Monday, April 28, 2008

Leading a Reading Room discussion this week

For you of you who haven’t heard of the Reading Room at — known affectionately as TORn, you’re really missing out. Though a lot of the content on TORn focuses on the films — indeed, I believe it was because of the films that TORn was created in the first place (as an aggregator site for pre-release rumors) — the Reading Room is the place for book purists! At any given time, a book discussion of some sort is always underway. Since late last year, it’s been The Lord of the Rings again. The Reading Room works its collective way through a chapter a week, each chapter discussion being led by a volunteer member of the group. It’s like communism, only with Elves. ;)

This week, I’m leading my first ever chapter discussion, though I’ve participated in a number of them. I’m doing “Treebeard” (Chapter 4 of The Two Towers). You can follow the discussion at the Reading Room — Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Or better yet, why not register there (it’s totally free) and participate in the discussion first-hand?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Diversion: Tolkien in the Golden Age of Hollywood

I’ll let this clever piece of film editing speak for itself. Peter Lorre makes a great Gollum, doesn’t he? Enjoy! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Middle English “half trolls” and “ogres” — according to Tolkien

Not too long ago, I wrote about the Old English eoten (which is usually translated “giant”), as attested only in Beowulf. The word died out a very long time ago, sadly. Lay awareness of it today is solely due to Tolkien, who incorporated the word into his coinages, Ent and Ettendales/Ettenmoors — and also, to a lesser degree, to C.S. Lewis, who has an Ettinsmoor in the north of Narnia. Lewis probably got the word from Tolkien, come to that.

But the idea of the eoten made it pretty far into the Middle English period before dying out. One finds it in several places — most importantly, and the reason for my post today, in the medieval romance of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon published an influential edition of the poem in 1925, and Tolkien subsequently translated it into Modern English alliterative verse (published posthumously in 1975).

Reading the poem in the original dialect, one finds the Old English eoten, worn down into Middle English as etayn (pl. etayne3), in two places. First, at l. 140: “Half etayn in erde I hope þat he were” [1], which Tolkien rendered, “that half a troll upon earth I trow that he was” [2], And second, at l. 723: “And etaynez, þat hym anelede of þe he3e felle” [3], which Tolkien rendered differently, “and with ogres that hounded him from the heights of the fells” [4, emphasis added].

Why trolls in one place and ogres in another, for the same Middle English word? Marjorie Burns has wondered about this too. In her book Perilous Realms, she observes: “etayne3 is an Anglo-Saxon word for giant, and yet both [Brian] Stone and Tolkien translate etayne3 as ogre, a word of French origin and therefore a word less appropriately northern but more typical of Arthurian tales” [5]. Others have suggested “giant”, returning to the original sense of the word in Old English [6]. In the glossary accompanying their edition, Tolkien and Gordon give etayn = “ogre, giant” — but again, “ogre” is a little surprising, given its Latin and Romance origins. Actually, “giant” is from Greek through French, too, so I suppose it’s no more appropriate than “ogre”, is it?

This very question came up again during the Q&A for Marjorie’s recent keynote address at Tolkien 2008 at the University of Vermont. Why did Tolkien use ogre instead of troll, which seems in so many ways more appropriate? Or perhaps Tolkien might even have retained “eoten” unchanged, as William Morris did in his translation of Beowulf, or “uncovered” a modern form, such as *etten, as he did in Ettenmoors ...

My first thought was that it might have been in deference to the Old English orcneas, which occurs in Beowulf in the richly Tolkienesque line, “eotenas ond ylfe ond orcneas swylce gigantas.” The word orcneas, another kind of giant, from which Tolkien derived his word “orc”, comes from the Latin Orcus, the Underworld (or, by association, its pagan god). Though “orc” didn’t make it into Modern English except through Tolkien’s intervention, the word does survive in Modern Italian orco, Spanish ogro (Old Spanish huergo, uerco), and French ogre, all meaning — well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? ;)

Was this Tolkien’s thinking? While it might be a good theory, probably not. My well-read friend Merlin reminded me of Tom Shippey’s essay, “Tolkien and the Gawain-poet”, recently reprinted in the collection, Roots and Branches, where Shippey makes the much better case that Tolkien was attempting to reproduce the alliterative line as accurately as possible. Shippey theorizes:
Even the ‘mistakes’ of the Gawain-poet, it will be seen, tell a story to the philological mind, of which Tolkien was the twentieth century’s most prominent example. [...] A common ‘vulgarism’ much reproved by schoolteachers is ‘dropping your aitches.’ Did the Gawain-poet drop his aitches? In line 723 ‘etayne3’ alliterates with the second syllable of ‘anElede’ and is obviously meant to alliterate with ‘he3e.’ Should the latter then not be pronounced ‘e3e’? One cannot be sure, but in his translation Tolkien scrupulously follows the ‘error’ of his original: the only way to get the traditional and correct three alliterations out of Tolkien’s line is to read it as: ‘and with Ogres that ‘Ounded ‘im from the ‘Eights of the fells’ — a perfectly plausible pronunciation in the area, just as good as Standard English, and backed up not only by the Gawain-poet but once more by the Beowulf-poet, whose aitches are not above suspicion either. [7]
Imagine! This, almost certainly the correct answer, had been sitting there all along — since 1992. And Marjorie and I both missed it! (And Merlin didn’t remember it at the conference, apparently, but only after returning home.) Admittedly, this essay was pretty difficult to lay hands on until last year, but I do own a copy of the original publication (as well as the newer reprint), so I have no excuse except the failure of memory. But there you are — once again, the precision with which Tolkien made his word choices simply astounds.

[1] Tolkien, J.R.R. and E.V. Gordon, eds. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. London: Oxford University Press. 1925, p. 5.

[2] Tolkien, J.R.R., trans. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo. Ed. Christopher Tolkien. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975, p. 21.

[3] Tolkien and Gordon, p. 20.

[4] Tolkien, p. 38.

[5] Burns, Marjorie. Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005, p. 186ch2n9.

[6] See for example, Cook, Albert Stanburrough. A Literary Middle English Reader. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1915, p. 55.

[7] Shippey, Tom. Roots and Branches: Selected Papers on Tolkien. Berne and Zurich: Walking Tree Publishers, 2007, p. 70–71.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Truths Breathed Through Silver

My copy of Truths Breathed Through Silver: The Inklings’ Moral and Mythopoeic Legacy arrived yesterday from the U.K. It’s a small but well-made book, quite charming in its way. It’s also the first book in which I’ve been published to come with a dust-jacket, and only the second or third in hardcover.

It looks great, overall. The dust-jacket seems just a little overexposed and blurry. Jonathan Himes’s beautiful photo of Oxford wasn’t quite done the justice it deserved, and the ink on the spine and back seems a bit heavy, bleeding into the blue. But I have been known to be extremely picky about such things, so please don’t judge the book too harshly by its cover. The boards and spine (stamped in gold) are lovely. For a short book like this, it’s no surprise to see glued binding rather than sewn signatures. Nice paper and ink internally. Very nice layout, very comfortable in the hand and easy on the eyes. Overall, an excellent quality book. This is the first title from Cambridge Scholars that I’ve actually seen.

The back of the dust-jacket contains a couple of blurbs, and I hope CSP won’t mind my quoting one of them, from Diana Pavlac Glyer, author of The Company They Keep. Praise from the praiseworthy is the icing on the Great Cake of publishing. She writes:
These ten essays constitute a lively conversation at the intersection of faith, myth, and truth. Each voice is distinct, each topic particular, each approach thought-provoking on its own terms. But the cumulative effect is to remind us just how much mythopoeic writers like J. R. R. Tolkien, H. Rider Haggard, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, and Charles Williams continue to say about things that concern us all.
The jacket also contains an endorsement by David Lyle Jeffrey, whose Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (and not his work on Tolkien), I cited in my essay. Mere coincidence, that; the specific entry I used was written by Dennis Danielson, not Jeffrey. The website has a further blurb by Charles Huttar (link above); however, this one isn’t on the dust-jacket.

As to the content, I’ve so far only read my own chapter — can you blame me? Hahae, but actually, I did so in quest of overlooked errata. Verdict? None that I saw! Huzzah! ;)

However, to the rest of the book, I actually heard six out of the ten (plus my own, so, seven) of these essays first-hand! I can, therefore, recommend them with no ulterior motives whatsoever. More than half were keynotes at their respective meetings of the C.S. Lewis and Inklings Society. It was also fun to see that I’m the sole contributor without a Ph.D. and unaffiliated with a school (or seminary). That either suggests my contribution might be the weakest of the collection (perish the thought!) — or else that I’ve risen to distinguish myself among many whom I admire. Let’s hope it’s the latter! Readers, you tell me! Wait, wait — let me don my armor. There, fire away!

I will also say this, just in fun. Seeing my name by itself on the first page of Chapter Six — no school, no seminary — made me feel like the academic equivalent of one of those one-name musicians — like Cher, Madonna, or Prince. Dare I say I’m the ‘Prince’ of Tolkien studies, partying like it’s 999?! Hahae, no, I dare not ... One more thing: other than myself, only Salwa Khoddam included an epigraph at the beginning of her essay (two, actually). I love epigraphs and will hardly ever write a paper without one! In my case, it was a dozen-odd lines of Milton. In Salwa’s, Dante and Solomon’s Song of Songs.

My original offer of a 30% discount off the list price still stands — just drop me a comment or an email. Amazon offers free shipping but no discount, and they’re currently out of stock in any event. was offering a sweet discount, but no longer. It’s back up to full price, seemingly. Let me know. And anyone who reads the book, I’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An ‘inkling’ of what I’ve been up to recently

Good day, all. I’m working on a new post about some particular elements in Tolkien’s edition and translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but it’s not quite ready yet. So in the meantime, I thought I’d sum up for interested parties some review work I’ve been engaged in recently — and will continue to be occupied with through the summer and perhaps into early next year, videlicet —

The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, by Lloyd Alexander. Published in Mythprint 44:11 #308 (November 2007), pp. 8–9. And in the following issue, December 2007, a personal essay, “Remembering Lloyd Alexander” (pp. 5–6).

The History of The Hobbit, by John Rateliff. This has just been published in Mythlore 101/102 (Spring/Summer 2008), pp. 206–12. I believe subscribers should be receiving their copies in a week or two.

Coming up in the April and May issues of Mythprint, I expect to have reviews of the 70th Anniversary Edition of The Hobbit as well as Charles Williams: Alchemy and Integration, by Gavin Ashenden.

In the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Mythlore and/or possibly the Spring/Summer 2009 issue following that, I’ll have reviews of Ross Smith’s Inside Language: Linguistic and Aesthetic Theory in Tolkien, and Darrell Schweitzer’s critical collection, The Neil Gaiman Reader — which has one of the coolest covers I’ve seen in some time (pictured above).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tolkien 2008 Conference Report

I intended to write up a post-op of my recent trip to Tolkien 2008 at the University of Vermont earlier this week, but I came back from the trip with an ugly cold. Doesn’t that always seem to happen when you travel these days! I’m beginning to feel a bit better now, though, so I thought it was about time.

The conference, as usual, was small, short, and wonderful. Personally, I have never felt that its brevity (really just one full day of papers) has been a disadvantage — take it from me: listening to ten papers, all on Tolkien, one after the other, really makes for a full day. Other conferences with more papers usually have to run concurrent sessions, which can make for some difficult choices. At UVM, you get to hear every paper. Also, the attendance is relatively small (perhaps 40-50 people), but that makes for a cozy atmosphere, where it’s much easier to strike up conversations with any and everyone. I wouldn’t trade it for a larger, semi-anonymous juggernaut like Kalamazoo, to be perfectly frank.

The conference actually begins Friday night with a fireside Tolkien reading and concludes Sunday morning with a panel of several “Undergraduate Voices” — neither of which have I ever managed to attend. There’s also a dinner for the speakers Saturday night, but I’ll leave that out as well. A topic for another post, perhaps. My report, therefore, must be limited to the papers presented on Saturday. And so, without further ado, here are a few thoughts on each one:

Jacob Seliger: The Paradox of Power and Defining Good and Evil in The Lord of the Rings [read it, here]

Jacob’s paper focused on the idea that there is a “paradox of power” in The Lord of the Rings — that those most desirous of it are the least fit to exercise it, while those most fit to use power well are the least greedy to possess it. Jacob sets up a spectrum of representative characters, from Sauron, the Ring (treated as a personality), and Saruman, on the one hand, to Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragorn on the other hand. In a brief aside, he places Tom Bombadil in between. I felt that Jacob could have done a more thorough job of defining this “paradox of power” in his paper. Moreover, I felt that his choices of characters to demonstrate it were a bit obvious. His comparisons were valid, but they felt rather facile; I would have liked to see him dig a bit deeper. Additionally, the paper was situated firmly within the world of Middle-earth, but I think his thesis might have benefited from greater contextualization. That being said, I would like to congratulate Jacob on his first conference appearance! And hopefully not his last! :)

Thomas Turner II: “Their Fall Into Possessiveness”: Possessiveness, Imperialism, and Colonialism in Middle-earth

The imperialism/colonialism approach to Tolkien has been growing over the past few years, and it’s nice to see such new critical methodologies being deployed in Tolkien studies. For all that, Thomas’s paper felt a bit disorganized to me: many nice points, but not very well stitched together. I felt he failed to make convincing transitions between and connections among the three main parts of his paper. Moreover, a question I raised during the ensuing Q&A, I felt his use of the ravaged Shire, under the management of a displaced and defrocked Saruman, was not the best example of colonialism he could have chosen. Much better, Thomas referred to Númenórean colonization, but this was not the centerpiece to his argument. Even so, it was nice to hear mention of Aldarion and Erendis, a tale too often overlooked. Thomas’s reference to the displacement of the American Indian as well as the hunting of the American buffalo to near-extinction made for an interesting point, but one not optimally relevant to Tolkien. And finally, he cast Mordor as the metropole of colonialization in Middle-earth, with a not so veiled criticism of the British Empire — an apt analogy, but one, I fear, which would have made Tolkien shudder.

Michael Stanton: Tolkien in New Zealand

Michael (the author of Hobbits, Elves, and Wizards) was a late replacement for Rebecca Addy, who was unable to attend the conference. His paper builds on a rather tenuous connection — that Samuel Butler and Tolkien, who could scarcely be more different, had one important belief in common: a mistrust of the so-called “myth of progress”. Both preferred the wild, untamed countryside to overpopulated, overmechanized industrial centers. Butler, moreover, lived and wrote in New Zealand, a country Tolkien never visited, but which Peter Jackson selected as the proxy Middle-earth for his recent film trilogy. Whatever Tolkien would have thought of the films themselves, we have to imagine he would have approved of the landscapes. Ironically, Jackson’s films suffer from a too wholesale subscription to that very myth of progress that Tolkien and Butler so decried. The paper works as a presentation piece, though I’m not sure there’s sufficient depth or substance for a publication. Be that as it may, Stanton delivered his paper with all the confidence of his many professional years, and I enjoyed listening to it.

“The Jason Fisher Hour,” starring Jason Fisher … with your host, Jason Fisher :)

The next section was to contain my own paper and that of Elizabeth Kelly Martin. Unfortunately, due to the recent air travel imbroglio, Elizabeth couldn’t make it to the conference. This left me to deliver my paper, and then to weather a full-on Q&A directed entirely at myself alone. This was nice, in some ways (if intimidating in others), because rather than bouncing back and forth between presenters and their topics, I felt the Q&A allowed me to dig even deeper into my topic, developing a genuine dialogue on it. I got a few useful suggestions and ideas as well. Very productive. As to my own paper, the feedback I got was good, but I will leave it to others to comment on it in any further detail. (I believe one such commentary may be forthcoming.) For those who want a taste, here’s a video clip:

(Apologies for the quality of the “Zapruder film” here. And that lunar landscape you see in the foreground, which my friend Gary kept trying to avoid, belongs to our host, Chris Vaccaro. ;)

Anna Smol: Uncanny Landscapes and Experiences of War in The Lord of the Rings

This was one of my favorite couple of papers at the conference. Extremely well constructed, well presented, and compelling. Anna’s basic thread was to define a notion of the “uncanny” in war — the genuine strangeness of a disembodied limb, for example, that seems to overwhelm coherent thought — and then to systematically demonstrate the use of the uncanny in The Lord of the Rings. The incongruous power of the phrase “Landscape with Corpse” as the title of an art-piece is still lingering in the back of my mind. As I’ve come to expect from her, Anna marshaled an impressive array of historians, psychologists, and theorists to strengthen her arguments. If her paper was short on one thing, it was only in citing the known scholars of “Tolkien and War” — however, I learned after the paper that they were all indeed there (Garth, Croft, Hooker, and others), but that Anna had either relegated them to footnotes, or quoted them silently in the interests of time. Believe me: I can relate to the need to compress an idea to fit a 20-minute time slot. Look for an upcoming appearance by Anna in Bodies of Light and Shadow: Corporeality and Embodiment in The Texts of Tolkien, edited by UVM’s own Christopher Vaccaro. Speaking of ...

Christopher Vaccaro: The Whimsy Mode of The Hobbit: The Comedic and Gruesome (paraphrase; does any remember the precise new title of Chris’s paper?)

Chris is one of the best public speakers I know. He has a great booming deep voice (see if you don’t think of Treebeard!) which is really just perfect for reading — especially in character — from The Hobbit. His presentations of the two goblins’ songs were another great example (last year, he read a poem — I can’t recall the author at the moment — that worked just as well). The two poles in Chris’s argument this time around were the comedic elements of physicality and the gruesome ones, or more specifically, the transition from the former to the latter over the course of the novel. Chris also made an interesting analogy where the “Baggins” in Bilbo corresponds to the bodily (with all its carnivalesque flopping, flailing, and stomach-grumbling), while the “Took” in Bilbo represents his soul (with its acceptance — even welcome — of danger and risk in the name of adventure and maturation). The only disappointment was Chris’s inexplicably sudden conclusion: “(Pause) That wraps it up. Thank you.” That’s it? No, give us more! :)

E.L. Risden: In Body, Out of Body: Tolkien’s Monsters, Norse Traditions, and the Conjunction of Spirit and Flesh

Ed Risden certainly knows his subject! You can take a look at some of his 1994 translation of Beowulf here. Ed’s pronunciation, of Old English, Old Norse, and Tolkien’s own nomenclature*, was the best I heard at the conference — and among the best of any conference I’ve attended. He seems to be a man after my own heart in that regard. :) He also distinguished himself by delivering his paper among the masses, as it were, starting off with the memorble statement, “I dislike podia.” The paper itself was a wonderful survey of the medieval monster tradition and how Tolkien incorporated it into the more wicked fauna of Middle-earth. Very well organized and presented, this was probably an equal favorite to Anna Smol’s paper (and a nice compliment to it). Ed made a point I can’t recall hearing before, too: the idea that when Frodo departs Middle-earth, it represents a separation between body and soul which renders him a “grotesque” in the conception of the medieval monster. This image of Frodo’s journey toward healing is seldom presented in this light, and I found the idea fascinating.

Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew: Celtic and Back Again: Translation of The Hobbit into Irish and Breton

Roslyn’s paper was more extemporaneous than any of the others, by far the loosest in its presentation. It seemed she was not reading a paper but rather improvising to a series of outlined points. But while this offers flexibility, it suffers from a lack of organization or a clearly defined agenda. The Irish translation of The Hobbit, moreover, has not yet been published, severely limiting what Roslyn was able to say about it. The paper was also as much about Rowling’s Harry Potter books as it was about The Hobbit — the upshot being that the Celtic languages seem always to be bringing up the rear in translation nowadays. One reason, Roslyn supposes, is the preference for publishing the works of native authors; another must be the dearth of native speakers. The total speakers for all six of the modern Celtic languages combined are less than the numbers for Esperanto, for heaven’s sake! What I really missed from Roslyn’s presentation was some assessment of the approaches taken by Celtic translators (or translator — since only the Breton has been published) in handling Tolkien’s works, and especially his nomenclature. How successful were they? But this is obviously an inchoate field; no doubt we will learn more in the coming years.

Jamie Williamson: Tolkien’s Use of Traditional Narrative Genre Forms

Despite its rather generic-sounding title, Jamie’s paper turned out to be quite interesting. Jamie is a good, confident speaker — who uses more physical gestures than anybody I’ve ever seen. He can’t seem to stand still! And his enthusiasm is infectious! This paper was essentially a systematized catalog of Tolkien’s various major sorts of narrative forms leading up to the “novel period” (that is, prior to The Lord of the Rings and up through the time of The Hobbit), together with their analogues in the medieval tradition. Primarily, these analogues are Old Norse; however, Jamie mentions several Classical sources as well: the Pentateuch, Apollodorus, Ovid, and others. Jamie might have dug deeper into the whys and wherefores, as well as venturing to draw some conclusions about what literary effects Tolkien achieved by drawing on this diverse selection of antecedent narrative forms. But the paper was good, well articulated, and interesting.

Marjorie Burns (KEYNOTE): Night-wolves, Half-trolls, and the Dead Who Won’t Stay Down: The Saga Supernatural in Tolkien’s Middle-earth

Marjorie’s keynote address dovetailed nicely with some of the day’s earlier papers —particularly with those of Anna Smol, Ed Risden, and Jamie Williamson. Marjorie is an excellent speaker, very comfortable both reading a paper well and interjecting appropriate spontaneously improvised asides — as a keynote speaker should. In essence, her job is to draw together all of the various threads of the day’s work and refocus them on the conference theme. This, she did admirably. Her paper focused predominantly on the Norse Sagas, covering three broad species of monster: wolves, trolls, and “afterwalkers” (that is, the dead, or undead, geists of the Norse tradition). I have a full page of notes on her paper, but I won’t attempt to transcribe them here. Suffice to say, there was much to provoke thought and further research, and we had a stimulating Q&A afterwards (tired though we all were after the full day of papers). I also learned more about her current writing projects — a topic for a future post, as this conference report has already grown quite long enough.

* With one notable exception!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tolkien 2008 at the University of Vermont

I bet this is prettier than where YOU live!It’s been about nine months or so since I last posted about the annual Tolkien conference at UVM* in Burlington, Vermont, but it’s that time of year once again. Later this week, I’ll board a plane for Boston (a nonstop flight this time, luckily), visit with my oldest friend, Gary, and then drive up through the scenic New Hampshire and Vermont countryside to the conference.

This year, Marjorie Burns, an expert in Tolkien’s Norse and Celtic sources, will deliver the keynote address. Here’s a preliminary schedule of the papers to be presented (subject to change):

Session I :Personal Identity, Power, and Post-Colonialism

Jacob Seliger, “The Paradox of Power and Defining Good and Evil in The Lord of the Rings”

Rebecca Addy, “Revealing ‘Identity’ in Middle-earth: A Linguistic Study of Mortality”

Thomas Turner II, “‘Their Fall Is Into Possessiveness’: Possessiveness, Imperialism, and Colonialism in Middle-earth”

Session II: Story and Heirlooms of Middle-earth

Jason Fisher, “‘Whoso beheld her was filled with her love’: Sourcing Beren and Lúthien in the Tale of Kilhwch and Olwen”

Elizabeth Kelly Martin, “‘Ever On and On’: Ownership in Beowulf and Tolkien’s Fiction”

Session III: Bodies and Landscapes in Middle-earth

Anna Smol, “Uncanny Landscapes and Experiences of War in The Lord of the Rings”

Christopher Vaccaro, “Concerning Hobbit Bodies”

E.L. Risden, “In Body, Out of Body: Tolkien’s Monsters, Norse Tradition, and the Conjunction of Spirit and Flesh”

Session IV: Out of Celtic/Back to Celtic

Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew, “Celtic and Back Again: Translations of The Hobbit into Irish and Breton”

Jamie Williamson, “Tolkien’s Use of Traditional Narrative Genre Forms”

Keynote Address

Marjorie Burns, “Night-wolves, Half-trolls, and the Dead Who Won’t Stay Down: The Saga Supernatural in Tolkien's Middle-earth”

There look to be some interesting linguistic topics this year (surprisingly, mine isn’t one of them). I’m especially curious about Addy and Blyn-LaDrew. I’ll have a conference report some time next week. In the meantime, unpacking from the recent move continues apace. Not to mention the writing, revising, and polishing of my conference paper, packing for the trip, and so on. After that, I expect things to get back to normal here at Lingwë. I may even update my Reading and Listening widgets! ;)

* Why “UVM”? It stands for the Latin phrase Universitas Viridis Montis (“University of the Green Mountains”). The name Vermont itself most likely means the same thing, from French vertmont < mont vert “green mountain” — although an alternate reading might be vers le mont “toward the mountain”, which is exactly where I will be headed this weekend.