Happily, the annual season of the Christmas Break has arrived, bringing with it a satisfying ration of time for leisure reading and writing.

Unhappily, due to airline weight limitations and the irritations of possessing a finite suitcase, I could not bring my bescribbled copy of the Fellowship with me on break.  Perhaps the fact that I did not make room for the Fellowship by throwing out my copy of Augustine’s Confessions, or my winter boots, would prove to some that I am no true Tolkienist.  I would object.  No one can meditate satisfactorily on Frodo crossing the Misty Mountains while his own feet are freezing, and in any case, meditating satisfactorily on Tolkien is impossible without Augustine’s Confessions.

I therefore apologize for the fact that my forthcoming posts on the Fellowship will be somewhat scattered and will not contain those magical ciphers whose presence is so essential to good scholarship—page and paragraph references.