Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Speaking and spoken of

Happy Leap Day! Two events coming up in “the droghte of March” [1] to share with you today. First, I will be giving a presentation at the Art Center in Corpus Christi, along the “Texas Riviera”. This is not a free event (the cost is $20), but if you are within a day’s march, come out on March 3 at 1:00 PM to hear me speak about J.R.R. Tolkien and source criticism. Short notice, I know, but I am driving more than seven hours to be there; at least you can do the same! I will also have some copies of my book on hand at a 30% discount — and if you want them, the autograph and dazzling smile are free. ;)

To register for this event, follow this link. Yes, sadly, they did misspell my name, and the error has regrettably been repeated by newspapers and events websites in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and elsewhere. You all know how I feel about that. Ah well, as Mae West said, to err is human, but it feels divine (apologies to Pope).

I realize some of you may live 1,500 miles north of the Lone Star State. Unless you have come south for the winter, I can’t expect you to turn up in Corpus Christi, so here’s an alternative. On March 11, members of University of Wisconsin Tolkien Society convene for their monthly meeting. This is one of the oldest and most venerable of the Tolkien groups still in business today, founded by the renowned Tolkien scholar, Richard C. West, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in September 1966 — while Tolkien was still alive! The topic of their March meeting is “Tolkien’s Sources”, and they will be focusing on my book and on Mark Hooker’s. If you are in the vicinity of Madison, drop by at 7:30 PM; the gathering is free and open to newcomers to the UWTS. Follow this link for more information about the time and location. I wish I could be there myself!

[1] Especially apt for South Texas!


  1. Since Jason has no Christian associations, it's a pretty common given-name among Jews. Do people often take you for Jewish? I often am, and people who see my surname in writing usually pronounce it Cohen, though it is Irish in origin < Mac Éoghain. In any case, that might account for the frequency of the "Fischer" error.

  2. I’ve seldom asked people why they misspell it, though maybe I should be asking (but they may not know why). If anybody is assuming I’m Jewish, then they haven’t met me, or they are (strangely) assuming conversion. I don’t look remotely Jewish. :)

    But you might still be right. Just as Tolkien’s name was often misspelled —kein by analogy from German (cf. Tolkien’s letter to Graham Tayar, 4–5 June 1971, Letters, #324).