— a blog by Erik Mueller-Harder

Headshot of Erik Mueller-Harder near Christ Church College, Oxford
Erik Mueller-Harder

Timely information for scholars and fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works, including not only The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but also his entire legendarium” of Silmarillion-related writings, as well as his own academic works including editions and translations of Beowulf, Sir Orfeo, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Ancrene Wisse, as well as On Fairy Stories and many others.

Tolkienists update: It’s been longer than I’d expected…

19 November 2023 | Erik Mueller-Harder

My sabbatical” from the on-going updating and maintenance of Tolkienists​.org has lasted rather longer than I expected, prolonged (despite my best efforts) by months (and months!) of long-COVID. Mercifully, I’ve been prescribed an ongoing low-dosage course of Naltrexone, which is helping with the brain fog, at least. It hadn’t really had much effect on the fatigue, but at least I’ve been able to work fairly productively over the past few weeks.

But the dominoes have fallen, and there’s nothing for it but to right them one at a time. For the time being, that means finishing up my work on the Anduin project with the Tolkien Collection at Marquette University.

Next on the to-do list will be to work my way through many unanswered e‑mail messages that have stacked up over the past year and a half or two. And then, finally, I will de-mothball Tolkienists and get on with the rewrite of LRC and TAI.

In the meantime, I can at least (and at last) report that Tolkienists​.org is now being hosted not just in Amsterdam, but also now in Atlanta, Santiago, Seoul, Seattle, Singapore, and Sydney. This should make the site considerably more responsive for those not in Europe. When I truly wake the site up and start adding up-to-date data, I’ll also then make a number of changes behind the scenes which should speed things up even more (for everyone!) — but that’s a little ways off yet.

So thank you for your patience. More, anon.…

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Tolkienists on Summer Holidays

17 May 2022 | Erik Mueller-Harder

Friends, colleagues, & visitors,

tl;dr: Tolkienists is on a sabbatical. Please come back this September!

I have, as it turns out, over-committed. Tolkienists, together with the Tolkien Art Index, LR Citations, and TolkienMoot, is very important to me, and it is not going away.

However, I am having to put work on them on hold for a little while.

Some of you may know of the work that I’m doing this year for the Tolkien Archive at Marquette. This is an absolute dream job, and the work that’s happening there will have a direct and lasting effect on Tolkien Studies in general and LotR scholarship in particular. My involvement in this project is planned to continue through this August, and is taking most of my effort and attention right now.

I will also be travelling this summer to England and Scotland for three weeks, for the Tolkien Society Seminar, the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, the York Early Music Festival, and the Once and Future Fantasies conference hosted by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow.

Those of you who know that I had Stage IV esophageal cancer a few years ago — necessitating radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and three extensive surgeries — will probably understand my delight at being able to travel and work to this extent. But by the same token I have to acknowledge that The Ordeal has left its marks in reduced stamina and mental acuity and the constant attention I need to pay to digestion and sleep. I find that I don’t always remember to make allowance for these new realities of my life.

Most all of these other commitments will wrap up by the end of the summer, and I’ll be thrilled at that point to welcome you back to Tolkienists. I have various Good Things planned:

  1. Dramatic improvements to LR Citations, including correlation of a few more paginations, integration of the First Edition of LotR, and more.
  2. Dramatic improvements to the Tolkien Art Index.
  3. Resumption of day-by-day coverage of Tolkienists’ blogs, articles, and seminar papers.
  4. A more intuitive site structure, and custom-designed icons and way-markers.

Finally, I would like to apologize to almost everyone who has written me in 2022. I have read your email, and in every case I plan to respond. Realistically, you may not hear from me until September — but rest assured that I am not ignoring you. If you need to reach me (and can live with a delayed response!), please send email to erikmh at the domain you’re visiting right now,

Have a lovely summer, everyone. I’ll see you this autumn!

— Erik

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Another year

28 March 2022 | Erik Mueller-Harder


Yesterday marked another completed trip around the sun for me, and as the kind messages flowed in via Facebook and text-message threads, I again realized how fortunate I am to be here among such excellent and admirable hobbits (see LotR LRC §1.01.059). Thanks to you all for thinking of me.

To continue quoting old Mr. Bilbo, I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like (LRC §1.01.060), but I hope I’ll have the chance to get to know you better.

Catching up

I returned early this month from another stint developing the Tolkien Archives manuscripts CMS at Raynor Memorial Libraries J.R.R. Tolkien Collection. It’s taking even longer than usual for me to catch up on correspondence and other to-do items since my return: if you’re waiting to hear from me, thank you for your patience!

Tolkienists site development

One thing that has kept me from that catching-up has been a small bug that entered the software I use to develop Tolkienists, ProcessWire early in February. It was an obscure bug — I seemed to be the only person in the community of developers who was affected by it. After perhaps 30 hours of my solo attempts at trying to track it down, I was joined by more experienced PW developers on our community forum (readers who are curious can follow the thread here). We worked out the arcane conditions in which the bug would reliably make itself known, and I submitted a comprehensive bug report yesterday afternoon. I’m very grateful for the community’s aid and encouragement in this process!

Another of the lovely things about using an open-source software package from a small developer is that well-researched bug reports are usually taken seriously and addressed quickly. I have to say, though, that I’ve never seen such speedy work! When I arrived at work this morning, I’d already received word that the head developer of ProcessWire had fixed the problem! I’ve tested his fix, and if you are reading this now on the Tolkienists home page, then you’ve already seen it in action.

If any of you happens to be looking for a web site content management system & framework, I cannot recommend ProcessWire strongly enough.

So, I’m still working on the big project at Marquette (also using ProcessWire, btw). As and when I have free time, it’s my plan to rewrite the Tolkien Art Index and LR Citations using ProcessWire as well, allowing me to integrate them better with the rest of the site and to improve their capacity for interactive searching and instantaneous presentation of results. Hopefully this won’t take too long.

As a dear friend is fond of saying, Onward, through the fog!

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January summary, 2022

1 February 2022 | Erik Mueller-Harder

January was a busy month here at Tolkienists HQ. I concentrated on the data-entry backlog. Considering that I’d like for Tolkienists eventually to be more-or-less comprehensive back to the first emergence of the field of Tolkien studies, the backlog is nearly infinite. However, even the longest journey must begin with the first tentative steps out of one’s Hobbit hole.

Tolkienists’ blogs

All of the bloggers whose posts I’m syndicating have given their explicit permission for my abridging and republishing their work. I hope this will have a synergistic effect, resulting in more traffic to their web sites. Please do follow the links to their own sites to read their posts in their entirety! …

[Read more at January summary, 2022!]

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Latest updates

28 January 2022 | Erik Mueller-Harder

Over the last few days, I’ve added The Tolkien Societys Amon Hen issues for last December, October, June, and April, as well as a complete listing of all papers given at Oxonmoot 2021.

For you con fans, we now have all of the regional Popular Culture Association conferences:

as well as up-to-date info on their national conference.

In addition, there’s now a listing for the upcoming 2022 Symposium on Medieval & Renaissance Studies — and the Tolkien-related paper sessions for May’s virtual International Congress on Medieval Studies, gleaned from their just-released sneak preview” schedule.

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Full-text search

7 January 2022 | Erik Mueller-Harder

Tolkienists​.org now includes full site searching! It’s still a first pass, but it’s an honest-to-goodness search function for the entire site. It’s conveniently available from the navigation panel (on the left of your screen if you have a wide-ish display (computers, tablets in landscape) and at the bottom of the page if you have a narrow-ish display (smart phones, tablets in portrait). I’ll be fine-tuning it over the next few days or weeks, but I’m so happy to finally have it basically working for you all!

The thumbnail images that accompany many of our posts should also be a bit better behaved, and will now usually include captions.

I’ll be continuing to work through the backlog of 2021 while keeping up with 2022. I hope you’re finding the site more and more useful as it begins to be as comprehensive as I’ve envisioned it.…

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Happy 130th, J.R.R. Tolkien!

3 January 2022 | Erik Mueller-Harder

Happy New Year to all, and many happy returns on this, J.R.R. Tolkien’s 130th birthday!

To celebrate, Tolkienists is pleased to announce that all 2021 peer-reviewed articles, standard articles, reviews, notes, and editorials from Journal of Tolkien Research, Mallorn, Mythlore, and Tolkien Studies are listed and cross-referenced, as too are most 2021 issues of Beyond Bree.

It’s my hope over the next week or so to finish up the 2021 publication backlog (the rest of Beyond Bree all issues of Amon Hen and The Journal of Inklings Studies), as well as start whittling away at blog posts, news articles, calls for papers, past conference papers, future conference schedules, and book releases.

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Site refreshment

28 December 2021 | Erik Mueller-Harder

I would like to wish all of our visitors a cathartic and cleansing end to 2021, and a healthy, restorative, and prosperous 2022.

I’d also like to apologize for the recent lack of updates to Tolkienists. In stark contrast to much of the news of 2021, the recent moribund nature of the site is due to an exciting Tolkien-related project capturing most of my time and attention. More information can be found on two recent Facebook posts recently posted by J R R Tolkien Collection — Marquette University Libraries. I’ve republished them on Tolkienists here and here.

But you can expect major updates to our listings at the beginning of the new year, and it is absolutely my intent to then continue daily updates in perpetuity.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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Further updates

19 August 2021 | Erik Mueller-Harder

I’ve just rolled in quite a few small changes (improvements, I hope!) to Tolkienists, as well as adding recent blog entries from several of our more prolific bloggers.

Most evident of the improvements, probably, will be improved entries for schools and universities, as well as the beginnings of the books module. Take a look at Catherine McIlwaine Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth for an example of where we’re going with this — though ultimately I plan to include more reference information (links to relevant pages at LibraryThing, Open Library, WorldCat, &c) and purchasing links as well.

There’s lots more coming. I’m just getting started!

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Site updates

16 August 2021 | Erik Mueller-Harder

Welcome to Tolkienists! The site just re-launched a few days ago — reëngineered and rewritten from the ground up specifically to serve the community of Tolkien scholars, Tolkien scholar-fans, and Tolkien fan-scholars.

I’m scrambling to catch up” with data entry of very recent conferences and journals in particular, and with notices of upcoming events and calls for papers. I can’t list all of the things that are being added here, but within a week or two I hope we’ll be listing all Tolkien-related conferences (including each individual paper and author) of 2021, as well as all articles in Tolkien-related journals of 21, and most Tolkien-related articles appearing in other journals, and all current calls for Tolkien-related papers for journals, books, and conferences.

In addition, I’m gradually building out some of the static” bits of the site. The Colophon, for example, now has its first main section (“History”), and also includes (at the bottom) a colorful summary of how many people, papers, blog entries, and so forth the site is currently listing.

It’s back to work for me, then, but … Morannon!


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Welcome to the new Tolkienists site!

10 August 2021 | Erik Mueller-Harder

This site has been designed and coded from the ground up by, well, me to serve as an up-to-date central repository for everyone interested in the field of Tolkien studies. Most of the site construction is now complete — but data entry is more complicated: …

Journal issues

The field of Tolkien studies has never been richer, with three English-language journals specializing in peer-reviewed articles directly related to Tolkien himself, at least two more focussing on the Inklings, and countless with broader scopes that include parts of Tolkien studies: fantasy literature, Medieval studies, Christian theology, world-building, and so forth. Again, it’s our hope to on-goingly list all specifically Tolkienian articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as all articles and reviews in Tolkien-related periodicals (peer-reviewed or not), as they are issued. We will also steadily work our way back through time to include earlier articles and publications.…

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Authoritative information may be found here.

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date recorded 📅2021-07-17
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