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Posted: Wednesday Mar 21, 2012

March 21, 2012

Douglas A. Anderson, a writer and scholar best known for his various works of Tolkien scholarship, and an editor on the subjects of fantasy and medieval literature, will be the next presentation in the Saint Vincent College Threshold Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29 in the Fred M. Rogers Center.

His talk, entitled “Annotating and Illustrating the Hobbit,” is drawn from his most well-known work, The Annotated Hobbit, first published in 1988, an influential and exhaustive look at the publication history and background material of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Admission is free but reservations are required by submitting a request to threshold@stvincent.edu.

The lecture will be introduced by Dr. Matthew Fisher, associate professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College.

Mr. Anderson’s first book was The Annotated Hobbit (1988; revised and enlarged 2002), and he is a founding coeditor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, of which eight volumes have appeared. He helped correct the text of The Lord of the Rings in both the American and British editions, and these versions contain his introductory "Note on the Text." He is also the lesser co-author (with Wayne G. Hammond) of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography (1993). Among the many books he has edited is a reissue of E. A. Wyke-Smith’s The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1996), a children's book originally published in 1927 that provided the impetus of Tolkien's children's book The Hobbit. His anthologies include Tales Before Tolkien (2003), H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Weird Tales (2005), and Tales Before Narnia (2008). With Verlyn Flieger, he co-edited Tolkien On Fairy-Stories (2008). He writes regularly on older fantasy and supernatural literature in journals and blogs.

He was born and raised in northwest Indiana, where at the age of 13 his older sister gave him The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read because they were big, and she thought they would keep him occupied. They have kept him occupied, for nearly forty years.

He studied English and Medieval Studies at Cornell University in upstate New York, and also attended a summer program at Oxford, where Tolkien had been both a student and later a professor. In 1990 The Annotated Hobbit won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award, presented annually by the Mythopoeic Society, a literary organization devoted to the writings of Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and to fantasy literature in general.

For many years he worked at independent bookstores, spending eleven years at one in Ithaca, New York, and, later, several years at another in northwest Indiana. He moved to southwestern Michigan in 2003, where he built a house with his father.

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, the father of the fantasy genre, recently marked the 120th anniversary of his birth. They said the traditional short toast, “The Professor.” The author of the famous trilogy The Lord of the Rings taught at Oxford University. After surviving the trenches of World War I as a volunteer, Tolkien wrote a fairy tale in the early ’30s called The Hobbit, or, There, and Back Again. Subsequently, because he created the vast world of Middle-earth, with many nations, tongues, its own religion and history, his trilogy The Lord of the Rings, published in the ’50s, is considered one of the most famous and popular books of the 20th century. It spawned a youth subculture, known as Tolkienistov or Rolevikov in Russia.

The Hobbit, a fantasy novel and children's book, was published September 21, 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic in children's literature.

Admission is free of charge for Mr. Anderson’s presentation at Saint Vincent College. However, all seats in the Fred M. Rogers Center are reserved and admission will be by ticket only. Requests for reservations may be made by email. Persons requesting tickets should send their name, address, daytime phone (include area code) and number of seats requested to the Threshold Box Office at threshold@stvincent.edu. All reservations will be confirmed by return email. Please note that tickets will be held at the box office for pickup upon arrival for the presentation; no tickets are mailed in advance. Tickets not claimed by 7:10 p.m. will be released.

Saint Vincent College established the Threshold Lecture Series in 1981 when the Kennametal Foundation of Latrobe made a substantial grant to the College for the creation of an ongoing series of lectures and cultural events.

Previous Threshold speakers have included Carl Sagan; a Time magazine panel consisting of Hugh Sidey, Strobe Talbott and John Stacks; Amitai Etzioni; Alvin Toffler; Dixy Lee Ray; Donald Johanson; Isaac Asimov; Claire Bloom; Lawrence Stone; Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.; Alex Haley; Robert Claiborne; Arthur B. Laffer; Richard E. Morley and William A. Taylor; May Sarton; Mark Littman; Jehan Sadat; Tom Wolfe; Michael Kammen; Martin E. Marty; Lt. General James A. Abrahamson; Seymour M. Hersh; Stephen F. Cohen; Joyce Carol Oates; Estelle R. Ramey; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick; Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B.; Ralph Nader; Daniel Callahan; Robert Jarvik; John E. Chubb; John Noble Wilford; Ronald A. Morse; Thomas Sowell; Michael Medved; Jane Bryant Quinn; Harold S. Kushner; James Q. Wilson; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; James Burke; Bernard S. Siegal; Peter B. Dervan; Milton Katselas; Bill Moyers; Peter Stearns; Dean Ornish; Mary Pipher; Robert Munsch; Herbert S. Benson; Michael Turner; Susan Stamberg; Mike Jensen; Archduke Rudolph of Austria; Roger Cossack; Stanley Hauerwas; Regina Carter; Heinz-Joachim Fischer; Jonathan Kozol, Gilbert Meilaender; John Haught; Richard Louv; Steven Strogatz; Robert Putnam; Jerome Oetgen; Benjamin Zander; Colleen Carroll Campbell; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Arthur T. Downey and Jere Longman.


Photo: Douglas A. Anderson 


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