Buku Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, Volume IX by Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

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Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, Volume IX by Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

Author:Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Publisher: West Virginia University Press

Published: 2012-07-31T16:00:00+00:00

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Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, Volume IX by Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

* * *

Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J. R. R. Tolkien. ed. Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kascáková. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. xii, 245 pp. $52.99 (hardcover). ISBN 978-1-4438-2558-0.

This book follows on the heels of The Mirror Crack’d (ed. Lynn Forest-Hill, 2008) and Truths Breathed Through Silver (ed. Jonathan Himes, 2008) as one of what has now become a series of similar volumes from Cambridge Scholars Publishing: slim, expensive collections of essays from a wide array of scholars—including, in this case, several from eastern Europe. The Introduction promises this current collection “takes new directions, employs new approaches, focuses on different texts, or reviews and then challenges received wisdom” ([ix]), while “consider[ing] the vast range of Tolkien’s works” rather than focusing on just what may be called the Big Three: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion (ibid.).1 Of the eight essays gathered here, half survey broad topics (food and drink, laughter, staying and going, the grotesque) while the rest focus more narrowly (source-study of one of Tolkien’s cosmological concepts, a linguistic interpretation of the Turin lay, identifying Tom Bombadil).

 

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Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, Volume IX by Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

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Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, Volume IX by Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

Author:Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger , Date: June 6, 2019

,Views: 16

Author:Michael D. C. Drout & Verlyn Flieger

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Publisher: West Virginia University Press

Published: 2012-07-31T16:00:00+00:00
* * *

Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J. R. R. Tolkien. ed. Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kascáková. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. xii, 245 pp. $52.99 (hardcover). ISBN 978-1-4438-2558-0.

This book follows on the heels of The Mirror Crack’d (ed. Lynn Forest-Hill, 2008) and Truths Breathed Through Silver (ed. Jonathan Himes, 2008) as one of what has now become a series of similar volumes from Cambridge Scholars Publishing: slim, expensive collections of essays from a wide array of scholars—including, in this case, several from eastern Europe. The Introduction promises this current collection “takes new directions, employs new approaches, focuses on different texts, or reviews and then challenges received wisdom” ([ix]), while “consider[ing] the vast range of Tolkien’s works” rather than focusing on just what may be called the Big Three: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion (ibid.).1 Of the eight essays gathered here, half survey broad topics (food and drink, laughter, staying and going, the grotesque) while the rest focus more narrowly (source-study of one of Tolkien’s cosmological concepts, a linguistic interpretation of the Turin lay, identifying Tom Bombadil).

Among the broad surveys, the best (and best essay in the volume) is co-editor Kascáková’s “‘It Snowed Food and Rained Drink’ in The Lord of the Rings,” which both documents just how many references to food are in the book and shows how Tolkien uses such references to establish character—e.g., her observation that it’s difficult to catch Strider eating, and when he does, he’s always in a hurry. It’s not just that Aragorn carries the sword-that-was-broken while Sam carries cooking gear; the hobbit obsession with food is such that the very first word in Treebeard’s lines adding them to his Long List of free peoples is “hungry.” Kascáková has mastered her subject, and found more in it that might have been expected—for example, showing that hobbits think in terms of food even on a metaphoric level, then demonstrating how true this is by giving the very telling example of Bilbo’s comparing his state to “butter . . . scraped over too much bread” (92). Kascáková also includes a passage about how The Lord of the Rings mediates between The Hobbit and The Silmarillion: a truism often stated but rarely so succinctly put (97).

Similarly, in “‘No Laughing Matter’” the volume’s other editor, Dubs, compiles an extensive listing of places in The Lord of the Rings that mention characters laughing. She certainly shows how ubiquitous this motif is and demonstrates that there are far more comic moments than previous critics had realized, but she is generally content just to list; more commentary on the significance of this element would be welcome. Her most interesting contribution comes towards the end of her essay when she points out how Tolkien’s evil characters also laugh, albeit gloatingly or mockingly, from Old Man Willow and the Nazgûl to Saruman and Gollum to Sauron himself. Unfortunately, her tally is somewhat compromised by the inexplicable inclusion of Ghân-buri-Ghân among the “evil foes”

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