Monday, December 19, 2005

Dan Timmons, R.I.P.

I was very sad to get the news today that Dan Timmons, best known as the editor (with George Clark) of J. R. R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances, passed away yesterday after a long illness.

I met Dan a number of years back at Kalamazoo, before Beowulf and the Critics or his book came out, and we had a wonderful, late, long and apparently too loud (someone yelled at us to get out of the courtyard because it was after 2 a.m.) conversation about our frustrations at getting Tolkien studies taken seriously by the academy.

Dan was an excellent scholar, a talented critic, and, most of all, a warm and generous person.

About a month ago, he sent me some very large and important entries for the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (this led me to believe that he might be getting better, but, alas, that was not the case). His entries are testament to his excellent scholarship and, even more importantly, his essential fair-mindedness (a quality sadly lacking in too many critics -- and not my own strong suit). Dan wrote balanced and insightful treatments of controversial topics, and he combined a deep and abiding love of Tolkien's work with effective critical judgment. The field will miss the many additional contributions he would have made over the years, but even more, we will miss him.

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