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Front cover of Amon Hen #289
Amon Hen № 289: June, 2021
© 2021 The Tolkien Society

№ 289: June, 2021

30 June 2021

In this issue: 2 articles, 1 editorial, 5 notes, 2 reviews.


From the editor’s desk

Cate Billing, p. 2

… Spring is on its way and we have even more reason than usual to look forward to its arrival. With assorted Covid-19 vaccines working their way through the population, and pubs, restaurants, and other businesses gradually reopening, it seems as though we might finally be through the worst of this crisis. Perhaps we’ll soon be able to get back to meeting in person.…


On osculating orbits and hankies

Martin Beech, p. 4

There are few greater delights in the quiet of an evening, than turning to books read when young. There, amongst my mass of well-worn books, is The Hobbit of course, but not far away are my copies of Arthur Ransome. The books by Tolkien and Ransome have been life-long companions, but as with all familiar things, it sometimes takes many years to realise and appreciate all their qualities and occasional common themes. Just such an epiphany of contact and similitude occurred to me this past summer — a silver lining to Covid-19 lockdown reading. The contacts are but brief, and largely contrived. Indeed, they are nothing more than happenstance encounters — orbits that chance to pass close to each other — thoughts built upon temporary moments of parallelism.…

The lyrical point of view of Tolkien’s cosmogony

p. 28

When readers discovered Middle-earth for the first time ever in 1937, they realised that Tolkien was understandably associating immortal beings to music. This affiliation is particularly noticeable in The Hobbit during the stay of Thorin’s company in Rivendell. Indeed, Elrond, the master of the house”, is the one who asks the dwarves to stay a bit and sing with” the elves. Music, songs, and dances accompany the travellers all along their trip until their departure to Erebor: they went down to the water to see the elves dance and sing upon the midsummer’s eve”. From his very beginnings, Tolkien often gave an important place to music in his works; and it is after his death that people discovered the demiurgic value of that lyrical art in The Silmarillion (Allen & Unwin, 1977). Ainulundalë or The Song of the Ainur is the name of the divine action by which Eru Ilúvatar and his children, the Ainur, created Eä through songs. The main purpose of this article is to study the creating trait of music and to analyse its cosmogonic function.…


Tolkien treasury № 2

Clare Moore, p. 15

I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was in third grade, but I won’t tell you how long ago that was. My family owned a three-volume copy paperback set illustrated by Alan Lee. You know the ones. When Peter Jackson’s films came out, my aunt gave me a mass-market paperback set with movie stills on the covers. Another Christmas my mother gave me a one-volume edition that became the copy I read every year and filled with notes. When I moved from California to New York City for college I left all of my books at home and soon missed them so much that I went to The Strand and bought another copy of The Lord of the Rings to have in my dorm. When I went to Oxford for the first time I bought another set so I would have an edition from the source.’ By the time I settled in Washington D.C. I had acquired a small library of Tolkien books, including multiple copies of The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, and reference books about Tolkien’s world. It was quite the collection, though I didn’t view it as a collection yet. I just thought I had a lot of Tolkien books for one person. Then I started a job at a library whose mission is to collect and preserve the books and papers of George Washington, America’s first president. To be clear, I am not a librarian, let alone an archivist, but every day I watch these experts hard at work in our library. They search for new titles to acquire, preserve each volume, help researchers handle them properly, and educate the public about the importance of this collection and others like it. It makes me wonder: what is the difference between a bunch of books and a collection? …


Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth and Tolkien: Treasures: Catherine McIlwaine

Emilio Patavini and Stefano Giorgianni, translator, p. 8

Maker and Treasures were first published in June 2018 to coincide with the exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth that took place in Oxford, New York, and Paris. The exhibition material not only came out of Tolkien Archives, but also the Tolkien Collection at Marquette University, Milwaukee, and private collections. For those who, like me, did not get to visit the display, reading its superb catalogue Maker, will make it seem as if they did.

The author of Maker and Treasures is Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien Archivist at Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Maker won the prestigious Best Book Award during The Tolkien Society Awards 2019, and McIlwaine herself was awarded for the Outstanding Contribution.…

The Horn of Gondor: Simon Pesta

Shaun Gunner, p. 26

Tolkien’s works have spawned countless adaptations through films, TV series, radio adaptations, stage plays and fan creations. It’s easy to regard every new adaptation with cynical indifference, but, as both The Hunt for Gollum and Born of Hope have shown, it is possible to breathe fresh perspectives through independent productions. And so, along comes The Horn of Gondor.…

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