Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1983 Marquette Tolkien Conference (schedule)

And, as promised, here's the sequence of papers and presentations from the 1983 Marquette Tolkien Conference, as re-constructed from my notes. I've sometimes used descriptive titles rather than the formal titles given by the authors to the final papers in order to better convey the contents of each piece. When I eventually turn up my copy of the program book I'll post a more authoritative version, but for now this shd give a pretty good idea of how rich with good things that conference was.


I. Opening Remarks: Chuck Elston, Marquette Archivist.

II. Christopher Tolkien's Statement, read by Taum Santoski (outlining the first four volumes of the HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH SERIES).

III. Jared Lobdell: Tolkien as the Last Edwardian [this piece was given pride of place as the first full presentation]


IV. Jim Allan: Invented Languages [On Writers who used Invented Languages before Tolkien]

--Taum's remark after this session ended: "this is going to be an interesting 3 days"



V. KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Dr. Joseph McClatchey: "I Wonder What Kind of Tale We've Fallen Into?"


VI. Lyle Dorsett: Detailed description of The Wade Center's Inklings collections at Wheaton.

VII. Taum's Santoski: Detailed account of Marquette's negotiations (through Rota) to purchase Tolkien's Manuscripts in the 1950s. [draws heavily on unpublished contemporary documentation]

VIII. Dr. Blackwelder reads Paul Kocher's piece on demonstrations of Illuvatar's love and mercy towards his creations. [Prof. Kocher being too old and frail to make the trip himself]

IX.Darrell Martin's presentation of THE SILMARILLION as it stood in 1966 when Kilby saw it, with a detailed comparison between Kilby's notes and the published book.
--Darrell either included in this or followed it with either readings or discussions of "The Second Prophecy of Mandos" and "The Awakening of the Elves" (the elvish fairy tale/counting tale).

X. ROUNDTABLE discussion: Deborah Rogers, Jared Lobdell, Darrell Martin, Verlyn Flieger, Dr. McClatchey, myself, Mike Foster, & Richard West.
--the first topic: Religious Aspects of Tolkien's Writing (Verlyn, Mike, Jared, Darrell, McClatchey, Deborah), followed by discussion.
--the second topic: Tolkien Among His Contemporaries (Deborah, JDR, Mike, Verlyn, Richard, Jared), followed by discussion that threatened to get off track re. whether or not Tolkien was a 'dirty pro'.
--the third topic: Tolkien and Fantasy" (Jared, McClatchey, Darrell, JDR, Verlyn), followed by yet more discussion.

XI. Clyde Kilby (Guest of Honor speech). [Unfortunately, no copy of this survives among the papers in Taum's box, and the totality of my notes regarding it in my 1983 notebook read "Kilby (see pocket ntbk)" --i.e., I took notes from his talk in a separate mini-notebook that has yet to resurface.]


XII. Dr. Blackwelder: ruminations on unconsidered details of LotR [includes interesting statistics re. Tolkien's works, like their being 50 named characters in THE HOBBIT and 318 in THE LORD OF THE RINGS, with another 314 in the Appendices; adding in THE SILMARILLION, UNFINISHED TALES, and ATB brings the total to 907]

XIII. Verlyn Flieger: "Perception is Creation" [applied the Indeterminancy Principle to the effect of Tolkien's invented languages within his tales].

XIV. Anders Stenstrom: "Exopoemic, Epipoemic, & Empoemic" [proposed a new three-part classification for all Tolkien criticism; probably generated the most discussion of any presentation at the conference].

XV. Lester Simons. "Tolkien's World: Compelling and Appealing, But Why?" [The longtime Tolkien Society membership secretary posed an intriguing question, then spent the hour moderating the ensuing discussion, ending the conf. on a high note.]

Note: Fr. Campbell sent in a piece that was to be read in his absence by Taum Santoski, but in the event it was not actually presented because we were running out of time at the end of the conference.

--Of course, the conference was more than the sum of its papers. For example, while getting myself a cup of tea, either just before the first session or in the mid-morning break that first day, I met Wayne Hammond for the first time. I recognized his name at once from the addendum to Richard West's bibliography he'd published a few years before, introduced him to the person I was with (who may have been Richard himself; I'm a little vague on that point), and suggested he sit with us for the next session -- thus beginning a friendship that's lasted twenty-five years.


I should explained the absence here of some presentations listed in my previous post. The above are the presentations I actually attended; in some places, the papers were double tracked, so that attending one session meant missing another that was opposite it. In many cases, the choice was, as Chrysophylax says, cruel hard. Another reason why getting to read the submitted papers afterwards when I was helping the editors get the project into shape was so satisfying -- esp when a submitted paper differed greatly from its analogous presentation, as in the case of Darrell Martin's piece.

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