Tolkien and Fantasy

— a blog by Douglas A. Anderson

Douglas A. Andersons musings on Tolkien and modern fantasy literature.

An update on things Tolkien- and Inklings-related

17 January 2022 | Douglas A. Anderson

My short note Tolkien’s friend Selby” on Tolkien’s correspondence with G.E. Selby (1909−1987) was just published by The Tolkien Society in a recent issue of Mallorn (issue 62, pp. 34 – 35).…

I’m very sad to report on the passing of my friend of over forty years, Tim Wickham-Crowley.… I commissioned his one contribution to Tolkien scholarship, a book review of Tolkien through Russian Eyes (2003), by Mark T. Hooker, which appeared in Tolkien Studies: Volume II (2005).…

It’s hard to believe that Chris Mitchell, Director of the Wade Center for nearly twenty years, died at age 63 as long ago as 2014.… Recently published is a tribute volume, The Undiscovered C.S. Lewis: Essays in Memory of Christopher W. Mitchell.… Of course the content heavily favors C.S. Lewis, but there is one article on Tolkien, Across Western Seas: Longing for the West in Tolkien’s Legendarium,” by Laura Schmidt, Archivist at the Wade Center.…

I note here the recent publication of Tolkien & The Lizard: Tolkien in Cornwall 1914 (2021) by David Haden.… This is an independent offshoot of a larger project that Haden is current engaged on. Haden … has a further offshoot Tolkien publication, Cracks of Doom: Untold Tales in Middle-earth, which he describes as:

a fully annotated and indexed list of Untold Tales’ in Middle-earth, pointing out the cracks’ where new fan-fiction might be developed.…

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Some new Tolkienian checklists, &c.

2 November 2021 | Douglas A. Anderson

I’ve had a number of recent publications that I’d like to note here. 

First, Tolkien Studies no. 18 (2021) is out, and it contains a fine obituary of Richard C. West by John D. Rateliff, paired with my updated Richard C. West: A Checklist” — originally published in Tolkien Studies no. 2 (2005).

Also, in the current issue of Journal of Tolkien Research, vol. 13 issue 2 (2021), I have published three indices, as follows: …

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Shirley Jackson on Tolkien

21 August 2021 | Douglas A. Anderson

I have been reading the recently published, 600+ paged tome, of The Letters of Shirley Jackson, edited by her son Laurence Jackson Hyman, and a couple of references to Tolkien are worth noting. Shirley Jackson (1916−1965) is remembered for the 1948 folk-horror story, The Lottery,” published in The New Yorker, and for weird novels such as The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962).

Both references to Tolkien come from letters written to Jeanne Beatty in February 1960. In the first, Jackson notes that a old family friend reminds me of the Tolkien RING trilogy; do you know that? or THE HOBBIT? I can’t get the kids to read THE HOBBIT although i [sic] love it” (p. 421). The second letter is the more interesting (if perplexing).…

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When did the public learn to expect The Silmarillion as an actual forthcoming book?

15 June 2021 | Douglas A. Anderson

By the mid-1960s, it was fairly common knowledge that J.R.R. Tolkien was trying to ready for publication a volume called The Silmarillion. But when and how did that title become known? The first appearance of the word Silmarillion” in public was as early as in 1938, in the letter Tolkien wrote to The Observer, which appeared in their 20 February 1938 issue.…

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Ballentine’s Road goes ever on: Bibliographers off by a year!

31 May 2021 | Douglas A. Anderson

… I can clear up a long-standing mystery about the Ballantine edition of The Road Goes Ever On. It went through three printings, the first was a jacketless undated hardcover, with the Barbara Remington Lord of the Rings mural inset on the lower half of the upper cover. The other two printings were trade paperbacks, the second printing is designated on the copyright page August 1975; and the third printing January 1978. But each of these list the first Ballantine printing as having been in October 1969. And that is how it is dated in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography.

But I made a research note that I had examined one copy that was inscribed Christmas 1968” — which, if true, would put the edition back a year in time. Lin Carter, not normally remembered for accuracy, …

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Tolkien scholars write fantasy

26 February 2021 | Douglas A. Anderson

Four years ago, I posted a column titled Tolkien Scholars Write Fantasy! It covers just what the title suggests, Tolkien scholars who also have published fantasies. This is a follow-up, updating the original post with newer books and editions that I happen to know about. As with the previous post, I’m keeping the arrangement alphabetically by the last name of the author. (And as with the old post, readers are welcome to add further authors/​titles in the comments.) …

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A few random notes

5 February 2021 | Douglas A. Anderson

… On the J.R.R. Tolkien front, a few months ago I was by chance connected with the nephew of a man who photographed Tolkien late in life.…

Also on the Tolkien front, Mary Fairburn (b. 1933), the artist who submitted her drawings to Tolkien in 1968 – drawings approved by Tolkien, and finally published in the 2015 Tolkien Calendar, has published her autobiography, Borne on the Wind: Memoirs of an Artist (2020). Details and some interesting photographs appear at the publisher’s website here, along with contact details for ordering copies.…

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