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[page 3] From The Fountain of the Withered Tree It's time again to say hello from the Fountain of the Withered Tree. Actually that's what I intended to call the column last time. I even drew the withered tree, but Bee got clever with the "Frankly Speaking" and it's against my principles to hit a girl. Cast a spell, yes; hit, no. Besides it would take a mighty long arm to strike her all the way from Washington to Virginia. At least several inches longer than the one I have. But you should hear her complain about her back ache and the way her skin seems to be turning blue. Heh, heh! [Now how did I know he wanted to be a withered tree? And my skin isn't turning blue--it's turning purple; an it isn't from any spell--it's from duplicator masters, so there.] I certainly have been gratified by the response we have had to HOOM 1. Of course, the issue was far from perfect but, gee whiz, we're kind of new at this game. For every compliment we received, we also received a criticism. One person says, "I liked your article." The next letter says, "That lousy article you wrote smells." So we laugh a little, pat ourselves on the back a little, weep a little, and try to do better this time. But the volume of mail means that somebody is reading it. And we appreciate that. Now, if you will only submit a few more things to us. We aren't a closed corporation, remember. By now many of you will have read William Ready's _The Tolkien Relation_, reviewed briefly in tbe last issue of HOOM. I am sure that you reacted to the book in some way, either favorably or unfavorably. Professor Tolkien, himself, has reacted most unfavorably, as one would suspect. He dislikes immensely having his private life exposed, either past or present. There is, however, surprisingly little such exposure; more certainly than he would like, but really not all that much. What there is relates mainly to his association with his teaching colleagues, the "Inklings." A good deal of the book is involved with criticism and exegesis of _The Lord of the Rings_ itself, which I found interesting but not so erudite as one might expect. [page 4] My quarrel with the book is that it contains a good deal of needless repetition. Mr. Ready, by the way, was a principal speaker at the convention of the Canadian Library Association, and acoording to a report in Library Journal, came off rather badly there also. He is evidently not much of a speaker. However, if you are a true Tolkien addict, as I am, you will want to read and own the book. A much better book, and certainly a must, is the new book from the University of Notre Dame Press. Its title is _Tolkien and the Critics: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings"_, and has been edited by Neil D. Isaacs and Rose A. Zimardo. This was due to be released on May 27 and as I write this on July 26, I have just received my copy. Its 296 pages contain 15 essays by well-knowns such as C.S. Lewis, Edmund Fuller and W. H. Auden and by some little-knowns (at least to this writer). They stretch in length from the six pages of John Tinkler's "Old English in Rohan" to Roger Sales' 42 page "Tolkien and Frodo Baggins". This is a book which will provide a good deal of provocation of thought for you. Every essay has your mind racing off along new lines. I'll warn you; it costs $7.50, but save up your pennies. It is well worth it. This will be my first and last chance to put in a plug for Professor Ed Meskys' Tolkien Conference at Belknap College. I only wish it weren't clear across the country in New Hampshire. It looks as though Ed has a very fine program worked out and I would urge any who can get there to attend. Those of us who cannot attend should certainly shell out whatever the cost will be for the Proceedings of the Conference, which will be published sometime after the conferenc @conference@ has ended. Ed's address may be found elsewhere in this issue. Ed is also involved in the publication of a bi-weekly newsletter now. It is called Locus and you can probably get a sample copy by writing to Locus, P. O. Box 430, Cambridge, Mass. 02139. It contains all kinds of good information and will cost you $1 per 10 issues to subecribe. It's a good deal. So fold your dollar like an Arab and silently enclose it in an envelope. I guess that's about all for this time. I'm off to an institute at the Unlversity of Wisconsin on August 9th. This, then, has been written in lete July, in order to have it finished in time. My cousin, Margaret, in Racine, wrote crypticly on a post card, "The lembas is baking. Bag End is all astir awaiting your arrival." What does she think I am, a wizard? --F. D.