Yesterday I hunkered down and did what I have been putting off for almost three months now: I put my paper from the New York Tolkien Conference into a finalized form that I am not embarrassed to show in polite company. Since I use a lot of digital sources during research, I have a shorthand that I use in citations so that it’s relatively easy to go back and add page numbers from the print versions. Relatively easy except that nothing done a few dozen times over is ever exactly easy. Also, I have to say that adding graphics to documents in MS Word is a pain in the ass that seems to have gotten worse over subsequent “improvements” of Word, and “Loremasters of Fëanor” has quite a few graphics.
Anyway, those chores are now done and the paper is available in text form on Academia.edu.
Read “Loremasters of Fëanor: Historical Bias in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Transformative Works”
Download “Loremasters of Fëanor: Historical Bias in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Transformative Works” (PDF)
(Also, a reminder that a video recording of the presentation is also available. The text version, however, includes a few paragraphs that I deleted from the talk so as to fit in my half-hour allotment, as well as the graphics that I struggled to add, of course. But the video has me prattling in my Baltimore accent. So there are selling points for both.)
Here is the abstract for the paper:
Written from the point of view of in-universe narrators and loremasters, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien consciously imitate historicity, including the presence of historical bias. While historical bias in Tolkien’s works has received very little scholarly attention, it is a driving force in the activity of another group of Tolkien experts: writers of Tolkien-based transformative works or fan fiction. This paper presents data showing a correlation between a character’s receipt of bias and the amount of attention given him or her by fan fiction writers, concluding that characters who are perceived to have been treated unfairly in the texts often make appealing subjects for transformative works. This paper was presented at the New York Tolkien Conference held at Baruch College on 13 June 2015.
With this done, I think I can finally put this puppy to bed. Unless Myth Ink decides to do a proceedings, in which case I suppose I’ll have to trot it out one more time, but with citations and graphics done, that should be quick (I hope).
As always, comments on the paper are welcome!