tolkien studies vol vi

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tolkien studies vol vi

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Feb. 16, 2010, 1:43pm

Anyone know why Tolkien Studies Volume VI is not available from Amazon or any other sellers-- besides West Virginia University Press for the full $60?

Bearbeitet: Mai 10, 2011, 9:46pm

I don't, but I'm interested in your interest in Tolkien Studies, CW. I've not read much in the critical lit about Tolkien, and think I'll first re-read the LOTR and Hobbit, move on to the History of Middle-Earth, and ... perhaps then I'll be ready for the secondary literature. When that time comes: any suggestions, including your take on Tolkien Studies itself?

Mai 11, 2011, 6:49am

I have actually not read them myself yet -- shame on me -- but some excellent portal works are said to be:

Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World by Verlyn Flieger
The Road to Middle-Earth by T. A Shippey (actually, I might have read this one but that was a loong time ago)

Must reads are of course also Carpenter's biography: J.R.R. Tolkien : a biography and Tolkien's letters: The Letters of J.R.R.Tolkien. J.R.R.Tolkien: Author of the Century is also a recommended work.

I think you can safely go by the automated recommendations from there. There are many good books about Tolkien and his works.

Mai 11, 2011, 12:35pm

Thanks, anglemark. These look quite interesting.

I've read the Carpenter biography, but that was before high school and the main impression it made was, well, the biographical history. I think I would glean a lot more from it today, primarily how various interests and influences tie in thematically with Tolkien's world building.

Mai 11, 2011, 10:28pm

> 2
Hi elenchus...

anglemark is right concerning the Flieger, Shippey and Carpenter books. Be sure to get Shippey's book in the revised edition, and he also has published J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century which overlaps his other book only a little bit, and is also more or less essential.

Verlyn Flieger has written several books of Tolkien criticism, and is also one of the editors of Tolkien Studies. She recently published critical editions of Smith of Wooton Major and On Fairy Stories. ( I know Verlyn slightly -- she teaches at my alma mater UMCP and was a regular customer at my location of the late great Olsson's Books & Records. Smart, nice, encouraging -- everything you'd want in a teacher and a scholar.)

One of the neat things about Tolkien Studies is that each volume includes some unpublished work by JRRT, I thought I'd listed them in my LT comments but I guess not. So the ToCs for the various volumes can be found here:
By the way. all volumes of TS are apparently still available from West Va UP for "just" $60 ea, so the prices you see for them on Amazon and elsewhere ($999.00, etc) are just FUCKING INSANE.

I love the History of Middle Earth (12 vol) and have read more or less all of it at one time or another -- there's some slogging, but there's also a lot of great stuff (The Fall of Gondolin in v.2 comes to mind). But before going there I would read The Children of Hurin if you haven't already. A more successful synthesis than the one-volume Silmarillion of some of the HOME material. I think if CoH had been published in 1977 instead of Silmarillion that JRRT's critical reputation in non-genre circles would be much higher. A great book.

There are other Tolkien studies books I've enjoyed which maybe I'll opine about further down this thread if we get there. But the original question was about Tolkien Studies the journal. Like the whole field, it's yes and no, a mix. There are some dull pieces, some overly pomo-theoretical pieces, but most of it is pretty good with a large proportion of 'traditional' scholarship-- source-study, linguistics etc, and lots of intelligent reviews. The only thing I'm really unhappy about wrt TS is that the first 5 volumes were published as 'books' with ISBNs and marketed on Amazon and elsewhere, so I was able to play the Amazon-waiting-game and never paid as much as $40 for one. But beginning with Vol 6 and continuing with Vol 7, TS is being published not as a book but as a 'journal' with no isbn but an ISSN instead, and is not marketed on book-sites but (apparently) only direct from WVUP -- so it's $60 or the highway...

Mai 12, 2011, 3:43am

When I eventually got around to reading The Children of Hurin, I was surprised at how good it is. Definitely recommended reading.

Otherwise, despite promising beginnings in my early twenties, I have turned out a bad student of Tolkieniana. I have not read even half of the History of Middle-earth books, for instance.

Bearbeitet: Mai 12, 2011, 7:11am

I read them in 3 separate spurts, first in the late 80s when they weren't all out yet, then again I think around 2000 give or take and then some more about 4 or 5 years ago, which launched a year of two of reading a lot of Tolkien criticism. (I'm not deeply engaged in Tolkien just at the moment but will of course circle back eventually.)

Parts of it I read more than once during different spurts. It might be useful to read it in order, plow-through style, but it also makes for good browsing. A full third of it, volumes 6 through 9, is devoted to drafts of LOTR, so if one is interested mostly in the backstory world, that may be skipped or postponed -- though it is worth reading eventually. The first two volumes are very his earliest conceptin of the 'lengendarium' world and while it's a bit twee in some places, and in other places almost but not quite overwhelmed with William-Morris-pastiche language, and is unpolished or unfinished in other places, nonetheless it's generally rewarding, often powerful (e.g the aforementioned Fall of Gondolin), and always interesting. That leaves volumes 3-5 and 10-12 as containing mostl of the material that was later forged into the one volume Silmarillion. Of course one should read Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales before tackling HOME -- it gives you a context to work from...

More later, gotta get ready for work...

Mai 17, 2011, 12:58am

Been away almost a week, but came back to these great posts, thanks C-W. And anglemark, I match you almost blow for blow in what I've read of Tolkien and what not. Seems I might be in a similar place, too, in terms of my interest in remedying that. The key difference (not having read Children of Turin) seems like a good starting point, I've read Silmarillion but was much younger and found it to be a bit of a slog.

The danger in all this, of course, is that trainspotting gene that makes me itch to purchase all the titles mentioned, regardless of any realistic opportunity to read even a quarter of them in the next 10 or so years. Sigh.

Sept. 11, 2011, 7:54am

So, elenchus, how did you like Children of Hurin?

Bearbeitet: Sept. 12, 2011, 9:50am

Ah, my Tolkien interest has been shelved (temporarily) as I focus on Aubrey-Maturin. I've the first 8 volumes on the shelves, and am making up for having read just 4 or 5 ... and out of sequence. As I will read non-fiction and some other fiction in between volumes, this promises to be a lengthy endeavour.

I do hope to begin finding used copies of the History of Middle Earth, meantime, to salt the shelves, as it were. But as I'm perpetually short of cash like Jack Aubrey, I don't visit bookshops regularly. It may be time to re-read The Hobbit and then The Silmarillion, as a starting point. It's been over a decade for each of them. Or perhaps check out Children of Hurin from the library, as I seek out my own used copy.

Bearbeitet: Sept. 13, 2011, 8:34pm

Aw, c'mon, you can read all the books in the world at the same time!

Well, far be it from me to interfere with someone else's reading plan -- I'm reistent bordering on resentful when someone tells me what I should read -- but I'll just say I cannot recommend Children of Hurin too highly. And there are VG hardback copies on ABE for $3.95 including shipping. And there I'll let it rest...

I've never read an Aubrey-Maturin though I know they are highly regarded. Oddly, I just acquired one accidentally. I ordered Robert Aickman's collection of stories called Wine-Dark Sea and the seller shipped me O'Brian's book of that title. When I complained I of course got a refund AND got to keep the book...

Bearbeitet: Sept. 13, 2011, 10:41pm

Oh, sure, mention that and there goes all hope of keeping to a budget.

ETA I've done it: hardback in VG condition for $1.00 + s/h? And I added Cabell's Something About Eve (Del Rey paperback) from the same seller, just because. So you've done your (good) deed for the day, and I'll have to remember not to get into these sorts of discussions.

Bearbeitet: Okt. 26, 2011, 9:31pm


Have taken a break from Aubrey-Maturin and currently find myself with Turin and the outlaws. I'm grateful for the recommendations above, it's well worth it and has me primed for HoME or LT. In preparation, I re-read The Hobbit as it had been longer for Bilbo than my last reading of the Fellowship, not to mention the multiple screenings of Peter Jackson's adaptations. That, too, was great fun.

Mai 25, 2014, 12:03pm

Update on Tolkien Studies...

I've fallen behind -- I just ordered Vol X/2013.
Vol XI/2014 is listed as forthcoming but without a TOC as yet.

Beginning with VIII and IX, the volumes are significantly thinner (they were pretty fat before), and do not as previously contain a Tolkien work from the archives. (Vol X seems to have a 'new' Bombadil poem though so perhaps that feature is returning.)

Also, beginning with volume with Vol IX, Tolkien scholar/fantasy editor/etc Douglas A. Anderson is no longer associated with TS, being replaced by David Bratman as reviews editor. Doug explains here, in "Publishing, Mordor-style": .

Bearbeitet: Jun. 5, 2014, 11:21am

>14 Crypto-Willobie:
Correction. The Bombadil poem in Vol X which I thought was going to be a "new" one from the archives is just a reprint of "Once Upon a Time," which can be found in The Young Magicians.

Oh, and, if you don't know by now, Tolkien's translation of Beowulf, with annotation, has recently been published.
Buy it from anywhere except neighborhood bully Amazon.