Journal of Tolkien Research

Bradford Lee Eden, editor

Volume 11, № 1

17 January 2021

In this issue: 3 peer-reviewed articles, 2 articles, 3 reviews.

Peer-reviewed articles

Translating Tolkien: The thin line between translation and misrepresentation. An Italian case-study

Marcantonio Savelli, 5 November 2020 | p. 3

This article deals with the translation of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. It investigates the possibility that translation may represent a potential weapon, in the hands of tolkien’s patronizing critics, to transform from the inside”, id est through misrepresentation, what could not be incorporated or normalized” from the outside”, i.e. by traditional criticism. The basis for these considerations is a case-study related to the Italian context. Recently (2019), the previous Italian translation of The Lord of the Rings was withdrawn from the market by the publisher, in order to replace it with a different one. The way in which this operation was conducted and its results have caused severe perplexity in many Italian readers of Tolkien.

Tolkien’s penchant for alliteration: Using XML to analyze The Lay of Leithian

Rebecca Power, 7 January 2021 | p. 7

This analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lay of Leithian focuses on the inclusion of alliteration in the poem, aided by the encoding of the poem in XML and the creation of accompanying XSLT documents that transform and represent the data encoded. Tolkien’s unfinished poem The Lay of Leithian, totalling 4223 lines across 14 cantos, exists in various drafts compiled by Christopher Tolkien and published in The Lays of Beleriand. The Lay of Leithian is written in octosyllabic couplets, following the form of the lay, and is organized into stanzas and cantos of varying length that divide the narrative action. Although written in the style of a lay, a non-alliterative poetic form, The Lay of Leithian contains a considerable amount of alliteration. The data from this analysis provides a basis for further exploration into how and why Tolkien uses alliteration within the poem, and what effect it creates throughout. Because The Lay of Leithian is a 4223 line poem, encoding it allows for the charting of alliterative pattern types, and the percentage of alliterating lines throughout. By representing the data in more objective ways while looking at the poem as a whole, it becomes possible to identify overarching patterns that may not be discernable at the line or stanza level, considering the substantial length of the poem. This analysis reveals three significant findings: passages with positive descriptions often contain alliteration; narratively significant words alliterate the most; and passages with alliteration that describe Beren and Lúthien use plosive and liquid consonants respectively.

Extending Arda: Mapping beyond The Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion

Stentor Danielson, p. 8

The canonical maps by Christopher Tolkien from The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion cover only a small portion of the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. In the years since their publication, many artists have been inspired to try to create maps of the entire world. In doing so, they have both curated the canonical information provided by Tolkien as well as engaged in their own sub-creation, drawing on geographical ideas from the primary world. This paper examines a broad set of fan-made maps of Arda to trace the lineages of their geographical conceptions and the principles behind their creation.


Tolkien and the zeppelins

Seamus Hamill-Keays, 4 October 2020 | p. 1

To devotees of Tolkien, the trench fever that led to his repatriation from the Western Front in November 1916, was a fortuitous circumstance that saved an extraordinary intellect from annihilation in the mud and blood of French or Belgian fields. His return is widely seen as an escape to the peace and quiet of treatment and convalescence in England. Yet his posting to Holderness, in April 1917, placed him in the alarms and excursions of another front line.

This article examines the background to Tolkien’s military duties in the East Riding of Yorkshire from April 1917. The night bombing raids on England by Zeppelins had a significant effect on his service as a Signals Officer in the Holderness Peninsula. The airborne threat to this strategic region had fundamentally altered the defence arrangements in which he came to play a part until March 1918. The creation of the world’s first air-raid early warning system is explained in detail. The vital part that Post Offices played in this network is presented.

His attachment to the Headquarters of the Humber Garrison is shown to have been a return to active service as Officer Commanding a Royal Engineers outpost in the Post Office in Roos. Medical records show this to have been after 1st June 1917. The Zeppelin raids he experienced whilst a patient in the Brooklands Officers’ Hospital are detailed together with the corresponding diary entries of Margaret Strickland-Constable. His duties as a Signals Officer instructor with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, a training battalion, are illustrated.

His attachment to the 9th Battalion Royal Defence Corps during the winter of 1917 – 1918 was to a unit that needed a battle-experienced Signals Officer to supervise essential, often coded, communication in a focus of the war at the crucial approaches to the Humber Estuary.

Finally, the possible reason for the absence of this military detail from the records is suggested.

Tolkien and the Age of Forgery: Improving antiquarian practices in Arda

Will Sherwood, 5 December 2020 | p. 4

This article situates J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium as a literary descendent of the antiquarian projects from the Age of Forgery’ in the 1760s. It argues that Tolkien’s motivation to create a national mythology echoed those of James Macpherson and Thomas Chatterton. Drawing on previously unpublished folios from Tolkien’s undergraduate notebooks, it showcases his familiarity with the two forgers, their feigned literary heritages, and British antiquarian practices in the eighteenth century. It further argues that Tolkien improved on Macpherson’s and Chatterton’s antiquarian methodologies by marrying the oral tradition with the written word in The Book of Lost Tales, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings.


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