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  1. captainbingo's Avatar
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    Here it is http://festivalintheshire.com/journal/index.html Alex Lewis. Ruth Lacon, Douglas Anderson & Brian Sibley.


    I used to be Captain Bingo but lost me capitals....

  2. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">One can do without Lewis and Lacon after their awful self-published The Uncharted Realms of Tolkien! (Lacon there passes under the name of Elizabeth Currie}. This lacklustre book was then reviewed for the Tolkien Society Magazine- very positively- by Ruth Lacon aka - Elizabeth Currie!). Inappropriate to say the least!Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  3. captainbingo's Avatar
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    Ah - Uncharted Realms - I have a signed copy (in the attic), which I picked up at Oxonmoot many years back (when I knew no better) I recall a comment from another 'mooter' that there must be more signed copies than unsigned ones!

    And lets not even get started on their Tale of Gondolin 'fanfic' http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/reviews/taleofgondolin.htm.





    I used to be Captain Bingo but lost me capitals....

  4. halfir's Avatar
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    And lets not even get started on their Tale of Gondolin

    I do so agree!
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  5. Saranna's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginwidth="1">Well - as I have registered to attend festival in the Shire, I feel i should mention that I intend to be selective about which talksI attend! There are many excellent scholars of Tolkien speaking, and I look forward to the adventure of driving through the Welsh landscape, where there be dragons, and soaking up a lot of lore!
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  6. Saranna's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Report on Festival in the Shire<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />[/B]
    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Friday, August 13-Sunday August 15<SUP>th</SUP> 2010[/B]
    This Festival took place in a green valley in Wales, and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable experience from beginning to end.
    The event was arranged in three main strands: The Conference, the Fan Exposition and the Festival. The conference consisted of academic papers, the exposition of presentations and discussions aimed at fans with less experience of studying Tolkien, and the festival included arts, crafts, music, re-enactments, a market-place and an exhibition.
    I mostly attended the Conference side of things, with one or two diversions into the Exposition and visits to the Festival. Below are (very) brief and selective reports on the speakers I heard. <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Any mistakes are my own and copyright in these remarks belongs to the speakers.[/I][/B]


    Colin Duriez spoke on<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings in wartime. [/I]This covered the effect upon Oxford of the disappearance of students and faculty to serve in WW2, which reduced the academic workload. Then there was the arrival in Oxford of the OUP, complete with Charles Williams. Warnie Lewis was called up and sent to France. Christopher in the RAF – planes one of Tolkien’s least favourite manifestations of the machine. It was during the war that Tolkien so much deepened and developed LOTR. Lewis produced <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The problem of pain[/I], (1940) Williams found the unwanted move away from London brought him into a creative atmosphere. Lewis serialised <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The great divorce[/I] during the war, and started to evolve his ‘space trilogy’.


    Tom Shippey Discussed <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Tolkien and Welsh tradition[/I]. Tolkien ‘did not intend himself to be an international phenomenon’, but rather a ‘regional writer’ of the West Midlands. The suppression of ‘native English’ tradition was a feature of the Hanoverian settlement and the unions with Wales, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the Norman Conquest. TS handed out some of Tolkien’s comments upon ‘Celticity’ – From: the letter to Waldman; BoLT 2, p290; Letter to Unwin, 16 Dec 1937; Letter to Mitchison 25 Apr 1954; Intro to SGGK, p. x. He asked us to note T’s telling distinction between ‘the soil of Britain’ and ‘English’. T owned 4 editions of the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Mabinogion[/I] – what did he actually learn from Welsh tradition? Note that one of the few books T bought in 123 was Loomis – <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Wales and the Arthurian tradition[/I], in which Loomis argued that to ‘prove’ a Welsh origin for Arthur it was necessary to ‘feel your way back through the names’. Shippey then discussed Pwyll Prince of Dyfed. The elusive coherence in this conflation of three well-known folk-tales comes from the mythic underlay.


    The power of names/and of mythic underlay – two of Tolkien’s strengths.


    Dimitra Fimi spoke on <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Welsh language and Tolkien’s “linguistic aesthetic”: the appeal of Sindarin Elvish; the roots of Sindarin and beauty in the sound of words. [/I]Working from a handout, Dr. Fimi demonstrated clearly the similarities between grammatical mutations in Welsh and in Sindarin (mutations being one of the most prominent characteristics of Welsh). One example = this occurrence after a conjunction or article: Welsh <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">bore[/I], morning - becomes <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">y vore[/I], the morning. Sindarin <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Baranduiniant[/I], Bridge of Baranduin - becomes <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">i Varanduininant[/I]*, the Bridge of Baranduin. She emphasised the importance of remembering that Tolkien’s languages were not created ‘freestanding’ but as part of a philological system. However, in modern linguistics there is o acceptance for Tolkien’s cherished idea that some languages are inherently beautiful in sound.


    Ruth Lacon, in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Tolkien and King Arthur,[/I] summarised known connections between Tolkien’s stories and the Matter of Arthur. She began by reminding us that in spite of Tolkien’s expressed dissatisfaction with the Arthurian tales, his attitude to them was complex. He speaks in OFS of the cauldron of stories, citing Arthur as one who was boiled in the pot. There are gaps in our knowledge of which Arthurian materials T read/taught. There is the edition of Gawain. T’s own unfinished alliterative poem <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The fall of Arthur[/I] remains unpublished, making it hard to assess what relation is bears/does not bear to the alliterative <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Morte Arthure[/I]. An important point was that scholarly contexts shift as historical ones do – the Arthurian scholarly landscape to which T related was different from our own.


    Deidre Dawson’s talk was on <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Language Loss and Preservation in Middle-earth; how Tolkien made linguistic change within his Sub-created world work as in real languages. [/I]Deidre’s professional work includes lecturing on preserving endangered languages and on language-in-culture. She feels M-E languages behave as real world ones do – they wax, wane, evolve. She mentioned some writers on language loss and change, among them Mark Abley and David crystal. T disliked the idea of English becoming what we now call a ‘global language’. He knew the value of diversity in language. [However, we noted that ‘global’ English is now itself diversifying] T’s languages were conceived from the beginning in terms of the history of the elves who spoke them. His ‘Tree of tongues’ is modelled on RL language trees. He avoided binary distinction between ‘dead’ and ‘living’ languages and thought in terms of keeping languages alive. Note that many RL languages that are no longer spoken are kept alive by other usage – Sanskrit, Classical Arabic, Latin, Classical Greek. Political destruction of language – by banning teaching in that language for example – can be as culturally destructive as conquest in war or obliteration by natural disaster. The hobbits’ use of the common speech dates back 1000 years and ‘there is no record of a language exclusive to hobbits.’ Yet they had a distinctive use of the language, a sign of cultural differentiation (noted by Theoden). The hobbits seem to be attracted to Sindarin – does this suggest it may be an ancestral tongue for them as West Mercian was for T? Elves display a special relationship to language and nature, having spoken to other species, ‘waking them up and talking to them’. The language, knowledge and culture of the ents are doomed to fade away. Yet like indigenous peoples ents are custodians of nature and their knowledge is needed if we are to preserve nature. Lessons from T – leave monolingualism behind, but have a common tongue. A connection with place, a longing for place, is related to knowledge of the local tongue. In LOTR we constantly see theses means of preserving languages; transmission, revival, listening, storytelling. Note the importance of Gimli hearing Galadriel speak the mountain-names in his own tongue. T = a prism through which to look at language(es) – A/S dialects, Gothic, Old Icelandic, as well as his created tongues. Question of why dwarves were so reluctant to share their language – possibly because of their hidden underground environment.





    Melissa R. Arul’s <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Elvish Identity - A Journey[/I] is part of the thesis she is writing under the supervision of Jane Chance. Part of the collective elven identity is their status as People of the Great Journey, though that experience was diversified. [I found Melissa hard to hear, I’m afraid] – A lot of the talk centred on Feanor and his identification with the Silmarils.


    Alex Lewis spoke on <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Tolkien’s hobbits; a creative transformation[/I]. Alex began with origins of the name, the Denham tracts etc. Mentioned their relationship to RL movements of peoples, the two leaders matching Hengist and Horsa. Hobbits verge on the supernatural with their ability to ‘vanish’ quietly, but have a solidity that means you would not be surprised to meet one. The likenesses between hobbits and rabbits/badgers (badgers are in fact as ‘fierce as a dragon in a pinch) – mentions of K. Graham’s Badger with middle-class hole-dwelling similar to bag End but without windows. <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Bagshot[/I] probably derives from Badger’s Holt. Etymology – once T had ‘worked back to <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">holbytla’[/I], he knew what hobbits were. Name etymology is also important in shaping the characteristics of T’s other races.


    Joseph Tadie
    Spoke with great conviction on <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Emmanuel Levinas and J. R. R. Tolkien on: serving the other as release from bondage. [/I]This is part of a larger project kick-started by JT’s reading of Shippey’s ‘Author of the century’ study, researching links between T’s thought and that of other major modern authors and thinkers. The project was inaugurated by a group of scholars in order to put Tolkien into dialogue with, for example, Heidegger, in ways that may not be obvious.


    Three main points from Levinas: All creatures are in bondage; all seek release from bondage; release is possible through service, ‘the posture of attentive service [Here am I; send me]. One must put oneself at the service even of one’s perceived enemy. Humanity tends to serve itself; we serve ourselves and those nearest to us, but can turn away from this. Levinas call this our attempt to remain at home – chez-soi. JT said ‘Levinas expressly summons us away from the unreflective life. Such release is possible even is provisional or fragile. Bilbo, when he first encounters Gandalf, embodies the ‘chez-soi’ state, and the desire for justification of that state. Nietzsche found in every living thing the will to power; even in the will to serve there lurks the desire to be master. Levinas moves beyond this in saying that the best way ‘to dwell in mourning in the terminal world’ is though attentiveness to others. JT: ‘the resistance of the unreflective to reflection’, the one who does not have time to make a return upon himself, who is always seeking his own place in the sun. Humility is needed to reduce the desire for domination. Levinas sees reflective awareness leading to service to the world. The self can be broken up by the impact of the infinite; Frodo as well as Bilbo, meets the infinite in the guise of Gandalf – in his ‘wandering conjurer’ disguise of harmlessness. The importance of the face, of the gaze, of the eyes, in all significant meetings in Tolkien. The dawning of ethics leads to relinquishing the search for one’s place in the sun through the call of the other. Subjectivity starts in the face-to-face encounter with one who is radically other than me, almost as a gift from that other. ‘We are hostage to the other”. Sam’s name= halfwit in one sense – a deep word-play and a challenge to accepted values. (He’s not at all the ninnyhammer he thinks he is). Levinas – ‘the other comes to me from a height, the other is above me, I am in hostage to serve the other’ – consider re: Sam and Gollum in relation to Frodo. Hobbit ch 1 – Bilbo’s release from bondage to chez-soi is achieved by attention to a bunch of odd others – the dwarves as well as Gandalf. Note also the hint provided by the escaping of wisps of smoke from Bilbo when he is smoking his pipe – as a symbolic equation with Smaug it proposes a symbolic usurpation of the whole world. Bilbo is ‘ethically interrupted’ and must find the time he thought he did not have, for the other and for elsewhere. Note that he does have an early impulse for gold – the desire the hearts of dwarves. Note Gandalf ‘gazing at the hobbit without saying anything. Later ‘But...’ ‘No time for it’ – no excuses left to prevent the movement away from the familiar. ‘True exteriority is in this gaze........puts a stop to the imperialism of the same and the I.’ The face of the other is an epiphany. In discussion a parallel was drawn with Pilgrim’s Progress; the arguments his neighbours throw at Christian as reasons for not going on pilgrimage are largely those of the need to remain chez-soi, among the familiar. Also, service relationships are very complex in T’s work – who is serving whom – look at the likeness and understanding between Smaug and Bilbo.





    Alex Lewis <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Tolkien and the Ancient Mariner. [/I]Like the AM, Eriol returns from his voyages to tell of his adventures. With variations over time (Eriol&gt;Aelfwine) the similarity persists. Note: a great storm; an ancient man with a long beard, who tells Eriol his tale; the dead sailing the ship; glittering lights; the fear of the people for the ancient man. T does not simply reuse C’s tale, but elements are incorporated at different points in the story. Two interesting suggestions by AL: could T have been spurred into writing poetry by his mother’s death? If T studied the AM at school, perhaps learning it by heart, could the storm section have fed into his Atlantis complex? Moreover, is it possible that T wrote a poem of his own based on AM, then plundered that for Eriol’s tale? T self-identified as a poet, and also tended to produce poems before prose versions of the same tale. Perspectives – it’s now nearly 100 years since T wrote his early poems, and nearly 200 since C did so.


    Sara Brown <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Stirring the Alembic: Alchemical Resonances in The Lord of the Rings – [/I]a fascinating talk with an unusual source; Brown was lent a book on alchemy when she was unwell and needed reading material. This paper is just the beginning of her research into the ‘alchemical resonances’. Distinction between popular view of alchemist seeking to transmute base metals into gold, and true alchemy aimed at spiritual; riches – the transformation of the self. The alembic sought to simulate natural, not unnatural, reactions. The conjunction of opposites and resolution of contraries led to the transformation of the person. LOTR is full of personal transformations; Frodo is an example of one who must ‘choose rightly his road to perfection.


    Inside the alembic: dissolution &gt; albedo/white stage &gt; divine red.


    In LOTR: the fellowship experiences the dissolution of their former lives &gt; led by Gandalf the white (water/purification/white tree of Gondor) &gt;passing through the fire &gt; rejoining of elements after purification.


    The friendship of Legolas and Gimli is an example of the purification and reunion of opposite elements – Legolas associated with water, Gimli means fire.


    Brown showed two images, the design on Durin’s door and an old alchemical image, showing the similarities between them; stars, hammer, entwined branches, sun and moon etc. Not possible currently to be sure whether T saw this image but it is commonly reproduced in works of/on alchemy.


    http://www.illuminati-news.com/graphics/alchemical-royal-arch.bmp


    Duality of Gollum/Frodo; Gollum/Sméagol – neither achieves wholeness though (Flieger in discussion) Sam does, he is ‘meant to be whole’.


    Frodo as the adept, the alchemist – it is not accurate to see Gandalf as the adept ‘managing’ Frodo’s transformation, that is the old misconception about alchemists/wizards.


    [This was not I think mentioned in the discussion, but I thought of Gandalf saying ‘He is not half through yet, and what he may come to in the end not even Elrond can foretell.....He may become like a glass filled with clear light for eyes to see that can.’]





    Verlyn Flieger on <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Linguistics and Lore in Wales and Middle-earth [/I]Beginning with folklore, Flieger mentioned T’s emphasis on the shared cultural history now split between western Britain and Brittany. Prominent in that cultural area was the figure of the Fay or Fée: Morgan, Morgan la Fée, Morgause, and in some aspects, Guenever.


    T bought in 1922 and edition of Breton tales published in 1846. He also owned the Welsh fairy Book, first story in this = The lady of the lake. Note also the trope of the ‘fairy wife’. All of these are ancestral to Galadriel.


    Celtic lore identifies any wood as a threshold and entry to Faery. (see Aotrou and Itroun) Aotrou meets the Crone/Fée in the forest. She is later seen her beautiful mode, but she is pitiless. T’s version varies from its close Breton original – there are echoes of Galadriel, even down to the attraction of her hair and her gift of hair to Gimli. T creates with Galadriel as with other characters, an aura of distrust generated by the reaction of other characters to her (Boromir’s fear of entering Lorien, Faramir’s questions to the dead Boromir). In G’s specific case, this echoes the dual nature of the Fée. Perilous land, perilous lady. The use of ‘elvish’ by some characters/races as a term of suspicion/distaste. Sam’s description of Galadriel is shot through with oppositions, again bringing out the duality of her nature.


    Turning to language – three aspects to consider
    · The links between Sindarin and Welsh
    · The primacy of language creation
    · The sense in which mythology ≈ language


    Flieger acknowledge the help of Carl Hostetter in elucidating 2 phonological changes common to Sindarin and Welsh. The creation of plurals in both is by internal vowel change, and some of these changes are exactly alike in both languages, e.g. a&gt;y. Secondly, the mutation of initial consonants. Grammatical and phonological relationships force morphological change in both languages. NOTE that at the doors of Moria, <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">mellon[/I] is semantically independent of the sentence. Had it been an object of the verb, it would have been <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">vellon[/I]. (Possibly this was the cause of the problem, and a deeply philological joke by T?)


    In discussion it was noted that Eriol is given some kind of magical drink by the lady of Tirion. A. Lewis said that Galadriel gives Frodo and Sam the choice as to whether they look into the mirror or not [also the Loathly Lady in the Wife of Bath’s tale gives the husband a choice, which he graciously offers back to her].


    Finally a word of warning from Flieger in response to a speculative question: ‘There <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">is[/I] no “what if”. These are not real people’.





    Joseph Tadie - <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">on reading the Hobbit and imitating Bilbo. [/I]As part of the Fan Exposition, Tadie spoke about his use of the hobbit in teaching students at college level who, because of a wide range of disadvantage, had not benefitted from earlier schooling. Apart from the value of Bilbo’s story as a ‘learning curve’ about how to achieve more than you think you can, Tadie also find the use of the pas highly productive in practical and other terms. His students go out with geophysical devices to map the surrounding area and reflect on their place in it and relationship to it, as Bilbo use his map with the blank areas to define his early ideas of his own limitations. Journey as growth employed practically. Most cogent perhaps was the story of an African-American student from Chicago, who stated that the hobbits were like the white people living in the wealthier area where the college is set. “They love elves but they never see any; just like white folks <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">love[/I] Black People – until I turn up.”





    Alyson Henley-Einion - <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The transmission of The Lord of the Rings into film format [/I]This was not quite a film-hate session, but Alyson did focus on how some of the choices made by Jackson in order to appeal to his idea of what filmgoers would want, resulted in loss of other foci. The refocusing of the love story of Aragorn and Arwen as a central motif operated to bring Arwen into the first of the three films; but it not only deprived us of Glorfindel, it undermines Frodo’s status and character by omitting his defiance of the Black Riders at the ford. Arwen speaks in distinctly un-Tolkienian prose that reduces Frodo to the status of a parcel; this is not the only diminishment of Frodo in the film trilogy, and goes far to explain why many who only know the films find Frodo something of a wimp. And Tolkien’s intention had been to show little folk becoming great. Other hobbit-diminishment is seen in the relentless jokiness of the Merry and Pippin characters, who seem not to grow at all; this undercuts the growth that does take place in Sam and Frodo.


    The late decision to omit Bombadil omits a step in that hobbit-growth, and the omission of the Scouring makes a nonsense of Saruman.


    Added bits.... the lighting of the beacon is a fabrication, not a change. In the plot it has already happened, Rohan is on the way. Also hobbits are known to dislike heights, yet Pippin scampers cheerfully about above an enormous drop.


    The losses incurred by the decision to have Sam sent away by Frodo are huge [actually ludicrous to me; ‘go home Sam’? What, by bus from the crossroads at Osgiliath?] We lose the taking hands in the tunnel, the storytelling, the laughter and the sleep, with Gollum’s moment of pathos. Finally, on Mount Doom, Sam’s decision to carry Frodo shows Frodo again diminished by NOT trying to crawl up the slope as he does in the book.





    Guido Mastroianni - <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Return of the Hero: the necessity of fantasy literature today [/I]is based on Mastroianni’s Master’s thesis, and has a tone of defence-of-fantasy that seems a little dated until one understands that he one of the first Italians ever to write a Master’s on Fantasy Literature and needs to convince an academic establishment that is still generally sceptical. He covered TV and film fantasy, and the prevalence of the fantastic in youth culture, as well as books/filmed books. The slow move of genre fiction into respectability, in the sense of critical and popular attention; e.g. the vote for LOTR as the best novel in several polls. Sources for the resurgence; William Morris and mediaevalism. Fantasy is useful for embodying religious and moral messages [!] There has also been a rediscovery of the Hero’s journey as a useful short-hand for a spiritual journey. In another world the realities of this one can be restructured and understood. The complex can be presented though simple images; e.g. the spiritual through the metaphor [?] Light and dark frequently represent good and evil, and it is vital for characters to know the difference (Mark in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">That hideous strength[/I]). Eucatastrophe of ‘Satan fallen like lightning from heaven – in Tolkien this has to be constantly repeated, e.g. ‘when Thangorodrim was broken, and the Elves deemed that evil was ended forever, and it was not so.’ In parallel worlds everything becomes possible. In teenage fantasy archetypes are exploited to convey the experience of being young; powerlessness is overcome by special powers.


    Colin Manlove, in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Lord of the Rings as Literature [/I]bravely began by referring to his opinions on the quality of Tolkien’s works in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Modern fantasy; five studies[/I], nearly 40 years ago. He mentioned that many things had conspired to change his mind. He pointed out that we have no intermediaries between us and Tolkien’s world, unlike Narnia or Perelandra. From OFS he emphasised the way every common thing in the fantasy world is a re-visioning of itself in our world; the shift in perspective.


    There are no set texts for fairy-tales, only a set sequence, which LOTR displays. Manlove handed out some printed extracts illustrative of Tolkien’s style: Aragorn’s musing in Hollin; Théoden’s ride to Minas Tirith; Aragorn’s first meeting with Eowyn. Extract one – Straightforward language. Short sentences indicate A’s restlessness and suggest that the reader is only supposed to be transiently relaxed by the meal in the ‘deep hollow shrouded by bushes of holly.’ Shift from repeated ‘they’ to only ‘Aragorn’ a minute detail but it controls the mood; thereafter the subject is ‘he’. This brings on the sense of impending fate, isolating A from the others. Extract two – Manlove said he once criticised this passage as an example of T getting in the way with his own excitement. Now feels the overemotion is not Tolkien’s, but a description, a way of Theoden writing his own part in the epic that is LOTR. The role of Snowmane in Théoden’s death is another example of subtlety – the English fetish, the noble horse, causes his master’s death. Extract three – Manlove sees the influence of Barfield in the simplicity of the language here. Note alliteration. The inversion of the modern placing of verbs is used several times; the passage focuses steadily down on the fact that it is the first time A has seen her. The word <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">sword [/I]stands for the culture of her people.


    The hobbits’ intimacy with the physical world characterises the Shire and the early stages of their journey. Pay close attention to the vocabulary. Fellowship embodies all the Free Peoples, against the Nine, who have no surviving individuality. The whole story is mystical and involves the learning of lessons. T is not seeking originality – he gives us the community through the individual. The vitality of evil is shown by Frodo’s near-failure. Looking to the past. Silmarillion ‘all about loss and decline.’ LOTR presents again a sense of men and elves in unity with creation.





    Simon Eckstein – <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The shadow of the past. [/I]SE’s research is looking at the linguistic and cultural dimensions of the modern yearning for a global past, both in T and in the writings of David Jones (Welsh Anglophone writer). The sense of cultural loss is the driving force of T’s mythology. The cultural impoverishment of the English was clear to T because of his professional expertise; their dislocation and alienation from their cultural heritage. There is a felt need for a chain of communication between the surviving scraps of old mythology and T’s creation. Jones’ works depend heavily on images drawn from elements of common tradition. The dislocations of Anglo-Welsh writing are due to the huge gap between the English in which they are written and the mythic languages of Wales. Similarly, centuries stand between modern English people and the OE/ME tradition. From the sense of loss arises the sense of longing – <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hiraeth. [/I][ homesickness n.m.f. <?: prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /></v:stroke></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:f></v:ulas></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shape><a href="http://www.geiriadur.net/sain/hiraeth.mp3" target="_blank"></v:fill></v:></v:shape>grief or sadness after the lost or departed n. (hiraethau) longing n.m. (hiraethau) yearning n.m. (hiraethau) nostalgia n.m. (hiraethau) wistfulness n.m. (hiraethau) earnest desire n.m. (hiraethau)][From http://www.geiriadur.net/


    All this contains notions of nostalgia for what is lost along with sense of physical separation. In Tolkien it becomes separated from its traditional Welsh context to express the relationship between the author and his own tradition. Jones’ early works evoke Welsh history and legend while he wrestles with his sense of Welsh identity. He finds difficulty expressing in English what he wants to say, and tries desperately to rationalise his severance from the traditions of the past. The same notion of hiraeth is infinitely applicable to T’s motivations, his sense of lost traditions and languages. LOTR is pervaded with a sense of loss, of things slipping away. There could be a hint of pathos in T’s assertion ‘I am...a west Mercian.’ He cannot be as there is no longer any such category. Carpenter and other early writers tend to use this strain in T’s works to <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">separate[/I] him from 20<SUP>th</SUP> century culture, while more recent scholarship uses it to restore him to his place <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">as[/I] a 20<SUP>th</SUP> century writer; for example Garth’s work which has established T’s place among War Writers. In discussion it emerged that Jones, like T, was a convert to Catholicism. Also that T writes less ironically than Jones, who is, at least on the surface, more overtly a modernist. Their senses of dislocation are experienced differently and their attempts at reconstruction/restoration are managed differently. Jones de-territorialises English by introducing Welsh mythic elements into it.


    Corey Olsen - <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hope and Despair in: The Lord of the Rings. [/I]Olsen is better known to some of us as ‘The Tolkien professor’, thanks to his successful on-line persona! He suggested that hope is elusive in modern thought, even in Christian thought. He distinguished the use of ‘hope’ in common parlance to express <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">optimism[/I], from ‘Hope’ as one of the 3 Theological Virtues, - in that latter context its meaning is spiritual stability/certain belief. From earliest Christian times it has been symbolised by the anchor. God is the object <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">and[/I] the source of the Theological Virtues, which function to draw human attention away from the self. Its opposite, Despair (OE <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">wanhope[/I]) is one of the worst of sins; the most serious form of Sloth. Wanhope is not just a common expression in mediaeval texts; it is also right in the middle of T’s OED allocation. T seems to use both meanings of hope, and this suggests he is not striving to enforce a project of re-investing the word with its theological force. He does not dwell on despair in LoTR; Denethor is its chief example at a time when he truly believes there are no rational grounds for hope. Gandalf seems almost to avoid any discussion in theologically charged terms – he says Frodo and Sam’s journey ‘has some hope in it.’ Aragorn too, when referring to Gandalf after his fall in Moria, says; ‘What hope have we without you? Well, we must do without hope.’ In the last debate Gandalf actually uses terms that affirm Denethor’s view – ‘with small hope for ourselves.’ Since the framework of LOTR is consistently pre-Christian, the Theological contexts of hope would not be appropriate. But note what crops up within contexts such as Frodo’s sense of hopelessness, his sense that he must ‘dree his wyrd’ and go on beyond hope – these expressions of hopelessness are connected with <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">the will to go on[/I]. ‘Even as hope died....a new strength.’ This reads like a spiritual transformation – is it purely Christian, purely Northern, or a blend of both? It is Sam who holds most firmly to a belief in the possibility of success. His song in Cirith Ungol is a song of hope, although not 100% theological hope. He <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">anchors[/I] himself. It is a personalised song, relating the wider context to his own situation and drawing strength from the stars as he did from the Tale of Beren. ‘Putting away all fear’ he gets some sleep. Fortitude, which brings Endurance, is the formal opposite of despair. Pippin’s laughter at the gates of Mordor when his last hope dies is reminiscent of Chaucer’s Troilus suddenly seeing all his life and suffering in a totally changed perspective. Does Denethor’s sour remark about Gandalf’s hope betraying him, have undertones suggesting that D is aware G is trusting in something beyond, something more than the 1% chance? However, Gandalf’s ‘we have a hope at which he has not guessed’ is a factual, not a theological statement. Aragorn (Estel) embodies hope, and agrees to share Arwen’s hope. His death-bed statement is the clearest theological statement in LoTR, if not in the whole corpus. It is appropriate that Arwen responds with his childhood name; Estel. T transforms and deepens the everyday use of <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">hope[/I] to fashion a conduit to the theological.


    Verlyn Flieger - <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Politically incorrect Tolkien[/I] Flieger’s theme was in fact the political incorrectness of many of the characters T depicts. At the opening of LoTR we find closed realms existing in isolation, and an absence of governance. The Shire is characteristically so inward-looking that it’s surprising it produced so many outward-looking Hobbits to go on adventures. The characteristic opposition in Shire thought and talk is between ‘queer folk’ and ‘decent folk’. Note Frodo’s horror at the idea that Gollum is in fact a hobbit. Ironic since from the Shire perspective F and his companions are among the ‘queer folk’, the outsiders; yet they share the unconscious prejudice about those from outside. [Sam’s dislike of the Prancing Pony].


    Oppositions found in hobbit thought include:
    · Shire/Outside
    · Shire/Bree
    · Bree/Shire
    · Bree/Outside
    · Buckland/Hobbiton
    · Hobbiton/Buckland.


    A common phrase is ‘Don’t like the looks of..........’


    Thingol, in spite of having seen the light of Valinor and being married to an Otherworldly being, is the most prejudiced being in M-E. He may be aware of his own attitudes but not that they are prejudices. There is his ban on the Quenya tongue (deeply significant in Tolkien’s terms as an attempt to eradicate identity); there is Turin’s entry into Doriath, which brings out better attitudes in Thingol, until Beren wants to marry Luthien [you wouldn’t want your daughter <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">marrying[/I] one of them]. Thingol displays greed, sexual jealousy, pride and racist superiority (toward the dwarves). From Valinor he comes down to a shabby death underground.


    Orcs display a whole separate set of dislikes and prejudices. Their behaviour is recognisably human, and they are unsurpassed in their use of demeaning and insulting epithets. Readers tend to accept the assumption of the other races that Orcs are not ‘people like us.’ But T’s portrayal is not simple; he shows bigotry and ignorance in all his peoples.


    In discussion Joe Tadie said that this features in the Hobbit to – Bilbo has a sentimental liking for elves, or the idea of elves – ‘he seldom met them’ – but is flummoxed, to say the least, by the rather harsh reality of contact with Gandalf and the Dwarves., Beorn, the eagles, the goblins, wood-elves and the Laketowners. The ‘otherworldly’ seems to exist on its own terms rather than his.


    SB raised the point that its only the hobbits who seem to get close enough to the ‘enemy’ – Orcs, Southrons – to witness behaviour that prompts them to think more deeply about the others, to break through depersonalisation. The behaviour they witness is noticeably ’human’; ‘Orcs on both sides’.


    John Garth - <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Robert Quilter Gilson TCBS; a brief life in letters[/I]. It is fortunate that ‘not all tears are an evil,’ since this quiet and compelling close to the Conference papers was deeply moving. Gilson’s great-niece was present with us to hear Garth read extracts from Rob’s letters, and noticeably as the session progressed, we put down our pens and ceased to make notes. The poignancy of hearing a young man write of his plans for the future only months, weeks and days before what we knew would be the day of his death; needs no comment.


    Panel discussion with all keynote speakers (Shippey, Garth, Flieger, Olsen, Duriez, Manlove)


    Q1 – what attracted you to Tolkien originally?


    Shippey – walking in T’s footsteps in his career as a philologist


    Flieger – reading LoTR in 1957, later developing a mediaeval course that was basically an excuse to teach Tolkien; then gradually dropping the non-Tolkien element. “I take myself seriously and I take Tolkien seriously.”


    Garth – found Tolkien through Alfred Hitchcock.


    Dimitra Fimi came to England accompanying some of her mother’s language students and needed something to read.....


    Olsen began reading T in childhood, and has also worked his career around to a point at which he can teach T.


    Q2 – What research needs still to be done?


    Flieger - someone needs to dig into the Celtic sources of the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Notion Club Papers[/I].


    Fimi – new studies on Celtic sources generally.


    Q3 – what is your dream Tolkien project?


    Flieger – to open up the whole idea of a pre-English mythology, working on Notion Club and also on works still unpublished.


    Manlove – to look at T’s style.


    Garth – still so much unpublished


    Fimi – language


    Duriez – a truly thorough study of the Inklings


    Shippey – to elucidate more fully the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Monsters and the critics[/I], collating the two drafts.


    Olsen – a study of the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Silmarillion[/I]


    Final discussion of the proliferation of scholarship and the need for academics to supervise it, the problem of scholarship going in directions we would rather it had not chosen, the problem of unpublished and inaccessible material (need to respect family privacy), the question of whether the popularity of T is a blessing or a curse? Thanks to all from all for an exciting weekend and excellent papers and discussions.


    Namárië.
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  7. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Cor!! Well done, Saranna! I'm just back from a less meaty conference, but I couldn't report on it in this degree of detail. EXCELLENT!!
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  8. geordie's Avatar
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    Wow - now that's what I call a report. And it leaves me feeling, well, unsettled - that is, I feel like kicking myself for not having been able to go - lack of sufficient funds. But there's no point in going on about it - complaining about over-pricing is like a farmer complaining about the weather. Now, as to Saranna's report - I feel we're very lucky to have one here who can attend such a conference, and bring away such an illuminating account of the contents. Makes me feel I was there.

    On another topic; I'd have liked to have seen the exhibits on show in the Exposition, too. There are photographs on the web, but nothing very detailed. Being a collector, I'd have been v. interested in a bit more detail.

    One thing I've noticed, Saranna, is that in the photos which I've seen so far, there doesn't seem to have been a very good attendance. This is most noticeable in the photos of the general Festival (backed up by several posts I've seen on other sites). there's a video log out there, too; numbers do seem sparse. And I gather the same could be said for the Conference attendance - the photos I've seen suggest an almost one to one ratio between the number of speakers and the audience. A happy state of affairs for the attendees, but not, I imagine for the organisers who, I recall, were looking for attendances in the thousands. What were your impressions?









    Edited by: geordie
    It's all in the books...

  9. Thank you very much for that report! I've given you a handsome tribute for your pains in sharing such a detailed write-up with us



    It sounds like that was a fascinating time with many really great talks- I wonder if there are any plans for a volume of conference proceedings at some point?
    I also loved the variety in that last question, about peoples' dream project- a testament to how multi-faceted Tolkien was, and the variety that makes him endlessly fascinating to us!
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

  10. Saranna's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Well Dorwiniondil medear, us oldies know that if a thing's worth doing ..................
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Geordie, the turnout was disappointing, with the Confeence best, the Fan Expo second and the festival 3rd. I do think the organisers' aims of bringing these different strands of Tolkien appreciation together are excellent ones, and I would hope to see it grow - it was only the first year after all.
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Mandos! I am conflopted and bedazzled by your generosity - many thanks milord. *curtsey*
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  11. Ankantoiel's Avatar
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    Hi Saranna,



    Thanks a lot for the summary. I haven't seen all talks, but this is a good to read and to remember things I have nearly forgotten.
    As one that was participating as VIP (yes, we had access to all parts of the festival), I was maybe to busy and to happy to meet up with fellow LotR-fans to be disappointed. But I agree to all that think that the conference was the best part (and that the other parts lacked visitors and entertainment).The speakers and their talks were mostly amazing (even if I don't like the way of simply reading the paper as some of them did ). I specially enjoyed Corey Olsen, Sara Brown, and Tom Shippey - they had so much enthusiasm and ideas, and it was simply great to listen to them.
    Best,Anka
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  12. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Saranna: My colleague and co-Lore Admin has beaten me to the draw in giving you a well deserved trib for such a magnificent reporting effort. Many thanks.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  13. Saranna's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">My pleasure, halfir. Ankantoiel, I too was a VIP though I felt that was an unfortunate thing - not quite the tone to set for a democratic festival! I crossed out VIP and wrote on it my real name, with the phrase 'humble participant"!
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day



  14. Hi Saranna - in fact, hello all. I just wanted to thank you and Ankantoiel for your kind review of my paper. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It was a pleasure to meet you - and yes, I do remember who you are!

    It was a great opportunity to get together with fellow Tolkien fanatics and share some of my ideas, as well as get some very valuable feedback. Thankyou.

    All the best

    Sara Brown

    Aranel Parmadil
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    <br />Be the change you wish to see in the world.
    <br />Peace is contagious: let it start with me.

  15. Saranna's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Welcome aranel_parmadil - may you, like Frodo, 'become like a glass filled with clear light for all to see that can.'
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Hey, is that alchemical in any way?
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  16. captainbingo's Avatar
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    #16


    In case you haven't noticed, the Journal is now paywalled (£36 for 12 issues) &amp; previous issues are now only available to subscribers. Did the interviewees/contributors to earlier issues get paid for their contributions, I wonder, 'cos FitS is clearly looking to make a bit of dosh out of them?

    Is the Tolkien Society still 'Endorsing' this?

    I used to be Captain Bingo but lost me capitals....

  17. geordie's Avatar
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    #17
    I should be surprised if contributors got paid. One reason I've seen for the move to a subscription is to cover costs; I suppose internet fees. The organizers had hoped for advertisers, but evidently none have come forward. I've no idea whether the TS is still endrsing this enterprise, nor even what form that endorsement might take.

    Edited by: geordie
    It's all in the books...

  18. Saranna's Avatar
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    It's not, Geordie. I for one am not prepared to pay a sub for the journal, there is after all quite a lot of nformation on the www about Tolkien!
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  19. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #19
    And if you wanted a copy of Dimitra Fimi's paper, I expect she'd let you have one if you asked nicely. Also, I should imagine that most of John Garth's information is already either in Tolkien and the Great War or on his website, which if you don't know it is a very interesting one. It's here: http://www.johngarth.co.uk/index.php
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  20. halfir's Avatar
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    captainbingo a welcome return sir.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  21. captainbingo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfir
    captainbingo a welcome return sir.
    Loadsastuff to do - hope nobody took my absence in the wrong way
    On this subject - I think charging for access to stuff that's been freely given is a good way to stop people giving you stuff for free in the future. Annoying not to have the Daphne Castell interview available - well, for anyone who didn't make a copy - but most of the rest of the stuff is fairly 'meh'. There are a few bits I wish I'd saved from there, but nothing I'm losing sleep over TBH.


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    I used to be Captain Bingo but lost me capitals....

  22. Saranna's Avatar
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    #22
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Hi captainbingo! In fact there will be proceedings published, I do know they are working on that. Wonder how much they will cost!
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  23. TrotterDUPE's Avatar
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    #23


    I get the impression that Mark Faith is concentrating on Tolkien Art and if another Festival in Wales happens then it would be primarily an art show. He gave an interview on a podcast recently where he was very upbeat on Tolkien Art. The Journal does not fit in with this, so it is being killed off.

    As a coincidence, Elizabeth Currie/Ruth Lacon left her agent (Andy Compton of ADCBooks) recently. No news of who her new agent is, but I'm sure Mr Faith would be a good guess.


  24. geordie's Avatar
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    #24
    As a coincidence, Elizabeth Currie/Ruth Lacon left her agent (Andy Compton of ADCBooks) recently. No news of who her new agent is, but I'm sure Mr Faith would be a good guess.

    Andy Compton also publishes Lewis and Currie's books. I wonder if they'll stay with him; or whether Mark Faith fancies a move into publishing?

    Of course, the couple could go back to self-publishing, one would suppose.

    It's all in the books...

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