In Memoriam: MICHAEL N. STANTON 25 July 1938- Dec. 15, 2011
Mike taught English Literature at the University of Vermont beginning in 1971. During his tenure there he inaugurated the standard course on science fiction and fantasy literature, and taught The Lord of the Rings each year. He has written on science fiction and fantasy as well as on Dickens and Melville.
Towards the end of 2002, I learned that Janet Coyle, of Pacific Pathways, was putting together a Tour of Middle-earth at the beginning of 2004. Mike, who had published a book on Tolkien: "Hobbits, Elves and Wizards: The Wonders and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings,'" would be the docent on the tour. I was able to track Mike down at UVM and invited him to give a talk on his book, on Tolkien, and the tour to our local SF club.
The tour was one of the most incredible experiences. It was 18 days of glorious Tolkien, etc. Nineteen lovers of both the books and the movies traveled Middle-earth, having almost enough fun. On most evenings we would show the portion of the film that covered the locale we had visited that day. Then we would have a marvelous discussion directed so very well by Mike.
Personally, I lost a friend. The other tour members felt/feel the same way. Middle-earth lost a friend and guide.
I am both happy and sad in dedicating this conference in his memory.