Friday, November 6, 2020

Flieger Festschrift reviewed

So, I'm happy to see that a lengthy review of A WILDERNESS OF DRAGONS has now been published by THE JOURNAL OF TOLKIEN RESEARCH and is now available for download and viewing at their site:

I'm happy to say that reviewer Deidre Dawson has a lot of nice things to say about the collection while giving it a good detailed critique. I was particularly pleased by the attention to and praise of Taum Santoski's piece, which I took as confirmation that I was right to include this posthumous contribution. So valuable does she find Taum's piece that she suggests it wd have been a good piece to start the book with, creating a category of its own.

Deidre then proceeds to discuss and evaluate each essay in the collection. In the process she reorganizes the essays according to theme, creating a better sense of interaction between the individual pieces. I had experimented with some such groupings when working on the book but eventually abandoned this as imposing more structure than strictly needed. Having already contributed an Introduction, notes on Taum's piece, and an essay of my own,  I wanted to avoid further editorial intrusion so far as practical. That said, I particularly enjoyed this suggested order, which some readers might find a useful orientation when reading through the book. 

Her only other criticism is with the title: by omitting the word Tolkien from either title or subtitle, I inadvertently prevented it from showing up on as many online searches as wd otherwise have been the case. Mea culpa. 

On a personal note, I'm pleased that she has a good word for my own essay ("meticulously researched", "fascinating").  And who could not be pleased by her final summing up: 

"a rich collection of essays of overall very high quality, 
which both established Tolkienists and those new to 
the field will find informative and engaging"

--That's just what we were trying to achieve. I'm only sorry we didn't have the chance to use that as a blurb on the cover.


current reading: Patricia McKillip (last book in the RIDDLE MASTER trilogy), David Lindsay (his unfinished final book THE WITCH).


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