April 20 - gift

Supervising students pays off karmically, I always say, but sometimes it pays off materially as well. After yesterday's successful defense, Tolkien Fan very kindly provided me with a wee treasure trove that proves she's been reading this blog carefully, not just the many volumes of JRR Tolkien and the (to me quite unsatisfactory) ecocritical studies of same by Matthew Dickerson.

To my shelves, I gratefully add:
  • Elspeth Bradbury & Judy Maddocks, The Garden Letters
  • Robert Hass, Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005 (lovely!)
  • Adolf Hungrywolf, Legends Told by the Old People of Many Tribes
  • Ian Mackenzie, Ancient Landscapes of British Columbia (holy rhetoric of the nostalgic sublime, Batman!)
  • M.A. Macpherson, Outlaws of the Canadian West (a selection that may represent mocking and will therefore be reflected in all future reference letters...)
  • JRR Tolkien, The Children of Hurin (with a possibly gratuitous accent aigu over the "u," which reminds me I still haven't learned the first thing about Unicode)

Apropos of all this, though perhaps somewhat tangentially for a note intended primarily as one of thanks, I want to talk a bit about the state of Tolkien ecocriticism. Dickerson and Evans' book Ents, Elves, & Eriador: The Environmental Vision of JRR Tolkien, sounded promising, but I approve of Patrick Curry's assessment of the book in Tolkien Studies as "disingenuous and tendentious" (PDF download of review here), a response echoed by Dimitra Fimi in Folklore who called it both "patronising" and "propagandist." Honestly, we need better Tolkien ecocriticism than has been done so far, and not just better than Dickerson's. Too much of it reads like a caricature of ecocriticism, rather than like genuine analysis. Ecocriticism should involve the reconsideration of one's assumptions, not the buttressing of them, and that's an important reason why I appreciated Naomi's paper.


Anonymous said…
Purposeful non-italicization Of D&E as criticism?
richard said…
Thanks for the tip, mystery commenter!
naomi said…
Oops. That's strange.
richard said…
What's strange? That I fixed it, or that you showed anonymously?
naomi said…
The latter. Must have clicked it accidentally.

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