Friday, April 6, 2012


So, I'd been holding off on posting about an upcoming event until the news went public, only to discover last week that the website of this event is already up online ( and it'd been discussed on Jason Fisher's blog about two weeks ago (

So, here's the news in brief: this weekend, I'm one of the guests of honor at a new little con at Texas A&M in Commerce, Texas (about one-third of the way from Dallas to Texarkana). My fellow guest of honor is my friend Doug Anderson, author of the excellent ANNOTATED HOBBIT. My own talk will be on the relationship between THE HOBBIT and THE SILMARILLION. In addition, Doug, the Dean, and I will be on a Hobbit Roundtable, and Jason Fisher will not only be moderating our two presentations but giving one of his own on Tolkien's sources. The event will be hosted by Robin Reid, for years the organizer of the Tolkien at Kalamazoo tract.

It'll be great to attend the first gathering of a brand new con, to have the chance to combine this with a family visit over in the ArkLaTex, and maybe even have time afterward for a quick (one day) research trip among the Dunsany manuscripts down in Austin (so far as I know, I'm the only Dunsany scholar to have ever made use of them, and it's a LONG time since my last visit [1987]). Maybe we'll even have time to see the famous bats.

It'll also be interesting to return to Commerce Texas, where I'm told we lived for a summer to fulfill a residency requirement while my father was getting his Masters in History (M.S.). I have no memory of the town or campus at all, having been not yet two at the time -- though I do still have a copy of the Master's Thesis he wrote to finish the degree [1960]

So, here's for a safe trip and an interesting weekend ahead. If you're in the area, drop on by and say hello.

--John R.


Magister said...

May I ask what you are going to do with your Dunsany research? (In my opinion, there're too few books ABOUT him -- and considering the amount of unpublished/uncollected stuff, there're too few books BY him as well!)

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Magister

Well, a major goal for me would be to revise my dissertation and see about getting it published as the first (and so far only) book-length study of the short stories of the best fantasy short-story writer in English.

This trip, however, was targeted to take a fresh look at something I'd seen in the Ransom Center twenty-five years ago, thought worth publishing then, but hadn't had the time to transcribe. Now that I'm finally getting back to it, I took a closer look and still think it's worth trying to bring to a wider circulation, so this definitely becomes one of my future projects.

I'd rather not say more until I see if and how the project might come together -- esp. since one of the big discoveries I made last time (re. one of their other authors, not Dunsany) I got scooped on.

Too many or too few: I can make a case for both, since (1) he wrote so much the lesser works drown his best in a sea of wordage and yet (2) not all that he wrote that's worth publishing has yet seen print, even after all these years.

--John R.

Magister said...

It sounds very good and I look forward to seeing the finished result -- please keep us posted! I have a complete understanding for the need for secrecy.

I have a photocopy of an unpublished Dunsany story myself -- a sequel to "How Nuth Would Have Practised His art Upon the Gnoles" -- and it is quite a nice read. In August I will visit Dunsany Castle to have a look at some other stuff.