Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Newest Publication: "Two Kinds of Absence"

So, yesterday my contributor copy for Jan & Phil's new book arrived, PICTURING TOLKIEN: ESSAYS ON PETER JACKSON'S The Lord of the Rings FILM TRILOGY, the latest in a growing line of Tolkien books from McFarland. This one has been in the works for about two or three years, and it's really good to have it in print. For one thing, it gives me a chance to read the other contributors' pieces.

So far I've only read four of the essays: my own (both to see how it holds up and to see if there are any horrific gaffs I overlooked until too late), Verlyn's (which focuses in on the filmmaker's dilemma of having to choose one specific way to depict things that Tolkien left open to each reader's visualization*), Kristin Thompson's (which is rightly the volume opener and sure to spark discussion, esp. since at one point she argues the filmmakers' presentation of one scene is superior to Tolkien's),** and Jan Bogstad's (about Tolkien's horses); next up is Dimitra Fimi's (on folklore in the films). On the whole, and unlike most of the essays in Croft's TOLKIEN ON FILM, the essays here are far less dismissive of Jackson's work; I suspect the two volumes will wind up making interesting complements to each other.

Since I've only read a quarter of the collection so far, for the rest I'll just give a T.o.C. of titles and authors:

Preface -- Bogstad & Kaveny
Introduction -- ibid
Part I: Techniques of Story and Structure
"Gollum Talks to Himself" -- Kristin Thompson
"Sometimes One Word Is Worth a Thousand Pictures" -- Verlyn Flieger
"Two Kinds of Absence: Elision and Exclusion in Peter Jackson's LotR" -- JDR
"Tolkien's Resistance to Linearity" -- E. L. Risden
"Filming Folklore" -- Dimitra Fimi
"Making the Connection of Page and Screen in Tolkiens and Jackson's LotR" Yvette Kisor
"It's Alive!: Tolkien's Monster on Screen" -- Sharin Schroeder
"The Materiel of Middle-Earth" -- Rbt C. Woosnam-Savage

Part II: Techniques of Character and Culture
"Into the West" -- Judy Ann Ford & Robin Anne Reid
"Frodo Lives but Gollum Redeems the Blood of Kings" -- Phil Kaveny
"The Grey Pilgrim: Gandalf and the Challenges of Characterization in Middle-earth" -- Brian D. Walter
"Jackson's Aragorn and the American Superhero Monomyth" -- Janet Croft
"Neither the Shadow Nor the Twilight: The Love Story of Aragorn and Arwen in Literature and Film" -- Richard West
"Concerning Horses" -- Jan Bogstad
"The Rohirrim, the Anglo-Saxons, and the Problem of Appendix F" -- Michael Drout
"Filming the Numinous" -- Joseph Ricke & Catherine Barnett

And now, back to reading.

*based on my skim through the book so far, this seems to be a recurrent theme, just as the earlier Croft collection included many discussions of Tolkien's letter re. the Zimmerman script.

**one piece of good news buried in her endnotes is that she's currently at work on a book about THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS

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