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Llyfrawr: Home of the Mathomium
A Tolkienian Mathomium
A Collection of Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien and His Legendarium
A Tolkienian Mathomium

Also from this author:

The Hobbitonian Anthology

Tolkien and Welsh

The Tolkienaeum Cover

This monograph is a collection of analytic essays on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, written by Tolkien scholar and Comparative Translationist Mark T. Hooker, most famous, perhaps, for his application of Comparative Translation to the study of Tolkien in his book Tolkien Through Russian Eyes. All of the articles in the book have been reviewed and revised to take into consideration the materials newly made available in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion.

In a post to the The Grey Havens Group Blog, entitled "Taverns and Travelers," talelmarhazad says: "Hooker is quite a detective. I am enjoying the Mathomium. We glimpse many details that seem elusive, like hidden gems – maybe even slippery gems, but Hooker’s grasp is firm. … I vow to memorize everything Hooker says. So the next time you see me, I will fire off many perfect quotes from Hooker."

Beyond Bree and Hither Shore says that there is "something here for everyone with even a passing interest in Tolkien. All of the articles are well researched, insightful, and highly informative."

Amon Hen (September 2006) says: "Highly recommendable."

Tolkien Studies (No. 4) says: a "pleasantly eccentric volume" . . . "Hooker has a wide variety of things to say that have not been heard before."

David Bratman in Tolkien Studies (No. 6) says: "The common thread is a cheerful attention to detail."

Lembas (No. 130, August 2007) says: "All in all, certainly a book that's worth the effort of taking the time to go through peacefully. For linguists--language nuts or not--and also for others, certainly one of the better products of [Tolkien] fandom."

Tolkien Collector's Guide says: "a good read and a good reference, so go buy a copy if you haven't already." Read the full review here.

The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza says "the articles are concerned with what Mark calls 'Tolkiennymy,' i.e. Tolkien's use of names for people and places; he's also interested in the use of individual words — like, for example, 'Garn!' Mark's The Hobbitonian Anthology is a similar collection. Both of these books are entertaining as well as interesting (and very scholarly!). … One advantage of these two Hooker books is that although the articles in them are very well-thought out and well-researched, they are also short and self contained. You don't have to sit down and read them from beginning to end — just take a chapter when you have a few minutes."

Amazon.com says: "It is one of most unique set of essays on Tolkien I have read in the past 10 years. Some are about language and others about literature references. The book is attractive because each chapter is a unique essay. You don't need to commit yourself to a book-length essay. A second positive aspect is that the essays are written during the post-HOME (History of Middle-earth) era."

Includes bibliographic references and index. B&W illustrations.

Llyfrawr is proud to announce that The Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University and The Thuringian University and State Library at Jena, Germany have added a copy of A Tolkienian Mathomium to their collections.

From the Foreword:

Why would one wish, then, to read what Hooker has to say? Primus, the Mathomium is a kind of linguistic compendium for language nuts who love Tolkien. Not all Tolkien-fanciers are language nuts (alas!), but we’re out there! ... Hooker has probed and configured Tolkien’s linguistic landscapes and documented his findings with a dizzying body of research, in light of larger European traditions, even prehistoric material, including the archaeological record.

Secundus, ... I believe that Mark Hooker, from insightful analysis of Tolkien’s work, has some good ideas. If there are those to whom Hooker may not constitute orthodox Tolkien scholarship, these folks I would ask plainly: just how "orthodox" was our beloved Professor and hobbit-fancier himself in the beginning?

In the Mathomium one can glimpse Tolkien from another side much less frequented: the real dilatory Tolkien, who in between grading papers in Anglo-Saxon in his garage-study, cobbled together his linguistic landscapes of Middle-earth. Mark lets us hear Tolkien chuckling many a chuckle. Here is the mercurial jokester in "low linguistic jest," blowing linguistic smoke-rings fond or satirical, the man who loved beer and ribaldry, who certainly did read Buchan or Haggard, or Charles Dickens, perhaps even Boys’ Life, wherein he might find an inkling of Aragorn; the man who wrote imaginative Christmas letters to his children.

Tertius, the third reason: Hooker is proficient in a number of the exotic languages into which Tolkien has been translated, and has conducted a systematic study of these translations. For this reason, Mark mans an insightful observation post, from which he provides a rare and entertaining view of how Tolkien’s text has been translated, transfigured, abridged, twisted, botched, fractured, or even mutilated. Frequently the translator even succeeds, with a hilarious twist! Those who have ever had to translate will both cringe frightfully and chuckle unmercifully at some of Hooker’s revelations.

* James Dunning

In addition to contributing the "Foreword" to The Mathomium, James Dunning also contributed three pen-and-ink drawings. One of them can be seen on the "read a Sample" page. It is an illustration of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, esq., as if for a Hobbiton Daily News flash about his donation of his mithril mail corslet to the Mathom House in Michel Delving. The original drawing is English A4 (ca. 21 cm x 30 cm). Inquiries about acquiring full-sized reproductions of this and the other drawings suitable for framing may be addressed to the artist via his site at dolmentree.com.

To learn more about the book, follow the links below.

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