Saturday, May 7, 2022

Tolkien Day at Kalamazoo

 So, that’s one day down and the better part of a week to go.

I had trouble logging on to Zoom, and by the time Janice got me straightened out I’d missed half of Kris Larsen’s piece. Which is a pity, given how good her stuff typically is.  This one was on orphans and near-orphans in Tolk.  Then came John Holmes on sinister pointing hands in ISHNESS, Maddo, Thror’s Map, and the RK draft cover. I’d never known there was a word for these (manicula), so I learned something. Third came Joe Ricke on Tolkien's THE HOMECOMING (HBB), looking particularly at the stage directions. I had no idea there were so many versions (fourteen) of this play, with the earliest version (in rhyming verse) accounting for five drafts plus two fragments. And as always I’m glad when a presentation tells me something about Tolkien I didn’t know before.

After a seven minute break for lunch, things resumed with Vickie Holtz-Wodzak suggesting Bram Stoker as a source for several scenes in Tolkien (mostly involving three wolf-attacks).* Then came Robin Reid with an examination of the recent online flame war against the Tolkien Society. I was impressed by her demonstration that it’s possible to discuss contentious events in a measured tone. I was fading by this point and so missed the last event of the day: the latest of Eileen Moore’s “Maidens of Middle-Earth” art songs.

And now comes a break until a Tolkien & Evil panel at two o’clock (my time) this Tuesday.   

Then comes a panel on Tolkien and medieval animals (everything from bats to dragons to bestiary lore) Thursday at six a.m. (gah!), followed later that day (four pm) by a roundtable in honor of Richard West.

Friday brings the business meeting (bright and early at 8 am), followed by THE NATURE OF MIDDLE-EARTH, a roundtable focused on the new collection of Tolkien material edited by Carl Hostetter (I was supposed to be on this but had to bow out during the chaos of earlier this year).

Saturday wraps things up with a Dante and the Inklings panel, which seems to be folding previous years’ C. S. Lewis at Kalamazoo into the Tolkien at Kalamazoo group. Then things wrap up with a misc. grouping that includes pieces on ’The Dragon is not an Allegory’ (here, here), Sam as Boethian (nice to see a non-augustinian piece), and ’Tolkien, Augustinian Theodicy, and Lovecraftian Evil’ (cd be interesting to see HPL in such august company). 

And then that’d wrap things up for another year.

*She had a point, but I wd have thought S. R. Crockett Tolkien's immediate source. 

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