Saturday, September 13, 2003

A Quick, Newsy Blog

The semester has gotten off to a good start. I like my students very much: they seem very motivated and particularly energetic this year. Medieval Literature has a ridiculous number of students (52). I've tried to scare them away, but no luck thus far (and the drop date is past).

The Tolkien Seminar seems to be quite good. There was already good discussion, etc., last week. We'll see how they do with The Hobbit tomorrow. And my independent in Old Norse looks good, as does my English 101 / SciFi class. Too much work, and I'm already snowed under, but that's to be expected.

The news comes in the form of something that is a complete surprise to me, but I guess it shouldn't have been. Since we're still negotiating the contract (note: I am a terrible negotiator; I haven't gotten one things I've asked for; I need an agent), I won't say the name, but a certain press has decided to publish The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia with yours truly as the Editor. (Remember when I said to hit me in the head with a brick if I ever agreed to edit anything else? Where were you guys, huh?). So I will now be editing an 816 page (where they got so specific a number, I don't know), 500,000 word book with 100 illustrations. If you have ideas about what should be in it, or if you want to write short articles for it, let me know. I'll need a legion of writers and a huge pile of suggestions.

This is definitely one of those "be careful what you wish for" situations. On the one hand I really believe in the project and think that it will be a great addition to the scholarship and a good way to move Tolkien studies towards more effective approaches (so, for example, a graduate student could write a dissertation on Tolkien and hope to get a job). On the other, I am terrified at the amount of work. I am actually (this is supposed to be embarrassing for an academic to admit) quite good at administration, but it's still scary.

But quite a compliment to be asked, and, as you know, I'm a sucker for those things.

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