Venturing Out: The Littles Take a Trip
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
3w ago
This is the second blog bost in a series about John Peterson’s The Littles books (1967-2002), you can find the first one here. The second book, The Littles Take a Trip, was published in 1968. It follows the Littles as they venture out of the Biggs’ house and in search of other people like them. This is another theme I’ve encountered time and time again in miniature fantasies: the “last of their people” narrative, in which the little people think they’re the only ones of their kind (left) and go on a trip to find others. Often it’s the children of the little people who long for that sense of c ..read more
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The Littles: Of (Tiny) Men and Mice
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
1M ago
At last I’ve managed to get my hands on The Littles series (1967-2002), by John Peterson (1924-2002) – well, at least most of the books in the series (still missing one, I think, but getting there!) This is the first time I am reading them, so here is the first of a series of blog posts on these books, with some first thoughts and musings: The first book in the series, published in 1967, is simply titled The Littles, and introduces the family of William T. Little (the dad), Mrs Little, Granny Little, Uncle Pete, Tom Little (10 years old) and Lucy Little (8 years old). Various covers of T ..read more
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Plastic toys and WWI trauma: Tommy in Lynne Reid Banks’ The Indian in the Cupboard
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
I am on research leave at the moment, working – among other things – on a new book on miniature worlds and characters in children’s fantasy. One of the primary sources I’ve been re-reading recently is Lynne Reid Banks’ The Indian in the Cupboard series from the 1980s and 1990s (The Indian in the Cupboard, 1980, The Return of the Indian, 1985, The Secret of the Indian, 1989, The Mystery of the Cupboard, 1993, and The Key to the Indian, 1998). What struck me again and came to my mind today once more as we commemorate Remembrance Day, is the portrayal of Tommy, the WWI medic. The premise of Bank ..read more
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Breaking the rules of fantasy: Alan Garner’s The Owl Service at 50
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
* This is the original first draft of my Times Literary Supplement article “Alan Garner’s The Owl Service at fifty”. The published version (which appeared on 21 August 2017 to celebrate 50 years from the publication of this novel) is slightly shorter – link here. See also here for the archival research on the exact publication date of the novel. For a much more detailed discussion of The Owl Service, see chapter 5 of my book, Celtic Myth in Contemporary Children’s Fantasy: Idealization, Identity, Ideology. A summer holiday in a claustrophobic Welsh valley, a myth about a woman made of f ..read more
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Tolkien’s Hobbits, a Black Rider, and a Tree Root: chasing a visual chain
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
One of the most iconic scenes from Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the moment when Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, having set off from the Shire towards the great unknown, hear a horse approaching and quickly hide underneath a tree root, where they just about manage to escape the Black Rider who comes looking (see stills below): This scene seems to have come fron artist John Howe, who worked on the films, and reproduces very closely his work “The Black Rider”, initially created for the 1987 Tolkien Calendar: But Howe himself point ..read more
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Tolkien: Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right (my review of Dome Karukoski’s biopic)
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
* This is the original first draft of my review of the film Tolkien (2019), directed by Dome Karukoski, for the TLS. The version published is slightly shorter, and with a different title – link here.   Tolkien: Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right What’s in a name, and what’s in a genre name? I went into the cinema thinking about two words: “Tolkien” and “biopic”. The former, the name of the author who has been the main focus of my academic career so far. The latter, a term bringing together film and biography, implying a marriage of fact and fiction. I found myself in split pers ..read more
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Surprises and Discoveries in the Drawings by Tolkien exhibition catalogue (1976)
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
I have been going through a number of small pamphlets and booklets in my Tolkien collection recently, and have been posting about them on Twitter: see here for a thread on the UK and USA Hobbit 50th Anniversart commemorative booklets and here for for the sale catalogue of Pauline Baynes’s drawings and sketches at Blackwell’s Rare Books in 2015 (which also includes Narnia material) I started another thread today, on another booklet, and then realized I would have to eliminate interesting details to make it fit. So here’s my fuller discussion of Drawings by Tolkien, the catalogue of an exhi ..read more
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The Raw and the Cooked: William Morris’s Dwarf in The Wood Beyond the World, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gollum
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a few years now – in fact, every time I teach William Morris’s The Wood Beyond the World I tell myself I’ll get on with it, but every year I just allow myself to move on to other things. This time, however, I promised my students (this year’s cohort of our Masters in fantasy, the Fantasy MLitt at the University of Glasgow) that I would actually get my act together and write it – so there! William Morris is often considered one of the “grandfathers” of modern fantasy, in the sense that Tolkien is (nearly) universally recognized as the father ..read more
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Faërie: A Sonnet
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
It’s been a heady few weeks in my academic world. We recently launched the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow (which I co-direct), I welcomed a new cohort of Fantasy MLitt students and started teaching the fantasy honours option, I delivered a keynote lecture for Oxonmoot 2020, and I recorded other video lectures on a number of topics for my students. And in the midst of this we’re still in the claws of a global pandemic, and everything feels hopeless and yet hopeful. So, because I did a lecture on the sonnet form this week, and because I encouraged my students ..read more
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Epaminondas: Who was he, and why was Tolkien interested in him? (or, what’s different in the paperback edition of A Secret Vice?)
Dr. Dimitra Fimi
by Dimitra Fimi
2y ago
Since the publication of the paperback edition of A Secret Vice, I have been asked a few times what’s different or new, compared to the original hardback edition. My good friend and fellow Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson actually asked me using the correct terminology: is the paperback a corrected reprint, or a revised edition? To be honest, this is a difficult question to answer. Most of the changes in the paperback text are just corrections of typos, or of words/word forms in Tolkien’s text we now know were misreadings. If those were the only changes, I would call the paperback a “corr ..read more
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