Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Am Nominated

So, I just learned today that THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT is a finalist for this year's Mythopoeic Award -- specifically, the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inkling Studies. I'm one of five finalists, of which three are books on Tolkien, one on C. S. Lewis, and one on Charles Wms. Here are the five:

Gavin Ashenden, Charles Williams: Alchemy and Imagination (Kent State, 2008)

Veryln Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson, eds. Tolkien on Fairy-stories: Expanded Edition, with Commentary and Notes (HarperCollins, 2008)

John Rateliff, The History of the Hobbit, Part One: Mr. Baggins; Part Two: Return to Bag-end (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)

Michael Ward, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford, 2008)

Elizabeth A. Whittingham, The Evolution of Tolkien’s Mythology: A Study of the History of Middle-earth (McFarland, 2008)

--So, obviously I'm in good company. Of these, I've read most but not yet all of the (excellent) Flieger/Anderson expanded edition of OFS, and read (and reviewed) the Whittingham. The Ward has gotten a lot of good word of mouth, but Narnia has never been among my favorite Lewis, so I haven't read this one. I've been meaning to pick up the Ashenden book, about which I hear interesting things, but haven't done so yet; this will probably spur me on.

For a list of the finalists for the other three awards (Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, and Non-Inklings Fantasy Scholarship), here's the link:

and here's the list of all the past winners of the Inkings Scholarship Award, lacking only last year's winner (Diana Pavlac Glyer, for THE COMPANY THEY KEEP):

The winners will be announced at the banquet at this year's Mythcon in July.

--John R.


Ardamir said...

Shouldn't your book been nominated already last year, since it was first released in spring 2007?

Unknown said...

I would say the award is as good as yours, John. Congratulations in advance!

Jason Fisher said...

Ardamir, yes; John's book was in fact one of the five finalists for last year's award. The entire list of Mythopoeic Society Scholarship awards, including the finalists (as far back as that information goes — 1993), may be seen here. It has even been updated with the 2009 finalists.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a very well-deserved nomination, John. While the other nominees are all very deserving, you definitely have my support!

Where would I be able to find your review of Elizabeth Whittingham's book? I would be interested in reading that.

Ardamir said...

Thanks for that, Jason.

Ardamir / Johan Olin

David Bratman said...

John - I would recommend Ward's book, even for one not specifically interested in Narnia. Rather than merely pushing his controversial thesis (that the Narnian books were written to an overall plan based on the planetary characters), he discusses planetary imagery and research in all of Lewis's work, space trilogy, poetry, and non-fiction alike. It's really quite interesting. Not perhaps so much as The History of The Hobbit is, but you set a high standard.

John D. Rateliff said...

Thanks, all, for the kind words about the book.

Johan: yes, as Jason says, I was also a finalist last year, when the winner was Diana Pavlac Glyer's THE COMPANY THEY KEEP, which looks at the Inklings as a writers' group and re-defines "influence" so as to get a more nuanced look at mutual influences among the Inklings.*

Or, to put it in terms of my favorite line from A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (a play I know v. well, since I was in the pit band when my college performed it), "Second time around!"

Doug: my review of Whittingham's book has not yet been published. I'd say it's the first book on Tolkien to make full use of the HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH, with yours (which I'm reading now) being the second.

David: I see I'll definitely have to check out PLANET NARNIA then. I assume he must devote considerable attention to the poem "The Planets" which closes CSL's 1935 essay "The Alliterative Metre" (pages 129-132 of REHABILITATIONS & OTHER ESSAYS)? In any case, thanks for the additional information about the book's scope.

--John R.

*which also includes some excellent material by David Bratman, I might add, briefly synopsizing his many years of work on the group .

SESchend said...

Many hearty congratulations, John! No offense to all other nominees, who I am sure are fine individuals of scholarly and humanistic merit, but I'm putting out energy and hope that you take home the prize this year!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, John. I admit I did note that you had indicated that you were currently reading Arda Reconstructed. I hope you enjoy it.

I did quite enjoy Whittingham's book (which I read after seeing David's review in Mythlore, as well as the review by Diedre Dawson in last year's Tolkien Studies V). Had I read her book before I had completed my book, there are a couple of points that I would emphasized differently. I hope to make those points in the paper that I will be presenting at this year's Mythcon.

But as much as I liked her book, I still have no doubts about which book I am hoping wins the award this year!

Mike Foster said...

My review of THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT has been published online by Adam Smith at

Summary: As one who's likewise delved in the Marquette Tolkien mss. decades, I can say that John's study is masterful and witty and well worth the time he took writing it and I took reading it.