Beyond Bree

Nancy Martsch, editor

December, 2021

9 December 2021

In this issue: 3 articles, 2 reviews.


Days of the craze #38: Why American (not British) students started the Hobbit craze: American novel-romances as trailblazers for Tolkien

Dale Nelson, p. 1

Notoriously, American high school and college students created the Hobbit craze when they took Tolkien’s fantastic fiction and made a cult” of it in the mid-1960s. The London Times for 12 Feb. 1966 reported Don’s tales start U.S. campus craze.”

That American rather than British young people created the craze could be accounted for by the paperbacking of the books by Ace and then Ballantine, both of them being U.S. publishers.

The assumption would be that, if Allen and Unwin had published the books in paperbacks young English people could afford before the Americans published their popularly-priced copies, the craze should have taken off in the British Isles. Of course the availability of inexpensive paperbacks was of great importance for the American Tolkien passion. But two remarks may be made about that idea.…

“Hobbits hate noise”: The Silesian Hobbit

Tex Velis, p. 4

In 2002, part of the first chapter of The Hobbit was translated into Silesian, which is a West Slavic language related to Polish, by Marek Szołtysek. It is published in a book for children called Ślązoki nie gęsi or in English Silesians are not geese.” Ślązoki nie gęsi includes excerpts from children’s books including The Hobbit, The adventures of Pinocchio, and Winnie the Pooh. This translation of The Hobbit and the woodcut [above] that illustrates it are very interesting.…

Hidden faces IVa: The siren face of Old Man Willow

Denis Bridoux, p. 8

Following the publication of Part One of my Hidden faces” series, Nancy Bunting (Beyond Bree, July 2020) showed that Old Man Willow had a face too (left), which had been suggested already by Hammond and Scull in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator. However, it has much more than that. It also seems to have a kind of humanoid body which is suggested by the shape of the trunk and the upraised branches, which are like arms. Do note the toes. (Right) Strangely, it even looks as if it has what looks like some sort of a backside! The whole Willow appears quite creepy, both literally and figuratively.…


The nature of Middle-earth: ed. Carl F. Hostetter

Nancy Martsch, p. 5

The Nature of Middle-earth is a collection of Tolkien’s writings, edited and with comments by Carl Hostetter. It has been called the 13th volume in The History of Middle-earth series and The Return of the King, Extra Appendices.” (Joseph Major, Alexiad” Oct 21, p. 3) This book does not contain tales, unfinished or otherwise, polished philosophical debates, or lengthy chronicles. It is, to use a cinematic analogy, an assortment of screen tests, outtakes, and bits from the cutting room floor. One will find everything from Tolkien working through an idea at length, only to reject it in the end, to short paragraphs excised from already published works.…

Cooking for wizards, warriors and dragons: recipes by Isabel Minunni; illustrations by Tim Foley

Nancy Martsch, p. 7

… The book is divided into Breakfasts & second breakfasts (brunch), Soups & stews,” Suppers” (“The hunt,” The farm,” The catch” [fish & seafood], Cocktails”), Snacks & sides,” Desserts,” and Feasts.” And a useful bibliography of fantasy works, which includes The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (but not Narnia), but is predominantly newer works. The recipes are inspired by” (sometimes very loosely) or comments upon various fantasy works. For instance: King’s landing barbecue: Charred and smoked meats.” Among the Tolkien items are No living man am I” kebabs (for Éowyn), Mordor lava cake,” Precious ladyfingers,” and Smaug’s gold toddy” (a cocktail). (But no Lembas bread,” fortunately.) …

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date recorded 📅2021-12-30
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