The twentieth century witnessed the dramatic rise of fantasy writing, but few works are as popular or enduring as the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien. Surprisingly, little critical attention has been paid to the presence of music in his novels. This collection of essays explores the multitude of musical-literary allusions and themes intertwined throughout Tolkien’s body of work. Of particular interest is Tolkien’s scholarly work with medieval music and its presentation and performance practice, as well as musical influences from his Victorian/Edwardian background. Discographies of Tolkien-influenced music of the 20th and 21st centuries are included.
This new book follows closely on the heels of the Walking Tree collection, Music in Middle-earth (separately published in German). It’s inevitable that some of the subject matter will overlap, but from what I can tell, the two books are really quite different and should complement each other nicely — like, say, a tonic and a major third. It’s also interesting to see that Brad Eden has an essay in both collections! I myself have the lead essay in Brad’s book. You can peruse the contents of Music in Middle-earth by following the link above, but for the contents of Middle-earth Minstrel, direct your eyes due south. (My thanks to Brad for permitting me to share this with you.)
- Introduction, Bradford Lee Eden
- Horns of Dawn: The Tradition of Alliterative Verse in Rohan, Jason Fisher
- “Inside a Song”: Tolkien’s Phonaesthetics, John R. Holmes
- Ǽfre me strongode longað: Songs of Exile in the Mortal Realms, Peter Wilkin
- J.R.R. Tolkien: A Fortunate Rhythm, Darielle Richards
- Tolkien’s Unfinished “Lay of Lúthien” and the Middle English Sir Orfeo, Deanna Delmar Evans
- Strains of Elvish Song and Voices: Victorian Medievalism, Music, and Tolkien, Bradford Lee Eden
- Dissonance in the Divine Theme: The Issue of Free Will in Tolkien’s Silmarillion, Keith W. Jensen
- “Worthy of a Song”: Memory, Mortality and Music, Amy M. Amendt-Raduege
- “Tolkien is the Wind and the Way”: The Educational Value of Tolkien-Inspired World Music, Amy H. Sturgis
- Liquid Tolkien: Tolkien, Middle-earth, and More Music, David Bratman
- Performance Art in a Tunnel: A Musical Sub-Creator in the Tradition of Tolkien, Anthony S. Burdge
This is going to be a terrific collection. I know, because I’m reading a proof now. And no, I can’t share, so do yourself a favor: follow this link to pre-order a copy. The list price is currently $35 USD, but if you pre-order and the price goes down, Amazon will honor the lowest price during the pre-order period. You get free shipping too. That’s hard to beat. And you’ll help out this humble blogger by putting a few cents into my Amazon Affiliate account. When exactly is the book coming? A date hasn’t been fixed yet, but my guess is late spring, early summer. Once it has actually arrived on bookshelves, you can be sure I’ll have more to say about it, and when any of you have read my essay, please don’t be shy about letting me know.