Thursday, September 6, 2012

The New Arrivals & The New Publications

So, in a few hours I leave on a two weeks' trip. And what shd arrive in today's mail? Not just the newest volume of TOLKIEN STUDIES (IX), but also the much-anticipated Tolkiendil journal, L'ARC ET LE HEAUME ('Le Mag de Tolkiendil').

Both of these include new publications by me, plus a lot of interesting pieces by others I'm looking forward to reading.

The Tolkiendil piece, "Un Fragment, detache: BILBO LE HOBBIT et LE SILMARILLION", is my examination of the relationship between THE HOBBIT and THE SILMARILLION, in which I weigh the evidence on both side and conclude that the former was always part of the legendarium.

And I'm in extremely good company, other authors including Shippey, Le Guin, Th. Honeger, Jason Fisher, Ted Naismith, and JRRT himself, as well as a number of authors whose names are new to me, and whom I'm looking forward to reading for that reason: Pantin, Sainton, Turlin, and Bellet.

Turning to the TOLKIEN STUDIES, this is a much slimmer volume than the last few, but that's not necess. a bad thing -- they'd started out about this size and then slowly been growing in thickness, volume by volume; this might represent scaling back a little. In addition to four articles, the Year's Work, and a "Bibliography for 2009" (is this a new feature?), there's the book review section, wh. contains my own modest contribution to this issue. There are only six reviews this time -- of Phelpstead's excellent book on TOLKIEN AND WALES (the Mythsoc's book-of-the-year), rev. by Marj. Burns; Dubs and Kascakova's MIDDLE-EARTH AND BEYOND: ESSAYS ON THE WORLD OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN, which I review; Liam Campbell's ECOLOGICAL AUGURY, rev. by Kristine Larsen; Jason Fisher's TOLKIEN AND THE STUDY OF HIS SOURCES (in which I have an essay), rev. by Paul Thomas; Jan & Phil's PICTURING TOLKIEN: ESSAYS ON PETER JACKSON'S LotR (in which I have an essay), rev. by Anne Petty; & Paul Kerry's volume THE RING & THE CROSS, probably the best book I've read on Tolkien and Xianity, rev. by Jonathan Evans.

So, between my review, and the review of my piece on Tolkien and Rider Haggard, and the review of my piece on Bombadil's omission from the films, quite a lot here. Which, alas, will have to wait until I get back from England.

More later

--John R.






5 comments:

Jason Fisher said...

Turning to the TOLKIEN STUDIES, this is a much slimmer volume than the last few, but that's not necess. a bad thing -- they'd started out about this size and then slowly been growing in thickness, volume by volume; this might represent scaling back a little.

If it is a deliberate scaling back, then why? And it's not by a little, in any case. This issue is the shortest of the nine published so far, and it's less than half the size of each of the last five issues. That's a substantial cut in content!

I doubt it's a deliberate scaling back. If I had to guess, I'd say that maybe there just weren't enough quality submissions for this issue. I hope the community takes this slim number as a call to action. I'm not saying Tolkien Studies should publish more articles just for the sake of more, sacrificing quality, but this issue is clearly an aberration from past years.

I found the size of the new issue very disappointing, and I'm hoping we'll see a lot more next year, including a few more reviews and (hopefully) some more primary material.

Doug Kane said...

I agree with John that shorter does not necessarily mean worse, so long as the quality is high. In my opinion, three of the four articles are definitely worthwhile (I won't comment of the fourth, for obvious reasons), the book reviews are consistently high quality, and the years work in Tolkien studies is a unique resource. My only real complaint is the lack of primary material, and I think that is something that we can't necessarily expect every year (although we have gotten spoiled over the past few). Certainly the turnover in the editorship has probably limited this volume, but I think it is unfair to be as critical as you are being, Jason.

Obviously, other people's mileage will vary.

wellinghall said...
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wellinghall said...
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wellinghall said...

John, your comments on slimess appear slightly at odds with your comments on the size of the book you reviewed for this edition. Can you expand on them? Thanks, Andrew