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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

A Pretty Big SSP! My First Peer-Reviewed Publication!

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

A Pretty Big SSP! My First Peer-Reviewed Publication!

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For over a year now, I have been working on writing and revising an article for the Journal of Tolkien Research. While I've published a few Tolkien studies articles, this was my first for a peer-reviewed journal. Well, after much work over the last year, the themed issue Authorizing Tolkien: Control, Adaptation, and Dissemination of J.R.R. Tolkien's Works is now available!

Aaaand, here is my article:
Attainable Vistas: Historical Bias in Tolkien's Legendarium as a Motive for Transformative Fanworks

This paper grew out of the work I've done with the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey and my long-running interest in The Silmarillion as a pseudohistorical text written from a deliberately biased point of view. It also inspired the research that heartofoshun and I presented at the New York Tolkien Conference because, as I investigated how authors on Tolkien fanfic archives did or did not seem to use historical bias as an inspiration for fanworks, I first observed that different archives often had different results.

An excerpt from the abstract:

Tolkien's construction of his legendarium as a pseudohistory, complete with fictional narrators or loremasters, offers one means by which some writers of Tolkien-based fan fiction extend their authority to critique and change the details of the texts. As this paper will show, Tolkien employed fictional loremasters and wrote his books from their distinctly biased perspectives. Pengolodh, as the primary loremaster of The Silmarillion, was given a background that leaves him particularly susceptible to bias, and analysis of how characters and realms are discussed in The Silmarillion show that this bias reflects subtly in ways that even readers unfamiliar with Pengolodh's personal history are able to detect. Correcting this bias by showing other perspectives on the story becomes a motive not only for writing fan fiction but for extending the fan writer's authority far enough to allow alteration of details of the text.

The paper initially included A LOT more evidence and data to prove the historical bias of The Silmarillion. The editors suggested that a lot of this material could be moved to another paper, and I jumped at the chance to do this and so ended up cutting out a large part of the paper that dealt more with historical bias in the canon. I had felt, when writing, that the paper responded to the paper on historical bias that I hadn't yet published in scholarly channels, but since this paper didn't exist, I felt I had two cases to prove. (Y'all have been listening to me yammer about historical bias in fannish channels for years now.) Once I settle into my new job, I will be looking around for opportunities to publish what I cut out. It's essentially, at this point, a full paper that's basically ready to go.

Finally, I owe a huge thank you to heartofoshun and to Bobby, who read and offered excellent critique of the very first draft and cheered me on when I was at that point of writing where I wasn't sure I really had anything of importance to say. Thank you both so very much! I am grateful also to the volume's editors, Robin Reid and Michael Elam, as well as the anonymous reviewers, who offered such helpful feedback on later drafts.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • OMG! I am so excited. You thanked me with Bobby on the first page--look at me make it about me!

    Wow, though, I been waiting to read this edited version for months! I cannot wait to see the next article which contains my favorite parts! I was sort of thinking it could almost be a book some day--not kidding.

    You earned it, Hermione--the work ethic that does not stop!
    • Thank you! I'm ready to stop for a while right now. After the newsletter, right?! :) It was a good week but BUSY.

      I think most people will be more interested in the unpublished article than this one. The unpublished article has all the juicy data and reasoning about historical bias and the canon.

      One of the editors also remarked that the paper could be a book. I thought, gods, don't tempt me!
  • Congratulations!
  • This is a really great achievement! Congrats :D I'm positively jealous.
    • Thank you! I'm thrilled to have my first peer-reviewed publication out of the way, not least of all because I had no idea what to expect and am glad I emerged from the other side still willing to submit articles to journals! :D Next time hopefully NOT while in the middle of moving and then starting a new job ...
      • You have every reason to be proud and glad. I'm gonna read your paper soonish, hopefully this weekend.

        Next time hopefully NOT while in the middle of moving and then starting a new job ...

        Yeppers, that would help ;)
  • Congratulations!
  • Congratulations, dear!
  • Congratulations! What an achievement.
  • Awesome! Awesome! And more awesome! Congratulations, dear!

    ETA: I got the chance to read it, and may I repeat: awesome!

    Edited at 2016-09-02 09:46 pm (UTC)
    • Thanks so much, both for the congrats and for actually reading the durned thing! :) :) :)
      • "The durned thing" was really cool! I loved the way you interspersed the fic with Celebrimbor and Pengolodh in with the rest of the article, as it really shed light on the historical bias issue very well.

        Also, survey info was awesome too--but maybe that's because I took part in it, I just find it fascinating.
        • I kept waiting to be told that I couldn't include my ficlet. I suspected it'd get kicked out right away. It wasn't. I expected a reviewer would comment negatively on it. No one did.

          I think it confused a couple of people, but no one told me to take it out. It seemed fitting: I first wrote about these issues in fiction.

          I got the idea from an article I'd read during grad school that opened each section with a bit of creative writing tied to folklore. That emboldened me to try to get away with it here! :D

          The survey has been too much fun for me. I can--and have!--spent hours at a time playing with numbers. It's certainly not a complete picture of the Tolkien fanfic community, but it's fun to see how my long-held impressions of various genres or archives bear out (or don't!) in the actual results.
  • That's fabulous! Just like they ^ all ^ said, Congratulations!
  • Congratulations, Dawn!
    (I've read it now.)
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