Monday, May 30, 2011

News and Notes

The contents of Tolkien Studies volume 8 have gone live at Project Muse (the subscription database accessible in most universities and some public libraries). Jason Fisher first noted this on his blog, but you may need (for a time) to finagle the URL a bit to access the newest issue (read the comments at his blog entry).  Jason and a couple other people have also commented on the length of the review-essay of The Ring Goes Ever On: Proceedings of the Tolkien 2005 Conference: 50 Years ofThe Lord of the Rings”.  Yes, indeed, it is large. But there are various reasons. In fact the first half was done and should have appeared in volume 7 last year, but we had to cut something, for a too large issue came together very late.  And usually a volume of essays has something like ten to twelve essays in it, so in order to have an in-depth reviews, one needs space, often 3,000 to 5,000 words.  And with the one hundred essays in the massive two-volumes of The Ring Goes Ever On,  well, you can easily do the math.  I'll leave the matter there--personally I think the extended coverage is justified in many ways.  And it is so much more than a book review, which is why it was given the header of review-essay.

John Rateliff gave this new blog a kindly welcome at his own blog. John's most recent (as of this writing) entry tells of the passing of the 20th Lord Dunsany, the artist and architect Edward John Carlos Plunkett (1939-2011), the grandson of the fantasist. I had been going to post a note about this, but John has said most of what I would have, so I'll merely refer readers to John's post and add a few points here.  First, one of Dunsany's late fantasy stories, a partial return to the form of thirty years earlier, was written in 1946 for his seven-year old grandson. This is "The Dwarf Holobolos and the Sword Hogbiter" which John has described in his thesis on Dunsany as a “blending of ‘Fortress Unvanquishable Save for Sacnoth’ with Don Rodriguez, borrowing its style from one and the flavor of its marvels from the other. Amusing but not up to Dunsany’s usual standards.” It was first published in Collins for Boys and Girls no. 1 (July 1949), and reprinted in Worlds of Fantasy & Horror (a temporary re-titling of Weird Tales magazine), Summer 1994. The other point I'd like to make is that it's worth checking out this link to see examples of the artwork of Edward Plunkett. (Click on the header “Catalogue”.) 

I'd also like to make mention of the passing of Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), the last of the original surrealists. She died in Mexico, where she had lived for almost seventy years. A major figure in twentieth century art and sculpture, her fantasy fiction hides in the shadows of her other achievements, but it does have a following. Perhaps her most notable literary work is the novel The Hearing Trumpet (translated into French in 1974 and published in English in 1976, with illustrations by one of her sons, Pablo Weisz-Carrington). Here's the cover from my 1977 Pocket books edition, sporting the ubiquitous (even in those pre-Sword of Shannara days) blurb comparing it to Tolkien.  Among her other writings are the short novel The Stone Door (French translation 1976; English original 1977), and the collections The House of Fear: Notes from Down Below (1988), and The Seventh Horse and Other Tales (1988). Obituaries appear in The Guardian and in The New York Times.

And a new book on the horizon is the long-awaited anthology of essays from Oxford University Press, From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, edited by Michael Adams.  Tolkienist Arden R. Smith contributes the opening chapter on "International Auxiliary Languages", and the chapter on "Tolkien's Invented Languages" is by Edmund Weiner, one of the three co-authors of The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary.  The new collection is scheduled for November.  See the Amazon page.


  1. There is a good chance that "The Dwarf Holobolos and the Sword Hogbiter" will be in print again before too long.


  2. Thanks, Martin. When there is any official news, please let me know.

  3. I'm very glad to learn about this Michael Adams collection; thanks for the book note, Doug.

  4. Here are a couple of links of additional interest:

  5. Physical copies of Tolkien Studies 8 have begun to ship; mine arrived today.

  6. A fine obituary: