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Re: Blogpost - The Tolkien Industry by Jack Ross
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I wholly agree with Jason. In fact, my response to another book of Tolkien criticism showing up on Amazon is the complete opposite of Ross. I guess the only time I despair is when the book seems to me overpriced--which has happened more than once.


Or we could simply let Tolkien's wonderful works stand for themselves (!), rather than subjecting them (and him) to endless (and generally completely subjective) scrutiny. Don't get me wrong, I think that there are numerous analytical works that I think are fantastic (but I'm thinking of a very small number of Authors, such as Humphrey Carpenter, Hammond/ Scull etc). The vast majority of books on or about Tolkien are completely unnecessary and either re-hash existing material or promote the authors' own agendas ("The Gospel according to Tolkien" springs to mind). The reality is that Tolkien's legacy has become a trough with a lot of greedy snouts dipping in to get what they can (sometimes just reflected glory). The success of those authors with integrity (such as, but not limited to, those mentioned above) has spawned a whole industry.

On the other hand, people are still writing Shakespeare criticism some four hundred years after his death, aren't they? Not to mention Chaucer, Gawain, and Beowulf criticism, all even longer in the tooth.


Yes, they are. Any generation can - perhaps - usefully revisit older works and re-evaluate them in the current social context. This probably has some value, but most re-evaluations will simply be more of the same re-hashed. The biggest thing I learned from English Literature at School was that it told me more about the critics than the material being critiqued....

Posted on: 2009/6/22 17:57


Re: Blogpost - The Tolkien Industry by Jack Ross
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I quite enjoyed reading that little article, and I think his points are all fairly sound. I must admit, I do despair when I see yet another book of Tolkien criticism show up on Amazon. I really think that everything worth saying has largely been said, and that examining anyone's life and works to the degree that seems to have been done for JRRT produces some fairly dull - and fundamentally rather pointless commentary (which often seems to say more about the author than anything else).

If half the effort was put into creating something new and original, rather than treading and re-treading paths that are worn very, very thin, the world would be a richer place, methinks.

I think he might be being a bit harsh on HoME, although I think perhaps 6 volumes would have been sufficient (with 3 dedicated to LoTR) to provide all of the information necessary for all but the most obsessed. It may be that I'm not really the target audience (and so I don't fully relate to it), or it may be that HoME just got a bit out of hand. Probably a bit of both.

I do think there is a danger in publishing every last word that Tolkien wrote, because some of it was undoubtedly rubbish that should have been left on the cutting-room floor, and I agree with author that we probably haven't seen the last of it...

Posted on: 2009/6/21 22:59


Re: Super-Deluxe Sigurd & Gudrun
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From an email I got from HC:

The exclusive collector's leather-bound edition has been a great success with Tolkien fans, as expected, and there's still time for you to get your copy at our special introductory price of just £250. As with all good things this offer won't last for much longer and will revert to the R.R.P. of £350 at midnight on 30th June 2009, so make sure you don't miss this great opportunity!


I expect it will be discounted by up to 30% from the GBP350 in the future (as happened with CoH SD), but it may be that GBP250(ish) is as good a price as will come along for this any time soon.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 22:32


Re: Super-Deluxe Sigurd & Gudrun
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Anyway, I ordered 2 copies by phone at the same time and I ended up with copies 38 and 14. Go figure! The allocation of the numbers all seems a little random.


To be honest, it might well be as simple as the way the books are stacked in the warehouse for picking. This coupled with the multiplexing of the phone orders and web orders into the invoicing/order picking system would probably result in something approximating sequential allocation ( becoming more accurate as the number of orders falls off). I imagine doing anything more accurate would simply be more effort than it is worth (and no one ever claimed to be allocating sequentially this time around, anyway).

I've only seen one mention of a number over 50 so far.

Posted on: 2009/6/9 15:29


Re: Super-Deluxe Sigurd & Gudrun
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However, I am very skeptical and would be surprised if this wasn't intentional, knowing that only a few customers will go through the hassle of refuting the charge.


I have had more problems with HC than most, but I don't think they are in the game of *intentionally* scamming anyone (other than perhaps with the inflated prices of some of their books! :)). I honestly think the Tolkien website side of their business is something they don't have the time or interest in to deal with properly, so they make lots and lots of mistakes (which they do not appear to learn from).

For instance, my copy turned up at work without my name on it (just the address and company name) and apparently with no paperwork to identify me inside, either. So instead of getting a nice shrink-wrapped copy, I got a copy opened and thumbed over by our receptionist (who fortunately had clean fingers)! I only found out it had arrived a couple of days later because it was on reception awaiting someone identifying it (our receptionist had sent an email request to the office, but had ironically used the wrong address for the mailing list) ! Now in this case, no harm was done, but if I had been planning on keeping it shrink-wrapped as an investment copy, I would probably have been a bit miffed.

The number of cock-ups I have witnessed definitely imply incompetence, not anything more sinister.

Stu

Posted on: 2009/6/7 15:58



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