Publicity and the Lecturer: Beowulf, The Hobbit, and … Brunanburh?

I’m giving a lot of public lectures this spring, so news about them will be popping up here from time to time. Yesterday, for instance, Kelly DeVries and I did a videotaped interview about our upcoming (in three weeks, egads!) Robin Hood lecture, and I’ll probably want to link to whatever results from that if/when it’s available.

Today, though, I wanted to pass along the first bit of publicity I’ve received for a later lecture on Tolkien. Here’s what the organizers have sent out as a press release/advert:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 – 6:30 pm – Bond Hall 165

Michael Livingston is an Assistant Professor of English at The Citadel and holds a master’s degree from the Medieval Institute and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester. Dr. Livingston’s medieval research interests include Chaucer and the military history of the Middle Ages. He is also an award-winning writer of speculative fiction, with an additional scholarly expertise on Tolkien. In 2011 he published two books, including The Battle of Brunanburh: A Casebook. Dr. Livingston’s talk, “Tolkien’s Creation by Edition: The Medieval Origins of The Hobbit,” will focus on the ways in which Tolkien’s career-long interest in Beowulf interacted with his fiction writing. Book signing. Free admission. Refreshments will be served.

Nice, right?

Only … what’s this about a book signing? It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I mean, a book signing is fine — great even — but what book am I signing? Will folks interested in Tolkien be lining up for my edition of The Middle English Metrical Paraphrase of the Old Testament? I rather doubt it, since I’m guessing there aren’t many of us who could love both texts! Ditto my other editions.

I’m guessing, therefore, that what they’re thinking about is having some copies of The Battle of Brunanburh: A Casebook sitting around.

And if that is the case, I’m wondering if maybe I should somehow try to work Brunanburh into a Tolkien-Beowulf lecture. Would be an interesting leap, for certain!

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