Wotan is very excited to have officially started a Phd research project around the Early Literary and Linguistic Works of J.R.R. Tolkien (1908-early 1920's) and is even triply excited to be working with one of the leading Tolkien visionaries and academics - Dr Dimitra Fimi - through Cardiff Metropolitan University. Wotan is working towards the final research proposal which is due in April and then a full 3-6 years of glorious Tolkienian research (and lots of talk and trying out at ideas at this summer's Return of the Ring Tolkien conference)
Wotan is also in the middle of an excellent online class through Signum University/Mythgard University on J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis taught by the excellent Tolkien Professor himself, Professor Corey Olsen's (whose upcoming Exploring the Hobbit book is a must pre-order!). This is a brilliant class where we have compared and contrasted the works of Lewis and Tolkien and we have some exciting upcoming classes including a look at Leaf by Niggle,Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, Till We Have Faces, The Notion Club papers, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Smith of Wooten Major. There is great work afoot at Signum University/Mythgard Institute and the upcoming summer classes include one on beginners Latin and, be still my heart, Dr Verlyn Flieger teaching a course on Arthurian Literature (which yours truly will probably be virtually attending tuxedo-clad after many excellent evenings at Glyndebourne where Wotan toils.
Also on the Dr. Verlyn Flieger front - joy and exultation her new book Green Sun and Faerie is now available and I have been devouring every chapter which includes some excellent new writing by Dr. Flieger on Tolkien and the Kalevala based on the work she has done on Tolkien's early Kullervo story and Tolkien's 1914-15 talk on The Kalevala.
It is brilliant to have this volume on Tolkien by Dr. Flieger and it stands next to Tom Shippey's Roots and Branches - now one hopes Dr Michael Drout would write a similar volume. A must read
Switching gears - the other excitement for Wotan has been the coming of the new Dark Shadows film in May. But even before this and perhaps even more exciting for Wotan has been the publishing of a new book on Dark Shadows -
The Return to Collinwood by Kathryn Leigh Scott (who played Maggie Evans and Josette Du Pres (among others) in the original Dark Shadows TV show - appearing in over 600 of the 1,222 episodes) and Jim Pearson. I highly recommend this book to any lover of Dark Shadows. There are some great insights into the coming movies and the recollections of Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker (Angelique) are brilliant and add some interesting info to how this 1,225 episode fantasy/sci-fi/gothic soap opera was flamed as well as the two movies (and I eagerly awaiting the reedited cut of Night of Dark Shadows with the cut scenes put back). good chapters on the revival series as well and he current audio dramas through Big Finish Productions.
Having the book signed by Kathryn Leigh Scott herself makes it one of my treasured Dark Shadow possessions which will never leave me for all eternity and I decided to join the signed picture she sent me with another of my treasured Dark Shadows items which will be familiar to all fans of the show!
Finally there is the upcoming big budget blockbuster Dark Shadows movie starting Johnny Depp as Barnabas and Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman directed by Timothy Burton. Wotan is hopeful about this film - the trailer is exciting and yes I think there it is a bit of tongue in cheek treatment of the story (set in the hippie lava lamp strewn days of 1972), But Depp is a great fan of Dark Shadows so I am sure it has been done with care - and it will be fun to watch for the original Dark Shadows cast members (including the first and best Barnabas of all times Jonathan Frid) in the Dark Shadows town ball party scene). Trailer below!
So that is it from Wotan for now - Wotan returns to the Halls of Asgard to consult my friend Erda the green headed torso on the early lexicons of Tolkien - but he will stay in touch and send Hugin and Munin out for news of the many worlds!
Lebe wohl for now!