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From: James Jordan <jbjordan4@home.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Tolkien essay, pre-publication history
Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 20:30:04 -0600

         This sounds very credible to me. I don't know about the Tolkein 
people, but I can tell you that in theological circles it is regarded as 
risky to quote C. S. Lewis without permission, which used to require paying 
money sometimes, and may still do so. Of course, the Lewis estate is 
notorious, as is the whole post-Lewis history of Lewis's works.
         It does seem to me, though, that it is the editor's/publisher's 
job to get such permissions in a multi-author work which is perforce all 
about Tolkein. Why should Wolfe have to get his own special permission?
         At any rate, in the absence of a statement from Wolfe or someone 
in the know, your speculation makes a lot of sense.


At 02:14 PM 1/4/2002 -0800, you wrote:
>We are told that Gene Wolfe's Tolkien essay was written for that book of
>essays on Tolkien, but it was not published there after all, and was
>published in "Interzone."
>Following these facts, there has been some speculation as to how or why the
>book editors may have rejected the essay on aesthetic grounds.  In addition
>to all the Religion & Politics stuff.
>I know the pre-publication history of a number of Wolfe stories--yes, it is
>true, however shocking/comforting it might be, that Gene Wolfe stories are
>sometimes rejected by genre magazines, even in the last ten years.  So
>rejection is naturally not impossible.
>But with regard to this essay, since I doubt very much that any "rejection
>speculation" is based on second-hand evidence, I'm going to offer some
>incidental second-hand evidence.
>In June of last year I received a letter from Gene Wolfe.  Mostly it was
>about many other things, but in the end he did mention that he was having
>difficulty with the company that was supposed to publish his Tolkien essay.
>They wanted him to secure written permissions for =every= quote, including
>the personal letter from Tolkien to Gene Wolfe and the poem by Noyes (who
>died in 1958).  (Those of us who have read the essay also would add Robert
>E. Howard, at least.  There are a lot of quotes!)  This seemed insane to
>Gene Wolfe, in the modern day where Harlan Ellison is trying so hard to
>stop people from web-publishing entire sf stories without permission from
>the sf author.
>(Well those of us who have followed such things in US publishing can say,
>"Thank you, J.D. Salinger.")
>In any event, Gene Wolfe wrote pretty unambiguously in the letter that the
>project was dead from his point of view.  Non-compliance on his part.
>And lo, the essay did not appear in the US book; but it did appear in a UK
>So it seems to me that if there was any "rejection" involved with the
>Tolkien book, it was Gene Wolfe's rejection of the terms and subsequent
>withdrawal of the essay.
>Sirius Fiction
>booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
>*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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