Academic journal article Mythlore


Academic journal article Mythlore


Article excerpt

We regret that we must begin this issue of Mythlore by marking the passing of Pauline Baynes, illustrator par excellance of both Narnia and Middle-earth. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull provide us with a brief appreciation of her life and work, followed by a listing of her appearances in Mythlore as illustrator or author, or as the subject of articles or reviews, complied by Edith Crowe and myself.

Our lead article, by Doug Kane, is an excerpt from his longer work in progress on Tolkien's Silmarillion and how it was constructed from the materials later published in the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth. In this particular article he compares the version of "Of Feanor and the Unchaining of Melkor" in the published Silmarillion with the source material given in Morgoth's Ring, finding intriguing patterns in what Christopher Tolkien used and did not use from the original material.

Frank P. Riga's contribution concerns the roots of the wizard Gandalf's character in Merlin, surprisingly uncharted territory for such a fertile topic. This article continues his insightful research on Merlin as an influence on the characters of both Gandalf and Saruman which was published in Tolkien and Shakespeare: Essays on Shared Themes and Language (McFarland, 2006).

Two essays on dealing with dragons, more or less, follow. First Lauren Berman investigates the role and symbolism of dragons and serpents in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, with side excursions into Lewis and Tolkien for their takes on the topic. Marie Nelson, returning again to our pages with another article on how language does its work, takes us through a close reading of the two riddle games in Tolkien's Hobbit--the first between Bilbo and Gollum, and the second a three-sided game where both Smaug and the reader try to decode Bilbo's riddling self-references.

Ginna Wilkerson's paper on Frodo's psychological isolation in The Lord of the Rings offers a different perspective on some recent work on Frodo and post-traumatic stress syndrome, looking more closely at what was happening to him during his quest rather than after and providing a possible new framework for understanding his experiences and reactions.

In Michael J. Brisbois's article, we are invited to consider the deeper social implications of carrying and using a sword in the medieval world of Middle-earth--how bearing a sword not only indicates leadership and service, but provides an opportunity for social mobility, in addition to its more obvious military meanings.

Jeffrey J. MacLeod and Anna Smol next provide us with a look into Tolkien's thoughts on creativity, not just through "On Fairy-Stories" and "Leaf by Niggle," as one might expect, but also through Tolkien's visual art. …

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