So, last week was one of those weeks when a bunch of things, ordered at diverse times over a long period, all arrived in rapid succession.
First was Grevel Lindop's new biography of Charles Williams, CHARLES WILLIAMS: THE THIRD INKLING. Years in the making, this promises to be the default biography of Wms henceforward. Just opening it at random a half-dozen times, I found out things I didn't know at each dipping (such as J. W. Dunne's probable influence on THE PLACE OF THE LION). Really looking forward to reading this one, when there's time to devote to it.*
That was Tuesday; Wednesday brought Wayne & Christina's new book, THE ART OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS, a handsome slipcased companion volume to their earlier THE ART OF THE HOBBIT. That book did an excellent job of presenting Tolkien's art, maps, and sketches for his earlier book, and this looks to repeat the performance with an equally impressive treatment of its sequel. There are more maps and fewer drawings this time around, just from the nature of the material, but that's just the nature of what Tolkien created for this book. There's a lot here I've never seen before, so I'm looking forward to working my way carefully through the book, at a slow enough pace to enjoy the individual pieces.**
Another Wednesday arrival was Verlyn Flieger's new book, her edition of THE STORY OF KULLERVO, JRRT's first story, an adaptation from the KALEVALA along with Tolkien's essay on the latter and her own essay explaining these materials. All this appeared in TOLKIEN STUDIES a few years ago, but it's really nice to have it as a slim standalone volume. And I'm glad to see the publisher used Tolkien's own artwork for the cover (as is right & proper).
Either also Wednesday, or perhaps Thursday, came a (used) copy of Joseph Pearce's collected essays and reviews, LITERARY GIANTS, LITERARY CATHOLICS (2005), which I wanted to consult for something I was working on but which looks to have some interesting odds and ends in it as well, such as a short memoir of Owen Barfield. ***
And finally Friday brought either the missing or replacement copy of TOLKIEN STUDIES Volume X, so that my set is now finally complete (or complete once more, depending). It's nice to have a full set of such a major resource.
So, quite a week. By contrast, no books at all have arrived through the mail this week. Just serendipitous
*for those in England, according to a posting on the MythSoc list Lindop is giving a talk on Wms this coming Tuesday (Oct 27th) at Wolfson College (Grevel Lindop, "Unveiling an Esoteric Life: Writing the Biography of Charles Williams").
**I consider it a good sign that yesterday I saw it in the local Barnes & Noble, on the Tolkien shelves.
***have to admit, though, that I can only identify five of the six figures on his dust jacket: Tolkien, Dante, Wilde, Chesterton, and Shakespeare (who probably wasn't Catholic). Belloc, perhaps?
The Delayed Re-Opening of the Political Desk
16 hours ago