Thursday, July 27, 2023

habemus librum

When I was first chosen as Scholar Guest of Honor for what turned into the 2022 Mythopoeic Conference, I was uncomfortably aware that I lacked something that most Guests of Honor had: a book.

True, I had published one book with the Mythopoeic Press, the book-publishing arm of the Mythopoeic Society, some years earlier: an edition of Charles Williams's Masques of Amen House. But it wasn't really mine: I'd edited it, not written it.

I had some essays, especially ones given as Mythcon papers. I knew my papers had been popular among a small circle of enthusiasts. Some of the essays had been published in obscure places and hadn't come to the attention of scholars who could have benefited from them. Some of them I'd never gotten around to publishing at all. I'd been wondering what to do about these, and here was my chance.

I wrote to Leslie Donovan, the publisher of the Mythopoeic Press - and incidentally the co-chair of the Mythcon that was having me as GoH - and suggested a collection of my essays. She said yes. Much selecting, permission-obtaining, editing, and laying-out followed. It should have been done in time for that Mythcon, but it's a year late.

Anyway, it's here now. It's titled Gifted Amateurs and Other Essays: on Tolkien, the Inklings, and Fantasy Literature. Some of you may have many books; this one is mine. Not up on the MythSoc website yet, but the purchase links are live.

Buy in paperback format: $19.95
Buy in Kindle format from Amazon: $9.99
Buy in Other ebook versions (from Smashwords) $9.99

Here's the table of contents:

Part 1: Tolkien
1. J.R.R. Tolkien: An Introduction to His Work
2. The Literary Value of The History of Middle-earth
3. Top Ten Rejected Plot Twists from The Lord of the Rings: A Textual Excursion into "The History of The Lord of the Rings"
4. The Artistry of Omissions and Revisions in The Lord of the Rings
5. Hobbit Names Aren't from Kentucky
6. Smith of Wootton Major and Genre Fantasy

Part 2: Inklings
7. "Gifted Amateurs": C.S. Lewis and the Inklings
8. The Inklings and the Pacific Ocean
9. C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy: An Informal View
10. Unmasquing Charles Williams

Part 3: Others
11. Imaginary Worlds, Sliced and Preserved
12. How Do You Solve a Problem Like King Arthur?
13. The Plays of Lord Dunsany
14. Mervyn Peake, the Gormenghast Diptych, and Titus Alone
15. The Geography of Earthsea
16. Roger Zelazny, Mythopoeic in the High Desert
17. A Game of You - Yes, You

Part 4: Squiggles
18. The Fellowship of the Ring: A Review, 1954
19. The Condensed Silmarillion
20. The Case Against Peter Jackson
21. Yes, There Is Religion in Middle-earth
22. Paul Edwin Zimmer, Swordsman and Poet
23. The Making of a Tolkien Fan: A Personal Reminiscence