So, having written a piece on THE SILMARILLION's influence on THE HOBBIT ("A Fragment, Detached"), I'm currently working on the problem from the other end: looking to see if THE HOBBIT had any influence on THE SILMARILLION in return. I'm still researching and writing this one, whose working title is "Anchoring the Myth: THE HOBBIT and THE SILMARILLION; so more on it as it comes together.
This will be my presentation at the Tolkien conference being organized at Valparaiso, March 1st thr 3rd, where I'm honored to be one of the three Plenary speakers, along with Doug Anderson (5 pm Friday, "Annotating and Illustrating THE HOBBIT") and Verlyn Fleiger (9 am Saturday, "Bilbo's French Connection").* My own talk is scheduled for 9 am Sunday morning.
Of course, there'll be a lot more going on than just the featured speakers. Brad Eden, the organizer, has put together a schedule with more than twenty papers organized into eight sessions (i.e., as many or more than comprise the Tolkien At Kalamazoo track in any given year); in addition I'll be chairing one of these sessions of papers (on THE HOBBIT). It's a tribute to how good a program he's put together that I'm already looking at it and realizing I'll be missing good papers no matter which sessions I go to: there's just that much going on. Plus of course other events, like the Banquet, a musical performance of Tolkien-inspired songs, the Exhibit, and a live performance of Johan de Meij's SYMPHONY No. 1: THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
Should be quite a week-end. If you're anywhere in the area, try to drop by; it shd be an interesting and enjoyable event.
Here's the complete schedule of the event: