Here is where I will post any important snippets of Tolkien-related news or other fascinating related information. Stay up-to-date on site updates and Tolkien news by subscribing to my RSS Feed (on left, below site navigation).
I stumbled across an article of interest in Entertainment Weekly on the warming waters between New Line Cinemas head Bob Shaye and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
Perhaps The Hobbit movie will finally happen, and with Peter Jackson at the helm.
The article notes: But now the legal battle that’s kept The Lord of the Rings’ prequel, The Hobbit, hung up for years — a bitter feud between Rings director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema co-chairman Robert Shaye — may finally be nearing resolution. For once, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic. At this writing, no agreements have been announced and details of the negotiations are sketchy (neither New Line nor Jackson’s camp would comment to EW on any aspect of this story), but sources close to the talks tell us that they’re detecting a lot less frost in the air, and that a deal may be reached that could help usher J.R.R. Tolkien’s maiden Middle-earth masterpiece to screens before the end of the decade.
The full article can be read here.
More news about University-level classes focused on JRR Tolkien and his writings, this time at Cardiff University in the UK (available as an online course, worldwide).
As time permits, I will be adding an entire page focused on University-level Tolkien classes, accessible from the Tolkien Scholarship page.
Visitors who have information on Tolkien-related university classes can submit that info through the Contact Me page.
Here is the info on the Cardiff University classes:
Exploring Tolkien: There and Back Again An on-line course, hosted by the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University, taught in 10 weekly units. Starting on 1 October 2007 (Course Code: ENG07A3637A)
Tutor: Dr. Dimitra Fimi explores Tolkien’s Middle-earth from your home, in your own time. Find out about the vast mythology behind The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, gain a thorough knowledge of Tolkien’s fiction and its creation, explore the northern European mythologies that inspired Tolkien’s Middle-earth, learn about Tolkien’s invented languages, their origins and sources, find out about the ‘races’ and the cultures of Middle-earth.
The course has been updated and enlarged to include a discussion of The Children of Húrin, the ‘new’ book by J.R.R. Tolkien, which was published in April 2007.
- Participate in a lively Discussion Board moderated by your tutor
- Get access to Cardiff University’s electronic resources (including electronic versions of the journals Mythlore and Tolkien Studies)
- Do the course for credits which you can use towards your Higher Education Qualification (optional)To find out more, visit:Course Info Course FAQCourse Outline
Today marks the 70th Anniversary of The Hobbit, which was originally released on September 21, 1937.
To mark the occasion, Houghton Mifflin is releasing three books today, The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Hardcover Edition, and The History of ‘The Hobbit’ in two volumes, edited by John D. Rateliff.
The three volumes are also being offered in a boxed set, but Amazon has listed the release date of the boxed set as October 26th.
The world of fantasy literature has received sad news today. James Rigney Jr., better known by his pen name Robert Jordan, passed away after a long battle with cardiac amyloidosis.
Jordan was best known for his popular and well-written series of fantasy novels, The Wheel of Time.
During an eventful life Jordan graduated from The Citadel, became a highly decorated Vietnam vet, a nuclear engineer, and later a successful author. The twelfth and final volume of The Wheel of Time was yet unfinished at the time of his passing.
Rest in peace Robert Jordan. He will be sorely missed.
The Lord of the Rings has earned a place on the syllabis at the University of Toronto.
The Lord of the Rings: A Journey Through Middle Earth is a first-year seminar course discussing the history, sources, and created mythology of Tolkien’s masterpiece trilogy and its enduring legacy.
More on the U of T’s course can be found here.
In book news, scholar John D. Rateliff’s The History of The Hobbit will finallly be released in the US in just under a week (September 21st).
The study is an annotated version of Tolkien’s early drafts of The Hobbit, similar to books VI through X of The History of Middle Earth, which dissected Tolkien’s early drafts of The Lord of the Rings and its evolution into its final published form.
These books have been available in the UK since May. Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien’s US publisher, has published the book as two separate hardcover volumes. You can order them through the link above.
I’ve come across a few Tolkien-related news items of note in the past few days.
Number one, Houghton Mifflin and HarperCollins have both announced the September release of a “70th Anniversary” edition of The Hobbit. The book will be a hardcover edition complete with all of the most up-to-date corrections, illustrations by Tolkien, and an introduction by Christopher Tolkien.
The US (Houghton-Mifflin) edition will be available alone or also as part of a boxed set, along with parts I & II of John D. Rateliff’s History of The Hobbit. The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Edition is available for preorder at Amazon.com The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Edition [Hardcover].
In other news, there have been several recent articles about lessening tensions between New Line Cinemas studio head Bob Shaye and award-winning Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Rumors report that New Line is trying to heal the rift and bring Jackson back on board to direct The Hobbit.
The Mythopoeic Society announced its 2007 Mythopoeic Award winners on Sunday, August 5th at Mythcon 8.
Most relevant is the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies, which was presented to well-known Tolkien scholars Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond for their excellent two-volume study The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).
Winners of the other Mythopoeic Awards were:
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature
Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature
Corbenic by Catherine Fisher
Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies
Gemstone of Paradise: The Holy Grail in Wolfram’s Parzival by G. Ronald Murphy
I’m actually a week or so tardy on getting this announcement out, but the 2008 Tolkien Calendar has been released and is available through Amazon.
This year’s calendar features the stunning artwork from The Children of Hurin by Alan Lee. There are nine watercolors from the novel and three new pieces by the artist. The colors and contrasts are more true than the prints in the novel.
A very beautiful piece! Highly recommended.
As July 21st nears, it has become harder and harder to avoid the media circus around the newest Harry Potter book (& movie). Everywhere you turn it’s “Potter Midnight madness” parties, “Is Snape Guilty?”, “Will Harry die?”.
Most people, even those who love the Harry Potter books (and you can include me in this), are pretty fed up with the nonstop media barrage. And here I am adding my own voice to the clamor.
I have always subscribed to Mark Twain’s comical but true quip: “Any time you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
That said, as the date looms nearer, I find myself getting rather geared up for the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I find the hoopla distasteful, and yet the hype exists for a reason. Rowling is a remarkable author, and she (like Tolkien) has touched a cord with a vast population of people. She has elbowed her way (like it or not) into the company of such prestigious fantasists as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Ursula LeGuin – and she is unlikely to fade any time soon.
As I have said to many other readers who have ultimately rejected Harry Potter because of its popularity and pervasiveness in popular culture – ignore the hype (if you can) but try the books. As they once did with Tolkien, the reading public has actually gotten it right.
There is something here to be excited about.
It is a bit off-topic, but I ran across a fascinating article (by Stephen King, no less) in Entertainment Weekly discussing the end of the Harry Potterseries and how the end of any long series of books (like LotR or his own Dark Tower series) effects its readers. You can read the full article here.
Prominent Tolkien artist John Howe is taking part in a very interesting summer project in the Swiss Alps.
The medieval village of Saint-Ursanne is hosting a summerlong festival called “Saint-Ursanne La Fantastique”, a series of exhibits, medieval reenactments, concerts, and literary debates centering around Medieval history and fantasy.
The village contacted Howe, a Canadian, about adding a series of fantastical and mythical touches to the village. He has completed a series of twelve installations for the village, including several strategically-placed dragon sculptures.
You can read the complete article at SwissInfo.
According to hollywood.com, there is more drama between New Line Cinemas and the Lord of the Rings movies cast & crew.
In 2005 Peter Jackson filed suit against the studio for withholding profits from sales of the first film, a dispute that has escalated and severed ties between the film studio and the director.
Now, fifteen individual actors have filed suit against the studio for breach of contract relating to the sharing of merchandising sales.
You can read the full article here.
In a rather odd move, Amazon US has made the HarperCollins (UK) collector’s edition of The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff available months before the release of the Houghton Mifflin (US) hardcover editions.
This collector’s edition is a single 960 page volume. The Houghton Mifflin hardcover edition is due out in September 2007, to be published in two separate volumes. They can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.
You can order the HarperCollins collector’s edition here. Be advised that it may take 4-6 weeks to ship.
Yet another excellent review of The Children of Hurin in The Independent. Unlike some of the other major UK newspapers, The Independent actually seems to assign reviews to critics with some background knowledge and predisposition toward the works, as well as an understanding of what Tolkien was working towards.
I thoroughly enjoyed one particularly poignant line of the review – It [The Children of Hurin] is dry, mad, humourless, hard-going and completely brilliant.
Amen to that.
A fascinating short article from the Boston Globe on The Children of Hurinand Christopher Tolkien’s lifelong excavations of his father’s work. In the Beginning…
Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien’s US publisher, has finally released some figures regarding sales of The Children of Hurin. More than 900,000 copies are in circulation worldwide, double the original printings. Houghton Mifflin has increased its original print run from 250,000 copies to 550,000.
HarperCollins, Tolkien’s UK publisher, has announced that it is moving up the publication date of The History of The Hobbit: Mr. Baggins by John D. Rateliff from May 8th to May 1st.
The book, similar to The History of The Lord of the Rings but concerning instead the writing and development of The Hobbit, is endorsed by the Tolkien Estate.
I have found nothing to indicate that Houghton Mifflin, the book’s US publisher, intends to push up their publication date, which is not due until September 7th. Impatient US readers (like me) can place their order for the UK edition through Amazon Canada and save on shipping costs.
Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar has finally been released to the general public. “LOTRO” is an online role-playing game set in Middle-earth, the world of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, during the events depicted in the books.
Players can choose the race and attributes of their characters and explore a finely detailed rendering of Middle-earth.
Yahoo! Games recently reviewed LOTRO and gave the game four stars (out of a possible five). You can read the Yahoo! review here.
You can purchase Lord of the Rings Online at Amazon.
Online retailer Amazon.com has released the list of winners in an online poll conducted to vote for the “Greatest Movie Adaptation” from a book and, needless to say, The Lord of the Rings came out on top.
LotR is followed by To Kill a Mockingbird, The Princess Bride, and Silence of the Lambs. Check out the complete list here. Amazon Movie Adaptation List