Saturday, April 15, 2023

RIP: Mike Foster (1946-2023)

My friend and fellow Tolkienist Mike Foster passed away a few days ago, after a long illness. I can't recall how far back out association goes, probably to the 1987 Mythcon in Milwaukee, where I met a large number of people for the first time. I saw Mike and his wife Jo at a number of other conventions, and also when I went to guest lecture at one of Mike's various Tolkien classes at Illinois Central College. He reviewed a number of Tolkien-related books for me at Tolkien Studies, and at the Journal of Tolkien Research. He published fewer critical articles than his friends hoped for, but the ones I remember best are "The Shire and Notting Hill" (Mallorn, no. 35, 1997), and a talk on "Teaching Tolkien" (Mike's own specialty) delivered at the 2004 Marquette Conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings (Mike's piece appears in print in the 2006 proceedings, The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder, published by Marquette University Press). In back issues of Mythlore, there are a few personal memoirs of Mike's friendships with George Sayer, and Clyde Kilby, as well as a good number of book reviews. He also wrote regularly (occasionally on Tolkien) for the magazine Gilbert, devoted to G.K. Chesterton. Condolences to Jo and his family.  A fuller obituary appears here. 

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