So, yesterday (Tuesday the 27th) the newest book for the Tolkienist's bookshelf arrived: Dimitra Fimi's TOLKIEN, RACE AND CULTURAL HISTORY: FROM FAIRIES TO HOBBITS, just out from Palgrave/Macmillan. I've been hearing good things about Fimi's work from all sides for a while now, but haven't read any of it before. Not having known much about what her topic would be, I'm glad to see there's considerable overlap with a topic I'm interested in: Tolkien's drawing on folklore tradition. Even better, so far as I can tell so far, she draws on different sources than I did in my discussion of the folklore roots of hobbits and Tolkien's other faerie folk -- for instance, she makes no mention of Denham, or hobyahs, or SIR ORFEO, or the MABINOGI. This is all to the good, so far as I am concerned; I'm certain to learn something new by reading her book since she approached the topic by a different route, drawing on different sources, than I did. And although it's a relatively slim volume at 240 pages (roughly two hundred pages of text plus notes, extensive bibliography, and index), the type is small enough that they're relatively dense pages: there's a lot packed into the available space.
I shd also point out that it has a striking cover of a nice Tolkienian green, made by processing a photograph of Mosley Boy through a kaleidoscope.
More to come when I have a chance to do more than dip into it. In the meantime, I shd just observe that Fimi, who's based at the Cardiff University, teaches an online Tolkien class: for more information about that, see http://www.dimitrafimi.com/
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