Monday, October 23, 2023

Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review: Its Origins and Evolutions

So David Bratman of Tolkien Studies just posted here that Verlyn Flieger is retiring from the journal after 22 years. I wondered: has it really been that long since Mike Drout and I first discussed the idea, and asked Verlyn to join us in founding the journal?  Yes, it has indeed been 22 years.  I dug into my old emails with Mike. Here is the seed of the whole operation.

I emailed Mike in the wee hours of 27 September 2001:

I have thought for years that we need some journal to publish a “Year’s Work in Tolkien Studies”. In fact, for some years I have wanted someone to found a _Tolkien Studies_ academic journal. I’d happily work for it and contribute. But we’d need some academic affiliation to sponsor it and to get legitimacy. I wouldn’t think that it needed to be a frequent periodical, but if we could get some place to do it as an annual (in which someone could do a Year’s Work…), well, count me in.

Mike replied on the same day, agreeing, and suggesting perhaps Verlyn Flieger (whom, at the time, Mike had briefly met only once at Kalamazoo) could also be involved. I then asked Verlyn, and she immediately came aboard. Thus Tolkien Studies was founded.

I lasted ten years, until 2012 (see here for the reasons I left). David Bratman was added when I left. And Verlyn lasted 22 years. Now welcome to Yvette Kisor as the newest of the three co-editors. Mike remains on, 22 years and counting. I look forward to TS20, which David says is due out later this year.