Saturday, May 26, 2018

Kalamazoo, Day Four (Saturday May 12th)

continued and concluded


So, Saturday brought the last full day of papers. Since there weren't any sessions dedicated to Tolkien (aside from the noon business meeting), and because I'd had such good luck coming across Paul Peterson's piece in a non-Tolkien themed panel the day before, I decided to wander further afield again by attending a session called OUT OF THE BOX, OUT OF THE BOTTLE: AMBIGUOUS SUPERNATURAL ENTITIeS IN MEDIEVAL MAGIC

My curiosity was rewarded by not one but two papers which told me things I didn't know that I was happy to learn.

Unfortunately I took next to no notes of this session, with the result that while I remember liking the opening paper well enough (HALF ETAYN AND THE GODDES MORGNE: THE AMBIGUITY OF THE PRETERNATURAL IN SGGK by Kersti Francis) I can't remember any details. But it was the middle session that really got my attention: TALKING HANDS AND BESTIAL SPIRITS: INVOKING PLANETARY SPIRITS IN MEDIEVAL LATIN MANUALS OF IMAGE MAGIC by Lauri Ockenstrom. This piece explored a topic (image magic) about which I knew nothing, but my attention was arrested when I realized that his description provided context for The Vyne Ring, which I'd researched a year or two back when working on my Nodens paper; he even showed a piece of art that echoed the only surviving image of Nodens in the so-called Lydney Tiara. I hope he publishes his piece so I can learn more about Planetary Spirits and the paraphernalia involved in conjuring them.

And Samuel P. Gillis Hogan's FAMILIAR WITH FAIRIES: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LATE MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN FAIRY CONJURING TEXTS contained reference to something I wished I'd known about back when working of THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT: Gillis Hogan mentioned an old legend about summoning three fairies who would then give the summoner a magic ring of invisibility. I'll have to track this down to add it to the list of Rings of Invisibility I blogged about back around 2008. So here's hoping this piece sees print as well.

XXII.  Saturday noon came the  TOLKIEN AT KALAMAZOO BUSINESS MEETING, at which we brainstorm topics to submit for next year's Medieval Congress. Despite a rather odd encounter in which someone outside the group dropped by essentially trying to encourage us to have a more upbeat attitude, it was a well-run and productive meeting, which left us with a range of interesting topics dealing with Tolkien and many things Medieval to propose for next year.

After that I headed back over to the book room. Turned out there were two more Tolkien papers, each appearing in a context where it was the only Tolkienian piece in its session, both of which I'd heard mentioned in passing the day before but not been able to find in the program book when it came time to decidedd whether to go to it or not. The first was EALA EARENDEL: OLD ENGLISH EUPHONY AND TOLKIEN'S HIDDEN GOD by Alfred Kentigern Siewers (1.30pm Saturday afternoon) and the other TOLKIEN AND BOETHIUS: CHANCE MEETINGS AND DOOMED HEROES by Brian McFadden (3.30pm ibid)

Instead, during this time I hung around the book room and talked with various Tolk folk who came by. Which is, after all, one of the best parts about being at a conference full of people who share your interest.

If I'd been staying nearby I wd have sought out the two sessions on the C. S. Lewis track on Sunday morning, among the last events before things wrapped up for another year. But by this time we were sleep-deprived and not really up to getting up early enough to make the drive in from Marcellus, so gave that a pass this year. It was nice to see Joe Ricke, the driving force behind the CSL track, come to several of the Tolkien presentations.

And that, aside from yet much more Tolk talk during the day and into the night on Sunday, and the challenges of getting home in a time of thunderstorms, that was pretty much it for this year. A good Tolkien at Kalamazoo this year, and already looking forward to next's

--John R.
current reading: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE DINOSAURS, which is as interested in the first half of that title subject as the last.

No comments: