You are viewing arda_unmarred

The · Neverending · Story

Recent Entries · Archive · Friends · Profile

* * *
Today for the first time I experienced what is sometimes referred to as 'mother's pride'.  And I didn't even have any part in this: it is all A.'s doing.

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
happy happy
* * *
* * *

It seems it's now all the rage.  Because I should be working, I decided to read the various articles in the Guardian fantasy binge instead - and there are lots.  They're even debating the pros and cons of mutli-volume world-building, for god's sake!  This is not the Guardian of yore.

And yet it is.  Because it's still a newspaper, and therefore even the literary critics and authors writing for it show a wilful (or a woeful) disregard for literary history.  But alright, an article isn't a research paper or an informed fan discussion, the general public will probably stop reading if you begin talking about interlaced romances, or E. R. Eddison, or the distinctions between the British and American traditions of fantasy.  But does that mean you are also obligated to commit that basic undergraduate sin: generalisation on the basis of one source?  So I take it John Mullan has read some Shippey and therefore feels entitled to say this:

'Tolkien himself has not been entirely cold-shouldered by serious critics. There is by now a substantial secondary literature on his fiction that finds shelf space in many a university library. Yet look closer and you will find much of it irritable at the exclusion of their author from the academic canon.'

Indeed, irritation at exclusion is just what I see when I open the latest volume of Tolkien Studies! [irony alert]

Much as I like Shippey, I do feel that this is the one great disservice he has done to the Tolkien cause - the palpable sense of defensiveness that runs through much of his work is grist to the mill of the 'serious critics'.  The chip-on-the-shoulder, 'we are hard-done by, but we are right' attitude (whether the 'we' is Tolkien readers or philologists) will never make 'them' (the literary establishment) more respectful.

There is no 'us' and 'them' in most real Tolkien scholarship - there's just people doing research because they love their subject.

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
lazy lazy
* * *
* * *
I thought I'd post these.  An insight into my life right now.  They're so true they made me cry.

Generic student essay

'Rubber stamps I wish I had' when marking essays

The stages of marking

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
working working
* * *
* * *
But their new website is amazing!  Not the easiest to navigate, and not yet complete, but there are some tasty new tidbits there (e.g. photographs I'd never seen before), a wealth of information on all (and I do mean all) aspects of Tolkien's oeuvre written by the big names of Tolkien scholarship, and the whole thing is put together in just the right spirit.  I cannot emphasise the latter point enough - if I were introducing someone new to Tolkien, I would unhesitatingly recommend this as the first port of call.
Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
busy busy
* * *
* * *
Which I thought had been swallowed by oblivion, has resurfaced online.  It's always sad to read these things - hardly any progress in 13 years!

Two practically identical articles on austerity: Krugman in today's Guardian and Simon Wren-Lewis in February's LRB.  Singing from the same hymn-sheet - but I'm their willing parishioner.

And this just for fun.  Boy am I glad I'm not applying for ILR now.

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
busy busy
* * *
* * *
Two great pieces in the LRB: one short and jaunty on free schools, the other long and bursting at the seams with all sorts of goodies on academies in general.  Some of the stuff in there is to die for.

Taking this in conjunction with the NHS, I don't think I'm ever moving back to England again.  My only regret is that the Tory monster-sponsored (in more ways than I realised) Core Knowledge Curriculum will never be available (minus the Tories) north of the border.

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
blah blah
* * *
* * *
Ben Jackson from the LRB:

I particularly like the bit about the right to family life...

'The UK has introduced a healthcare surcharge for immigrants from non-EEA areas. Adults have to pay £200 a year for access to the NHS whether or not they make use of it; students have to pay £150. UK citizens who want to bring their partner to the country must apply for a 30-month residency visa: the NHS surcharge on this is £500, almost doubling the previous cost of the visa (£601). Skilled migrants can be stuck with bills of more than £1000. An applicant with a dependent spouse and three children could be charged £5000. This has to be paid up front – and it doesn’t include any of the rest of the cost of the visa, lawyer’s fees or national insurance contributions. Also on the agenda is a clampdown on temporary visitor visas (tourists, business travellers etc.) who will soon be charged 150 per cent of the cost of delivery for any healthcare services they use.

The reforms are part of the Immigration Act passed last year. It also includes cutting the number of immigration decisions that can be appealed, forcing landlords to check their tenants’ immigration status, and a clarification, in case the courts were confused, that ‘the right to a family life is not to be regarded as absolute and unqualified.’ The government has claimed that use of the NHS by non-EEA workers and students costs £950 million a year, and it plans to recoup £200 million of this with the surcharge. The reforms, it says, are ‘focused on stopping illegal migrants using public services to which they are not entitled’ – as though all migrants, even those with visas, are illegal. For everyone who is given a visa, the costs are at a ‘competitive level’ (competitive with what is unclear). ‘We want international visitors to feel welcome to use the NHS,’ the health minister Lord Howe explained, ‘provided they pay for it.’

Ukip has a simpler solution to deter all but the wealthiest immigrants: force all visitors to the UK to take out private health insurance. Only after paying national insurance on top of this for five years will they be allowed to make use of the NHS. The government’s plan allows it to make exemptions that suit it, such as for intra-company transfers – one of the few types of immigrant who could afford to pay the charge in the first place.'

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
wet
* * *
* * *
As usual, hundreds of important things involving health, work, children, etc. go unmentioned, but time is always found for random links.

'How Corporate America Invented Christian America' - who knew that 'one nation under God' and 'in God we trust' only go as far back as the 1950s?  Also, in general terms, plus ca change...

And 'Christmas Day in the workhouse' (blog, article)

Also, wonderful stuff in the LRB as usual, especially Meek on Grimsby and UKIP

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
blah blah
* * *
* * *

'Of old there was a land which was so much a woodland, that a minstrel thereof said that a squirrel might go from end to end, and all about, from tree to tree, and never touch the earth: therefore was that land called Oakenrealm.'

Opening lines of Morris's Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair.

Both Tolkien and Lewis reuse this image.  How common is it?

***

Gaston Bussiere

Current Location:
Edinburgh
Current Mood:
alive - barely
* * *
* * *
* * *
* * *

Previous