Monday, July 30, 2012

A Festschrift for Tom Shippey

Greeting, friends! I’ve been holding my breath to share the details of this for a long time now. At last, an agreement with the publisher has been inked, and I’ve gotten a green light to share. Some of you may remember a CFP going out for this project almost three years ago!

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Tom Shippey to Tolkien studies. To me personally, he’s been a huge inspiration. In some ways, he represents my ideal reader, the scholar whose standard I have aimed for and in whose footsteps I have tried to follow. I’m happy to finally share the news that a Festschrift honoring him — the second, actually [1] — is being published by McFarland, probably at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2013. The project has an inexplicable number of editors, but pay that no mind. Just check out this table of contents! Flieger, Rateliff, Burns, West — not to mention yours truly. I heard Burns’s paper in person in Vermont, back in 2008, and I’ve been waiting to see the final version in print ever since.

I think we can all agree this is something to look forward to! Please do note that details are subject to change. I’ve seen a couple of changes in the table of contents over the last couple of years, and one or two more are still possible. I also wonder whether the title might change, judging from my own experience with McFarland.

Anyway, have a look at this:

Author of the New Century:
T.A. Shippey and the Creation of the Next Canon

Edited by John William Houghton, Janet Brennan Croft,
Nancy Martsch, John D. Rateliff, and Robin Anne Reid

I. Memoirs and Bibliography

Counseling the Scippigræd: How T. A. Shippey Taught Us to Read
John R. Holmes

Tom Shippey, and a Few New Leaves on Some Old Roots and Branches
E.L. Risden

A Talk by Tom Shippey
Todd Jensen

Tom Shippey and the Tolkien Society
Jessica Yates

Shippey amongst the Mercians
John Wm. Houghton

II. Answering Questions

The “Lady with the Simple Gown and White Arms” or Possible Influences of Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Book Illustrations on Tolkien’s Work
Nancy Martsch

Places Where the Stars are Strange: Fantasy and Utopia in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
Robert T. Tally, Jr.

Middle-earth and the Waste Land: Greenwood, Apocalypse, and Post-War Resolution
E.L. Risden

The Jewels, the Stone, the Ring & the Making of Meaning
Verlyn Flieger

Tolkien and Apposition
Leslie Stratyner

III. “Philological Inquiries”

Keeping Counsel: Advice in Tolkien’s Fiction
John R. Holmes

Tolkien’s Wraiths, Rings and Dragons: An Exercise in Literary Linguistics
Jason Fisher

‘He chanted a song of wizardry’: Words with Power in
B. S. W. Barootes

IV. “The True Tradition”

Inside Literature: Tolkien’s Explorations of Medieval Genres
John D. Rateliff

‘Poor Sméagol’: Gollum as Exile in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
Yvette Kisor

The Presence of the Past in The Lord of the Rings
John B. Marino

Night-wolves, Half-trolls, and the Dead Who Won’t Stay Down
Marjorie Burns

V. Perspectives from Outside the Cycle

Väinämöinen in Middle-earth: The Pervasive Presence of the Kalevala in the Bombadil Chapters of The Lord of the Rings
David L. Dettman

Lack of Counsel Not of Courage: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Critique of the Heroic Ethos in The Children of Húrin
Richard C. West

‘Alone Between the Dark and the Light’: ‘The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun’ and Lessons from the Later Legendarium
Kristine Larsen

[1] The first is almost unknown: ConstructingNations, Reconstructing Myth: Essays in Honour of T.A. Shippey. Ed. Andrew Wawn, with Graham Johnson and John Walter. Making the Middle Ages, Volume 9. Brepols Publishers, 2007. In case you are wondering, there is almost no overlap between the two Festschriften. This first one, on the occasion of Tom’s sixtieth birthday, has to do with folklore, national idea, and the so-called “Grimmian revolution”; whereas, Author of the New Century focuses on Tom’s considerable contributions to Tolkien studies specifically.


  1. Glad to hear this is finally official!

  2. Is "Cannon" a typo for "Canon"? Or is there some word play I'm missing?

  3. Excellent! (My reading-list is turning into a book!)

  4. These are fantastic news! I'm too enthusiastic right now to find anything intelligent to say or ask ;-)

  5. Cool! When can I pre-order my copy?

    Cathy AJ

  6. Josh: It's gotta be a typo, though there is a novel out there called 1635: Cannon Law where it's a pun: about the (hypothetical) Spanish invasion of the Papal States.

  7. @Josh: Yes, it’s a typo! I’ve corrected it. :)

    @Cat: A bit early for that still. Give it another couple of months, I think.