Also here is a charming little contribution to Tolkien biography by John Garth, who has identified the child Tolkien refers to in ON FAIRY STORIES as dismissively scoffing at the idea of flower-fairies: he turns out to have been the little (half-)brother of Rob Gilson, one of Tolkien's closest friends.
The book review section also contains a major piece: a thirty-page review-essay on SIGURD & GUDRUN by T. A. Shippey (who better?).
I'm also particularly pleased with this issue for two other reasons. For one thing, it contains two reviews by me -- one of Mark Hooker's THE HOBBITONIAN ANTHOLOGY (p. 330-335) and the other of J. S. Ryan's TOLKIEN'S VIEW: WINDOWS INTO HIS WORLD (p. 340-345). For another, this time around David Bratman's ever-impressive annual survey of everything of significance written about Tolkien, "The Year's Work in Tolkien Studies" has gotten up to 2007, and thus includes mentions of MR. BAGGINS & RETURN TO BAG-END. In fact, my book gets two mentions.
First, in his introduction giving an overview of the year's corpus, he follows up a mention of Shippey's ROOTS & BRANCHES collection with a paragraph about "long awaited" works by myself and Diana Pavlac Glyer (both of which were in-process since the early nineties). He calls THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT and THE COMPANY THEY KEEP "the keystone works of 2007's scholarship", saying that mine is "highly welcome after the long wait" and notes that both won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award (in Inkling Studies): hers in 2008 and mine in 2009. (TS.VII.348)
Then, two pages later, he devotes pretty much a full page to THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT, noting that while it's my name on the title page the book "is every bit as much a work by J. R. R. Tolkien as is THE HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH" -- which is absolutely true. In fact, I went back and forth so much about whether or not Taum Santoski's name shd appear with mine on the front cover (e.g., perhaps as "with the assistance of Taum Santoski") that the obvious question of putting JRRT's name up there first simply never came up. Most of David's paragraph is a succinct description of my book's contents (trust a bibliographer for being able to convey a lot of information clearly in a short space), but when I read his last line my head started swelling to the extent that I might have to get a new hat. He says of the mini-essays that I add throughout the book following each chapter: "Each of some fifty essays by Rateliff would make a major research paper on its own." I certainly put as much work, both research and writing, as for a full-fledged essay into each (one reason the book took me so long to finish!). In the end, I find my work keeps coming back to my favorite mantra from Keats: "load every rift with ore".
And all this isn't even taking into account the first half of this volume of TOLKIEN STUDIES, with ten essays from scholars both well-known, like Kristine Larsen, and others whose work is new to me, like Vladimir Brljak and Sherrylyn Branchaw. I haven't had a chance to read any of these yet, but once again looks like this volume will be full of good things. Congratulations to its editors.
current reading: CROW PLANET by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
current audiobook: KING JAMES BIBLE (2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah
Vladimir Brijak to Vladimir Brljak
and Sherrylun Branchaw to Sherrylyn Branchaw,
thus inadvertently reinforcing the point that these scholar's names were new to me.
my apologies for the errors; thanks to Merlin for spotting the slips. --JDR