So, it was exactly a year ago today that I gave the 2007 Blackwelder Tolkien Lecture at Marquette. It was and remains a great honor, for which I'm very grateful, and I'm immensely pleased that my talk is to be published next year.
I had hoped to be able to make it to Marquette again so as to attend this year's lecture, but as it turns out I've done too much travel already this year (including the recent unexpected sojourn in Montana) to be able to manage another trip to the Midwest. Which is all the more pity, since it looks to be a good one; the Speaker this year is Matthew Dickerson, who is mainly known for having written FOLLOWING GANDALF , one of a group of books on Tolkien from a theological point of view that came out several years ago, and more recently co-authoring (with Jonathan Evans) ENTS, ELVES, AND ERIADOR: THE ENVIRONMENTAL VISION OF JRRT . The latter, which seeks to place JRRT in a tradition of Xian environmentalism, got a scathing review from Patrick Curry, who himself had written what was previously the most well-known book on Tolkien and environmentalism (DEFENDING MIDDLE-EARTH ) -- but that's a review mainly notable for its constant complaints that Dickerson and Evans didn't quote from him enough.
The title of Dickerson's talk is to be "Beyond Romanticism: J. R. R. Tolkien's Practical Agrarian Romance"; it'll be presented at Marquette University library at 4 o'clock on Thursday, October 23, 2008. It's described on the library website as follows:
"Professor Dickerson will explore one element of Tolkien's comprehensive ecological vision expressed in his Middle-earth legendarium: the agrarianism of the Shire, and its contrast in the industrialized agriculture of Sauron and Saruman. While Tolkien's works might be dismissed as mere romanticism--idyllic fantasy with no implications to our world--the talk will defend a claim that the underlying ecology in these works is fundamentally practical (at many levels)."
here's the link:
If someone who does live in the area makes it to the lecture, I'd enjoy hearing about how it goes.