Seeman begins by noting that the book’s stated goals represent “an ambitious agenda for so slim a tome (200 pages). Like most collected volumes, this one has its ups and downs. The majority of the contributions are quite valuable, however, and as the first attempt to tackle this topic in a comprehensive way, the book is well worth reading, regardless of where one’s particular interest may lie.”
Seeman then goes on to address my essay, the first in the book, immediately:
Jason Fisher’s “Horns of Dawn: The Tradition of Alliterative Verse in Rohan” opens the collection with a seemingly well-worn exercise: the elucidation of parallels between Tolkien’s invented Rohirrim and the historical Anglo-Saxon culture whose literature he studied professionally. Fisher’s real interest, however, is in exploring intertextual resonances in Tolkien’s narrative of Théoden’s arrival at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Drawing attention both to Beowulf (“To those sorrow-hearted men with the dawn when they Hygelac’s horn and his trumpet and his battle-song they heard”) and to the etymology of the Eldarin root ROM, with its associations of hunting, horn-blowing and dawn breaking in the East (cf. Oromë, Valaróma, Rómen), Fisher uncovers multiple layers of signification — mythological, philological and poetic — in this pivotal scene.It is always nice to be read and reviewed, and I look forward to reading what other reviewers have to say. To my knowledge, this is the first published review of the book, but others will definitely follow, and I will share excerpts — favorable or otherwise — as I encounter them. My thanks to Chris Seeman for taking the time to read and report on the collection.