Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Upcoming Tolkien Conference

So, recently Jan Howard Finder got in touch with me to share the news about another in the series of Conferences on Middle Earth.

The first such event took place near the dawn of Tolkien studies, at the Univ. of Illinois (Urbana) back in 1969*

That was followed, two years later, by a second Conference on Middle Earth in Cleveland in 1971; among the presenters were Isaacs and Zimbardo, both Debbie and Ivor Rogers, and Richard West.**

According to Jared Lobdell's Introduction to A TOLKIEN COMPASS [1975], a third such conference was planned for Pleasantville, NY in 1973 but didn't take place; accordingly, he gathered together four papers from the First conference, four from the Second, and two submitted for the unheld Third to comprise that worthy tome.***

In fact, despite a thirty year delay, the long-expected Third Conference did indeed take place,**** though so far as I know no proceedings have been forthcoming from it yet.

And now comes word that a Fourth Conference on Middle-earth (for legal reasons called the Third Conference, Part 2) has been scheduled for Westford, Mass. in 2014. I have no idea whether I'll be able to make this or not, but wanted to help spread the word, esp. for those in the Boston/New England area.

Here's hoping they get a good turn out that and their conference is a good 'un.

--John R.

*here's a link that lists the papers presented, including Bonniejean Christensen's famous piece on changes in "Riddles in the Dark" between the first and second editions of THE HOBBIT:

***presumably one of these two additions is Richard's West's superb "Interlace" essay, given that it's not listed on either of the two conference schedules.


Wurmbrand said...

Wouldn't the Oct. 1966 Mankato State College Tolkien conference have been the first?

John D. Rateliff said...

"Wouldn't the Oct. 1966 Mankato State College Tolkien conference have been the first?"

Yes, Mankato was the first Tolkien conference, and they published the first proceedings -- as Jared points out in his intro to A TOLKIEN COMPASS, that collection was the third published collection of Tolkien essays, THE MANKATO PAPERS being the first and TOLKIEN & THE CRITICS the second.

However, "The Conference on Middle Earth" is a specific name, not a generic one. And the first C.O.M.E. was in '69, three years after the Mankato conference.

Now that I think about it, long time since I read THE MANKATO PAPERS (of which I have both editions); perhaps it's time to dig them up and read them again.


Wurmbrand said...

Oh, I see! Well, learn something everyday. ; - )

David Lenander said...

And there was a second Mankato Tolkien conference in 1996.