Tolkien in the New Century

Essays in Honor of Tom Shippey


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About the Book

Widely considered one of the leading experts on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Thomas Alan Shippey has informed and enlightened a generation of Tolkien scholars and fans. In this collection, friends and colleagues honor Shippey with 15 essays that reflect their mentor’s research interests, methods of literary criticism and attention to Tolkien’s shorter works. In a wide-ranging consideration of Tolkien’s oeuvre, the contributors explore the influence of 19th and 20th century book illustrations on Tolkien’s work; utopia and fantasy in Tolkien’s Middle-earth; the Silmarils, the Arkenstone, and the One Ring as thematic vehicles; the pattern of decline in Middle-earth as reflected in the diminishing power of language; Tolkien’s interest in medieval genres; the heroism of secondary characters; and numerous other topics. Also included are brief memoirs by Shippey’s colleagues and friends in academia and fandom and a bibliography of Shippey’s work.

About the Author(s)

John Wm. Houghton is Firestone Endowment Chaplain and chair of the department of religious studies and philosophy at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He lives in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Janet Brennan Croft is liaison to the school of communication and information and librarian for disability services and copyright at Rutgers University Libraries in North Brunswick, New Jersey. She has written on the Peter Jackson films, J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, and other authors, and is editor or co-editor of five collections of literary essays and edits the refereed scholarly journal Mythlore.

Nancy Martsch is the editor of Beyond Bree, newsletter of the J.R.R. Tolkien Special Interest Group of American Mensa. She lives in Sherman Oaks, California.

John D. Rateliff is an independent scholar. He lives in Kent, Washington.

Robin Anne Reid is a professor of literature and languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce. She lives in Commerce, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by John Wm. Houghton, Janet Brennan Croft, Nancy Martsch, John D. Rateliff and Robin Anne Reid

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: 3 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7438-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1486-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  1
Introduction by John Wm. Houghton  3
Abbreviations and Other Conventions  7

I. Memoirs
Counseling the Scippigræd: How T.A. Shippey Taught Us to Read (John R. Holmes) 11
Shippey: The Philologist and the Critics (David Bratman) 14
Tom Shippey, and a Few New Leaves on Some Old Roots and Branches (E.L. Risden) 16
A Talk by Tom Shippey (Todd Jensen) 20
Tom Shippey and the Tolkien Society (Jessica Yates) 22
Shippey Amongst the Mercians (John Wm. Houghton) 25

II. Answering Questions
The “Lady with the Simple Gown and White Arms” or Possible Influences of 19th and Early 20th Century Book Illustrations on Tolkien’s Work (Nancy Martsch) 29
Places Where the Stars Are Strange: Fantasy and Utopia in Tolkien’s ­Middle-earth (Robert T. Tally, Jr.) 41
Middle-earth and the Waste Land: Greenwood, Apocalypse, and ­Post-War Resolution (E.L. Risden) 57
The Jewels, the Stone, the Ring, and the Making of Meaning (Verlyn Flieger) 65
Tolkien and Apposition (Leslie Stratyner) 78

III. “Philological Inquiries”
Keeping Counsel: Advice in Tolkien’s Fiction (John R. Holmes) 87
Tolkien’s Wraiths, Rings and Dragons: An Exercise in Literary Linguistics (Jason Fisher) 97
“He chanted a song of wizardry”: Words with Power in Middle-earth (B.S.W. Barootes) 115

IV. “The True Tradition”
Inside Literature: Tolkien’s Explorations of Medieval Genres (John D. Rateliff) 133
“Poor Sméagol”: Gollum as Exile in The Lord of the Rings (Yvette Kisor) 153
The Presence of the Past in The Lord of the Rings (John B. Marino) 169
Night-wolves, ­Half-trolls and the Dead Who Won’t Stay Down (Marjorie Burns) 182

V. Perspectives from Outside the Cycle
Väinämöinen in ­Middle-earth: The Pervasive Presence of the Kalevala in the Bombadil Chapters of The Lord of the Rings (David L. Dettman) 197
“Lack of Counsel Not of Courage”: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Critique of the Heroic Ethos in The Children of Húrin (Richard C. West) 216
“Alone Between the Dark and Light”: “The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun” and Lessons from the Later Legendarium (Kristine Larsen) 221

Appendix: Recent Work—Shippey on Tolkien Since 2004  235
About the Contributors  237
Extended Acknowledgments  241
Index  247

Book Reviews & Awards

• Finalist, Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies—The Mythopoeic Society

• “Deep, fascinating, and clever… an intriguing take on Shippey scholarship.”—Tolkien Studies