Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tolkien Studies Volume 9

Although I have been hearing that paper copies of the new issue of Tolkien Studies (Volume 9, 2012) will not ship until September, I’m happy to announce that the complete issue is now up on Project Muse. Unfortunately for me, I no longer have Project Muse access. Can anyone help?

Omitting the usual front and back matter, here’s what we can all look forward to reading. Notice that my book is reviewed by Paul Edmund Thomas. Cannot wait to see that!

— Articles —

Untold Tales: Solving a Literary Dilemma
Peter Grybauskas

“Beneath the Earth’s dark keel”: Tolkien and Geology
Gerard Hynes

Law and Arda
Douglas C. Kane

“Justice is not Healing”: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Pauline Constructs in “Finwë and Míriel”
Amelia A. Rutledge

— Book Reviews —

Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity (review)
Marjorie Burns

Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J. R. R. Tolkien (review)
John D. Rateliff

The Ecological Augury in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien (review)
Kristine Larsen

Tolkien and the Study of His Sources (review)
Paul Edmund Thomas

Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy (review)
Anne C. Petty

The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and The Lord of The Rings, and: Light Beyond All Shadow: Religious Experience in Tolkien’s Work (review)
Jonathan Evans

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Festschrift for Tom Shippey

Greeting, friends! I’ve been holding my breath to share the details of this for a long time now. At last, an agreement with the publisher has been inked, and I’ve gotten a green light to share. Some of you may remember a CFP going out for this project almost three years ago!

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Tom Shippey to Tolkien studies. To me personally, he’s been a huge inspiration. In some ways, he represents my ideal reader, the scholar whose standard I have aimed for and in whose footsteps I have tried to follow. I’m happy to finally share the news that a Festschrift honoring him — the second, actually [1] — is being published by McFarland, probably at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2013. The project has an inexplicable number of editors, but pay that no mind. Just check out this table of contents! Flieger, Rateliff, Burns, West — not to mention yours truly. I heard Burns’s paper in person in Vermont, back in 2008, and I’ve been waiting to see the final version in print ever since.

I think we can all agree this is something to look forward to! Please do note that details are subject to change. I’ve seen a couple of changes in the table of contents over the last couple of years, and one or two more are still possible. I also wonder whether the title might change, judging from my own experience with McFarland.

Anyway, have a look at this:

Author of the New Century:
T.A. Shippey and the Creation of the Next Canon

Edited by John William Houghton, Janet Brennan Croft,
Nancy Martsch, John D. Rateliff, and Robin Anne Reid

I. Memoirs and Bibliography

Counseling the Scippigræd: How T. A. Shippey Taught Us to Read
John R. Holmes

Tom Shippey, and a Few New Leaves on Some Old Roots and Branches
E.L. Risden

A Talk by Tom Shippey
Todd Jensen

Tom Shippey and the Tolkien Society
Jessica Yates

Shippey amongst the Mercians
John Wm. Houghton

II. Answering Questions

The “Lady with the Simple Gown and White Arms” or Possible Influences of Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Book Illustrations on Tolkien’s Work
Nancy Martsch

Places Where the Stars are Strange: Fantasy and Utopia in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
Robert T. Tally, Jr.

Middle-earth and the Waste Land: Greenwood, Apocalypse, and Post-War Resolution
E.L. Risden

The Jewels, the Stone, the Ring & the Making of Meaning
Verlyn Flieger

Tolkien and Apposition
Leslie Stratyner

III. “Philological Inquiries”

Keeping Counsel: Advice in Tolkien’s Fiction
John R. Holmes

Tolkien’s Wraiths, Rings and Dragons: An Exercise in Literary Linguistics
Jason Fisher

‘He chanted a song of wizardry’: Words with Power in
B. S. W. Barootes

IV. “The True Tradition”

Inside Literature: Tolkien’s Explorations of Medieval Genres
John D. Rateliff

‘Poor Sméagol’: Gollum as Exile in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
Yvette Kisor

The Presence of the Past in The Lord of the Rings
John B. Marino

Night-wolves, Half-trolls, and the Dead Who Won’t Stay Down
Marjorie Burns

V. Perspectives from Outside the Cycle

Väinämöinen in Middle-earth: The Pervasive Presence of the Kalevala in the Bombadil Chapters of The Lord of the Rings
David L. Dettman

Lack of Counsel Not of Courage: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Critique of the Heroic Ethos in The Children of Húrin
Richard C. West

‘Alone Between the Dark and the Light’: ‘The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun’ and Lessons from the Later Legendarium
Kristine Larsen

[1] The first is almost unknown: ConstructingNations, Reconstructing Myth: Essays in Honour of T.A. Shippey. Ed. Andrew Wawn, with Graham Johnson and John Walter. Making the Middle Ages, Volume 9. Brepols Publishers, 2007. In case you are wondering, there is almost no overlap between the two Festschriften. This first one, on the occasion of Tom’s sixtieth birthday, has to do with folklore, national idea, and the so-called “Grimmian revolution”; whereas, Author of the New Century focuses on Tom’s considerable contributions to Tolkien studies specifically.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Saga of Hrolf Kraki reissued

Just a quick book announcement today. Douglas Anderson, the noted Tolkien scholar and manager of the publishing startup Nodens Books, has just reissued Stella Marie Mills’s translation of The Saga of Hrolf Kraki, originally published by Blackwell’s in 1933 and long out of print.

The announcement contains some useful background information which I won’t parrot here; make sure you visit Doug’s blog and read it for yourselves. Suffice to say that for Tolkien enthusiasts as well as students of Old Norse literature, this reissue is a welcome event! The book is available for sale now for a very reasonable price (follow this link to Amazon). The translation I’ve read is Jesse Byock’s (and here’s a link to that one as well, if you want it), but I’m looking forward to reading Mills’s translation, both because it grew out of a different period in the history of Norse studies, and, perhaps more importantly, for whatever second-hand evidence it may provide of Tolkien’s thoughts and influence.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My book is a 2012 Mythopoeic Award Finalist!

Last year at about this time, I shared the news that a book to which I’d contributed a chapter had been named a finalist  for the 2011 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies. It did not win the award, but it was nice to be (part of) a nominated finalist. This year, I’ve taken another step forward. My own book, Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays (McFarland, 2011), has been named a finalist!

You can peruse the entire list of finalists here. And yes, once again, this means I have had to recuse myself from voting in the Inklings Studies category, but the upside is that my book is being recognized as one of the top five contributions to the discipline for this year. The winner will be announced on August 5 at Mythcon in Berkeley, California. Fingers crossed! :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New book on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings

In the interests of catching up from my long absence from blogging, I’d like to start with a book announcement. Long-time readers might recall the publication of a collection of essays that emerged from C.S. Lewis & Inklings Society conferences. That collection, to which I contributed a chapter, was Truths Breathed Through Silver: The Inklings’ Moral and Mythopoeic Legacy, edited by Jonathan Himes with Joe R. Christopher and Salwa Khoddam (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.) Well, the time has come for a follow-up collection, and this time around, I am not only a contributor but an assistant-editor. It’s still fairly early, so I do not have a release date or a cover image to share, but I can give you the table of contents (below).

Having heard most of these essays delivered at the conference in 2010, and having now read and assisted with the editing of them in print, I can say this is a very good group of essays. Ward’s and Glyer’s are especially strong, as one would expect, and there are several very stimulating essays on less familiar topics and comparisons (e.g., Hall, Moore, Neuhouser, Adkison). Stockton’s essay on the libraries in Narnia wonderfully parallels David Oberhelman’s on the libraries of Middle-earth from the first CSLIS collection. Also, several of the essays were award-winners at the conference (Moore, Wright, my own). The collection leans more heavily toward Lewis than the other Inklings (and para-Inklings), but this is consistent with the mission of the Society. It compliments rather nicely the Mythopoeic Society’s heavier emphasis on Tolkien.

More news as it develops!

C.S. Lewis and the Inklings: Discovering Hidden Truth
Edited by Salwa Khoddam and Mark R. Hall with Jason Fisher

Introduction / Salwa Khoddam and Mark R. Hall

  • “Looking Along the Beam”: Divine Hiddenness in C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader / Michael Ward

  • Lewis in Disguise: Portraits of Jack in the Fiction of His Friends / Diana Pavlac Glyer
  • Louisa MacDonald: George’s Tower of Strength / David L. Neuhouser
  • The Motif of Discovery in The Chronicles of Narnia / Janice Prewitt

  • Blood and Thunder: Penny Dreadfuls and the Novels of G.K. Chesterton / J. Cameron Moore
  • The Planetary Architectonics of the Ransom Trilogy / Seth Wright
  • Dwarves, Spiders, and Murky Woods: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Wonderful Web of Words / Jason Fisher
  • Music in World Making: The Creation of the World, Middle-earth, and Narnia / Norman Styers

  • A Tryst with the Romantics: Wordsworth, Keats, and C.S. Lewis on Beauty, Goodness, and Truth / Donald T. Williams
  • “Likeness” and “Approach”: Mikhael Bakhtin, C.S. Lewis, and the Liturgical Consummation of Literary Genre / Aaron Taylor
  • Encounters of a Different Kind: Wittgenstein-Popper and Lewis-Anscombe / Danny M. Adkison

  • The Libraries of Narnia / James Stockton
  • The Journeys to and from Purgatory Island: A Dantean Allusion at the End of C.S. Lewis’s “The Nameless Isle” / Joe R. Christopher
  • The Book of Revelation, Ragnarök, and the Narnian Apocalypse in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle / Salwa Khoddam
  • Reframing Time and Space: Narrative as a Vehicle of Travel, Tragedy, and Transcendence in H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine and C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra / Mark R. Hall
Afterword / Salwa Khoddam

“Well, I’m back.”

Ah, I wonder how many times Sam’s closing line from The Lord of the Rings has been used to excuse a long absence from blogging! However many it is, one more couldn’t really hurt. :)

I think the past three months or more represent the longest pause in the five-year history of Lingwë – Musings of a Fish. In fact, my five-year anniversary of blogging passed unheralded more than a month ago. The recent silence certainly does not reflect any lack of things to write about. Rather the reverse! A great deal has been going on, and I hope to unspool all of the news and announcements here over the coming days and weeks. I am very sorry to have left you all hanging, and I hope you haven’t abandoned me for good!

Most significantly — and it is this change that really accounts for my long absence — I’ve “gone into the West”, as it were. The Pacific Northwest, to be more precise. I took a new job opportunity, and we have moved from Dallas, Texas to Bellevue, Washington. The difficulty, time, and cost of packing up from thirty-five years in Texas and moving 2,200 miles away can’t be overstated. If it hadn’t been for the relocation assistance of my new job, it would have been impossible. Even with it, it was an incredible challenge. But here we are. We are gradually settling in, and things are slowly returning to normal. The new normal, I should say. And with that preamble out of the way, let’s get back to the usual fare for Lingwë. Stay tuned …