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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:58 am 
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Several weeks ago, the well-known Tolkienist Michael Martinez (hi Michael!) started a new Interview with Tolkien Scholars series. The first interview, on October 14, 2011, was with Janet Brennan Croft, the editor of Mythlore and the author of War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien , winner of the Mythopoeic Society Award for Inklings Studies in 2004. The following week was with John Rateliff, author of the The History of the Hobbit (the 2010 winner), the week after that was Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, author of two many Inklings Studies award winning books to mention. Two weeks ago, he interviewed Michael Drout, author J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beowulf and the Critics (the 2003 winner. Last week he had a delay and wasn't able to get an interview posted (he said he had John Garth in the queue, but that his schedule was tight; that's an interview I look forward to!) so he posted some fasninating videos of interviews with Christopher Tolkien. All of the interviews are well-worth checking out; I found them all very informative. Michael definitely has a gift of asking questions that bring out lots of good information.

http://middle-earth.xenite.org/category/interviews/

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:27 pm 
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This week's interviewee is a bit of pygmy among the giants, but still an interesting read (I think):

http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2011/11/18/an-interview-with-douglas-charles-kane/

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:02 pm 
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V, that is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful interviews I've ever read.

It must have taken an enormous amount of time to prepare, too: wow!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:16 pm 
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I've done a few other internet interviews, and this one took several times longer to answer the questions (even though there were fewer questions). I really have to hand to to Michael for asking some very insightful and penetrating questions (and my interview, and the others as well). I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:19 pm 
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Very nice! And it is prodigious long too!

I had also noted the absence of much Glaurung discussion in the book. But I did think the reason was as you explained in the interview.

Will someone be doing this same analysis for The Children Of Húrin? Sounds daunting to me!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:00 pm 
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I very much enjoyed reading that interview, Voronwë. As someone whose awareness of the Tolkien scholarship community comes mainly through what I read here, it was a pleasure to gain an appreciation of what a large universe it is and of your well-earned place in it.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Great job! :bow:

Do you mind if I post a link to the interview in the Meta-TORC group on Facebook?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Nope, don't mind.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:03 pm 
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:) Wonderful! I'll do it right now.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:04 pm 
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CosmicBob wrote:
Will someone be doing this same analysis for The Children Of Húrin? Sounds daunting to me!


CB, the only way that someone would be able to do a similar analysis for CoH would be if they were able to have access to all of the manuscripts related to Túrin's story, which (as I mention in the interview) Christopher specifically states he did not include in HoMe. Even then, I'm just not sure it would be possible.

I did once see an online comparison of the different published versions of the Túrin saga, but I can't find it now.

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 Post subject: Thank you
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:25 am 
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For the kind words and for doing the interview. To be honest, after reading Arda Reconstructed I've learned to look at The Silmarillion in a new way. I'm so used to keeping my thoughts in the details that I sometimes miss the bigger picture.

The scope of (possible) editorial transformation in the book has always been hard to define, and some people have challenged my assessments of the extensiveness of Christopher's decisions. I think your book helps resolve many of those conflicts by addressing both the details and their collective consequences.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:47 am 
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I guess I was 16 or so when I bought one of those 1st edition Silmarillion hardcovers with the map that I subsequently hung on the wall of my bedroom next to my Led Zeppelin poster and Hildebrandt Tolkien calendar.

I had a tough time getting through the Silmarillion in those days, and had all sorts of troubles with the multitudinous names and places (thanks to the Tolkiens for the family trees which helped a great deal) and following the gist of the story. Rather, I guess I understood the gist of the story, but was a bit befuddled along the way.

Later on when my reading ability grew, I realized the story itself seemed disjointed and the flow to be incongruous. It wasn't just me and my reading ability that were in question. Only after a number of years did I learn how the Silmarilion came to be published, and only since Voronwë's book has been published, did I truly learn the depth of the alterations and guesses in putting the Silmarillion together.

I love the book dearly, and there are portions that contain some of the best text I have ever read. There are characters in that book that rival many of the finest in what I have read, and I am an avid reader of classic literature.

I read Tolkien much differently now, nearly 40 years later and with a different set of eyes.

And yet, it seems to me that I am no better off than that 16 year old kid who muddled through that first age way back when. Yes I can fill in some of the gaps and issues with the story and I can understand that Tolkien himself never had the chance to publish this book or that he was ever done writing characters or amending his works.

The story itself though stands or falls on its own merits today as it did when it was written. It is nice to be able to peek into the background and see how the story came to fruition, and to understand what may or may not be the original author's intent, but Tolkien's writing is still Tolkien's writing and his world is still his world, warts and all.

I'll take the story with its warts, and I would love to be 16 again so I can read it once more for the first time. Even if I didn't really understand what I was reading.

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 Post subject: Re: Thank you
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:35 pm 
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Michael Martinez wrote:
To be honest, after reading Arda Reconstructed I've learned to look at The Silmarillion in a new way.


That is truly high praise! Particularly coming from someone who has been thinking and writing about Tolkien's work for a very long time.

I look forward to the future interviews, as well as the other excellent content at your site. You have a great knack for this!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:13 pm 
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What an excellent interview. :) Searching questions by MM, and great answers from V-Man!

Well done, V-Man, on a considerable accomplishment and valuable contribution to the field of Tolkien analysis. :bow:

(And you look so cuddly, in your photo. :P )

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:54 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
This week's interviewee is a bit of pygmy among the giants, but still an interesting read (I think)


Wouldn't that rather be "a bit of a hobbit among the giants?" curls and all!

Holby wrote:
Later on when my reading ability grew, I realized the story itself seemed disjointed and the flow to be incongruous.


This has been my experience with the Sil on a couple attempts as well. It is the sort of incongruity that makes me despair of reading through to the end in the hope it would be worth the effort.

Harsh, perhaps, but JRRT is infinitely more readable than CT imho. (True story: I didn't even know how the Sil came to be published until a couple years ago. This made its readability the more perplexing as I thought it was straight from the hand of JRRT sans taint or embellishment by others.) Regardless, I join my appreciation and thankfulness for CT's efforts with those who love the Silmarillion. God willing, I will give it and HoMe another go before much longer, preferably with Arda Reconstructed and the forums near at hand.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:11 pm 
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SirDennis wrote:
Holby wrote:
Later on when my reading ability grew, I realized the story itself seemed disjointed and the flow to be incongruous.


This has been my experience with the Sil on a couple attempts as well. It is the sort of incongruity that makes me despair of reading through to the end in the hope it would be worth the effort.


I noticed this on my initial read back in 77, but I was so excited to get it, that it didn't bother me. Subsequently, I think that if I read the chapters as almost independent stories (some are linked - see Arda Reconstructed's tables for a lot of useful textual information) it works out wll. I guess I'm not requiring a total narrative. It would have been nice if JRRT had finished it, but it didn't seem likely, even had he lived another 20 years. He never seemed to be satisfied with his work on The Silmarillion.

I thought CJRT did a pretty good job with Children Of Húrin to make it a cohesive narrative. Yes, there are problems, but all in all it holds together pretty well.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:04 am 
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I hope it's okay to mention that I have posted another interview, this time with Jason Fisher. I wish I could have maintained the weekly schedule but that has proven to be impractical.

Anyway, I hope people enjoy this interview as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:40 pm 
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More than okay. I meant to do it myself. It's another great interview.

Here's the link: http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2011/12/19/an-interview-with-jason-fisher/

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:14 pm 
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After many months' delay I have finally been able to publish my interview with John Garth.

An Interview with John Garth

Unfortunately I don't have any other interviews in production. I hope to be able to conduct more in a few months but my schedule won't permit that right now.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:56 pm 
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Great to see this series returning, even intermittently, particularly with such a great interview with one of my very favorite Tolkien commentators.

Well done again, Michael! I'll look forward to more when you can get to it.

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