Wednesday, May 17, 2023

At Kalamazoo

 So,  Kalamazoo was an odd mix this year: a shrunken dealer's room (perhaps a third to half it's size in previous years) and far fewer people about (I heard estimates that this year's attendance was about two-thirds that in recent years). Yet in the meeting rooms there seemed to be a good crowd and no falling off in the quality of the papers and panels.

The first session, which I missed, was devoted to the Rings of Power series.

 That afternoon I attend the CSL session, which wrestled with Lewis's claim that there had never been a Renaissance in England, because the English hadn't needed one, never having had a 'Middle Ages'. The panelists were well-informed and mounted a well-spoken defense of what I suspect was more a case of Lewis being a gadfly than anything else.

Next up, the first Tolkien event I attended was devoted to controversy such as Tolkien and racism, gender issues,  colonialism, and the disturbing enthusiasm of white supremacists for his work. At least three of the speakers called for putting aside other forms of Tolkien scholarship, such as biographical studies, so we cd devote all our energy into meeting this the challenge. I was impressed, but part company when they put a 'MUST' into their thesis. 

Another session dealt with which major saints in the Church most influenced Tolkien, with Aquinas

and the Tomists winning out over Augustus; Bonaventure and Boethius came in for some mention but not, to my surprise, Francis.

I was struck by how far this session was from the Tolkien in Crisis session; it was as if the two groups came from different worlds.

Different again was a misc. panel that examined Tolkien as a translator, Tolkien and PEARL, et al. unfortunately the person who was to deliver the Numenor piece cdn't make it.

Last of all were the two back to back sessions devoted to Christopher Tolkien focusing on CT as a 

an editor of the legendarium. I think these together were my favorites of the whole conference.

There was much more, but this shd give an idea of what the revived Medievalist Congress was like. 

--John R

-- THE BATTLE OF MALDON (current reading: Tolkien's translation).


grodog said...

Were the sessions recorded, John? If so, I'd like to listen in a bit on the Rings of Power sessions to get an idea about how Tolkien experts see it (our family hasn't not watched it yet---have to wrap up Babylon 5 season 5 first).


Wurmbrand said...

"At least three of the speakers called for putting aside other forms of Tolkien scholarship, such as biographical studies, so we cd devote all our energy into meeting this the challenge."

What was said about who exactly is the danger, where and how they are operating, how much influence they have, and so on; and what was said about what is to be done, which (it is assumed) will require devoting "all energy" to the cause?

Was anyone concerned about whether dedicating "all our energy" to this matter might give the other side a lot of free publicity?

Thanks for any specifics.

John D. Rateliff said...

Dear Grodog

Yes, some sessions were recorded, but I'm not sure if they're available for non-attendees. I'll check and try to find out, then post the answer here.

--John R.

John D. Rateliff said...

Dear Wurmbrand

After the better part of a week I no longer remember what was said with sufficient detail, and my hand-tremor I'm no longer able to take legible notes. What I can do is go back and see if this roundtable is one of the ones made available online. If so I'll post that information here.

--John R.

Wurmbrand said...

Thanks, John.