The Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies is one of the four awards given by the Mythopoeic Society. It is given to books on J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and/or Charles Williams that make significant contributions to Inklings scholarship. The Mythopoeic Awards are chosen from books nominated by individual members of the Mythopoeic Society, and selected by a committee of Society members. For this award, books first published during the previous three years are eligible, including finalists for previous years.
The finalists for the 2007 Mythopoeic Awards have just been announced and feature once again the best authors and books in the field of Inkling scholarship. The winners of this year’s awards will be announced during Mythcon XXXVIII, to be held from August 3-6, 2007, in Berkeley, California.
The finalists for the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies 2007
Marjorie Burns, Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien’s Middle-earth (University of Toronto Press, 2005)
Marjorie Burns is a professor in the Department of English at Portland State University. She writes in a style that is literate and graceful, a pleasure to read, and displays a thorough knowledge of both Norse and Celtic literature of the medieval period.
Perilous Realms is the first book to focus consistently on the ways in which Tolkien balances two ancient cultures, the Norse and the Celtic, and unites them in a single literature. Renowned Tolkien scholar Marjorie Burns also investigates the ways Tolkien reconciled other oppositions, including paganism and Christianity, good and evil, home and wayside, war and peace, embellishment and simplicity, hierarchy and the common man.
Even those who do not know Beowulf, the Arthurian tales, or northern European mythology come away from The Lord of the Rings with a feeling for Britain's historical and literary past. Those who recognize the sources behind Tolkien - and the skill with which he combines these sources - gain far more.
Perilous Realms gives this advantage to all readers and provides new discoveries, including material from obscure, little-known Celtic texts and a likely new source for the name 'hobbit.' It is truly essential reading for Tolkien fans.
Verlyn Flieger, Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien’s Mythology (Kent State University Press, 2005)
Verlyn Flieger is Professor of English at the University of Maryland, where she teaches courses in Tolkien, Medieval Literature, and Comparative Mythology. She has published three books on Tolkien— Splintered Light: Logos and Language in tolkien's World, A Question of Time: J.R.R. tolkien's Road to "Faerie" and Interrupted Music: Tolkien and the Making of a Mythology, as well editing the extended edition of tolkien's last short story, Smith of Wootton MajorSmith of Wootton Major. She is a co-editor with Carl Hostetter of tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, and with Douglas A. Anderson and Michael Drout of the yearly journal Tolkien Studies.
In Interrupted Music Flieger illuminates the underlying structure of tolkien's mythology, allowing the reader to appreciate its broad, overarching design and its careful, painstaking construction. It gives us is a new way of looking at "The Silmarillion," and a new approach to the vexed question of tolkien's "English mythology. She endeavors to "follow the music from its beginning as an idea in tolkien's mind through to his final but never-implemented mechanism for realizing that idea, for bringing the voices of his story to the reading public."
In addition, Flieger reviews attempts at mythmaking in the history of English literature by Spenser, Milton, and Blake as well as by Joyce and Yeats. She reflects on the important differences between Tolkien and his predecessors and even more between Tolkien and his contemporaries. This in-depth study will fascinate those interested in Tolkien and fantasy literature.
Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2006)
Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary offers a new and unexplored angle on the creative world of J.R.R. Tolkien and present us with new archive material. A unique book in all respect and a must read (and have) for all serious Tolkien lovers.
Few writers have found so much of their creative inspiration in the shapes and histories of words like J.R.R.Tolkien. "The Ring of Words" describes this unique and powerful relationship between tolkien's creative use of language in his fictional works and his professional work on the Oxford English Dictionary.
As we know, J.R.R. tolkien's first job, just after returning from World War I, was as an assistant on the staff of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). He later said that he had learned more in those two years than in any other equal part of his life. "The Ring of Words" reveals how his professional work on the OED influenced tolkien's creative use of language in his fictional world.
In the first two chapters of "Ring of Words" the three senior editors of the OED, Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner, offer an intriguing exploration of tolkien's career as a lexicographer and illuminate his creativity as a word user and word creator. The centerpiece of the book is the third chapter where we find a wonderful collection of "word studies" which will delight the heart of Tolkien fans and word lovers everywhere.
The editors explain in fantastic detail the origin of such Tolkienesque words as "hobbit," "mithril, "Smeagol," "Ent," "halfling," and "worm". In this work we discover that the word "mathom" was actually common in Old English, but that "Mithril," on the other hand, is a complete new invention and the first "Elven" word to have an entry in the OED.
This book reaches a larger public then mainly Tolkien fans but will be appealing to both Tolkien enthusiasts and language enthusiasts and everyone interested in the creative use of language, and the writing of dictionaries.
Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
The most impressive book that has been published this year is for sure the two volume book set called the J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond.
Christina Scull is the former librarian of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. She is the author of "The Soane Hogarths" (1991), edits the journal "The Tolkien Collector", and frequently writes and speaks about Tolkien.
Wayne G. Hammond is a librarian at the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Massachusetts. He is the author of "The Graphic Artof C.B. Falls" (1892), "J.R.R. Tolkien:A Descriptive Bibliography" (1993), and regular notes on Tolkien in the journal "Mythlore". Next to this we know them from other important books like J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham 50th anniversary edition, the new expanded index of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder, and the masterpiece Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion.
The Companion and Guide is meant to be a basic reference book for the study and appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Not a replacement for other books, but perhaps a source that one might look at first of all.
The first of its two volumes is an extensive chronology of Tolkien’s life and works, together with family trees, and checklists of Tolkien’s published writings and art, his poems, and translations of his works. The Chronology at times provides almost a day-by-day account, ‘a picture of an extraordinarily busy man’, as we say in our preface, ‘Tolkien the scholar, Tolkien the teacher and administrator, Tolkien the husband and father, Tolkien the creator of Middle-earth’.
The second volume is a long encyclopedia with articles on Tolkien’s writings, on people, places, and institutions important in his life, on the academic world of Leeds and Oxford, and on themes and ideas in his works such as allegory, free will and fate, the environment, women, war. Each volume shares a list of works consulted and a comprehensive index.
A very interesting interview with the authors can be read here.
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