Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tolkien Studies 8

Douglas Anderson has just announced the contents for the next volume of Tolkien Studies, which should start going out to subscribers toward the end of next month. In fact, he has launched a new blog, “Tolkien and Fantasy”, for which this announce-ment is first post. Hopefully, Doug will have a lot of other interesting things to say here as well; keep an eye on it!

So, without further ado, here are the core contents of Tolkien Studies, Volume 8, omitting the usual front and back matter and the book reviews, for which see Doug’s blog:
  • “Legend and History Have Met and Fused”: The Interlocution of Anthropology, Historiography, and Incarnation in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy-stories”, by Philip Irving Mitchell
  • Tolkien’s Goldberry and The Maid of the Moor, by John M. Bowers
  • Language in Tolkien’s “Bagme Bloma”, by Lucas Annear
  • “Wingless fluttering”: Some Personal Connections in Tolkien’s Formative Years, by José Manuel Ferrández Bru
  • Robert Quilter Gilson, T.C.B.S.: A Brief Life in Letters, by John Garth
  • The Hen that Laid the Eggs: Tolkien and the Officers Training Corps, by Janet Brennan Croft
Of these, the essay on Tolkien’s poem in Gothic has really whet my appetite. John Garth’s short essay should be excellent as well, as I hope the one on Goldberry will be. I know, I know, some of you may be saying, “another essay on Goldberry?!” But I actually think there is still a lot to say about her. I have some notes of my own which I hope to assemble into an essay one of these days.

One final note. It also appears that Brad Eden’s collection, Middle-earth Minstrel, to which I contributed an essay (as you all must be tired of hearing by now), will be reviewed by Gerald Seaman. The same book was reviewed in Beyond Bree by Chris Seeman. Two reviewers with homophonic surnames reviewing the same book — what a bizarre coincidence. :)


  1. Can you let us know when it's up on Muse? No sign of the contents page yet.


  2. Wow. It appears that 100 pages are devoted just to a review-essay of the Ring Goes Ever On conference proceedings.

  3. Thanks Jason, though I kind of hate seeing the contents in a way - makes the wait for it draw out longer!

  4. John, I’ll keep you posted. Saranna, I hear you. :)

    And N.E. Brigand, what do you think about that? Although I am judging before I have read it, I have to say I think that is really excessive. I guess it’s not more excessive than the Tolkien Encylopedia Diary, hahae, but on the other hand, the Diary isn’t taking up the bulk of a journal issue. I can hardly imagine summoning the patience to read a review that long, let alone writing one!

  5. My first thought was: now I know why it was postponed from last year's issue!

    As a "review essay", presumably the article goes beyond a critique of the collection's contents to discuss the state of the field, or includes some original research inspired by topics raised there.

  6. And I thought Tom Shippey's 33-page-long review of The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun in TS 7 was long! But it was certainly worthwhile, and I trust Doug, Michael and Verlyn enough to believe that there is enough interesting material in this "review essay" to justify that much space. They haven't let us down thus far (in my opinion of course).

  7. N.E.B., yes, that’s what a review-essay would normally be, but I’m finding it hard to imagine how that would work for this two-volume “everything but the kitchen sink” collection. There wouldn’t seem to be any easily identifiable denominator on which a single stuctured thesis might rest. Doug, I agree with you, and I trust them. But still, it’s hard to imagine what this will end up being. And I can see people joking that the review of The Ring Goes Ever On itself goes ever on and on …

    To put it another way: the two-volume collection totals 837 pages, meaning the review-essay is almost one-eighth the size of the work under review. That’s much longer than normal for even a thorough review. Most of my reviews, even the longest ones, are in the one-twentieth to one-tenth range. Even Tom Shippey’s lengthy review-essay of S&G was only about one-twelfth the size of the work under review.

    It will be interesting to see what this review-essay ends up looking like.

  8. May I point out that my colleague *ahem* and I managed to cover almost the entirety (as a few essays had been published elsewhere and covered last year) of the proceedings and as many other works combined in half as many pages? Of course, we were writing a survey and not a review; still, many of the contributions were very brief and not worth much more attention than that, so I thought.

  9. Just for anyone who's finding this now: Jason told me that TS 8 is up on Project Muse, though not yet on the TS front page.