Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The New Arrival: another book about Tolkien

So, yesterday's post brought yet another new book about Tolkien, this time another collection of essays published by Cambridge Scholars Press (also home to TRUTHS BREATHED THROUGH SILVER, ed. by Jonathan B. Himes et al [2008],* and THE MIRROR CRACK'D, ed. Lynn Forest-Hill [also 2008]).**

Having just shared the table of contents from the forthcoming volume I contributed to, it only seems fair to let folks who might be interested know what's in this one as well. I've numbered the chapters in the list below for ease of reference, but they're not so numbered in the book itself.

MIDDLE-EARTH AND BEYOND: ESSAYS ON THE WORLD OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN, ed. Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kascakova (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)

Introduction, by Kathleen Dubs

1. Sourcing Tolkien's 'Circles of the World': Speculations on the Heimskringla, the Latin Vulgate Bible, and the Hereford Mappa Mundi, by Jason Fisher

2. Staying Home and Travelling: Stasis versus Movement in Tolkien's Mythology, by Sue Bridgewater

3. The Enigmatic Mr. Bombadil: Tom Bombadil's Role as a Representation of Nature in LotR, by Liam Campbell

4. Tom Bombadil -- Man of Mystery, by Kinga Jenike

5. Grotesque Characters in Tolkien's Novels H & LotR, by Silvia Pokrivcakova & Anton Pokrivcak

6. 'It Snowed Food & Rained Drink' in LotR, by Janka Kascakova

7. 'No Laughing Matter', by Kathleen Dubs

8, 'Lit', 'Lang', 'Ling' & the Company They Keep: The Case of The Lay of the Children of Hurin Seen from a Gricean Perspective, by Roberto Di Scala.

no index, alas.

It's interesting to see a strong Slovak connection here, shared among four of the contributors -- Taum, who was half-Slovak and half-Polish, wd have loved that. I'm rather surprised to see not one but two essays on Bombadil, but these will probably be the first I read among the volume's offerings, along with the one by Jason Fisher (since I know Jason). And it's unusual to see a piece on the alliterative TURIN poem -- the first such I've come across, though it seems the author has written another before. Exactly what a Gricean perspective might be, and how it might usefully be applied to provide insights into Tolkien, are alike a mystery to me -- all the more reason to read the essay, I suppose. I shd warn that like all the Cambridge Scholars Publishing releases I've seen so far this is a rather expensive volume: $52.99 for 145 pages.

In short, something I'm glad to have picked up, but it doesn't immediately bump its way to the top of my reading list, the way some new arrivals do.

current reading: Verne (still)
current audiobook: Kipling short stories (still)

*which I reviewed -- for MYTHLORE, I think. The review seems to be available online at

**which I confess I've not yet read, despite importing a copy via


Magister said...

More off-topic Dunsany curiosities:
In the UK 1st ed. of A Dreamer's Tales, there are the following interesting differences in "Carcassonne":

* Paragraph starting "Then Camorak said, 'There are many things to be...'": At the end of the paragraph the British texts inserts a "what" that must be an error for "that": "of the unmolested leisure what they were soon to enjoy."
* Paragraph starting "Then they arose, and following Arleon,": The British text has "she" instead of "they" in the second sentence: "And many a woman of Arn sent her thoughts with them as she played alone some old monotonous tune,"

Jason Fisher said...

You already have a copy? That’s much faster than expected!

David Bratman said...

"Gricean" = related to H. Paul Grice, linguistic philosopher, judging from what I see here. From the introduction excerpt Jason gave: "As a framework, Di
Scala makes recourse to the Gricean concepts of speaker meaning vs.
utterance meaning. As a case text, he uses The Lay of the Children of
Húrin (ca. 1918) to prove that principles from Grice’s theory of
communication can be adapted to the poem."