archive-com.com » COM » T » TOLKIENLIBRARY.COM

Total: 479

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Fifteen Places Tolkien Fans should Visit before they Die
    and boiler house and the belching steam coming from the chimneys during Tolkien s day would certainly have been similar to the dark and sinister images of Mordor that he so masterfully described New Zealand While Tolkien never visited New Zealand himself the rugged scenery used by Peter Jackson in his trilogy of movies and forthcoming Hobbit films certainly created the atmosphere of Middle earth New Zealand is certainly worth a visit for any fan that has been enamoured with the films The rugged and imposing scenery provides a glimpse of Middle earth in real life especially Mount Ngauruhoe which served as Mount Doom While New Zealand is long flight from both Europe and America Australasia cruises provides a more sedate and relaxing way of seeing New Zealand and the surrounding antipodean islands It is certainly worth the effort an expensive too as many of the natural features serve as the perfect backdrop for the imaginings of Tolkien and if you go now you may catch a glimpse of filming for the forthcoming Hobbit trilogy The Lauterbrunnen Valley Switzerland When Tolkien sat down and sketched many of the locations from Middle earth the startling similarity between his drawing of the Elvish outpost Rivendell and the actual pictorial landscape of Lauterbrunnen is easily evident It is no surprise to find out that Tolkien travelled to the valley during his late teens where he must have been captivated by the rolling hills and river Weisse Lütschine cutting its way through the valley which probably formed the inspiration for the Bruinen River River Loudwater of Middle earth Tolkien s Home in Oxford Just as important as Birmingham where Tolkien grew up Oxford is where he lived worked socialised and died Oxford is also the place where Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings Only a blue plaque signifies the importance of 20 Northmoor Road in North Oxford where Tolkien penned his famous works However as it took him 17 years to complete the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit in its cramped rooms the unimposing cottage is certainly a must see for any Tolkien fan Merton College For much of his life Tolkien was a professor of English language and literature He spent 14 years teaching at Merton College in Oxford which is one of the oldest colleges in the UK having been founded in the thirteenth century Merton also has one of the oldest working libraries in the UK which was a place where Tolkien would have spent a lot of time reading and studying Exeter College If you are visiting Merton College then you must pop next door to Exeter College where Tolkien was an undergraduate from 1911 until the start of the First World War While the building where his rooms were located in the college no longer exists the college is the home to a rather committed branch of the Tolkien Society which meet at the Pippa Langston Room Cornwall House every Thursday evening at 7pm Addison s Walk Made

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1053-fifteen-places-tolkien-fans-should-visit-before-they-die.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • To Illustrate or Not to Illustrate? That is the Question... - an essay by Ruth Lacon
    there have been over three hundred illustrated editions of the Alice books with versions of the main character from the sublime to the ridiculous Tenniel s artwork may be the best known and it may have had wide impact but that is due largely to the fact that his Alice was the one Lewis Carroll approved When the book came out of copyright and editions with other artists were proposed there was a considerable furore Why critics at the time complained would anyone want to change the images which Carroll had decided were so good that he was not going to allow any others It was respect for the author s wishes that fostered Tenniel s imagery as the standard which throws a rather different light on the dominance of his ideas Other versions have as I said existed in large numbers and at any one time book buyers have free choice in which to pick The general public does seem to hold an inchoate and usually very uninformed opinion but one which is ultimately based on lingering support for Carroll as well as modern understandings of who Alice was that Tenniel s images were right That feeling tends to lead book buyers to prefer if not Tenniel s originals then Tenniel style illustrations to Lewis Carroll I would find it hard to argue in this case that J R R Tolkien was right and John Tenniel s supporters were wrong So what looks like a totally clear cut case for overdetermination of our ideas of a fictional character by a single artist dissolves on closer examination into a set of good reasons why that artist s ideas have been supported by both the book buying public and by other artists Overdetermination in the bad sense which J R R Tolkien implied certainly can exist however The tragedy of his resistance to illustration and the respect for that feeling shown by his Estate has been that it has led not to freedom of imagination for the readers of his work but to exactly the situation of visual tyranny which J R R Tolkien feared The problem for us here and now in 2011 is that it is too late by far to try to keep J R R Tolkien s readers visually innocent reliant only on their own mental resources in imaging as they read it was already far too late when J R R Tolkien spoke to Cor Blok in 1961 From the very beginning J R R Tolkien s published writings were illustrated in ways that exercise more or less constraint on readers imagination depending on the style and scale of illustration The impact that this has had can be seen in the number of later artists versions that adhere to the basic structure of J R R Tolkien s own image of Rivendell despite the fact that it actually doesn t correspond at all with the verbal description in The Hobbit At the present moment until the publication of the Cor Blok calendar we have been in what I would call the worst of all possible worlds A single visual version of The Lord of The Rings has become massively dominant with no real challenge standing against it I refer of course to the motion picture version of The Lord of The Rings The single visual image of the films creates what I would call visual allegory a one to one correspondence matching J R R Tolkien s description of verbal allegory in the Foreword to the second edition of The Lord of The Rings Once such an image set exists there is no way to pretend it does not The genie is out of the bottle with satellite broadcast even an alien from outer space is now likely to have seen The Lord of The Rings before they read it Our only way to undo that single image constraint now I would submit is not to refuse depiction but to unleash it In my view the answer to this situation has to be to pick up on J R R Tolkien s own concept of verbal applicability the importance of the availability of choice for the reader in how to interpret a multivalent text There really ought to be an equivalent visual applicability viewer choice among images preferably as many as various and as widely available as possible We cannot get back the visually innocent reader viewer of J R R Tolkien s works we can realistically hope to encourage reader viewers to exercise choice among visual images If that does nothing else it gets people to think about what they see In so doing we might even be able to push the reader viewer to take the verbal descriptions seriously again and enlarge the received imagery with their own ideas Just saying I don t think so and so looks like that actually demonstrates real thought and engagement with the written words of a good and praiseworthy sort For me looked at in this light Cor Blok s calendars are a huge step in the right direction We desperately needed something like this better still an actual illustrated The Lord of The Rings at radical variance with photographic imagery and the interpretation the film makers created would a Pauline Baynes style in text approach really have cost that much when the films came out If something like that had been available a full scale open and formal challenge to how the films visualised J R R Tolkien s writings I really do think that we would have had far far less of the single image dominance we ve gotten inadvertantly stuck with If there had been continual and ongoing production of imagery showcasing different ways to visualise J R R Tolkien s writings that would have reinforced the point massively and greatly encouraged visual applicability rather than visual allegory Given the timescales common to illustration it is I think too late to hope for something similar to happen to The Hobbit before its movie version appears unless of course something is already in the pipeline But I would positively plead for as much direct challenge as possible as soon as possible Let us have the film and its memorabilia by all means but let us have alternatives too the more the better We seriously need to not end up in the sort of static entrenched positions with which J R R Tolkien himself was too familiar in both the practical and the philosopical sense Instead we need to open up the visual debate keep it fluid and fast moving in a way that allows J R R Tolkien s words and their readers to be the real winners So far I ve been looking at what J R R Tolkien said It s time now I think to turn round and ask another question why He just felt like that isn t a valid answer here J R R Tolkien himself wrote in print in an essay which he himself thought was important the now famous On Fairy Stories on the subject of his opinions about visual art and illustration If we re serious about trying to understand our author s opinions and deciding for ourselves how much weight we can set on them we need to look at this material in depth Doing so takes us into the lost world of J R R Tolkien s own lifetime remember that he died in 1973 and then ask yourself how much of your lifespan the time since then takes up as well as how much has changed in those years with its very different politics technologies and ideologies It also lets us do something very unusual indeed through this material we come as close as I think we ever can to being eavesdroppers to those famous and so sadly ill recorded Inklings meetings I think it s worth quoting this material as many people may not have read it or have easy access to it In the main text of On Fairy Stories there are a bare three sentences on the subject of visual art In human art Fantasy is a thing best left to words to true literature In painting for instance the visible presentation of the fantastic image is technically too easy the hand tends to outrun the mind even to overthrow it Silliness or morbidity are frequent results This passage carries an original footnote referring to Note E at the end of the essay which runs as follows There is for example in surrealism commonly present a morbidity or unease very rarely found in literary fantasy The mind that produced the depicted images may often be suspected to have been in fact already morbid yet this is not a necessary explanation in all cases A curious disturbance is often set up by the very act of drawing things of this kind a state similar in quality and consciousness of morbidity to the sensations in a high fever when the mind develops a distressing fecundity and facility in figure making seeing forms sinister or grotesque in all visible objects about it I am speaking here of course of the primary expressions of Fantasy in pictorial arts not of illustrations nor of the cinematograph However good in themselves illustrations do little good to fairy stories The radical distinction between all art including drama that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that it imposes one visible form Literature works from mind to mind and is more progenitive It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular If it speaks of bread or wine or stone or tree it appeals to the whole of these things to their ideas yet each hearer will give to them a peculiar personal embodiment in his imagination Should the story say he ate bread the dramatic producer or painter can only show a piece of bread according to his taste or fancy but the hearer of the story will think of bread in general and picture it in some form of his own If a story says he climbed a hill and saw a river in the valley below the illustrator may catch or nearly catch his own vision of such a scene but every hearer of the words will have his own picture and it will be made out of all the hills and rivers and dales he has ever seen but especially out of The Hill The River The Valley which were for him the first embodiment of the word And finally Endings of this sort suit fairy stories because such tales have a greater sense and grasp of the endlessness of the World of Story than most modern realistic stories already hemmed within the narrow confines of their own small time A sharp cut in the endless tapestry is not unfittingly marked by a formula even a grotesque or comic one It was an irresistible development of modern illustration so largely photographic that borders should be abandoned and the picture end only with the paper This method may be suitable for photographs but it is altogether inappropriate for the pictures that illustrate or are inspired by fairy stories An enchanted forest requires a margin even an elaborate border To print it coterminous with the page like a shot of the Rockies in Picture Post as if it were indeed a snap of fairyland or a sketch by our artist on the spot is a folly and an abuse I ve taken all three citations from the text as printed in the 2008 HarperCollins edition edited by Douglas A Anderson and Verlyn Flieger The first is on p 61 beginning of numbered paragraph 70 the second at pp 81 2 Note E emphases original the third at pp 83 4 middle para of Note H Now let s turn back the clock to Oxford in the early 1940 s Remarkably illustration and art is one of the very very few subjects we can say the Inklings really did debate For all their legendary status our knowledge of the group is actually very poor Interest has focussed on the major writers among them J R R Tolkien C S Lewis and Charles Williams while the important point that these three were part of a much larger group whose wider meetings and discussions must have had an effect on their ideas has been effectively lost sight of There is one tiny precious example that shows the visual arts were in fact being considered among the Inklings during the years of the Second World War The art movement Surrealism crops up in three of their works treated in the same way and in close proximity of time In his major essay On Fairy Stories published in 1947 as part of a collection of literary critical papers by the Inklings in memory of Charles Williams J R R Tolkien makes decidedly weird use of Surrealism as the exemplar of fantastic art when he of all people should have been aware of the great Victorian tradition Two years earlier in 1945 CS Lewis published That Hideous Strength in which Surrealism unnamed but very clearly described some of the works can even be identified appears as the ultimate in nightmare nonsense art Again there are references to the movement in Charles Williams last novel All Hallows Eve published just before his death in 1945 This has as one of its main characters a painter Jonathon Drayton whose often surreal works not only reveal the truth behind appearances itself a major philosophical theme of the Surrealists but seem to be capable of causing real change not only in the spiritual but also in the material world The book was read to the Inklings during its writing and they were in large part responsible for pushing Williams to convert the failed draft The Noises that Weren t There into a readable and publishable novel Given the importance of the painter and his work in the book a character which we know thanks to A M Hadfield s book on Williams was a major carry over between the two versions we have a clear reason why the Inklings might have been discussing the visual arts in the early Forties There is a minor mystery about J R R Tolkien s addition of statements about art and illustration to the essay On Fairy Stories The fine 2008 edition of OFS and its manuscripts by Douglas A Anderson and Verlyn Flieger shows us that the statements about art and illustration were added to the essay when it was published in 1947 No drafts or earlier versions of those statements appear in the Anderson and Flieger edition though given J R R Tolkien s known writing habits it would be quite extraordinary if there were none Perhaps they ve simply gotten lost in the formidable mass of papers he left Whatever the case it seems clear to me that the statements about art and illustration like much else in the expanded OFS that was printed must have arisen from the otherwise unrecorded discussions among the Inklings which I believe are attested to by their common musing on Surrealism Not only was Charles Williams writing a novel in which a painter and his work play an important part during the early 1940 s but he can be expected to have had strong and informed opinions on the matter of visual art As well as a writer of both fiction and factual books he was a playwright for whom the visual aspect of drama was a vital part of the total presentation remember the importance of drama in J R R Tolkien s remarks anent the visual arts in the quotes from OFS which I gave above Williams had also for an uncertain number of years we really do need a better biography of him been part of an esoteric group headed by A E Waite Best known nowadays for the Waite Tarot pack A E Waite saw art in its widest sense literature drama visual images as a vital part of his occult practice Williams was remembered as a good ritualist by another member of the group In context that indicates that Williams shared that sensitivity to the importance of the arts in action The early forties also saw two events which would certainly have been important to J R R Tolkien and very likely C S Lewis too In 1941 R G Collingwood a man who may well have been on the edges of the Inklings circle retired prematurely from a senior post at Oxford University His ill health worsened and finally led to his death in 1943 A philosopher and an archaeologist Collingwood held positions first at Pembroke College when J R R Tolkien was also there and then at Magdalen C S Lewis s college Collingwood certainly knew J R R Tolkien he is one of only four people thanked by name in Collingwood s introduction to his half of the magisterially disconnected Roman Britain and the English Settlements of 1936 There are other known contacts between J R R Tolkien and Collingwood s circle too Contact between C S Lewis and Collingwood is harder to demonstrate but it seems to me extremely improbable that Lewis who had after all initially wanted to be a philosopher took no interest in the work of one of the most controversial figures at Oxford who moreover held one of the most senior chairs at his own college Back in 1938 Collingwood had published a book entitled The Principles of Art a rather misleading title as it covers all the arts both literary and visual As such The Principles of Art would have been of considerable interest to the Inklings from the start and of renewed usefulness in any debate with Williams as well To follow through my earlier example the debate over Surrealism which I discussed above is to my mind one of several clear signs that The Principles of Art had an impact on the Inklings thinking about the visual arts in general and on J R R Tolkien s ideas in particular The only mention of what most people would call fantasy in art in The Principles of Art includes Súrrealism as one of a number of examples of what Collingwood regards as unnatural and unhealthy representational forms The trouble with using The Principles of Art as a major text in any debate is that it is without a shadow of a doubt one of the worst books on aesthetics ever written I have read it cover to cover and I ll cheerfully admit that not only were my teeth were frequently gritted I had trouble at some points in stopping myself from throwing the book across the room Taking a deep breath and being reasonable about it in The Principles of Art Collingwood is simply writing from the perspective of and in a manner common in the 1930 s He sets his propositions up in such a fashion that it is simply impossible to argue with him His terminology is redefined in a manner which if it didn t inspire George Orwell s Newspeak in 1984 certainly conforms to all of Orwell s worst fears about the possible fate of language Using Collingwood s terms means either agreeing with his ideas or talking plain nonsense which cannot be discussed in a sensible manner So all real debate about the ideas concerned is blocked in a way which is frankly totalitarian At the heart of Collingwood s argument is a belief that art the arts matter immensely Good Art is part of the package of Western Civilisation which we should be doing everything to save Bad Art is contributing to the destruction of that same civilisation It s an unsettling realisation that this is one proposition on which had it been put to them Churchill Hitler Roosevelt and Stalin would all have agreed with Collingwood In looking at the possible effect Collingwood s thinking might have had on the Inklings it is most important to understand that R G Collingwood was virulently against fantasy For Collingwood the only sane healthy right and proper universe was the one which could be known through scientific measurement In itself this was a wilful and unsustainable position Collingwood certainly knew enough history to know that the measurable universe itself changes with every change in the technology of measurement but it was one which bluntly he appears to have found comforting Everything else other than that sane and natural universe was in Collingwood s view either simply mad or a deliberate falsehood on the part of people trying to produce improper mental and social effects on others His comments on religion and magic in both The Principles of Art and the recently published The Philosophy of Enchantment have to be read and then re read several times to be understood much less believed It has to be said that in some ways Collingwood strikes me as a man badly frightened by what most of us would call magic the spiritual and the fantastic who has to redefine them out of existence in order to keep his balance in a dangerously unstable world On a charitable view by the later Thirties the problems already affecting his health may have led Collingwood into false positions which he would never have entertained for a moment in better days We also have to take into account what was happening in the wider world as Collingwood wrote Such was the strength of Collingwood s belief that Western Civilisation was at a moment of utter crisis as he wrote The Principles of Art that Collingwood did not believe any sort of speculation fantastic or otherwise was worthwhile The job of saving what we had was too urgent to allow any diversion into how it might be improved It has long been noticed for example by Tom Shippey that if On Fairy Stories contains a defence of fantasy it also contains a latent argument against it I think that this is most easily accounted for if its published form arose out of discussions in which R G Collingwood s ideas on the arts played a large part discussions in which the peculiar nature of Collingwood s language and ideas made a defence of fantasy a singularly difficult thing to achieve Furthermore in The Principles of Art the visual arts have a particularly difficult time in gaining Collingwood s approval If Collingwood is hostile to fantasy in general he is especially hostile to visual fantasy As a rule J R R Tolkien was no binary thinker his refusal to subscribe to either side of the tween wars political divide is shown by the way in which both Right and Left have subsequently misused his writings with equal inattention to their real messages In the case of visual art however J R R Tolkien clearly failed to find a third way between the likewise opposedly similar views of Williams and Collingwood If anything he appears to have been forced to write visual art off as a reluctantly accepted casualty in the greater battle to save Fantasy itself In particular J R R Tolkien s hostility to the idea of illustration of fantastic literature seems to me to be influenced by Collingwood s ideas For Collingwood any merely commercial visual art and in his terms illustration could be nothing else was inevitably Bad Art Add in the idea of representing that which does not exist and Collingwood would nearly have apoplexy on the spot Williams ideas may be much less clear but they seem unlikely to have been much more helpful prone perhaps to go to the other extreme if there was any carry over from A E Waite We might not be far wrong in supposing that Williams may have thought that art was too important to be left to commercial hacks and that casual un thought through use of imagery might be positively dangerous So far so awkward for J R R Tolkien trying to salvage his beloved Fantasy and his belief that we make still as we re made in the face of Collingwood s ideas and very likely Williams too However it is in the very core of his argument against visual fantasy and in favour of literary fantasy that I believe J R R Tolkien made an exceedingly serious mistake To save scrolling back I ll quote again his own words from Note E of On Fairy stories However good in themselves illustrations do little good to fairy stories The radical distinction between all art including drama that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that it imposes one visible form Literature works from mind to mind and is more progenitive It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular If it speaks of bread or wine or stone or tree it appeals to the whole of these things to their ideas yet each hearer will give to them a peculiar personal embodiment in his imagination Should the story say he ate bread the dramatic producer or painter can only show a piece of bread according to his taste or fancy but the hearer of the story will think of bread in general and picture it in some form of his own If a story says he climbed a hill and saw a river in the valley below the illustrator may catch or nearly catch his own vision of such a scene but every hearer of the words will have his own picture and it will be made out of all the hills and rivers and dales he has ever seen but especially out of The Hill The River The Valley which were for him the first embodiment of the word So here at length and far more clearly as well as complexly stated is the idea we ve already encountered J R R Tolkien s belief that illustration causes overdefinition of the free verbal idea by the single visual image thus constraining the imagination of the person receiving Story to follow someone else s ideas I have to use that clumsy format as OFS talks consistently about hearers not readers check that quote for yourself an extraordinary slip and to my mind also a strong pointer to the origins of this material in live debate among the Inklings I ve already covered some of the practical problems with this idea and the difficulties in accepting it which spring not from what J R R Tolkien said but from what he did There are several more practical problems with it however and one massive philosophical one The first new practical problem is that most people most of the time simply don t have the visual imagination to create a clear and consistent image in their minds of what a person or place looks like We only have to look at the woeful results of police artists making sketches from witness descriptions to understand that Since that is the case most authors use far fancier prose in describing things to help their readers than the bare little sentences which J R R Tolkien used as examples J R R Tolkien had to resort to desperate special pleading in this part of On Fairy Stories denying the role of the very adjectives he had earlier been waxing lyrical about in order to get around the idea that both verbal and visual imagery define as much or as little as the author artist wishes depending on their intentions and actions You can have as few adjectives or as many as you like you can have near photographic or nearly ideographic representation This idea is far from new it has been raised as far back as the 19 teens when the important illustrator Edmund Dulac wrote critical essays pointing out that the end of objective imitation in art could only be coloured photography whereas representational but non imitative styles freed both artist and viewer Again this is the visual applicability which I introduced earlier as a parallel to the verbal applicability which J R R Tolkien makes so much of in the Preface to The Lord of The Rings As the awkward example of Lewis Carroll s Alice began to suggest close visual definition of ideas put forward in a story is not the unmitigated evil that J R R Tolkien is trying to make it out to be in OFS To use his example and extend it the bare word bread tells us very little Tolkien has to resort to a near Platonic Idea of bread which will always allow the hearer to understand events correctly Setting aside postmodernist notions of the death of the author and the inevitable recreation of narrative by its receiver this self evidently is often not the case We may need a lot more information than bread to understand what is going on in our Story A similarly bare description And he took bread and broke it was a massive puzzle in my own youth Since at that time I had never encountered breakable bread in either its crustily leavened or crispily flat varieties I could only distrust my understanding or my text or both A little bit of visual imagery accurate enough to make it clear that this bread was nothing like the sliced soft loaves my Mum bought from the Co operative bakery would really have helped It s surprising in fact how often additional information conveyed visually is vitally necessary if we are to follow a verbal text correctly We all know the sorts of book which positively demand visual matter if they are to work at all Any subject requiring visual identification of the thing under discussion will have illustration as a simple necessity Field guides to animals and plants books on arts and crafts engineering texts all manner of books need illustration to convey information which either cannot be conveyed accurately by words or is extremely difficult to put across in writing In such books neither verbal text nor visual images can be understood alone they work together to convey all the information which the reader needs about the material in hand Beyond this there is a much wider range of books where visual material can carry what we may call complementary information it is not absolutely necessary to the use of the book but it certainly makes life a whole lot easier for the reader In a history book or a fictional work for example illustration can remind us of which characters or settings are concerned in a particular episode if they are depicted consistently at each occurrence This doesn t have to be photorealistic portraiture it just has to be recognisable a rather different matter Nobody would call the Hungry Caterpillar photorealistic but the book s never been out of print since it first appeared clear testimony to its quality and usefulness Where a book is to be used by people who are not fluent readers or where it is perceived as difficult even for the skilled reader illustration carrrying this sort of complementary information can be of great help by enabling readers to follow that awkward verbal text This is one reason why illustration persists in childrens books much more so than in those for adults who are assumed rightly or wrongly to be beyond the stage of needing such aids We probably all have some concept of these ideas but few people understand just how far illustration and illumination can go in providing information Some medieval books use such lavish systems of visual cross reference pointing out connections between episodes identifying authors drawing parallels and much more that they are almost hypertexts in manuscript form Today only a few childrens factual books sometimes hint at this sort of depth of information provision An important part of the provision of information is something which J R R Tolkien slides right past in On Fairy Stories This is the ability of visual material to expand our imagination by showing us things we neither have personal experience of nor reasonably can do so Suppose that J R R Tolkien s second example against the use of illustration he climbed a hill and saw a river in the valley below is actually from a story set in the American Southwest and refers to someone s first sight of the Grand Canyon If you the reader have never been outside England old or New how can you possibly construct from your own experience any mental image remotely appropriate to the story Add an illustration and the problem is solved and your ideas of Hill Valley and River far from being constrained are permanently enlarged The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words really is true Visual images can show us the unknown in ways that words never quite can That s the last of our practical problems with J R R Tolkien s objections to overdefinition by single images which contrain the imagination I did mention earlier that there was a massive philosophical problem with them as well and now is the time to turn to that My occasional co writer Alex Lewis and I suspected that there was such a problem because it looked to both of us as if the second paragraph of Note E was not just an argument against the illustration of fairy stories or fantasy but rather an argument against the use of visual imagery at all To clarify the matter we consulted a respected Catholic theologian whom we knew had read J R R Tolkien s work and took it seriously His response was clear and carefully thought through Taken as part of the whole argument of On Fairy Stories including the discussion of the gospels as the soletrue fairy story J R R Tolkien s stance against art and illustration in Note E constitutes Iconoclasm That is heresy in the view of the Roman Catholic Church and a majority of other Christians too Only if you divorce the note from the main argument of the essay can you save J R R Tolkien s theological bacon A particular problem arises because Tolkien s main ground of accusation against the visual arts that of imposing a single visible form was possibly the worst one he could have chosen it is actually one of the central issues in the theological debate In the definition of the eighth century church council Seventh Nicaea which ruled Iconoclasm to be heresy to deny that Christ had a single and depictable physical form whilst He lived on this earth is to deny the Incarnation to deny that Christ was both fully human and fully divine Whether we know what Christ looked like or not is immaterial it is the principle that matters So to object to art or illustration because they impose a single visible form on the viewer s understanding of something as J R R Tolkien does is to tread on seriously shaky philosophical ground Now maybe J R R Tolkien never thought it through that far we can t point a finger and ask if he really meant what he seems to But there is no doubt that J R R Tolkien s attitude to visual art in general and illustration in particular flirted dangerously close to theological disaster And that therefore so may we if we re not careful I would suggest that there is a case for coming out in a cold sweat and asking ourselves if we really want to go that far We stand between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea On the one hand denying depictability of the characters in that only true fairy story the Gospels tips us straight into the heresy of Iconoclasm If depiction is not just allowable but necessary at

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1026-To-Illustrate-or-Not-to-Illustrate.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Party Like a Hobbit
    schools around the globe recognize Hobbit Day but despite its growing popularity there is still no one official way to celebrate We all love Tolkien and his worlds so why not host a party at your home or office to celebrate his most beloved of characters the Hobbits 5 Tips for Hosting a Proper Hobbit Party Cook up a Hobbit Feast The first and last things on a Hobbit s mind are food For such little people Hobbits have ravenous appetites The books explain that a hobbits Eat at least 6 meals a day when they get the chance so its natural to center your party around food lots and lots of food Hobbit food is comfort food so make your guests comfortably full on Hobbit Day Here is a suggested menu 7am First Breakfast Eggs bacon mushrooms and toast 9am Second Breakfast Strawberries and cream 11am Elevensies Rabbit stew 1pm Luncheon Bacon sandwich cheese and fresh garden salad 4pm Afternoon tea tea and scones with fresh jam 6pm Dinner Fried mushrooms sausage cabbage beets and rolls 8pm Supper Shepherd s pie and mead followed by birthday cake for Bilbo and Frodo Decorate a Hobbit Party Tree If you have a large old tree in your yard decorate it and make it your hobbit party tree The tree can be your outdoor centerpiece for the festivities and lend your party a Shire atmosphere Hobbit Cosplay With your party tree outside and the house decked out like the Shire inside encourage everyone to come dressed up as their favorite hobbit and offer prizes for the best costume And it goes without saying guests must be barefoot to win Play Hobbit Games In this modern age hobbit game options range from board games and RPGs to videogames You can even get creative

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1009-Party-like-a-hobbit.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • A parents guide to reading the books by J.R.R. Tolkien
    instilling a love of reading within a young child is the first step in convincing a child to read If you are unsure if your child will even be interested by one of Tolkien s books try reading it aloud to the child before bedtime If the child is obviously entertained but they are still quite young for reading a book as long as The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings go ahead and put the book away for as long as it takes From personal experiences I can say that a child can be ready to begin reading the Lord of the Ring s trilogy or the Hobbit as early as ten years old Tolkien was a masterful author but his lengthy stories can grow tiresome for children If you notice that their attention to the novel has begun to slip and they have not picked up the book in a few days try introducing them to an activity pertaining to the book Start a discussion with your children about where they are currently in the story Create riddles that can be solved by a child and role play as Gollum allowing your children to answer the riddles Hobbits love to eat and so do children Show your kids what an authentic hobbit meal would look smell and taste like by creating one Some hobbit favorites include salads pickles pork pies tea raspberry jam apple pie and mince pies There are dozens of other foods hobbits enjoy so this is an especially easy activity to complete Ask your children to create a large poster or diorama in which they create the art piece as they are following Bilbo s or Frodo s adventure through Middle Earth depending on which novel is being read If you want to improve your

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/962-A-Parents-Guide-To-Tolkien.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Books by J.R.R. Tolkien - Tolkien reading order
    natural sequel of The Hobbit and completes this story However in this book it is clear that Tolkien s mind was already on the vast mythologies and history behind this tale and this shines through the complete book It can be argued that Tolkien only wrote this book because of the demand for more hobbit tales and that he actually longed to write The Silmarillion The tone of this book is different and is much less a children story then The Hobbit Most people have now seen the movie and it is now time to read the book The Lord of the Rings is one of those books that either works for you or is a book that somehow doesn t and never will Tolkien once said The Lord of the Rings is one of those things if you like you do if you don t then you boo In fact I believe it even goes further once the book sticks most people will not be able to put the book down until it is finished Most people stumble over the prologue especially when they read the book for the first time but since you just finished the Hobbit you can skip this if you wish and read it in the end when you have completed the Lord of the Rings Originally The Lord of the Rings was released in three volumes each covering two books These days there are several deluxe editions and one volume editions but I personally prefer to read the books in three volumes My favorite set to read The Lord of the Rings is the 2005 classic hardback edition featuring Tolkien s original unused dust jacket design It includes special packaging and the definitive edition of the text with fold out map To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first publication the text was been fully restored with almost 400 corrections in 2005 with the full co operation of Christopher Tolkien making it the definitive version and as close as possible to the version that J R R Tolkien intended This edition matches in size and looks with the Hobbit 70th anniversary edition mentioned above Title The Fellowship of the Ring Publisher HarperCollins Publication Date 50th Anniversary edition Reissue edition 17 Oct 2005 Type hardcover 432 pages ISBN 10 0007203543 ISBN 13 978 0007203543 Title The Two Towers Publisher HarperCollins Publication Date 50th Anniversary edition Reissue edition 17 Oct 2005 Type hardcover 352 pages ISBN 10 0007203551 ISBN 13 978 0007203550 Title The Return of the King Publisher HarperCollins Publication Date 50th Anniversary edition Reissue edition 17 Oct 2005 Type hardcover 432 pages ISBN 10 000720356X ISBN 13 978 0007203567 The Silmarillion by J R R Tolkien The Silmarillion is actually Tolkien s first book and also his last In origin it precedes even The Hobbit and is the story of the First Age of Tolkien s Middle earth It shows us the ancient history to which characters in The Lord of the Rings look back talk rhyme and sing about Tolkien worked on it changed it and enlarged it throughout his entire life It was edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien with the assistance of fantasy fiction writer Guy Gavriel Kay to reconstruct some major parts The Silmarillion is one of those books that gets better every time you read it In fact I would even say the more you read it the less you understand how one person was able to write it and so far it is one of the best books I have read Still I have to admit that when I started reading in it as a kid I never managed to get past the first chapter Maybe it was because my English was too poor Maybe I was still too young In the end I believe it was because I lacked the general picture of the story the history of events and there for was unable to enjoy the story At first the tale felt very archaic and it overwhelmed me with names and descriptions of too many characters One day however I bought myself an audio book of The Silmarillion and everything changed Once I had heard the complete tale and knew the big picture knew who was who I finally managed to read the book Since then I have re read The Silmarillion multiple times and still I discover new things new emotions new details it feels like watching to the stars there is always more stars to discover you only need to look in between the stars you already found And every new star you discover feels like a surprise and looks magnificent Now a complete universe has opened up for me and its vastness is getting overwhelming but remains so fascinating I just have to keep looking So what would be a nice edition to read The Silmarillion Myself I prefer to read them in the black deluxe edition Probably because it is copy you can carry around easily and within the slipcase will stay beautiful for a long long time But any other edition will do for example the 2006 reissue that matches The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings mentioned above It shows the same matte cover featuring an original drawing by J R R Tolkien Taniquetil the great Holy Mountain Title The Silmarillion Publisher HarperCollins Publication Date 19 July 2006 Type hardcover 384 pages ISBN 10 0261102427 ISBN 13 978 0261102422 Unfinished Tales by J R R Tolkien Unfinished Tales as the title aptly suggests is a collection of Tolkien s expanded Middle earth stories These are mostly longer versions of tales from The Silmarillion but there are plenty of revealing Lord of the Rings moments featuring old favorites Gandalf Elrond The Nazgul Balrogs edited into a single volume by the authors son Christopher Tolkien Unlike The Silmarillion which is universally recognised as a vital part of Tolkien s literary masterwork but takes some effort to wade through

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/952-Tolkien-Reading-Order.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Books about Tolkien - Tolkien biographies
    a loving husband a playful friend and a doting father The most fascinating letters are of course those in which he discusses Middle Earth and Carpenter offers plenty of those to choose from Tolkien discussed the minutia of his legend sometimes at great length with friends publishers and even fans who wrote to him with questions These letters offer significant insights into how he went about creating the peoples and languages of Middle Earth Since I started collecting Tolkien books and got fascinated by the author maybe even more than what he has written I must have read hundreds if not thousand of his unpublished letters It would be a dream and I believe of many people to see a second volume of Letters of J R R Tolkien appear first because there are more then enough letters available and secondly because it is in Tolkien s letters that we can find most about the authors ideas believes ideologies and way of living Title The Letters of J R R Tolkien Author Humprey Carpenter Publisher HarperCollins Publication Date Reissue edition 2 May 2006 Type paperback 480 pages ISBN 10 0261102656 ISBN 13 978 0261102651 The Tolkien Family Album by John Priscilla Tolkien Here we look at some nice photographs assembled by the children of J R R Tolkien that give us a wonderful insight into his life from his family s point of view This biography looks at the family details of J R R Tolkien s life It tells of his love affair with Edith Bratt and the dramatic circumstances of their relationship and eventual marriage of Tolkien s experiences in World War I of the birth of his children his academic career and of the writing of the books that made him a household name all over the world The book also takes a look at the often strange fan mail that he received and the honours bestowed upon him before and after his death While for one or another reason the publisher HarperCollins never reprinted this book it is most of the time hard to find since it is now long out of print and only available through the second hand book market it is still a very nice book to have Not only are the pictures very interesting but the tale written by Tolkien s children is certainly very interesting Since this book was released in 1992 around the centenary celebrations of J R R Tolkien I expect to see this book reprinted in the future on another special occasion who knows maybe it will even get an update Title The Tolkien Family Album Author John Priscilla Tolkien Publisher HarperCollins Publication Date January 6 1992 Type hardcover 96 pages ISBN 10 0261102397 ISBN 13 978 0261102392 J R R Tolkien Artist Illustrator by Wayne Hammond Christina Scull This book written by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull explores Tolkien s art at length from his childhood paintings and drawings to his final sketches Inside the book

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/951-Tolkien-biographies.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • 70 Years The Hobbit collecting - Part 1: Ephemera
    least one scientist and even claims there could exist an earlier fairytale called The Hobbit which later turned out to be false The author of this letter wanted to find out about the origin of word Hobbit to which Tolkien replied with many words and a lot of passion While originally it had not been Tolkien s intention that his reply would have been published publicly this particular newspaper has now become very valuable Tolkien s letter has been reprinted in Letters of J R R Tolkien Letter 25 but the letter signed Habit can only be read if you find the original In March April 2008 the American Magazine called The Horn Book Magazine published on page 69 a 3 4 page advertisement for The Hobbit In the same magazine there is on page 94 a ahort review synopsis of The Hobbit by Anne Eaton at that time critic of Children s Books for the New York Times She wrote that the Hobbit was an unusual and distinguished book and like Alice in Wonderland came from Oxford University On the page 95 it even gave a full page picture of The Hill Hobbiton across the Water which was used as a frontispiece in the 1st US The Hobbit Also in 1938 the American HORN BOOK MAGAZINE published in its May June issue favorable comments on Tolkien s The Hobbit It mentions that for the Second Annual Children s Festival the Herald Tribune judges Mrs Dwight Morrow Miss Mabel Williams Mr Stephen Vincent Benet Mr Robert Lawson and Mrs May Lamberton Becker Editor of the Herald Tribune s page Books for Young People have awarded one prize of 250 to J R R Tolkien s The Hobbit as the best book of the spring for younger children It also reprinted five pages from Chapter one and had a black white reproduction of The Hill the frontispiece of the American Hobbit The Hobbit turned out to be a big success in America and by the end of 1938 more then 5000 copies had been sold in the US The real success of Tolkien however started in the 1960 s once again in America where the students fell for Tolkien s books in unprecedented fashion and sales of the Hobbit soared to the present multimillion copy level For the release of the 70th anniversary edition of The Hobbit in 2007 Harper Collins told that The Hobbit has been translated into almost 50 languages and sold over 100 million copies While the Tolkien Estate was always very protective for adaptations of Tolkien works there was made a very radical serialization of The Hobbit which appeared in a British magazine called Princess that aimed at teenage girls The story was split up into fifteen installments and issued on a weekly basis between October 10 1964 and January 16 1965 The covers of the magazine can now be called vintage and the illustrations by Ferguson Dewar where very original and even funny The text of

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/846-70-Year-The-Hobbit-Collecting-PartI-Ephemera.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Christmas Gift Ideas for Lord of the Rings and Tolkien lovers - PART II
    I ll get you on the road and make a little list of items which are new unique or just nice gifts PART II Gift idea Tolkien books the perfect Christmas gifts On 15th October 2007 HarperCollins published a revised Anniversary Edition of the long unavailable children s story Mr Bliss written and illustrated by Tolkien himself It is the perfect Christmass gift and looks absolutely stunning In this article I ll tell all about the new revised edition and will tell the history of Mr Bliss conception the first edition and add some nice pictures When John Tolkien s son was 3 he got his first letter from Father Christmas From 1920 until 1943 Tolkien wrote letters as Father Christmas to his children They were accompagnied by lot s of funny pictures The Father Christmas Letters contains most of these letters and most illustrations most in colour I don t need to explain why this book makes a perfect Christmas present This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of The Hobbit For this reason there was made a new edition of The Hobbit with a short introduction by Christopher Tolkien a reset text incorporating the most up to date corrections and all of Tolkien s own drawings and color illustrations including the rare Mirkwood piece Read my review of this book here A Hobbit is always a nice present especially this new fantastic looking celebration edition The new Hobbit matches my favorite editions of The Lord of the Rings boxed set with Lord of the Rings A Reader s Companion The Silmarillion Unfinished Tales and even with the already published The History of the Hobbit Mr Baggins and The History of the Hobbit Return to Bag End Here is a picture of how a set will look like with this new addition Happy birthday Bilbo Baggins Looking for something special more exclusive Tto celebrate 30 years of the Silmarillion there was made a new de luxe edition of The Silmarillion featuring the revised reset text a colour frontispiece illustration bound in special materials and presented in a matching slipcase Here is an article on this book Still not satisfied and looking for the true special gift Please visit the Tolkien Library Store The It always has a large amount of rare and collectible Tolkien books up for sale Here is a small selection of Rare Tolkien items currently available PC000003 Lot of correspondence between J R R Tolkien and Timothy J Wheeler 8950 Also included is a rare article by Jared Lobdell from the August 1966 issue of Rally and the original sketch of J R R Tolkien used to illustrate the article a carbon copy of a letter to J R R Tolkien and a 2 page typed letter to Christopher Tolkien Enquire about this book 000398 Comprehensive set of the UK Deluxe Editions 2004 Deluxe Hobbit 50 Ann Lord of the Rings Deluxe Children of Hurin 500 00 All three books are still sealed in the original

    Original URL path: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/Christmas-Gift-Ideas-Tolkien-Lovers-2007-II.php (2016-04-26)
    Open archived version from archive



  •