Monday, January 24, 2011

Middle-earth and Beyond — first look!

It has been a little while since my last update on Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J.R.R. Tolkien, the new collec-tion edited by Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kaščáková and forthcoming from Cambridge Scholars Publishing. You still won’t see it on the CSP website just yet, but I am very pleased to report that the book has gone to print and should be available in about one month’s time!

I’m also pleased to be able to give Lingwë readers the first look at the cover, which features Ted Nasmith’s gorgeous new painting, Bilbo and the Eagles. The back flap of the dustjacket describes the collection, thus:
One wonders whether there really is a need for another volume of essays on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Clearly there is. Especially when the volume takes new directions, employs new approaches, focuses on different texts, or reviews and then challenges received wisdom. This volume intends to do all that. The entries on sources and analogues in The Lord of the Rings, a favorite topic, are still able to take new directions. The analyses of Tolkien’s literary art, less common in Tolkien criticism, focus on character — especially that of Tom Bombadil — in which two different conclusions are reached. But characterization is also seen in the light of different literary techniques, motifs, and symbols. A unique contribution examines the place of linguistics in Tolkien’s literary art, employing Gricean concepts in an analysis of The Lay of the Children of Húrin. And a quite timely essay presents a new interpretation of Tolkien’s attitude toward the environment, especially in the character of Tom Bombadil. In sum, this volume covers new ground, and treads some well-worn paths; but here the well-worn path takes a new turn, taking not only scholars but general readers further into the complex and provocative world of Middle-earth, and beyond.
And here is the final table of contents, including (as I think you all know by now) an essay I first presented at the 37th annual Mythopoeic Society Conference at the University of Oklahoma:
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction / Kathleen Dubs
  • Sourcing Tolkien’s “Circles of the World”: Speculations on the Heimskringla, the Latin Vulgate Bible, and the Hereford Mappa Mundi / Jason Fisher
  • Staying Home and Travelling: Stasis Versus Movement in Tolkien’s Mythos / Sue Bridgwater
  • The Enigmatic Mr. Bombadil: Tom Bombadil’s Role as a Representation of Nature in The Lord of the Rings / Liam Campbell
  • Tom Bombadil – Man of Mystery / Kinga Jenike
  • Grotesque Characters in Tolkien’s Novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings / Silvia Pokrivčáková and Anton Pokrivčák
  • “It Snowed Food and Rained Drink” in The Lord of the Rings / Janka Kaščáková
  • “No Laughing Matter”, Kathleen Dubs
  • “Lit.”, “Lang.”, “Ling.”, and the Company They Keep: The Case of The Lay of the Children of Húrin Seen from a Gricean Perspective / Roberto Di Scala
  • Contributors


  1. I love Ted Nasmith's work so glad to see another bit here and more to come to! Great news. Congrats on your essay being here. :)

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)

  2. Jason brilliant can't wait to read espeically your Sourcing Tolkien's Sources of the World article. Along with reading The Vikings and the Victorians by Andrew
    Wawn I have been dipping into Samuel Laing's 1840's translation of The Heimskringla which is very interesting Really enjoy and get alot from your work and you are my blog role model (committed to posting once a week one week at a time!)


  3. Thank you both! I love Ted’s painting too. At Mythcon this past summer, Ted sent us signed prints of some of his newest paintings to sell in our dealers’ room, and this one, Bilbo and the Eagles, was one of them. It’s a gorgeous work.

    Andy, don’t you think the opening of the Heimskringla sounds just like the “circles of the world” trope Tolkien uses so memorably?