Joining the Middle Earth Network Community

It’s official. My co-author Jim Anderson and I have moved our blog site to the network of sites that constitutes the Middle Earth Network. We’re pleased and honoured to be part of this rich cultural enterprise… and grateful as well to those who made the transition possible, beginning with our dear friend, Ted Nasmith, who first broached the idea and acted as a go-between with the folks at the Network, when we began to pursue this option. Also, thanks go out to Lara, Mark, and Jeff, who certainly made smooth our paths and were unstintingly kind in their help.

It’s wonderfully appropriate that this blog entry—the first to occur under this new arrangement—is being posted on Hobbit Day, the birthday held in common by Bilbo and Frodo. Hobbit Day is relevant here on so many levels both as an allusive image of the creative work that Jim and I have done together in our Legacy of the Stone Harp series, but also in the way it is suggestive of the wider, communitarian scope of Tolkien’s imagination and his dynamic concept of literary tradition—a perfect justification of the need for a venue like the Middle Earth Network, no less important in our own day than the Inklings were in theirs.

Community in its many aspects is central to Tolkien’s vision. Which is why, when it comes to hobbits, birthdays are an occasion for grandly altruistic interaction with friends and family, especially since it is their custom to give gifts rather than receive them. Also, it should be remembered that the Red Book of Westmarch, which tells the great story of the Third Age of Middle-earth and of which The Lord of the Rings is a brilliant fragment, is a collaborative creation, involving the wordcraft of many hands, Bilbo and Frodo not least of them. Communities such as the Middle Earth Network continue this inestimably valuable work of collaboration.

Deeply appreciative of the role that the Inklings played in fostering his imaginative and creative life, in a fanciful echo of Beowulf, Tolkien penned the following words of praise, which are translated here from Old English by Humphrey Carpenter and which could just as easily apply to those in our own day who fulfill the same role:

“Lo! We have heard in old days of the wisdom of the cunning-minded Inklings… how those wise ones sat together in their deliberations, skillfully reciting learning and song-craft, earnestly meditating. That was true joy!”

2 Comments »

  • theviking

    I just read your intro and am very intrigued indeed. I like the Stuebenville connection as my brothere has a masters in theology from there.

    September 24, 2013 >> 10:54 am

  • markfsebanc

    Nice to hear from you. Interesting about the Steubenville connection. Please do keep tuned, as we’ll be posting more frequently, now that we’re part of the Middle Earth Network.

    September 24, 2013 >> 11:07 am

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