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Front cover of Amon Hen #290
Amon Hen № 290: August, 2021
© 2021 The Tolkien Society

№ 290: August, 2021

26 August 2021

In this issue: 1 article, 2 editorials, 4 notes, 1 review, 1 conference paper, letters.

Editorials

From the editor’s desk: Guest editorial on diversity

Ian Collier, p. 2

Cate asked me to write a guest editorial for an issue showcasing diversity, diversity” surely applies to a fictional world where there are multiple races and cultures, to the extent that Tolkien has been called the creative equivalent of a people”. It was also the theme of our second seminar of the year, and I’ll be frank and admit that we didn’t expect the level of outrage the topic and papers provoked. After all, in Middle-earth, we see various disabilities (shake hands with Beren?), elves and humans having kids together, and some hobbits, dwarves, and ents, not having children at all.…

Tolkien and diversity

Troels Forchhammer, p. 7

Let me be honest with you from the outset: there are very few papers given by the Tolkien Society Summer Seminar 2021, that I would be personally interested in attending, but that is beside the point.

Or, perhaps, it is precisely the point, because even if I am not personally interested in individual papers, I am truly happy that the The Tolkien Society is addressing these topics and that there are people willing to speak on them. I am happy that there is an audience within the society for these papers.…

Articles

Finding the feminine in Tolkien

Kathrin Heierli, p. 17

To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!” (An Unexpected Party, The Hobbit) I distinctly remember reading about the famous Belladonna Took for the first time. But Alas! Tolkien didn’t elaborate and Belladonna remains the only named woman in The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings features the Big Three – namely Galadriel, Arwen and Eowyn – at least as active participants in the story, if one discounts the healer, the water spirit and the giant spider.

Whenever the lack of female presence in Tolkien’s work is addressed, people (rightly) point to The Silmarillion. From the varied expressions of a gender-like temperament of the Valar and Valier to very human women like Haleth and Andreth, who live tragic and important lives, there is a lot of potential. But as with many of the Silmarillion’s characters, their stories are more mentioned than told.…

Notes

Tolkien treasury № 3

Chad High, p. 7

… This running column will seek to shine a light on the world of collecting Tolkien books, books about Tolkien, and other Tolkien related items. All thanks to Mat Suta and all the editorial staff at Amon Hen, a big thank you to Devon Press, Steven Frisby, & Wayne Hammond for all of your help in compiling the knowledge contained in this article, and a special thank you also to Carl F. Hostetter, an Elf-friend if there ever was one.…

Dating Tolkien: № 1

Mick Henry, p. 30

I have avoided the following day (September 22nd) for two reasons. Firstly, because it is such an obvious date to begin with, but principally because this date is where the adventure really begins. Tuesday 21st September 1937 marks the date on which The Hobbit was published and Tolkien’s adventure with us begins. The book receives some good reviews and doubtless it arrives inside quite a few Christmas stockings that year.…

More notes & columns

p. 31

Also, Mathom (№ 195): The newsletter of the Smials,” News from Fangorn (№ 128),” All Brân,” copious artwork, and Sultana Razas poem Gurgling, groaning, grumbling barrels.”

Letters

Middle-earth in the New World (1)

Martha Celis Mendoza, p. 22

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the worlds that he imagined have been the threshold for thousands of Latin American readers to many other universes and literary traditions. It is thanks to Tolkien that so many have become acquainted with authors like Ursula Le Guin or C.S. Lewis; it is due to our interest in Middle-earth that we are enticed to find out more about the Kalevala and Nordic mythologies; for some of us, it is because of our love of Bilbo and Legolas that we can feel so at ease when reading about the adventures of Luned wandering around the forests when we read El Fuego Verde by Verónica Murguía. But unfortunately many of these are still inaccessible to speakers of other languages.

During the [Tolkien Society Summer Seminar 2021], I referred to the importance of translation to have access to many scholarly studies, as well as to works of fiction that were originally written in other languages.…

Middle-earth in the New World (2)

Jorge de la Vega, p. 23

The academic value of Tolkien’s work is already known to all of a mindset different from the established literary sense of worth, and thus with these lines my intention is to address its importance as entertainment and the comforts of escaping. If nothing else, the past year and a half ought to have taught us — for painfully obvious reasons — just how vital both entertainment and escapism are in whatever form they may come. Historically, however, when it comes to fantasy literature — indeed, imaginative fiction as a whole — there remains a sad universal constant as to how it is perceived when contrasted against the so-called literary fiction, a label which by exclusion segregates even the most prestigious works of fantasy to the dreaded land of genre fiction.…

Middle-earth in the New World (3)

Yhunnue Guillermo Don Juan Rodriguez, p. 24

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to” (LotR LRC §1.03.075).

Without a doubt, the passion and love for Fantastic Literature are equally dangerous. You start reading a story, a novel, and in the blink of an eye, you are traveling to the Undying Lands discovering impossible worlds, extraordinary people, and living a thousand lives at the turn of each page: that is the power of Fantastic Literature. Fantasy is born from the collection of pre literary stories, verses, and narratives. Numerous canonical works of Fantasy from Europe collect and creatively transform the legacy of the foundational myths and stories of that continent: J.R.R. Tolkien and his mythopoetic creation of Arda (and, in particular, of Middle-earth) is an attempt to give England a solid mythology.…

Middle-earth in the New World (4)

Aline Esperanza Maza Vázquez, p. 26

When I first found out about J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, I was a kid in the cinema watching The Fellowship of the Ring with my parents. And even when I liked the movies a lot, I was in college when I decided to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Around this time, I learned French and, years later, German. But it was after learning more about Tolkien’s life and meeting people like Jorge, Martha, and other polyglots who were Tolkien fans, I got interested in his languages and translation. No one can deny it, Tolkien’s work is worldwide known, and before Jackson’s adaptation, we had to thank the translators who made it possible to read Tolkien to non-English speakers. Some translations had the aid and supervision of Tolkien himself during his lifetime, and Tolkien wrote the Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings” for Germanic languages, which was later revised for publication by Christopher. Yes, unfortunately, mistakes arose due to a lack of understanding of Tolkien’s legendarium or editorial omissions, but Tolkien’s work has been able to amaze people over the years.…

Reviews

Conference papers

“Something mighty queer”: Destabilizing cishetero amatonormativity in the works of Tolkien

Danna Petersen-Deeprose, p. 12

This project draws from intersectional feminist and postmodern queer theories to present a queer reading of Tolkien’s fiction. When I talk about queerness, however, I do not specifically mean same-gender sex or romance. Rather, I mean the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone’s gender, of anyone’s sexuality, aren’t made (or can’t be made) to signify monolithically” (Sedgwick 1). I will examine Tolkien’s depictions of characters, relationships, ways of loving, and ways of existing that challenge contemporary cishetero amatonormative structures and assumptions.…

[See also Danna’s paper, by the same title given at the Tolkien Society Summer Seminar 2021. — ed.]

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