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Notes and thoughts about J.R.R. Tolkien, the Tolkien Index, and related topics.

Vinyar Tengwar 39 Index

Indexing Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 13:45:46

I just finished compiling an index of names for Vinyar Tengwar 39 on Tolkien Index.

The writings by Tolkien published in this issue were
“From Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D” and “Ósanwe-kenta: ‘Enquiry into the Communication of Thought’”. Both are highly interesting texts, containing many passages not only of interest to linguists. If you are not an owner already, I recommend you to order the The Collected Vinyar Tengwar from the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship!

Professor Tolkien’s Whimsical Talk

Tolkien (misc.) Posted on Mon, April 30, 2012 18:03:20

On 14 December 1956, J.R.R. Tolkien made a speech at the opening of the new Deddington Library (Scull & Hammond, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Chronology, pp. 497–8). The Oxford Mail published an article from the opening on 15 December, but it appears to have been largely unknown that another article from the event was featured in The Banbury Advertiser on 19 December. As far I know, the latter article was first “re-discovered” when it was mentioned in a 2011 brochure from the Deddington Library.

The British Library was able to provide a photocopy of the original article, “Deddington’s
New Library Opened by Mrs. L. Hichens – Prof.
Tolkien’s Whimsical Talk”, appearing on page 5 in The Banbury Advertiser for 19 December 1956. I have made some efforts to contact a representative of The Banbury Advertiser (no longer in print), but without any success: the magazine appears to have been owned by a member of the Russell family of Deddington, and the original owner is deceased and his son now apparently lives in China (for this piece of information, thanks to David at the current Banbury Advertiser, not associated with the original publication [Update: link no longer available as of 27 April 2013]).

Below follows a low-resolution reproduction of the original article, and transcriptions of the passages dealing with J.R.R. Tolkien.

New Library Opened by Mrs. L. Hichens – Prof.
Tolkien’s Whimsical Talk

books are besieged by a great many powerful embattled enemies, some of whom
have been strongly entrenched, and to be here at the opening of a strongpoint
from which troops can be sent out against those enemies is a great honour.

schoolboy who noticed a similarity between these words spoken by Prof. J. R. R.
Tolkien at the opening of the Deddington Branch Library on Friday afternoon,
and an adventure story he had recently heard would not be far wrong. For Prof.
Tolkien is the author of “The Lord of the Rings,” a remarkable fairy romance
for which he invented 700,000 words, and which has in its three volumes been
broadcast extensively on the B.B.C. schools programme.

Tolkien was speaking after the official opening by Mrs. Lionel Hichens,
formerly the chairman of the Oxfordshire Education Committee.

Hichens said it was a great day for the people who lived in or near Deddington.

“It’s now a
great deal different from the sad, grey and horrible surroundings of the court,”
she said (the library is situated in the former Deddington Courtroom), “and it
has undergone a wonderful change.”


Tolkien was introduced by the County Librarian, Miss M. Stanley-Smith, and in a
whimsical address he said he felt that while not a native Oxonian, he could
count himself a naturalised subject for he had lived at Oxford for the past 38

he said, were to blame for him, because he had never been able to distinguish
between the fascination of finding fairy stories on the same shelves as Primers
of the Gothic language. “Out of these things have come my books,” he said.


“The wealth
of books to be found here,” he said, “is food for the mind, and everyone knows
that for the stomach to go without food for a long time is bad, but for the
mind to go without food is even worse.”

He advised
his audience that everything they read might eventually be of use to them. He
had read pages which he had thought he had forgotten, and yet at the oddest
times, the information which those pages had contained had proved of use to


“I have
seen visions through the wormholes of books printed before Caxton died, and
from the painting of skins of animals which roamed that County we don’t speak
of at Wantage before Alfred was born,” he said.

concluded with a verse from one of his volumes in the musical fairylike
language that he invented.

He was
thanked by the Rev. M. Frost, Vicar of Deddington, who said that the County
Library Service was most useful.


Christina Hole, the authoress and expert on English folklore, whose books are a
popular “must” for many country-people, seconded Mr. Frost’s vote of thanks and
thanked Prof. Tolkien for coming from those far lands which he had created. His
works had given her and many others intense pleasure.


Vinyar Tengwar 49 Index

Indexing Posted on Tue, March 27, 2012 00:30:53

Just finished compiling an index of names for Vinyar Tengwar 49 on Tolkien Index.

As can be seen in the index log, I limited the indexing of the substantial editorial comments (especially for the latter piece, “”Five Late Quenya Volitive Inscriptions”). However, in case you think it’s useful to have an index of names to all of the editorial texts in this issue, please let me know.

(Remember that page references to editorial comments are given in square brackets; in this way they can easily be distinguished from page references to Tolkien’s texts.)

The History of Middle-earth Index corrigenda

Indexing Posted on Mon, March 26, 2012 19:20:21

While working on the Tolkien Index website, I’ve encountered a few errors in the paperback edition of The History of Middle-earth Index (HarperCollins 2002). (It would be interesting to know if any of these were corrected for the print-on-demand hardcover edition released in 2010.) I will be updating this article if additional errors are found.

[General note added 28 May 2020: Jeremy Edmonds has kindly informed me that the errors below are also present in a print-on-demand hardcover edition purchased on 1 September 2018.]

p. 28 (entry for Atanamir): [for] Tar-Atanamtr [read] Tar-Atanamir

p. 31: [after] Aur [insert] (I)

p. 123 (entry for Elenarda): [for] *2423 [read] *242—3

p. 155: [for] Falmani [read] Falmari [Added 26 September 2013]

p. 157: [for] Faskala-ntmen [read] Faskala-númen [Added 28 April 2014][Note 1]

p. 158: [for] Fëanonian (XII) […] Fëanonians [read] Fëanorian (XII) […] Fëanorians [Added 28 May 2020] [Note 2]

p. 180 (entry for Gartharian): [for] Gartharian [read] Garthúrian

p. 191: [for] Gochnessiel [read] Gochressiel

p. 251 (entry for Ivorwin): [for] Ivorwin [read] Ivonwin [Added 7 April 2013]

p. 270 (entry for Lindon): [The form Lindónë appears in the index, while the form Lindóne is used in the text.]

p. 326 (entry for Nen Cenednil): [for] Nen Cenednil [read] Nen Cenedril

p. 330 (entry for Nimphelos): [for] 10 [read] 11

p. 435 (entry for Tom Bombadil (VII)): [for] Porn [read] Forn [Added 24 June 2012]

p. 459 (entry for Valaturu): [for] Valaturu [read] Valatúru [Added 23 March 2013]


Note 1: In the textual passage (BLT1:187), the form is actually given as Faskalanúmen (i.e., without the hyphen); other references, however, give the form with the hyphen (such as BLT1:253 and PE11:34).

Note 2: Thanks to Lorenzo Carrera Bloise for sending me a notice about this error.

Hans Künzel Discovered The Lord of the Rings?

Tolkien in Sweden Posted on Thu, March 22, 2012 20:45:29

Pierre Dethorey, owner of Åkarps Antikvariat in Lund, has offered the following reminiscence about Hans Künzel (Swedish editor, who worked at Gebers, the publishers of Sagan om ringen, the first Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings):

Hans Künzel …
discovered Tolkien. He told me once that he found The Lord of the Rings at a bookmarket (Frankfurt?), and read it at a single sitting during the night. However, he later had large difficulties trying to convince Gebers to buy the Swedish publishing right!” (1)

This anecdote offers a small but unique insight into the publication history of The Lord of the Rings in Sweden, and might complement the account given by Erland Törngren:

It was my mother, Disa Törngren, who towards the end of the 1950s heard about an English professor of Anglo-Saxon and English literature, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who had written an extraordinary and impressive epic story of over 1,200 pages, a trilogy that had become popular in England. She was editor-in-chief at Gebers publishers, loved fairy tales, and contacted Sir Stanley Unwin, the English publisher. When the contract for the three parts was cleared, she commissioned Åke Ohlmarks, learned in languages and who had formerly translated, for example, the Icelandic Edda, to do the translation.” (2)

I contacted Mr. Dethorey, who had no futher details to add to to his reminiscence (besides that Künzel had told Dethorey the story many years ago when they worked together compiling catalogues for Gunnar Johanson-Thor, then owner of Nyléns Antikvariat in Stockholm).

Notes & Acknowledgements

Photograph of Åkarps Antikvariat. Copyright Pierre Dethorey/Åkarps Antikvariat. Reproduced with permission.

1) Original Swedish text:

Hans Künzel var en gång redaktör på Lundagård, och under sin tid på Gebers redigerade han bl.a. Fakirens samlade verk. Han “upptäckte” också Tolkien, berättade för mig en gång att han fick tag i Sagan om ringen på en bokmarknad (Frankfurt?), sträckläste den på natten, men att han sedan hade stora svårigheter att övertala Gebers att köpa den svenska rättigheten!” (Source; accessed 22 March 2012.)

2) Original Swedish text:

Det var min mor, Disa Törngren, som mot slutet av 1950-talet fick höra talas om att en engelsk professor i anglosaxiska och engelsk litteratur, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, hade skrivit ett mycket märkligt och mäktigt sagoepos på över 1 200 sidor, en trilogi som blivit populär i England. Hon var då litterär chef på Gebers förlag, älskade sagor och tog kontakt med den engelske förläggaren, sir Stanley Unwin. När kontraktet för de tre delarna var klart anlitade hon den språkkunnige Åke Ohlmarks, som tidigare översatt bl.a. isländska Eddan, för att göra översättningen.” (Törngren, Erland. “När
‘Sagan om ringen’ kom till Sverige” [“When The Lord of the Rings Came to Sweden”]; Nationalencyclopedin. []. Published 14 December 2001, accessed 22 March 2012.)

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