Bree Moot 5 to be Held in Tandem with University English Department Tolkien Conference – Tolkien scholars and Hobbit fans converge at The University of St. Thomas

by Mar 6, 2001Events

Concerning Hobbits and Other Matters: Tolkien Across the Disciplines, on Thursday, April 27, will feature a number of formal presentations by scholars from around the country, under sponsorship of the St. Thomas English Department.

Bree Moot 5, over the next two days, will celebrate the works and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien in more reader-oriented activities, including both individual and group presentations and informal interactions. The Bree Moot theme is “The Fellowship of Tolkien,” broadly interpreted to include approaches to fantasy literature inspired or modeled by Tolkien in his fabulously popular fantasy works, including The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings (now being filmed for a major film release next December by New Line Cinema) and in his scholarly works and teaching. The local Rivendell Group of The Mythopoeic Society is devoted to the example of Tolkien’s discussion group in the 30s and 40s, The Inklings (which also included noted writer/scholar/professor C.S. Lewis), which met regularly to discuss books and the great literary tradition as well as to workshop the members’ own works-in-progress.

Margaret Howes, Bree Moot guest of honor, exemplifies this approach: She published a “fan” article in the mid-60s Tolkien Journal, at the height of the Tolkien campus craze, and went on to derive inspiration from Tolkien in writing (and later performing) her “Tales Told by the Lonely Mountain,” some of which were published in The Tolkien Scrapbook. After helping found and participating in the Rivendell discussion group for many years, she last year published her first novel, The Wrong World, and this year is publishing Autumn World, a novel jointly written by five current and former members of the Rivendell Group.

Other program features at Bree Moot will include author/critic Ruth Berman presenting slides on dragon illustration, presentations by Canadian scholar-professor William Sargent (a.k.a. fantasy author “Antony Swithen”) on “Farming in the Shire” and “Geology of Middle-earth,” local musician David Emerson on the Tolkien-Donald Swann collaboration, “The Road Goes Ever On” song cycle, and on the Children’s Theatre Company dramatizations of The Hobbit and on the forthcoming New Line Cinema films. Other activities include panel discussions, filk-singing, and some displays of fan publications and memorabilia. This is the second time that Bree Moot has come to Minnesota. Previously, Bree Moot 3 was held at the University of Minnesota in 1997.

For more information, contact (612)292-8887, 293 Selby Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102-1811 or The Rivendell Group, which is co-sponsoring the conference, along with the Tolkien fan newsletter, Beyond Bree, is a chartered discussion group of The Mythopoeic Society and has also been a recognized student organization at the University for the past two decades, studying and discussing fantasy in the Tolkien tradition each month.


Leading up to Minicon and Bree Moot 5/Concerning Hobbits will be a series of programs held around the Twin Cities approaching our themes on a smaller scale. The first of these will be on April 7, at the Southdale Public Library, at 1:30 p.m. This will be a panel discussion featuring a couple of writers of children’s fantasy and one or two additional experts. Confirmed panelist as of this writing is Caroline Stevermer, author of River Rats and several other novels, including her latest book, When the King Comes Home.


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