 2013, "A Possible Riddle-Source (‘Time’)"
John Rateliff has identified what may be a source, or a partial source, for the time riddle in The Hobbit (‘Riddles in the Dark’) in a thirteenth-century French text that Chaucer translated as ‘Romaunt of the Rose’. There are some clear parallels, but as Rateliff says, this is ‘not the crown jewel we've been looking for, but an addition’.

Charlotte Russell, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘The Anglo-Saxon influence on Romano-Britain : research past and present’ have lately been posting some articles on topics that have been brought to my attention in connection with Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur, either directly from the book, or in various discussions of it. This topic is one of these — the relations and (mutual) influences of the Anglo-Saxon and the Romany-British cultures.

MT, Sunday, 21 July 2013, ‘Pauline Baynes' ‘There and Back Again’: Some Notes’
Morgan Thomsen has got hold of a copy of the poster with Pauline Baynes' 1971 map of The Hobbit, There and Back Again: Bilbo’s Journey through Eriador and Rhovanion, and writes about the map and his investigations into it.

DAA, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘The Mystery of Lintips’
On the mysterious lintips appearing in Tolkien's poem Once Upon a Time — a Bombadil poem published after The Adventures of Tom Bombadil in an anthology for children. There is something intriguing about creatures that are as much a mystery to Tom Bombabil, Christopher Tolkien and Douglas Anderson as to the rest of us :-)

Marie Helga Ingvarsdóttir, Monday, 22 July 2013, ‘Queen Guinevere. A queen through time’
Though a 2011 B.A. thesis obviously doesn't consider Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur, the theme of the thesis, the portrayal of Guinevere through time, is very much a relevant topic for Tolkienists at this point.

Nick, Mythgard, Friday, 26 July 2013, ‘Philology Through Tolkien’
If you have the time (and the money) the Mythgard Institute here offers a wonderful opportunity to learn the basics of philology. Taught by philologists and Tolkien scholars Tom Shippey and Nelson Goering, this course promises good value — I just wish ... :-/

= = = = Commentary = = = =

MB, Saturday, 13 July 2013, ‘How a hobby turns into a Hobbit in Cape Town’
More a kind of cautionary tale, I think, but with the help of Edmund Weiner, deputy chief editor for the Oxford English Dictionary, and one of the three authors of The Ring of Words: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, Marcel here relates the story of a search for a alleged use of ‘hobbit’ that preceded Tolkien's. As can be see when you read the story, it turns out the word wasn't ‘hobbit’ at all.

Lynn Forest-Hill, Tuesday, 16 July 2013, ‘First meeting in July’
The Southfarthings have started on John Garth's excellent Tolkien and the Great War. As always it is well worth reading the comments made in their discussions. This month's two sessions together have covered the first five chapters. See also:
Lynn Forest-Hill, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘Last meeting in July’

TF, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘The Political Tolkien’
About the need for a study, not of Tolkien's own political views (that has been published already), but rather on how others have used Tolkien's work to argue for their political views (regardless of whether Tolkien himself would have agreed).

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

I'll start this off with a few bits on Tolkien The Fall of Arthur that have not made it in earlier issues (belonging to the ‘not discovered’ section that have since been kindly pointed out to me).

Anna Smol, Friday, 21 June 2013, ‘'Wild blow the winds of war': Tolkien's Fall of Arthur’
Focused mainly on the poem itself, this review gives us an interesting view on Tolkien's Arthurian effort — in particular I enjoyed the comments on the effectiveness (my interpretation) of Tolkien's use of the alliterative meter, including his ability, in this meter, to evoke vivid images with, as she writes, ‘a few strokes of light and colour and shape.’

Sørina Higgins, Friday, 21 June 2013, ‘King Arthur was an Elf!’
I think the identification of Éarendel with Lancelot is an error of interpretation. Despite the re-use of imagery related to the two voyages across the western seas to Tol Eressëa (which is identified as Avalon of Arthurian legend), the role of Lancelot would rather approach (but not be the same as) that of Eriol / Ælfwine — the Anglo-Saxon seafarer who came to Tol Eressëa — I very much doubt that Tolkien imagined Lancelot to be promoted to the role of the Morning Star ... Also, as Harm Schelhaas has perceptively commented on Facebook, it is rather doubtful that ‘Tolkien and Williams would ever have seen eye to eye about Merlin, Logres and all that.’ Still, Higgins' review is interesting and she certainly comes up with some connections that I would not have seen on my own.

Noah Cruickshank, Monday, 1 July 2013, ‘When do posthumous releases go too far?’,99577/
A review of The Fall of Arthur that questions whether this material warrants an independent release. Though I disagree with the authors eventual conclusion that an independent release is not justified (how and who to decide that is another question), I think it is quite reasonable to ask yourself what ‘value’ (and I don't mean monetary value) the book has for you — what extra value you get from Christopher Tolkien's commentary, etc. If nothing else, such reflection may help you next time you wonder whether to spend your money on a new book.

Stacey Bartlett, Friday, 12 July 2013, ‘Penguin re-releases Tolkien inspirations’
Penguin Classics are re-releasing Beowulf, The Saga of the Volsungs, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Elder Edda and The Wanderer — tales that Tolkien knew and which shaped his own creative writing in various ways, great and small. The translations are said to be at least of reasonable quality.

‘tintin’, Thursday, 18 july 2013, ‘The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - review’
A review, presumably by a child, of The Hobbit, calling it ‘one of the greatest books I have ever read’. Who am I to protest :-)

Project Muse, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘Volume 10, 2013’
Volume 10, the 2013 issue, of Tolkien Studies is now available for those with subscriptions to Project Muse ... the rest of us will have to wait until the West Virginia University Press and the postal services fulfil our orders. Sigh! ;-)

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Susan Hitch, BBC, Friday, 26 July 2013, ‘When Tolkien Stole Wagner's Ring’
Despite the tiresome errors in the introduction, Professer Nick Groom (Exeter University) and Renée Vink have some interesting points in this 20 minutes interview.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Jenny Dolfen has posted two (three) new Tolkien-inspired paintings this month
Wednesday, 10 July 2013, ‘Fingon and Aredhel – mixed media experiment’ (portraits of Fingon and Aradhel)
Sunday, 28 July 2013, ‘Harp lessons’ (Maglor teaching Elrond to play the harp)

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

R.J. Moeller, Monday, 8 July 2013, ‘Lewis on Tolkien: Narnia Reviews Middle-Earth’
Mr. Moeller, having found C.S. Lewis' review of The Hobbit from The Times Literary Supplement shares some excerpts. If you have not read the review, you really should :)

Montgomery Birts, Wednesday, 17 July 2013, ‘Narnia residents delighted as immigrant loophole through wardrobe is finally closed’
A wonderful joke about the anti-immigration movement in Narnia ... just for fun.

David Kaufman, Friday, 19 July 2013, ‘Tolkien and Terrorism: Perpetual War, PRISM, and the One Ring’
Another example of the thing I discuss in my post ‘The Political Tolkien’. Mr. Kaufman finds applicability in The Lord of the Rings to aspects of the current political situation in the United States (as indicated in the title) and asks: ‘Are we wielding this metaphorical Ring, or fighting to destroy it?’ The point here is not whether Tolkien (or I) would agree with Mr. Kaufman's analysis, but rather it is interesting to see how Tolkien's points are being used in argument, though Tolkien obviously could not in any way be construed as an authority on current politics in USA.

John Garth, Wednesday, 31 July 2013, ‘The Magical Books of the Bodleian’
John Garth's review of the exhibition Magical Books – From the Middle Ages to Middle-earth at the Bodleian. For those of us who will not have any chance of seeing the exhibition, this is the best we can get, but this, too, is good.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
The web-site and blog of Anna Smol, professor of English at Mount Saint Vincent University (Halifax, Canada). In addition to the blog itself, you will wish to check out the current projects (links in ‘Welcome’ section) and the research section with its long list of work on Tolkien, including a pdf copy of a 2004 article.

Renée Vink, ‘Things that Ring in my Head’
Author of Wagner and Tolkien: Mythmakers, and translator into Dutch of several Tolkien books, Renée Vink.

Sørina Higgins, ‘Iambic Admonit’
Sørina Higgins is one of a new generation of Inklings-scholars — in her case with a focus on Charles Williams.

John Garth
I've posted it before, but John Garth has updated and refreshed his website in many small ways, including a nice picture from The Return of the Ring and some various updates to the text here and there.

= = = = 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 post about Mythcon 44 in July as well as posts on a ‘Nortwestern Journey’ seeing Tolkien friends, and a post about their collection of Maurice Sendak.

Jason Fisher (JF) — ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish’
No posts in July.

Pieter Collier (PC), ‘The Tolkien Library’
No posts in July.

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA), ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’
2 Tolkien-related posts in July, both referred to above. The third post this month is a review of Building Imaginary Worlds by Mark J.P. Wolf.

John D. Rateliff (JDR) — ‘Sacnoth's Scriptorium’
5 Tolkien-related posts in July. Apart from those referred to above, there is a post about the practices of editorial ‘meddling’ in philological editions at Tolkien's time ("Was Tolkien "An Inveterate Meddler"?"), comments on a Tolkien exhibition in Seattle (‘Twenty-one Years’), and a note on someone who has called Tolkien a ‘jerk’ in a documentary on Lewis (‘Eric Metaxas Calls Tolkien a Jerk’). There are also a number of Lewis-related posts.

Marcel Aubron-Bülles (MB), ‘The Tolkienist’
5 Tolkien-related posts in July, including reports from the Tolkien societies of Lithuania and Indonesia as well as a new post with a cautionary story (see above).

David Bratman (DB), ‘Kalimac’
and the old home:
3 posts on Mythcon (see above) and one about a Tolkien article (on livejournal) in July.

Jenny Dolfen (JD), ‘Jenny's Sketchbook’
In addition to the two posts with Tolkien-related pictures referenced above, Jenny Dolfen has posted an interesting post where she muses on artistic development.

Holly Rodgers (HR), ‘Teaching Tolkien’
3 Tolkien-related posts in July. In addition to the Mythcon report (see above), there are two posts that are more reflective — musings on what has been learned in the process of ‘Teaching Tolkien’ (and, of course, of learning Tolkien) and what might be done in the future.

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’
4 Tolkien related posts in July — all referred to above.

Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Four posts in July — three on Mythcon and the awards and a call-for-papers. Except for the announcement of the commencement of Mythcon, they are all reported above.

Morgan Thomsen (MT), ‘Mythoi’
One Tolkien-related post in July (see above)

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

Bruce Charlton (BC), ‘Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers’
2 Tolkien-related posts in July (plus three on Charles Williams).

= = = = Sources = = = =

New sources this month:

Anna Smol (AS), ‘A Single Leaf’

Various, Mythgard Institute (MI)

For older sources, see