Reviving Quettar?

Quettar ceased publication partly because of pressures of work on the editor, and partly because very little material was submitted, probably owing largely to the rise of the Internet as a discussion medium, with a much faster turnround. (The TolkLang mailing list, run by Quettar's editor was the first such list, and ran successfully for five years alongside Quettar; but probably it contributed to Quettar's decline. TolkLang in its turn was displaced by the commercially supported Web-based discussion fora of the early 2000's.)

It seems clear that the traditional model of a print-only publication appearing a few times a year is inappropriate -- it is already obsolete in all scientific subjects, and increasingly too in the humanities. However, there is still perhaps a place for a forum in which people can publish considered, carefully written pieces of whatever type, rather than the usually hastily written articles of mailing lists and Web fora, with their consequent lack of consideration, referencing etc. Some people, of course, publish such articles on their own websites, the most notable being Ardalambion. But not everybody wants to run a Web site, and some people may wish to produce articles in a traditionally typeset form.

Thus it seems possible that there might be a place for a revived Quettar, in which articles would be made available electronically (as PDF) as soon as accepted, and occasionally collected into print editions for archive and library purposes.

One may ask how such a revived Quettar would differ from the existing online journal Tengwestie. There are two answers to this. Firstly, Tengwestie is owned by members of the Tolkien Estate's editorial team for publication of linguistic material. The team (or some of it) has some strong views about how Tolkienian language studies should proceed, which are not universally shared -- and on this topic, Quettar has never felt it necessary to have a view. Secondly, Quettar never had pretensions to be an academic journal -- it was a fanzine that published scholarly articles, tutorial material, and simple fun, whatever might interest its readers. For example, calligraphy was a long-standing interest, and one early contributor to Quettar's calligraphy pages went on to train as a professional scribe and is a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators.

However, a revival is only worth doing if people actually want to contribute to it. If you are interested either in being part of a new editorial team, or better still in contributing articles to such a new Quettar, please get in touch with me, by email to the user editor at the domain (I suppose I shall soon find out whether spammers can harvest such a simply concealed address!)

Julian Bradfield, May 2008.

Last modified: Sat May 17 12:51:16 BST 2008