Here Be Dragons: Mythmoot VI Launch and Call For Papers (Friday Feature)

I’m pleased to share the news of the annual Mythmoot. Although Signum University is a completely online school, offering a global-leading MA programme in imaginative literature and Germanic languages, we do like to gather from time to time. I say “we” but I have not yet gathered, except in rogue meetings with students and faculty hither and nigh. There are regional “moots” (gatherings) throughout the US and now in Europe, but there is also the annual conference, this year in Leesburg, Virginia.

This year the theme is “dragons” and already my mind is abuzz with possibilities. Tolkien once said he loved dragons but didn’t want one to land in his garden. I’m of the mind that some things are worth a life risk, and long to see these beautiful beasts who have fallen to the very edges of our world. Dragon, there be, somewhere on our mental maps, and I’d love to go and play with the ideas.

I don’t know if I can but you may be able to. Here is the information for the Call For Papers. Registrations to just go and enjoy the conference are also open. Perhaps I will see you there, or you’ll see one another, or someone will see someone else.

And Diana Glyer is speaking! Very cool.

Link to the Conference

Click Here

Mythmoot VI: Dragons, Call for Proposals

“But it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.” Ursula K. Le Guin, ​A Wizard of Earthsea

When: ​June 27-30, 2019

Where: ​The National Conference Center, Leesburg, VA

What is Mythmoot VI?

Mythmoot VI, with the theme of Dragons, combines an academic conference, creative writing meet-up, and fan convention all in one for a unique experience. Here at Mythmoot, we have room for serious scholarship in fields such as science fiction, high fantasy, horror, gothic, mythology, children’s literature, folklore…the list goes on. We also appreciate less academic, but no less enthusiastic, pursuits of all the above–such as demonstrations on how to knit the best Smaug hat, presentations theorizing on a dragon diet, or papers dissecting the cultural background of the differing types of fantasy dragons!

“A dragon stranded in shallow water provides amusement to the shrimps.” A Chinese Proverb

Call for Proposals:

All over the world, dragons captivate the imagination: the ancient wyrms of long-forgotten lore, wise nature-deities, fire-breathing terrors in the night, and very real companions on long dangerous roads. Science, religion, and of course literature attempt to analyze the awe and fascination of dragons–with varying degrees of success. Both the muscled beasts of legend and the metaphorical dragons that humans confront daily still hold the world spellbound. Modern and classic fiction alike describe and deploy these beasts in many ways (through novels, stories, poetry, comics, movies, television shows, etc.). Join us at Mythmoot VI to discuss the ever-present and ever-changing Archetypal Dragon!

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Neil Gaiman, ​Coraline, paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton

We are accepting proposals for Papers, Panels, Workshops, and Creative Presentations about imagined and metaphorical dragons in the following areas of study:

  • Imaginative Literature (ex: ​Harry Potter, ​Dune, ​The Call of Cthulhu, ​Star Wars, ​Lord of the Rings, ​The Dresden Files, etc.)
  • Tolkien and Inklings Studies
  • Classic Literature from ancient times to the present
  • Philology

If you are unsure whether your topic fits, send your proposal or a description of your idea to the listed submissions email and we will let you know.

“Speak politely to an enraged dragon.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Individual presentations​, whether creative or critical, will have 30 minutes, with 20 minutes for presentation and 10 for Q&A. (N.B. Creative is not limited to original works and can present or perform art, music, or even a presentation on how you went about knitting the One Ring into a tea cozy. If you have any questions about what you can present, please contact the submissions email.)

Panels​​ must contain at least 3 papers and/or presenters and will be allocated 1 hour and 30 minutes total for presentations and Q&A.

Workshops​​ must identify their own length (either 30 min, 60 min, or 1 hour 30 minutes) and include justification for the requested time. Workshops may be run individually, but it is recommended that a workshop have at least two people. (workshop examples: the knitting of Smaug hats, an interactive discussion on dragon species)

Papers will be presented in an 1.5 hr session with up to two other presenters. Each presenter will have 30 minutes (20 for presentation and 10 for questions) to present their paper.

Questions? See the ​“How to Present at Conferences”​from our very own Dr. Higgins!

Proposal Submittal:

Your submission to ​events@mythgard.org​must contain the following in the body of the email: the type of submission, a title, a 300-word abstract or description, the name(s) of the presenter(s), a two-sentence biography for each presenter, and a description of any A/V needs for your presentation. Title your email “Mythmoot VI Proposal”.​​All submissions must be received by 11:59 pm EST on March 31st, 2019.

No presentations will be given in absentia, and your submission to Mythmoot VI is considered an agreement to attend and present should your proposal be accepted.

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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70 Responses to Here Be Dragons: Mythmoot VI Launch and Call For Papers (Friday Feature)

  1. Steve says:

    Having recently published a book, The Year of the Dragon | Khanya, which is about dragons, though perhaps rather obliquely, I am very interested in this, but unless I win the Lotto, there’s no way I could get there. But I do hope to see reports on it.

    Like

    • Is it Draconology or Dragonology? Or I suppose Dragonography in your case?
      Yes, the commute to the USA is a bit rich for me, and nothing like what you’d face!

      Like

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      I don’t expect I can be there, either – it would be nice if the reports suggested who might be ‘publishing’ what they’ve presented in whatever forms – on paper, online texts, YouTube videos (how-to, and other sorts).

      I can’t remember if I’ve asked before, but – are there ever conference proceedings publishing versions of at least some of the papers?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hannah says:

    In concurrence with Steve’s response and his blogpost on his new book, here a verse I just came across in a chapter by Charles Huttar on Lewis’s Poetry in “Word and Story in CS Lewis”
    ‘We were talking of dragons, Tolkien and I,
    In a Berkshire bar. The big workman
    Who had sat silent and sucked his pipe
    All the evening from his empty mug
    With gleaming eye glanced toward us:
    “I seen ‘em myself,” he said fiercely.’

    It also seems in line with https://apilgriminnarnia.com/2018/11/08/the-unpayable-debt/ that Steve cites in his post – the inspiration Lewis and Tolkien found in their endless walks and bar talks – may this conference be inspirational to many!

    Liked by 1 person

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        I’d like to hear more, though…! (Our Chaplain at Merton College, Mark Everitt, once told us he spoke to a woman who said she had seen an angel. When he asked her what is was like, all she quietly volunteered is that it was bigger than a house.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hannah says:

          I have also heard stories about appearing angels. Dragons are at least roaming around in the Bible – eg in Job, Psalms, Isaiah …. Revelations – a huge red one in Rev 12

          Like

          • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

            Tangentially, that is part of a broader subject of interest: which hearers and readers of the Bible down the ages and around the world would have been familiar with which names for which creatures referred to?

            For example, chapter 14 of the Book of Daniel in the Latin Vulgate translation has “draco magnus” and the Greek Septuagint has “drakon megas”, while in the King James Version, Daniel has only 12 chapters – but in its “Apocrypha”, chapter 14 appears as “Bel and the Dragon”.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Hannah says:

              Yes, I was also wondering about that! But re Brenton’s question here below, none of them still seem good; more like fallen angels.

              Liked by 1 person

              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                I just found a big list in my Vulgate Concordance under ‘draco’, but I’ll have to check them all… It’s an interesting point in discussions of Beowulf whether the dragon is simple an fierce, nasty, dangerous animal or whether he may be a greedy person who has become a dragon like Fáfnir in other legends – he certainly is not a talking dragon in Beowulf, in any case, like John Gardner makes the dragon in his novel, Grendel. But then, Eustace can’t talk when he has become a dragon, in Narnia. But, are there ever clearly good or benign dragons in the Hebreo-Graeco-Roman, Celtic, or Germanic traditions in earlier literature – I’m not sure, off the top of my head. (Is one of the dragons better or nicer than the other in itself, in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account of the dragons which Merlin brings to light?)

                Liked by 2 people

              • Hannah says:

                and was also wondering if Lewis did find some benign dragons in those traditions, as Eustace was a benign one … and/or did he think that up himself as image of opening his ‘suit of armour’ on the bus going up Headington Hill, and feeling himself melting like Eustace in the lake – during his conversion years (1927-30)?

                Liked by 1 person

              • Yes, thanks everyone. You’ve figured out my burning question: How do we go from the Beowulfian standard evil worm–still in Tolkien–to Puff the Magic Dragon and the other dragon-friends of the late 20th century? David’s question: “are there ever clearly good or benign dragons in the Hebreo-Graeco-Roman, Celtic, or Germanic traditions in earlier literature?” I don’t know that there is. Not in Hebrew tradition. Probably we find something in Japonic-Sinic cultures, but even then I haven’t heard of one (I only lived in Japan, not China).
                If I were to introduce a paper at Mythmoot on this topic, I would say something like, “Though Lewis may not have invented the first benign dragon, and though his dragon is a magical emergence and not the pinnacle of a novel’s plot, the sad, pitiful, repentant and friendly Eustace invites a generation of writers to re-imagine dragons as friends and partners.”
                Sounds grand, doesn’t it, from someone who does not know if he is writing draconography or dragonography!

                Liked by 1 person

              • Hannah says:

                Sounds great – may you find the time to write it! Might the Beowulfian dragon evolving into a dragon friend maybe also have something to do with some blurring of distinctions between evil/dangerous and benign? Wonder indeed if there are any benign Chinese dragons, there are lots of them!

                Like

              • Oh, I have a title: Fiend to Friend: The Evolution of the Neighbourhood Dragon

                Liked by 1 person

              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                The chastened Chrysophylax of Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham (according to Tolkien Gateway, written in 1947, published in 1949) – set “before Arthur” (like Geoffrey’s dragons exposed by Merlin) – might come in interestingly, here (I’d have to do some rereading to see if the Great White Dragon of the only posthumously published Roverandom could, as well – and if there are relevant dragon references in the equally only posthumously published Father Christmas letters).

                And we must not neglect Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Reluctant Dragon’, first published in his collection Dream Days (1898) – though I need to brush that up, too! (Mark Smith is an enjoyable American LibriVox reader who can help, here…: I should try him and it!)

                Like

              • I knew about Grahame, but forgot about Chrysophylax. Is domestication on the way to partnership?

                Like

              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                Interesting thought – I don’t immediately remember any Inklings dragon-riders, but I have the impression there have been a lot, variously, more recently – merely animal-like ones? talking ones? Comparisons with The Horse and His Boy and with the Eagles in The Hobbit and LotR spring to mind – more partnership and/or gracious condescension on the non-humans’ part. (The curious – abused? – Gondolin dragons come to mind again in a new way, too!)

                Liked by 1 person

              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                Hmm… where do the Nazgul’s flying mounts enter this picture? (Cf., if I recall correctly, Tolkien’s youthful disgust, noted in “On Fairy-Stories” with suggestions dragons were ‘really’ dinosaurs – !)

                Liked by 1 person

              • Hannah says:

                With the Nazgul do you mean “the hideous flying beasts (reminiscent of – and partly suggested by – pterodactyls” (Wikipedia), they were flying on after their horses drowned in the river near Rivendel?

                Liked by 1 person

              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                Yep – Tolkien’s careful of his terminology: just what are they?

                Like

              • Hannah says:

                and where did they come from … ?

                Liked by 1 person

            • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

              Apparently, nobody knows (to put it in Ardalogical terms) and Tolkien didn’t decide (to put it in Tolkienological terms) – or so I trust the usually good work of the folks at Tolkien Gateway telling me:

              http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Fell_beasts

              Liked by 1 person

              • Notice that Lewis and Tolkien resist making flying beasts or mythological beasts generally something to consider taming and riding.

                Like

              • Hannah says:

                Cool source indeed … with a correction by Tolkien himself on the Wikipedia quote: “….the fell beast was not intended to be pterodactylic, but hesitantly acknowledged that it resembles a pterosaur”
                And specific info on “the Fell [archaic English for “dreadful, terrible”] beasts: are said to be “presumably bred from Winged-drakes” and to have a body between 15-25 feet and a wingspan between 30-40 feet.”

                Liked by 1 person

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I have not yet caught up with The Fall of Gondolin (2018) and so don’t know if it goes into new detail about one of Tolkien’s most astonishing dragon accounts – about which John Garth blogged two years and two months ago:

    https://johngarth.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/tanks-at-gondolin/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    This gets me wanting to reread John Gardner’s Grendel (1971), with a dragon very different from the one in Beowulf, and from Smaug – though there may be more resemblance there (and a debt to – or play with – The Hobbit?). I suddenly wonder if Gardner knew Williams’s War in Heaven, as my memory of Grendel and the dragon makes me think of Gregory Persimmons’s experiences with Dmitri Lavrodopoulos, there. too.

    Like

    • I could spend a year reading nothing but dragon stories.

      Like

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        That reminds me of Edith Nesbit’s collection, about which her Wikipedia article has this nicely detailed note:

        “The Book of Dragons (1901) comprised The Seven Dragons, a 7-part serial, and an eighth story, all published 1899 in The Strand Magazine. Augmented by a ninth story, “The Last of the Dragons” (posthumous, 1925), it was issued in 1972 as The Complete Book Of Dragons and in 1975 as The Last Of The Dragons and Some Others. The original title has been used since then, with the original contents augmented variously by “The Last of the Dragons” and material contemporary to the reissue. The title Seven Dragons and Other Stories has also been used for a latter-day Nesbit collection.”

        I wonder which one I read…? (I’ll have to go dig it out and see…)

        Meanwhile, the version transcribed at Project Gutenberg is presumably the original 8-story version – of which two Americans seem independently to have made free audiobooks: one at LibriVox.org and another in the Internet Archive. (I suppose one can find the original Strand Magazine publication in the Internet Archive, too, as they have scans of so many of the early Strand volumes, but I have not checked.)

        Like

        • Hey, were any of those dragons good dragons?

          Like

        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          At last, dug out our Nesbits…

          One is a separate publication of “The Fiery Dragon” (with lots of enjoyable illustrations by Doreen Caldwell: London: Kaye & Ward, 1978);

          the other is The Last of the Dragons and some others, a 1980 reprint of a 1975 Puffin reissue of The Complete Book of Dragons (Hamish Hamiilton, 1972: illustated by Erik Blegvad): this is the collection of nine stories which the Wikipedia note refers to by both those titles.

          We also enjoyed another Puffin – edited by Roger Lancelyn Green, dedicated to Tolkien with the quotation of Lewis’s poetry Hannah quotes above. We have a 1976 reprint of the 1973 Puffin called A Book of Dragons (illustrated by Krystyna Turska) with the note “First published by Hamish Hamilton 1970” – without saying if the title was the same or different: here the WordCat helps us out! The title was Hamish Hamilton Book of Dragons, and it is the same as A Cavalcade of Dragons (New York: H. Z. Walck 1970) which Wikipedia notes. A rich and varied anthology of “thirty-nine tales of dragon lore derived from ancient and modern sources” (or excerpts from them) – including Tolkien’s poem, ‘The Hoard’ and Lewis’s, ‘The Dragon Speaks’, with useful general introduction and introductory notes and detailed “Notes on Sources”, with the selections organized in 4 sections – Dragons of Ancient Days, Dragons of the Dark Ages, Dragons of Folklore, and Dragons of Later Days:

          https://www.worldcat.org/title/cavalcade-of-dragons/oclc/138101

          Liked by 1 person

  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Wow – just encountered S. Dorman’s recent post on Tolkien, satire, and – dragons!:

    https://www.superversivesf.com/inklings/2019/01/29/if-j-r-r-tolkien-liked-to-write-satire/

    Liked by 2 people

  6. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    This may or may not be complete, but should be useful (thanks to H. de Raze, E. de LaChaud, and J.B. Flandrin and their 1951 Concordantiarum):

    ‘Draco’ references in the Latin Vulgate Bible translation (in addition to Daniel, ch. 14):
    Exodus 7:12
    Deuteronomy 32:33
    Job 30:29
    Psalms [Vulgate numbering] 73: 13,14; 90:13; 103:26; 148:7
    Isaiah 13:21; 34:13; 35:7; 43:20; 51:9
    Jeremiah 9:11; 51:34
    Micah 1:8
    Wisdom 16:10
    Ecclesiasticus [Wisdom of Sirach] 25:23
    Revelation 12:3,4,7,9; 13:4

    I suppose there must be easily, completely searchable Vulgate Bibles online, but don’t know where (in the Internet Archive?).

    This one is handy for also having parallel Douay-Rheims English translation as an option:

    http://drbo.org/drl/index.htm

    And this one for a parallel Septuagint Greek translation (and also an interesting English parallel translation by that Oxford contemporary of the Inklings, Ronald Knox):

    http://newadvent.org/bible/gen001.htm

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hence Draco Malfoy, the snake, bit also a skin-shedder. Draconology then

      Like

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        That matter of possible dragon skin-shedding is an interesting detail of R.L. Green’s compact overview of Chinese dragons – who seem benign, if dangerous on account of their great power, though sometimes in danger of being eaten by, rather than eating, humans!

        His choice of an original story by Andrew Lang where a royal ancestor is called “the Lady Dragonissa” is a striking one of, might we say, a largely benign… figure (but I’ll avoid spoilers).

        I think I shall go on rereading browsingly to see how benign which dragons were where and when, as far as he tells us…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hannah says:

    As aim in Eastern religions is to reach Nirvana – above/beyond good & evil – and Chinese dragons might therefore be neither benign or evil, I also wondered about their qualities and Wikipedia has also lots of info on that!
    “The dragon dance is often performed during Chinese New Year. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China’s culture, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. The dragons are believed to possess qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility, wisdom and auspiciousness. The appearance of a dragon is both fearsome and bold but it has a benevolent disposition, and it was an emblem to represent imperial authority. The movements in a performance traditionally symbolize historical roles of dragons …. ” So overall benign qualities ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hannah says:

      The book “Do not say we have nothing” by Madeleine Thien opened that old world up for me, giving me an understanding about its history and culture, and also about the huge differences with Western Judea/Christian origins of culture and thinking – from my notes (only indirectly related to dragons but still maybe of interest …?):
      – Time: the Eastern concept of history, time is cyclical, circular, while the Western’s is still mainly linear with circular elements, like the seasons and day/night
      – Reality: In the Eastern concept visual reality is seen as an illusion …. while the Western view remains much more material/concrete, also with a fading belief in a created universe.
      – Impersonal, with an impersonal force, hence the many times in the book people feel they are dissolving, disappearing … without solid identity, personhood?
      – Morals: There is no real basis for morals, good/evil, right/wrong as …. it is part of the illusion (ying/yang) that you have to transcend; in the communistic world morals are whatever the Party decides, e.g. who is heroic or criminal … so there is also no basis for true personal freedom within constraints …
      – Mystery: the mysterious, poetical side of the Chinese culture did appeal and it made me wonder if there might be some comparison between communism and rationalistic modern science in their effect/influence on rich, colourful worldviews? (eg. the dreary worldview of the communistic and the post-Christian mechanistic universe …)

      Liked by 1 person

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        The mediaeval-historical detective novels by Robert van Gulik give fascinating glimpses of differences and tensions between Confucianists – like the investigating magistrate, Judge Dee – and Buddhists and Taoists – so well, that they have been reprinted by the University of Chicago among other things to give students an easy enjoyable way to get a sense of such details of Chinese history. (Warning: they can have some pretty dark stuff in the crimes and mileaux investigated!) I can’t immediately remember what, if any, dragon lore is included, though…

        In Charles Williams’s early Arthurian poem about Mordred, he imagines him having heard of the Emperor of China as the ‘Son of Heaven’ and wishing he could exercise absolute power (desiring the form – without any idea of the Emperor as mediating heavenly order to his empire) – perhaps an image of modern totalitarian ‘progress’ being in practice a ‘regress’ to the form of ancient cosmological empires stripped of anything like what Lewis calls ‘the Tao’.

        Liked by 2 people

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      I read a fascinating popular-scholarly book by the paleontologist, Gustav Heinrich Ralph (often cited as G. H. R.) von Koenigswald, which included an account about how, in the Far East, he would visit shops with traditional Chinese medicine to buy ‘dragon’s teeth’, and in this way made discoveries about a couple different sort of early humans, whose fossilized teeth were taken to be those of dragons!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Having learnt about Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian and late-mediaeval Grail novels thanks to Suzanne Bray’s post and Stephen Winter’s comment there, last year, I have just started his Harlequin: The Grail Quest (2000), where the action begins in 1342, and it is concerned with – for a tiny spoiler (of the mysterious first five pages) – a relic, the “treasure of Hookton”, which after those 5 pages, he himself goes on to reveal as “the very lance which St. George had used to kill the dragon”!

    Like

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