The influence of ’She’ on Tolkien

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halfir 31/Oct/2004 at 09:05 PM
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In a telephone inteview with a  Saturday Evening Post correspondent  Henry Resnick (published as ’The Hobbit-Forming World of JRR Tolkien- Saturday Evening Post Jul 2 1966) the Master said - regarding Sir Henry Rider Haggards -’She":

’I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything- like the Greek shard of Amyntas, which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.’ (My bold emphasis)

(N.B. The difference between the Haggard Book and the paper transliteration is not Tolkien’s but Resnick’s)

He was, of course, referring to ’The Sherd of Amenartas’ - Chapter 3 of ’She’ on which is inscribed the information that sets the whole quest for "She’  in motion.

Tolkien had used the term ’machine’ before - in Letter # 210 , commenting on the Eagles whose role he described in LOTR as:

’The Eagles are a dangerous ’machine’. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness’ (My bold emphasis)

By ’machine’  - in both quotes- he meant ’deus ex machina’.

This literally means ’god from a machine’  and was a device used in ancient Greek or Roman plays - a deity- brought in by stage machinery to intervene in the action - to change, it or get it moving in a different direction, or to motivate it.  (cf. Webster’s New World Dicitionary)

Tolkien says that reading ’She’ for him was like ’the Greek shard of Amyntas, ’ it was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.’

In other words- it was one of those literary works that inspired him and moved him to action- one of the things that sparked his own literary dynamo.

’She’ is referred to in BOLT 2 The History of Eriol or Aelfwine and in HOME 12 The Peoples of Middle Earth -Of Dwarves and Men where CT refers a textual allusion by Tolkien to the Sherd of Amenartas.

In his work ’England and Always’ Jared Lobdel argues - using ’She’ and other Edwardian literature that LOTR  in terms of the literary background to Tolkien’s creation- as opposed to the philological and academic one, is Edwardian.

I shall develop and comment on Lobdel’s argument in further posts in this thread.

N.B. I owe the basis of this post to Lobdel’s argument in ’England and Always’ although the references to the Letters and HOME , and to the correct rendering of Rider Haggards works - are mine - and do not appear in his book - they could not have done so as it was published before any ( other than that of Rider Haggard) appeared in print!X(

 

halfir 31/Oct/2004 at 09:05 PM
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In a telephone inteview with a  Saturday Evening Post correspondent  Henry Resnick (published as ’The Hobbit-Forming World of JRR Tolkien- Saturday Evening Post Jul 2 1966) the Master said - regarding Sir Henry Rider Haggards -’She":

’I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything- like the Greek shard of Amyntas, which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.’ (My bold emphasis)

(N.B. The difference between the Haggard Book and the paper transliteration is not Tolkien’s but Resnick’s)

He was, of course, referring to ’The Sherd of Amenartas’ - Chapter 3 of ’She’ on which is inscribed the information that sets the whole quest for "She’  in motion.

Tolkien had used the term ’machine’ before - in Letter # 210 , commenting on the Eagles whose role he described in LOTR as:

’The Eagles are a dangerous ’machine’. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness’ (My bold emphasis)

By ’machine’  - in both quotes- he meant ’deus ex machina’.

This literally means ’god from a machine’  and was a device used in ancient Greek or Roman plays - a deity- brought in by stage machinery to intervene in the action - to change, it or get it moving in a different direction, or to motivate it.  (cf. Webster’s New World Dicitionary)

Tolkien says that reading ’She’ for him was like ’the Greek shard of Amyntas, ’ it was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.’

In other words- it was one of those literary works that inspired him and moved him to action- one of the things that sparked his own literary dynamo.

’She’ is referred to in BOLT 2 The History of Eriol or Aelfwine and in HOME 12 The Peoples of Middle Earth -Of Dwarves and Men where CT refers a textual allusion by Tolkien to the Sherd of Amenartas.

In his work ’England and Always’ Jared Lobdel argues - using ’She’ and other Edwardian literature that LOTR  in terms of the literary background to Tolkien’s creation- as opposed to the philological and academic one, is Edwardian.

I shall develop and comment on Lobdel’s argument in further posts in this thread.

N.B. I owe the basis of this post to Lobdel’s argument in ’England and Always’ although the references to the Letters and HOME , and to the correct rendering of Rider Haggards works - are mine - and do not appear in his book - they could not have done so as it was published before any ( other than that of Rider Haggard) appeared in print!X(

 

Nieliqui Vaneyar 01/Nov/2004 at 05:30 AM
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halfir, I have been intrigued by the changing definitions of words, such as the word ’machine’.  I’ve also read of the word ’engine’ and how it has changed in meaning too (I believe it used to describe any device almost beyond the comprehension of those trying to understand it).  It makes me wonder how much of what we read of older works, that we are really understanding what the author was trying to say as our understandings of various words are changing, even right before us.

I shall also be intrigued by your further discussions of the above topic!

Nieliqui Vaneyar 01/Nov/2004 at 05:30 AM
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halfir, I have been intrigued by the changing definitions of words, such as the word ’machine’.  I’ve also read of the word ’engine’ and how it has changed in meaning too (I believe it used to describe any device almost beyond the comprehension of those trying to understand it).  It makes me wonder how much of what we read of older works, that we are really understanding what the author was trying to say as our understandings of various words are changing, even right before us.

I shall also be intrigued by your further discussions of the above topic!

halfir 01/Nov/2004 at 12:58 PM
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NE: You make a very vaild point regarding our understanding of words- particularly with regard to Tolkien who was so very precise in his meanings- and - as Lewis observed- had got behind the meaning of words!

Tolkien’s definitive template- with which he sometimes disagreed- was the OED- and I have argued elsewhere that when disputes of definition arise we need that as an arbiter.

That is not to say that we cannot enjoy the general sense of what he writes- but I think that it does mean on occasion that the specificity of his meaning eludes many.

And thanks for the interest, I think you will find Lobdel’s proposition a fascinating one- whether or not you finally agree with it.

X(

halfir 01/Nov/2004 at 12:58 PM
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NE: You make a very vaild point regarding our understanding of words- particularly with regard to Tolkien who was so very precise in his meanings- and - as Lewis observed- had got behind the meaning of words!

Tolkien’s definitive template- with which he sometimes disagreed- was the OED- and I have argued elsewhere that when disputes of definition arise we need that as an arbiter.

That is not to say that we cannot enjoy the general sense of what he writes- but I think that it does mean on occasion that the specificity of his meaning eludes many.

And thanks for the interest, I think you will find Lobdel’s proposition a fascinating one- whether or not you finally agree with it.

X(

Bearamir 01/Nov/2004 at 02:16 PM
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Prepare for Move to Ad Lore.

<Puss in Boots edit:  I *love* the Icon, Monsieur.  The Commodore was a man of honor an intregity.  It suits you>

Bearamir 01/Nov/2004 at 02:16 PM
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Prepare for Move to Ad Lore.

<Puss in Boots edit:  I *love* the Icon, Monsieur.  The Commodore was a man of honor an intregity.  It suits you>

halfir 01/Nov/2004 at 02:29 PM
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Bear: Thanks!X(
halfir 01/Nov/2004 at 02:29 PM
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Bear: Thanks!X(
goldenhair 02/Nov/2004 at 01:12 PM
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Halfir,

I must bear down and get to work for a few minutes so I will keep it brief.  I am unclear by your brief quote as to whether ’machine’ refers to the internal kindling in the quest of ’she’ or external as the kindling for JRRT?

I am actually asking Halfir for a larger quote and more deliniationwhich may be a plaza first

goldenhair 02/Nov/2004 at 01:12 PM
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Halfir,

I must bear down and get to work for a few minutes so I will keep it brief.  I am unclear by your brief quote as to whether ’machine’ refers to the internal kindling in the quest of ’she’ or external as the kindling for JRRT?

I am actually asking Halfir for a larger quote and more deliniationwhich may be a plaza first

Sam Silversword 02/Nov/2004 at 03:45 PM
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quoting halfir : "By ’machine’  - in both quotes- he meant ’deus ex machina’."

Like goldenhair, I would also like to examine how you come to this conclusion, viz. for the 1966 telephone interview quote. Based on the quote provided from the Henry Resnick telephone interview, there is no evidence to indicate that he is referring to deus ex machina here.

Of course, I agree that it is the correct conclusion for Letter # 210. The telephone quote, however, is not referring to deus ex machina. It does not fit the context of Tolkien’s statement. 
;I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything- like the Greek shard of Amyntas, which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.’;

Deus ex machina is a plot device.  It is not a source of literary inspiration. You may wish to consider revising your word choice here.

Other than that, the opening post seems to be well drawn.  It is an interesting subject, since it is rare to come across material about Tolkien being influenced by Victorians.

Sam Silversword 02/Nov/2004 at 03:45 PM
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quoting halfir : "By ’machine’  - in both quotes- he meant ’deus ex machina’."

Like goldenhair, I would also like to examine how you come to this conclusion, viz. for the 1966 telephone interview quote. Based on the quote provided from the Henry Resnick telephone interview, there is no evidence to indicate that he is referring to deus ex machina here.

Of course, I agree that it is the correct conclusion for Letter # 210. The telephone quote, however, is not referring to deus ex machina. It does not fit the context of Tolkien’s statement. 
;I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything- like the Greek shard of Amyntas, which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.’;

Deus ex machina is a plot device.  It is not a source of literary inspiration. You may wish to consider revising your word choice here.

Other than that, the opening post seems to be well drawn.  It is an interesting subject, since it is rare to come across material about Tolkien being influenced by Victorians.

halfir 03/Nov/2004 at 06:28 PM
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I am afraid gentlemen I think your exegesis very poor. In the Resnick telephone interview Tolkien is quite clearly saying that a movitating force for him - the machine or deus ex machina was "She’. There is no other inference that can be drawn.

The greek shard of Amyntas got the action moving in  She  and She was a literary influence that sparked Tolkien - got him moving - that is clearly what he means.

halfir 03/Nov/2004 at 06:28 PM
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I am afraid gentlemen I think your exegesis very poor. In the Resnick telephone interview Tolkien is quite clearly saying that a movitating force for him - the machine or deus ex machina was "She’. There is no other inference that can be drawn.

The greek shard of Amyntas got the action moving in  She  and She was a literary influence that sparked Tolkien - got him moving - that is clearly what he means.

Sam Silversword 03/Nov/2004 at 07:57 PM
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No worries halfir, it was only a minor point of concern regarding word choice.  My suggestion does not bear on your overall argument, so feel free to continue your excellent discussion. Parenthesis: [ I agree that Tolkien was motivated by She; my first post was voicing an observation that your use of the word deus ex machina may be in slightly the wrong context. Traditionally the word applies to plots, and has a negative connotation. ’Machine’ does not automatically mean ’deus ex machina’ - the latter term is reserved for critical analysis. Conventionally it is not a source of inspiration for a writer, nor would a writer use it to praise another. By ’machine’ in the Resnick quote, Tolkien certainly did mean a motivating force; however, he did not mean ’deus ex machina’. Just a suggestion about word choice. It is quite alright though. ] 

It is interesting that She was such an influential and popular book, even for Jung and Freud. I have heard it called the progenitor of the modern fantasy book. Still, it seems to me that there are some qualities in She which Tolkien picked up and liked, and other more social ideas which he did not use, rather like a swallow building a nest. I think that Tolkien was also interested in the Norse sagas and mythological influences. Did Tolkien also discuss any interest in Haggard’s Norse epic, The Saga of Eric Brighteyes?
Sam Silversword 03/Nov/2004 at 07:57 PM
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No worries halfir, it was only a minor point of concern regarding word choice.  My suggestion does not bear on your overall argument, so feel free to continue your excellent discussion. Parenthesis: [ I agree that Tolkien was motivated by She; my first post was voicing an observation that your use of the word deus ex machina may be in slightly the wrong context. Traditionally the word applies to plots, and has a negative connotation. ’Machine’ does not automatically mean ’deus ex machina’ - the latter term is reserved for critical analysis. Conventionally it is not a source of inspiration for a writer, nor would a writer use it to praise another. By ’machine’ in the Resnick quote, Tolkien certainly did mean a motivating force; however, he did not mean ’deus ex machina’. Just a suggestion about word choice. It is quite alright though. ] 

It is interesting that She was such an influential and popular book, even for Jung and Freud. I have heard it called the progenitor of the modern fantasy book. Still, it seems to me that there are some qualities in She which Tolkien picked up and liked, and other more social ideas which he did not use, rather like a swallow building a nest. I think that Tolkien was also interested in the Norse sagas and mythological influences. Did Tolkien also discuss any interest in Haggard’s Norse epic, The Saga of Eric Brighteyes?
goldenhair 04/Nov/2004 at 06:36 AM
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Halfir,

It would have been more polite to say "Goldenhair, it means both."  For that is what you do say ultimately.

In any event, I get your point.  In the second instance JRRT is ’moved’ by ’She’ which is for him is ’deus ex machina’.  It is the reason I used the word Kindle!  For Gandalf himself could be considered ’deus ex machina’ both in the figurative and the literal.

Forgive me if I am off base as my literary evidence for ’deus ex machina’ is the satirical "play"  by Woody Allen "God-a play"

goldenhair 04/Nov/2004 at 06:36 AM
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Halfir,

It would have been more polite to say "Goldenhair, it means both."  For that is what you do say ultimately.

In any event, I get your point.  In the second instance JRRT is ’moved’ by ’She’ which is for him is ’deus ex machina’.  It is the reason I used the word Kindle!  For Gandalf himself could be considered ’deus ex machina’ both in the figurative and the literal.

Forgive me if I am off base as my literary evidence for ’deus ex machina’ is the satirical "play"  by Woody Allen "God-a play"

hammodius 04/Nov/2004 at 11:34 AM
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I’ve just been reviewing Tolkien’s notions of machinery as essentially power-driven and therefore at best suspect, if not outright evil, and I wonder how much of this influences his use of the word in connection of She (which I have not read). Was the shard in question an evil talisman like the One Ring, or merely a plot device in a mechanical way?

Quite beside the point: do those of you here who have read She recommend it? I read Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines as a kid, and though I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time, in retrospect I guess it was farfetched and even dangerously uninformed in its presentation of Africa and Africans.

It’s really rather encouraging to hear that such an excellent writer as Tolkien also read his share of mindless fun as a kid, without it doing him permanent damage!
hammodius 04/Nov/2004 at 11:34 AM
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I’ve just been reviewing Tolkien’s notions of machinery as essentially power-driven and therefore at best suspect, if not outright evil, and I wonder how much of this influences his use of the word in connection of She (which I have not read). Was the shard in question an evil talisman like the One Ring, or merely a plot device in a mechanical way?

Quite beside the point: do those of you here who have read She recommend it? I read Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines as a kid, and though I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time, in retrospect I guess it was farfetched and even dangerously uninformed in its presentation of Africa and Africans.

It’s really rather encouraging to hear that such an excellent writer as Tolkien also read his share of mindless fun as a kid, without it doing him permanent damage!
halfir 04/Nov/2004 at 08:06 PM
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Hammodius: It was a plot device. The shard is basically the reason that the whole quest gets underway.

I too, like Tolkien, enjoyed Rider Haggard in my youth.However,  I am not sure I could recommend ’She’ to you now, other than as a literary precursor that might have had some influence on Tolkien’s imaginative thinking.

With regard to your comments in Oin’s thread I have observed of them that your explanation of the idea of ’name’ as machine and power does indeed have some similarities with Tolkien’s use of the term ’machine’.

Sam Silverwood: Unlike Lewis Tolkien is somewhat silent on those literary influences that had some impact on him. Given his like of Morris and of Haggard I would not be surprised in Haggard’s rendition of Norse saga was something he read- although currently I have no evidence to support that.

Goldenhair: I apologise if my response was curt- it was not meant to be impolite- and you of all people should know me by now!X(

 

halfir 04/Nov/2004 at 08:06 PM
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Hammodius: It was a plot device. The shard is basically the reason that the whole quest gets underway.

I too, like Tolkien, enjoyed Rider Haggard in my youth.However,  I am not sure I could recommend ’She’ to you now, other than as a literary precursor that might have had some influence on Tolkien’s imaginative thinking.

With regard to your comments in Oin’s thread I have observed of them that your explanation of the idea of ’name’ as machine and power does indeed have some similarities with Tolkien’s use of the term ’machine’.

Sam Silverwood: Unlike Lewis Tolkien is somewhat silent on those literary influences that had some impact on him. Given his like of Morris and of Haggard I would not be surprised in Haggard’s rendition of Norse saga was something he read- although currently I have no evidence to support that.

Goldenhair: I apologise if my response was curt- it was not meant to be impolite- and you of all people should know me by now!X(

 

Saranna 05/Nov/2004 at 03:52 AM
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A tiny contribution to what looks like becomng a mighty thread. May it not be that like many of a literary bent, JRRT uses "machine" to refer to an influence on his life, because he sees his life as a close kin to the plot of a fiction?  Our lives are stories too, after all.  That would make "Deus ex machina" appropriate.
Also, I have heard that there are two slightly conflicting possibilities for the translation of DEM. This is a bit of an aside, but can any Latin scholar clarify for me?  "God from the machine" could mean that an actor was lowered into the scene by a mechanical device, which is what most people assume. However, I have read that it could mean "A god from outside the action" (machination) of the play; such a divine intervener might simply walk on,having played no previous part in the unrolling of events.
Saranna 05/Nov/2004 at 03:52 AM
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A tiny contribution to what looks like becomng a mighty thread. May it not be that like many of a literary bent, JRRT uses "machine" to refer to an influence on his life, because he sees his life as a close kin to the plot of a fiction?  Our lives are stories too, after all.  That would make "Deus ex machina" appropriate.
Also, I have heard that there are two slightly conflicting possibilities for the translation of DEM. This is a bit of an aside, but can any Latin scholar clarify for me?  "God from the machine" could mean that an actor was lowered into the scene by a mechanical device, which is what most people assume. However, I have read that it could mean "A god from outside the action" (machination) of the play; such a divine intervener might simply walk on,having played no previous part in the unrolling of events.
halfir 08/Nov/2004 at 03:48 PM
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My apologies for not moving on with the main thrust of this which is an exploration of the thesis that Tolkien is an ’Edwardian’ writer, but RL has somewhat rudely intervened in my life over the past few days and looks set to do so for sometime.

I hope to return to my next main section over the next two days.X(

halfir 08/Nov/2004 at 03:48 PM
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My apologies for not moving on with the main thrust of this which is an exploration of the thesis that Tolkien is an ’Edwardian’ writer, but RL has somewhat rudely intervened in my life over the past few days and looks set to do so for sometime.

I hope to return to my next main section over the next two days.X(

Saranna 09/Nov/2004 at 09:45 AM
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So you are a loremaster "ex machina" for the moment - if the second interpretation above is true!  RL, who needs it?
Saranna 09/Nov/2004 at 09:45 AM
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So you are a loremaster "ex machina" for the moment - if the second interpretation above is true!  RL, who needs it?
halfir 09/Nov/2004 at 04:08 PM
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X(
halfir 09/Nov/2004 at 04:08 PM
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X(
halfir 11/Nov/2004 at 04:35 AM
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Douglas Anderson in his Tales Before Tolkien- The Roots of Modern Fantasy says:

’Roger Lancelyn Green, who was a student of Tolkien’s in the 1940’s and who became a close friend of C.S.Lewis, has recalled that Tolkien, like C.S.Lewis and Green himself, ranked Haggard very highly. Green was pleased to be able to lend Tolkien at least one Haggard novel he had never read. Various writers on Tolkien have seen in Haggard’s two most famous novels, She, and King Solomon’s Mines,some direct influence on Tolkien.’

This, together with Tolkien’s own references to Haggard’s works (also referred to in that first post) appears to generally confirm Jared Lobdel’s thesis  which formed the opening post of this thread.

As I said earlier, I shall develop and comment on Lobdel’s argument in further posts in this thread.

halfir 11/Nov/2004 at 04:35 AM
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Douglas Anderson in his Tales Before Tolkien- The Roots of Modern Fantasy says:

’Roger Lancelyn Green, who was a student of Tolkien’s in the 1940’s and who became a close friend of C.S.Lewis, has recalled that Tolkien, like C.S.Lewis and Green himself, ranked Haggard very highly. Green was pleased to be able to lend Tolkien at least one Haggard novel he had never read. Various writers on Tolkien have seen in Haggard’s two most famous novels, She, and King Solomon’s Mines,some direct influence on Tolkien.’

This, together with Tolkien’s own references to Haggard’s works (also referred to in that first post) appears to generally confirm Jared Lobdel’s thesis  which formed the opening post of this thread.

As I said earlier, I shall develop and comment on Lobdel’s argument in further posts in this thread.

Saranna 11/Nov/2004 at 08:57 AM
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We wait, we wait, in our moated grange - -
Saranna 11/Nov/2004 at 08:57 AM
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We wait, we wait, in our moated grange - -
halfir 11/Nov/2004 at 08:35 PM
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In Letter # 337 Tolkien has this to say about the use of sources in a literary work:

’ To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesrting thing to consider’.

In other words, it is not the source per se, but the way the source is used that matters.

We will do well to remember this in considering Lobdel’s "Edwardian’ thesis- and , in fairness to Lobdel, it is a point he makes himself- albeit in a slightly different way.

At no point does he paint Tolkien as a crude copyist or even a sophisticated imitator- he simply urges the view that the Edwardian literary archetype that he describes did influence an aspect of the creative soul of J RR Tolkien.

Lobdel distinguishes between what he calls the impact of Tolkien’s professional life on his imaginative life, and the impact of imaginative writers on his imaginative life.

In the former category are such works as Beowulf, the Eldar Eddas, the Medieval gestes and lays that influenced him, and in the latter that group of Edwardian writers whom Lobdel sees as impinging on him, Rider Haggard, Algernon Blackwood,  and GK Chesterton.

 

halfir 11/Nov/2004 at 08:35 PM
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In Letter # 337 Tolkien has this to say about the use of sources in a literary work:

’ To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesrting thing to consider’.

In other words, it is not the source per se, but the way the source is used that matters.

We will do well to remember this in considering Lobdel’s "Edwardian’ thesis- and , in fairness to Lobdel, it is a point he makes himself- albeit in a slightly different way.

At no point does he paint Tolkien as a crude copyist or even a sophisticated imitator- he simply urges the view that the Edwardian literary archetype that he describes did influence an aspect of the creative soul of J RR Tolkien.

Lobdel distinguishes between what he calls the impact of Tolkien’s professional life on his imaginative life, and the impact of imaginative writers on his imaginative life.

In the former category are such works as Beowulf, the Eldar Eddas, the Medieval gestes and lays that influenced him, and in the latter that group of Edwardian writers whom Lobdel sees as impinging on him, Rider Haggard, Algernon Blackwood,  and GK Chesterton.

 

Saranna 18/Nov/2004 at 04:19 AM
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That all rings very true, halfir - thanks.  
Saranna 18/Nov/2004 at 04:19 AM
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That all rings very true, halfir - thanks.  
halfir 20/Nov/2004 at 03:36 PM
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In his review of ROTK for the New York Times Book Review 22 January 1956 W H Auden, the poet and literary critic wrote:

’ Life, as I expereince it in my own person, is primarily a continuous succession of choices between alternatives...For objectifying this experience, the natural image is a journey beset by dangerous hazards and onstacles...But when I observe my fellow-men, such an image seems false. I can see, for example, that only the eich and those on vacation can take journeys; most men , most of the time, must work in one place. I cannot observe them making choices, only the actions they take and, if  I know someone well, I can usually predict how well he will act in a given situation....If, then, I try to describe what I see as if I were an iompersonal camera, I shall produce not a Quest, but a ’naturalistic’ document,...Both extremes, of course, falsify life. There are medieval Quests which justify the criticism made by Erich Auerbach in his book Mimesis":’ The world of knightly proving is a world of adventure....{The knight’s} exploits....are feats accomplished at random which do not fit into any politically positive apttern.’....Mr Tolkien has succeeded more completely than any previous writer in this genre in using the traditional properties of  the Quest." {Quoted in the introduction to Note # 183 H C’s Letters of JRR Tolkien}

And the Master  -in an unsent note disagreeing with Auden’s overall thesis - though not with his compliments!X(had this himself to say about Journeys in story-telling::

Men do go, and have gone in history on journeys and quests, without any intention of acting out allegories of life. It is not true of the past or the present to say that ’only the riuch or those on vacation can take journeys’. Most men make some journeys. Whether long or short, with an errand or simply to go ’there and back again’, is not of primary importance. As I tried to express in Bilbo’s Walking Song, even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects. When Sam had got no further than the Woody End he had already had an ’eye -opener’. For if there is anything in a journey of any length, for me it is this: a deliverance from the plantlike state of helpless passive sufferer, an exercise however small of will, and mobility-and curiosity, without which a rational mind becomes stultified..........That is another good reason for sending ’hobbits’ - a vision of a simple and calculable people in simple and long-settled circumstances - on a journey far from settled home into strange lands and dangers. Especially if they are provided with some strong motive for endurance and adaptation. Though without any high motive people do change (or rather reveal the latent) on journeys: that is a fact of ordinary observation without any need of symbolical explanation. On a journey of a length sufficient to provide the untoward  in any  degree from discomfort to fear change in companions well-known in ’ordinary life’ (and in oneself) is often startling. {Note 183 - Letters)

These two lengthy quotations are important in any review of Lobdel’s thesis that on one level Tolkien was a writer influenced by an Edwardian literary archetype. Their significance will emerge later as our analysis develops.

Lobdel opens his argument by stating that the Edwardians of whom he talks - Haggard, Blackwwood, Chesterton, Henty, Conan Doyle- even Saki  (HH Munro) were all storytellers. Their natural form of story telling was the short story, and their short stories  in many cases, and their novels in some, were instalments in a continuing story.{Cf. The Silmarillion and LOTR- my comparison- not Lobdel’s}

They were also ’world creators’  Haggard in ’She’ and "King Solomon’s Mines’, Conan Doyle in ’The Lost World’ even P G Wodehouse with Jeeves and his aristocratic world- and, of course JRR Tolkien and ME -who carried his ’world creation’ to a zenith unknown before then.

In the Edwardian adventure story odd and inexplicable things happen: ’not in Oxford or Baker Street, or Saffron Park but in the land of the Amahagger, or on Dartmoor, or on a lost plateau in South America’ (Lobdel ibid)

Or perhaps, we might say, putting words into Lobdel’s mouth, not in The Shire, but in Moria, Cirith Ungol, and Mordor!

Lobdel stresses that it should be particularly noted that:

’the adventures in the Edwardian adventure story are, in general, not solitary’. (ibid)

They are at least two in number -Homes and Watson- but are more likely to be more than two.And the narrative is in the first person singular even if that involves that first person’s bringing in parts of the story of which he has no firsthand knowledge:

’That is, there is a convention that the story should be told by those whose story it is" (ibid)

{To be continued}

 

halfir 20/Nov/2004 at 03:36 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In his review of ROTK for the New York Times Book Review 22 January 1956 W H Auden, the poet and literary critic wrote:

’ Life, as I expereince it in my own person, is primarily a continuous succession of choices between alternatives...For objectifying this experience, the natural image is a journey beset by dangerous hazards and onstacles...But when I observe my fellow-men, such an image seems false. I can see, for example, that only the eich and those on vacation can take journeys; most men , most of the time, must work in one place. I cannot observe them making choices, only the actions they take and, if  I know someone well, I can usually predict how well he will act in a given situation....If, then, I try to describe what I see as if I were an iompersonal camera, I shall produce not a Quest, but a ’naturalistic’ document,...Both extremes, of course, falsify life. There are medieval Quests which justify the criticism made by Erich Auerbach in his book Mimesis":’ The world of knightly proving is a world of adventure....{The knight’s} exploits....are feats accomplished at random which do not fit into any politically positive apttern.’....Mr Tolkien has succeeded more completely than any previous writer in this genre in using the traditional properties of  the Quest." {Quoted in the introduction to Note # 183 H C’s Letters of JRR Tolkien}

And the Master  -in an unsent note disagreeing with Auden’s overall thesis - though not with his compliments!X(had this himself to say about Journeys in story-telling::

Men do go, and have gone in history on journeys and quests, without any intention of acting out allegories of life. It is not true of the past or the present to say that ’only the riuch or those on vacation can take journeys’. Most men make some journeys. Whether long or short, with an errand or simply to go ’there and back again’, is not of primary importance. As I tried to express in Bilbo’s Walking Song, even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects. When Sam had got no further than the Woody End he had already had an ’eye -opener’. For if there is anything in a journey of any length, for me it is this: a deliverance from the plantlike state of helpless passive sufferer, an exercise however small of will, and mobility-and curiosity, without which a rational mind becomes stultified..........That is another good reason for sending ’hobbits’ - a vision of a simple and calculable people in simple and long-settled circumstances - on a journey far from settled home into strange lands and dangers. Especially if they are provided with some strong motive for endurance and adaptation. Though without any high motive people do change (or rather reveal the latent) on journeys: that is a fact of ordinary observation without any need of symbolical explanation. On a journey of a length sufficient to provide the untoward  in any  degree from discomfort to fear change in companions well-known in ’ordinary life’ (and in oneself) is often startling. {Note 183 - Letters)

These two lengthy quotations are important in any review of Lobdel’s thesis that on one level Tolkien was a writer influenced by an Edwardian literary archetype. Their significance will emerge later as our analysis develops.

Lobdel opens his argument by stating that the Edwardians of whom he talks - Haggard, Blackwwood, Chesterton, Henty, Conan Doyle- even Saki  (HH Munro) were all storytellers. Their natural form of story telling was the short story, and their short stories  in many cases, and their novels in some, were instalments in a continuing story.{Cf. The Silmarillion and LOTR- my comparison- not Lobdel’s}

They were also ’world creators’  Haggard in ’She’ and "King Solomon’s Mines’, Conan Doyle in ’The Lost World’ even P G Wodehouse with Jeeves and his aristocratic world- and, of course JRR Tolkien and ME -who carried his ’world creation’ to a zenith unknown before then.

In the Edwardian adventure story odd and inexplicable things happen: ’not in Oxford or Baker Street, or Saffron Park but in the land of the Amahagger, or on Dartmoor, or on a lost plateau in South America’ (Lobdel ibid)

Or perhaps, we might say, putting words into Lobdel’s mouth, not in The Shire, but in Moria, Cirith Ungol, and Mordor!

Lobdel stresses that it should be particularly noted that:

’the adventures in the Edwardian adventure story are, in general, not solitary’. (ibid)

They are at least two in number -Homes and Watson- but are more likely to be more than two.And the narrative is in the first person singular even if that involves that first person’s bringing in parts of the story of which he has no firsthand knowledge:

’That is, there is a convention that the story should be told by those whose story it is" (ibid)

{To be continued}

 

Saranna 21/Nov/2004 at 03:47 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Great stuff - but to be read later and answered properly, I MUST write some Yule cards.
Saranna 21/Nov/2004 at 03:47 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Great stuff - but to be read later and answered properly, I MUST write some Yule cards.
halfir 22/Nov/2004 at 03:58 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Lobdel then goes on to make this interesting observation:

’The Edwardian adventure story was indeed a story of Englishmen abroad in the wide and mysterious world,  but what they were looking for was not so much the Holy Grail or the Golden Fleece as- whatever excuse may have been provided by Maple White of the Shard of Amyntas- the wide world itself. (It is worth noting that the best of Blackwood’s stories take place on the Danube, or in Canada or in the Alps). And I find this parallels The Lord of the Rings: it does not seem to me that Frodo sets out on a quest much more than Bilbo set out on one in The Hobbit. Certainly Frodo and Bilbo, though they are Hobbits, are Englishmen, and to them the ’back again’ in the subtitle of The Hobbit is as important as the ’there.’ (My bold emphasis)

I certainly agree that Frodo does not set out on a quest. While I accept that his fears for and desire to aid The Shire are quite genuine, I do not think the full import of what Gandalf has told him has sunk in- nor do I think Gandalf wanted it to. He has to face demons that would terrify even the greatest of The Silmarillion heroes.

Moreover, until The Council of Elrond and the gathering effectively of all the Free Peoples and the exposition of what the threat of Sauron with the One really means, I think that Frodo- although increasingly blooded and bloodied by his experineces ( The Black Rider, OMW, The Barrow-Wight, The Witch King and the Morgul Blade) has seen  Rivendell as his terminus ad quem rather than his terminus a quo.

But after Rivendell he is in no doubt that he is on a Quest, and increasingly one from which there will be no back again.

So I think that aspect of the suggested relationship between Frodo’s Quest and the Edwardian archetype can only be pressed  to a limited degree.

halfir 22/Nov/2004 at 03:58 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Lobdel then goes on to make this interesting observation:

’The Edwardian adventure story was indeed a story of Englishmen abroad in the wide and mysterious world,  but what they were looking for was not so much the Holy Grail or the Golden Fleece as- whatever excuse may have been provided by Maple White of the Shard of Amyntas- the wide world itself. (It is worth noting that the best of Blackwood’s stories take place on the Danube, or in Canada or in the Alps). And I find this parallels The Lord of the Rings: it does not seem to me that Frodo sets out on a quest much more than Bilbo set out on one in The Hobbit. Certainly Frodo and Bilbo, though they are Hobbits, are Englishmen, and to them the ’back again’ in the subtitle of The Hobbit is as important as the ’there.’ (My bold emphasis)

I certainly agree that Frodo does not set out on a quest. While I accept that his fears for and desire to aid The Shire are quite genuine, I do not think the full import of what Gandalf has told him has sunk in- nor do I think Gandalf wanted it to. He has to face demons that would terrify even the greatest of The Silmarillion heroes.

Moreover, until The Council of Elrond and the gathering effectively of all the Free Peoples and the exposition of what the threat of Sauron with the One really means, I think that Frodo- although increasingly blooded and bloodied by his experineces ( The Black Rider, OMW, The Barrow-Wight, The Witch King and the Morgul Blade) has seen  Rivendell as his terminus ad quem rather than his terminus a quo.

But after Rivendell he is in no doubt that he is on a Quest, and increasingly one from which there will be no back again.

So I think that aspect of the suggested relationship between Frodo’s Quest and the Edwardian archetype can only be pressed  to a limited degree.

Lady d`Ecthelion 22/Nov/2004 at 05:25 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

With all my respect to what has been quoted and said, and reserving for myself the right to be punished with a dozen of lashes for diluting the topic with my own opinions, I would just wish to ask:

 

And doesn’t a Quest become  a Quest only after it has ended and its outcome given meaning and imporatnce – both by the participants in it and more important – by the rest who learned about it?

 

I mean … didn’t most of those Quests start only and just because one had to leave the comfortable life and routine?

 

Between a journey and a quest, isn’t there a great difference? I sort of “feel” it in the way I interpret these two words, or rather – the notion they have been endowed with in the course of their use.

To me a journey is just to go from one place to another. Every journey has its purpose and aim, true.

But a journey becomes a true quest only if or/and when the final outcome is being assessed, estimated and agreed to be essential and life changing – that valid not only for the participants but for many others, as well.

In other words – a quest always seems to start as a journey and becomes a quest only after it has ended.

I see this in the cases of Bilbo’s and Frodo’s quests, too.

And where was that episode when Sam was telling Frodo of how their journey may one day become a tale to be told by the fire – I am sorry I did not find the exact quote – but he was saying somethg of this kind – that all the great stories and all the heroic deeds of the past seem to be not that much heroic at all while happening. Only later they were called ’heroic’! And he was “dreaming” the story of their journey to become one day such an epic.

Now … not to dilute the topic any further, or halfir might choose another dozen for me! … let me finish by repeating the question:

 

 And doesn’t a Quest become  a Quest only after it has ended?

Lady d`Ecthelion 22/Nov/2004 at 05:25 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

With all my respect to what has been quoted and said, and reserving for myself the right to be punished with a dozen of lashes for diluting the topic with my own opinions, I would just wish to ask:

 

And doesn’t a Quest become  a Quest only after it has ended and its outcome given meaning and imporatnce – both by the participants in it and more important – by the rest who learned about it?

 

I mean … didn’t most of those Quests start only and just because one had to leave the comfortable life and routine?

 

Between a journey and a quest, isn’t there a great difference? I sort of “feel” it in the way I interpret these two words, or rather – the notion they have been endowed with in the course of their use.

To me a journey is just to go from one place to another. Every journey has its purpose and aim, true.

But a journey becomes a true quest only if or/and when the final outcome is being assessed, estimated and agreed to be essential and life changing – that valid not only for the participants but for many others, as well.

In other words – a quest always seems to start as a journey and becomes a quest only after it has ended.

I see this in the cases of Bilbo’s and Frodo’s quests, too.

And where was that episode when Sam was telling Frodo of how their journey may one day become a tale to be told by the fire – I am sorry I did not find the exact quote – but he was saying somethg of this kind – that all the great stories and all the heroic deeds of the past seem to be not that much heroic at all while happening. Only later they were called ’heroic’! And he was “dreaming” the story of their journey to become one day such an epic.

Now … not to dilute the topic any further, or halfir might choose another dozen for me! … let me finish by repeating the question:

 

 And doesn’t a Quest become  a Quest only after it has ended?

halfir 22/Nov/2004 at 03:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Aldoriana: No I don’t think it does. The Grail quest in many instances never ends because the numinous object is never found. And Frodo starts on a journey with no full realization of what he has actually embarked upon- it is only at Rivendell when he freely elects to continue that the journey becomes a quest. And in Rider Haggards King Solomon’s Mines and She ab initio the travelers are on a quest -they  go to seek a specific object. Frodo goes to destroy a specific object-but after Rivendell. That is when his journey becomes a quest.

To me the determining factor of the quest is the purposive dedication to the achievment of a specific end- that end does not have to be achieved for the journey to become a quest. Boromir fails in his quest, yet I do not deny that he has embarked on one.

With Frodo the journey becomes purposive and dedicated after Rivendell, and transmutes into a quest.

halfir 22/Nov/2004 at 03:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Aldoriana: No I don’t think it does. The Grail quest in many instances never ends because the numinous object is never found. And Frodo starts on a journey with no full realization of what he has actually embarked upon- it is only at Rivendell when he freely elects to continue that the journey becomes a quest. And in Rider Haggards King Solomon’s Mines and She ab initio the travelers are on a quest -they  go to seek a specific object. Frodo goes to destroy a specific object-but after Rivendell. That is when his journey becomes a quest.

To me the determining factor of the quest is the purposive dedication to the achievment of a specific end- that end does not have to be achieved for the journey to become a quest. Boromir fails in his quest, yet I do not deny that he has embarked on one.

With Frodo the journey becomes purposive and dedicated after Rivendell, and transmutes into a quest.

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Nov/2004 at 05:09 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

You have been merciful to me, halfir!

Thank you for the answer!
I’ll try to keep on reading and learning from what the learned have to say in this thread as much as I can.
RL, unlike you, shows no mercy!

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Nov/2004 at 05:09 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

You have been merciful to me, halfir!

Thank you for the answer!
I’ll try to keep on reading and learning from what the learned have to say in this thread as much as I can.
RL, unlike you, shows no mercy!

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 05:17 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

But in all honesty,  I believe that the ring is just another manifestation of the grail legend.  The Ring being the symbol of womanhood, the sacred feminine if you will.  Isildur is actually a woman, set up by the spiteful Gil-Galad, her scorned elven lover.  And Sauron the target of a Catholic smear campaign which the Vatican is desperately trying to bury!  Why it makes, perfect sense, and i am disappointed noone saw it sooner,  You can see it clearly in Ted Nasmith’s paintings.  And make sure to go out and by my new book!
The NaSmith Code

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 05:17 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

But in all honesty,  I believe that the ring is just another manifestation of the grail legend.  The Ring being the symbol of womanhood, the sacred feminine if you will.  Isildur is actually a woman, set up by the spiteful Gil-Galad, her scorned elven lover.  And Sauron the target of a Catholic smear campaign which the Vatican is desperately trying to bury!  Why it makes, perfect sense, and i am disappointed noone saw it sooner,  You can see it clearly in Ted Nasmith’s paintings.  And make sure to go out and by my new book!
The NaSmith Code

Saranna 23/Nov/2004 at 05:59 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
"With Frodo the journey becomes purposive and dedicated after Rivendell, and transmutes into a quest." -yes, halfir, spot on. I wonder if it ever does so for Bilbo - perhaps when he resolves that he really wants to go home, and uses the Arkenstone to bargain his way out? Or is it earlier?

(Series of disconnected responses here)

What is Bruin on about?

I’m glad you mentioned the Holmes and Watson team - I have always felt there was a touch of the late 19th/Early 20th century hero and loyal sidekick about Frodo and Sam. Holmes and Watson, Lord P. Wimsey and Bunter, Poirot and Hastings, Biggles and whoever it was. We perhaps need not go as far as Jeeves and Wooster!
Saranna 23/Nov/2004 at 05:59 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
"With Frodo the journey becomes purposive and dedicated after Rivendell, and transmutes into a quest." -yes, halfir, spot on. I wonder if it ever does so for Bilbo - perhaps when he resolves that he really wants to go home, and uses the Arkenstone to bargain his way out? Or is it earlier?

(Series of disconnected responses here)

What is Bruin on about?

I’m glad you mentioned the Holmes and Watson team - I have always felt there was a touch of the late 19th/Early 20th century hero and loyal sidekick about Frodo and Sam. Holmes and Watson, Lord P. Wimsey and Bunter, Poirot and Hastings, Biggles and whoever it was. We perhaps need not go as far as Jeeves and Wooster!
halfir 23/Nov/2004 at 06:45 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bruin: You might enjoy looking in at my thread in Books- ’Outdaying David Day’ in which I have pleasure in pricking the balloon of Mahmoud Shelton’s amazing concatenation of nonsense Alchemy in Middle Earth. If you found the Da Vinic code stretched things a bit, and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail took them further, then you wait until you see the alchemical Islamic interpretation that Mr. Shelton provides of LOTR! (And he gives you the Grail too!)

And BTW I am a firm believer in the "Divine Femine’. I think the grail is a human vessel and not an artefact- and as to the Vatican I will not enter into a religious controversy! I would only say, Marvin H.Pope, George Wells, and Hugh Schonfield to indicate where my sympathies lie - though I won’t go as far as Dr.Lindtner -yet!X(

halfir 23/Nov/2004 at 06:45 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bruin: You might enjoy looking in at my thread in Books- ’Outdaying David Day’ in which I have pleasure in pricking the balloon of Mahmoud Shelton’s amazing concatenation of nonsense Alchemy in Middle Earth. If you found the Da Vinic code stretched things a bit, and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail took them further, then you wait until you see the alchemical Islamic interpretation that Mr. Shelton provides of LOTR! (And he gives you the Grail too!)

And BTW I am a firm believer in the "Divine Femine’. I think the grail is a human vessel and not an artefact- and as to the Vatican I will not enter into a religious controversy! I would only say, Marvin H.Pope, George Wells, and Hugh Schonfield to indicate where my sympathies lie - though I won’t go as far as Dr.Lindtner -yet!X(

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 06:57 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

Already have halfir i’m not sure you recognize me though!  As we have bantered on too many occasion’s to count and butted heads also, but in the end always healthy debate.  i’m sure you remember an uppity rider by the name of Hawk/Feolcwine.  So don’t tease me old man!  About this or Michael Martinez!

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 06:57 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

Already have halfir i’m not sure you recognize me though!  As we have bantered on too many occasion’s to count and butted heads also, but in the end always healthy debate.  i’m sure you remember an uppity rider by the name of Hawk/Feolcwine.  So don’t tease me old man!  About this or Michael Martinez!

halfir 23/Nov/2004 at 07:06 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Hawk my dear sir (aka Bruin), how truly delightful to have you gracing these forums again. I hope life is treating you well and that the path you have taken is proving what you wanted it to be.

We miss your wit and sharp observatory powers. I hope this is not just a whistle-stop visit and that we will see and hear more of you.

But why the change from a Bird of Prey to an Ursine form? Been reading too much about Beorn? Or do you have a honey complex!X(

Either ways, thrice welcome good sir. I hope your return to these shores will be a lengthy one.X(

halfir 23/Nov/2004 at 07:06 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Hawk my dear sir (aka Bruin), how truly delightful to have you gracing these forums again. I hope life is treating you well and that the path you have taken is proving what you wanted it to be.

We miss your wit and sharp observatory powers. I hope this is not just a whistle-stop visit and that we will see and hear more of you.

But why the change from a Bird of Prey to an Ursine form? Been reading too much about Beorn? Or do you have a honey complex!X(

Either ways, thrice welcome good sir. I hope your return to these shores will be a lengthy one.X(

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 07:22 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

Then our hopes are one in the same!  And as far as this topic goes, (and in your other thread, Outdaying David Day) I am sure you will see more of me.  As for right now, I am still struggling with people struggling with "deus ex machina" 

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 07:22 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

Then our hopes are one in the same!  And as far as this topic goes, (and in your other thread, Outdaying David Day) I am sure you will see more of me.  As for right now, I am still struggling with people struggling with "deus ex machina" 

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 07:48 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

halfir:  One other particular point of contention I noticed,  though pardon me if someone already pointed it out and i missed it, Is that one must distinguish which quest.  Now quite simply I will invoke a poor paraphrase,  something to the effect of the great stories don’t end, they simply take on a new form, and new characters to play the roles.  (Now i know that’s not how it goes, but it carries on something to that effect.)  Now I think that also, it is never one quest although the Destruction of the Ring is the ultimate quest.  it is many small quests constantly bringing them closer to the absolutiion of their ultimate quest.

It is a quest for a different purpose when they leave the Shire.  The quest is to meet Gandalf at the Prancing Pony.  Now would you categorize this as a mission, or a quest, and how does one distinguish?  Is it by the epic proportions of it?  Was not  taking the ring to Rivendell a quest onto itself as well?

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 07:48 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002

halfir:  One other particular point of contention I noticed,  though pardon me if someone already pointed it out and i missed it, Is that one must distinguish which quest.  Now quite simply I will invoke a poor paraphrase,  something to the effect of the great stories don’t end, they simply take on a new form, and new characters to play the roles.  (Now i know that’s not how it goes, but it carries on something to that effect.)  Now I think that also, it is never one quest although the Destruction of the Ring is the ultimate quest.  it is many small quests constantly bringing them closer to the absolutiion of their ultimate quest.

It is a quest for a different purpose when they leave the Shire.  The quest is to meet Gandalf at the Prancing Pony.  Now would you categorize this as a mission, or a quest, and how does one distinguish?  Is it by the epic proportions of it?  Was not  taking the ring to Rivendell a quest onto itself as well?

Saranna 23/Nov/2004 at 11:53 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
If I may (halfir, please introduce me to Bruin, I feel sure we shall be Friends!) - is not the journey to the Prancing Pony little more than keeping an appointment? I think I must maintain my agreement with halfir that the Quest comes after Frodo’s "I will take the Ring."
Someone tell me more about the hero/sidekick thing please. I believe it goes back to Gilgamesh/Enkidu, there are David/JOnathon, Arthur/Lancelot. etc etc. Though I am beginning to loose track of why we mentioned that - oh yes, Edwardian literary conventions. And so it is; but I submit it may have an ancient source - -
Saranna 23/Nov/2004 at 11:53 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
If I may (halfir, please introduce me to Bruin, I feel sure we shall be Friends!) - is not the journey to the Prancing Pony little more than keeping an appointment? I think I must maintain my agreement with halfir that the Quest comes after Frodo’s "I will take the Ring."
Someone tell me more about the hero/sidekick thing please. I believe it goes back to Gilgamesh/Enkidu, there are David/JOnathon, Arthur/Lancelot. etc etc. Though I am beginning to loose track of why we mentioned that - oh yes, Edwardian literary conventions. And so it is; but I submit it may have an ancient source - -
halfir 23/Nov/2004 at 02:18 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bruin: I concur with Saranna’s concurrence with my earlier point!X( Frodo’s journey becomes a Quest when he purposively determines to take the One to the fire and destroy it. Before then the full magnitude of the Ring and its implications have not fully dawned on his consciousness.

As Sarrana says he goes on a journey to kep an appointment with Gandalf. He has no intent at that time to destroy the One because he does not know that is necessary.

As for a definition of  Quest -  W H Auden puts it  succinctly put it in his review of FOTR: (New York Times Books Oct 31 1954)

’All Quests are concerned with some numinous Object, the Waters of Life, the Grail, buried treasure etc; normally this is a good Object which it is the Hero’s task to find or to rescue from the Enemy, but the Ring of Mr. Tolkien’s story was made by the Enemy, and is so dangerous that even the good cannot use it without being corrupted."

halfir 23/Nov/2004 at 02:18 PM
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Bruin: I concur with Saranna’s concurrence with my earlier point!X( Frodo’s journey becomes a Quest when he purposively determines to take the One to the fire and destroy it. Before then the full magnitude of the Ring and its implications have not fully dawned on his consciousness.

As Sarrana says he goes on a journey to kep an appointment with Gandalf. He has no intent at that time to destroy the One because he does not know that is necessary.

As for a definition of  Quest -  W H Auden puts it  succinctly put it in his review of FOTR: (New York Times Books Oct 31 1954)

’All Quests are concerned with some numinous Object, the Waters of Life, the Grail, buried treasure etc; normally this is a good Object which it is the Hero’s task to find or to rescue from the Enemy, but the Ring of Mr. Tolkien’s story was made by the Enemy, and is so dangerous that even the good cannot use it without being corrupted."

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Nov/2004 at 10:05 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Tuesday, November 23, 2004

As for a definition of  Quest -  W H Auden puts it  succinctly put it in his review of FOTR: (New York Times Books Oct 31 1954)

’All Quests are concerned with some numinous Object, the Waters of Life, the Grail, buried treasure etc; normally this is a good Object which it is the Hero’s task to find or to rescue from the Enemy, but the Ring of Mr. Tolkien’s story was made by the Enemy, and is so dangerous that even the good cannot use it without being corrupted."
/my highlight/


But my dear Sir,
Would it be wrong to say that there is an obvious difference when the Ring Quest is compared to the other quests quoted above?
Because if those other quests were undertaken to find those precious objects, Frodo & Co.’s quest was to actually destroy the object.
So, is it really a correct definition of a quest?
I’d rather accept the one I read above - that a quest becomes one when there comes a clear and important purpose of the journey once started.

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Nov/2004 at 10:05 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Tuesday, November 23, 2004

As for a definition of  Quest -  W H Auden puts it  succinctly put it in his review of FOTR: (New York Times Books Oct 31 1954)

’All Quests are concerned with some numinous Object, the Waters of Life, the Grail, buried treasure etc; normally this is a good Object which it is the Hero’s task to find or to rescue from the Enemy, but the Ring of Mr. Tolkien’s story was made by the Enemy, and is so dangerous that even the good cannot use it without being corrupted."
/my highlight/


But my dear Sir,
Would it be wrong to say that there is an obvious difference when the Ring Quest is compared to the other quests quoted above?
Because if those other quests were undertaken to find those precious objects, Frodo & Co.’s quest was to actually destroy the object.
So, is it really a correct definition of a quest?
I’d rather accept the one I read above - that a quest becomes one when there comes a clear and important purpose of the journey once started.

Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 10:29 PM
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And what about Gollum’s quest to capture and retake the ring... (Quest for as opposed to a quest to...) Wouldn’t Gollum be a prime example of "Deus ex Machina?"  I think it is his quest that is ultimately the final machine by which the destruction of the ring is achieved, although the end result coincides (however accidentally) with the Ringbearers. 
Bruin 23/Nov/2004 at 10:29 PM
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And what about Gollum’s quest to capture and retake the ring... (Quest for as opposed to a quest to...) Wouldn’t Gollum be a prime example of "Deus ex Machina?"  I think it is his quest that is ultimately the final machine by which the destruction of the ring is achieved, although the end result coincides (however accidentally) with the Ringbearers. 
halfir 24/Nov/2004 at 12:31 AM
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Aldoriana: While I am flattered that you take my definition in prefernce to Auden’s I think the point he is making is the intent of the parties- that they are on a Quest for positive reasons- so that while Tolkien’s Quest ’twists’ the standard definiton- if we may call it that- it still fits the overall envelope of that which Auden describes.

Bruin: I think Gollum is exhibiting signs of obsession - not the heroic qualities of a Quest hero!X( And he only can become the deus ex machina  as you put it, through the freely willed pity of Frodo towards him. Sam would have followed a different course!

halfir 24/Nov/2004 at 12:31 AM
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Aldoriana: While I am flattered that you take my definition in prefernce to Auden’s I think the point he is making is the intent of the parties- that they are on a Quest for positive reasons- so that while Tolkien’s Quest ’twists’ the standard definiton- if we may call it that- it still fits the overall envelope of that which Auden describes.

Bruin: I think Gollum is exhibiting signs of obsession - not the heroic qualities of a Quest hero!X( And he only can become the deus ex machina  as you put it, through the freely willed pity of Frodo towards him. Sam would have followed a different course!

Bruin 24/Nov/2004 at 02:49 AM
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Are you sure they are so different Halfir?  Were those not the same symptoms of our hero? 
Bruin 24/Nov/2004 at 02:49 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 51 Posts: 5608 Joined: 21/Jul/2002
Are you sure they are so different Halfir?  Were those not the same symptoms of our hero? 
halfir 24/Nov/2004 at 03:30 AM
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Bruin: Only after the One had increasingly come to dominate Frodo’s persona. Gollum was was negative from the moment he murdered Deagol to get the One- and no- I am not one who subscribes to the thesis that at that point it was the One exerting its sway over Gollum- it was his own vicious little personality.

I see the two as totally different. Gollum had no desire to save anything-other than the One for himself- from the moment he possessed it and it possessed him - which were not coeval.

And don’t foget Gandalf’s comment (FOTR-The Return of the Shadow):

’Yes sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with"

There was nothing ’well-meaning to begin with’ about Gollum and his desire for the One!

halfir 24/Nov/2004 at 03:30 AM
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Bruin: Only after the One had increasingly come to dominate Frodo’s persona. Gollum was was negative from the moment he murdered Deagol to get the One- and no- I am not one who subscribes to the thesis that at that point it was the One exerting its sway over Gollum- it was his own vicious little personality.

I see the two as totally different. Gollum had no desire to save anything-other than the One for himself- from the moment he possessed it and it possessed him - which were not coeval.

And don’t foget Gandalf’s comment (FOTR-The Return of the Shadow):

’Yes sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with"

There was nothing ’well-meaning to begin with’ about Gollum and his desire for the One!

Saranna 24/Nov/2004 at 07:09 AM
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Cough cough! Excuse me gents -er - "Hero and sidekick?" Please comment, even if only to say, "Stupid idea Saranna!"
Saranna 24/Nov/2004 at 07:09 AM
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Cough cough! Excuse me gents -er - "Hero and sidekick?" Please comment, even if only to say, "Stupid idea Saranna!"
halfir 24/Nov/2004 at 01:17 PM
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Saranna: Sorry we are getting off track. Lobdel certainly makes the observation that you do about the ’partnership’ in the epic situation, and even though it is often larger than two persons theer is very much a hero and a support role, although support is probably the wrong word. Mutual inter-dependency is probably closer to the truth.

Even today, in the wold of comdey one has the main comic and his foil- Tony Hancock and Sid James spring to mind! Not quite the epic proportions of Gilgamesh, and David and Jonathan! (the Lament is breathtakingly moving) but the concept of a symbiotic duet - which in many cases mellows the ’master/servant’ relationship, is certainly a literary tried and trusted one, with a very ancient pedigree.

halfir 24/Nov/2004 at 01:17 PM
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Saranna: Sorry we are getting off track. Lobdel certainly makes the observation that you do about the ’partnership’ in the epic situation, and even though it is often larger than two persons theer is very much a hero and a support role, although support is probably the wrong word. Mutual inter-dependency is probably closer to the truth.

Even today, in the wold of comdey one has the main comic and his foil- Tony Hancock and Sid James spring to mind! Not quite the epic proportions of Gilgamesh, and David and Jonathan! (the Lament is breathtakingly moving) but the concept of a symbiotic duet - which in many cases mellows the ’master/servant’ relationship, is certainly a literary tried and trusted one, with a very ancient pedigree.

Saranna 25/Nov/2004 at 01:46 AM
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I forgot Quixote and Panza!  Well, but what a wyrd thing - having mooted the importance of this relationship (which does now and then expand to three or more, vide Kirk/Spock/McCoy), I then turned to the next article in the Tolkien Studies to find Hooker’s Frodo’s batman, a study of one aspect of this dual intereliance theme, in which he strangely fails to mention Lord P. Wimsey but does mention Jeeves - - .  Now everyone will think I pinched the idea from him, while in fact I have been wanting to write a book on it for c30 years!  I am intrigued by the way these rleationships are transformed in the course of their narratives.  Starting as antagonists (Arthur and Lancelot, Enkidu/Gilgamesh) or as master/servant (Don Quixote, Frodo) or genius/sidekick (Holmes/Watson) they move towards true friendship (notwithstanding tragic dimensions such as Lancelot and Guenever).  Have you seen the Hooker article, halfir, or anyone else?
Saranna 25/Nov/2004 at 01:46 AM
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I forgot Quixote and Panza!  Well, but what a wyrd thing - having mooted the importance of this relationship (which does now and then expand to three or more, vide Kirk/Spock/McCoy), I then turned to the next article in the Tolkien Studies to find Hooker’s Frodo’s batman, a study of one aspect of this dual intereliance theme, in which he strangely fails to mention Lord P. Wimsey but does mention Jeeves - - .  Now everyone will think I pinched the idea from him, while in fact I have been wanting to write a book on it for c30 years!  I am intrigued by the way these rleationships are transformed in the course of their narratives.  Starting as antagonists (Arthur and Lancelot, Enkidu/Gilgamesh) or as master/servant (Don Quixote, Frodo) or genius/sidekick (Holmes/Watson) they move towards true friendship (notwithstanding tragic dimensions such as Lancelot and Guenever).  Have you seen the Hooker article, halfir, or anyone else?
halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 01:54 AM
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Sarrana: Haven’t got round to it yet. So much to read and so little time- and this weekend I’m running a  workshop on Time Management  for the automotive industry , so I’d better listen to what I’m saying!X(
halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 01:54 AM
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Sarrana: Haven’t got round to it yet. So much to read and so little time- and this weekend I’m running a  workshop on Time Management  for the automotive industry , so I’d better listen to what I’m saying!X(
Saranna 25/Nov/2004 at 03:42 AM
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Yes, I feel like that when I lecture more junior library managers on always carrying out my instructions promptly!   Any hints on time management for Library Managers who wish they were somewhere else entirely?
Saranna 25/Nov/2004 at 03:42 AM
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Yes, I feel like that when I lecture more junior library managers on always carrying out my instructions promptly!   Any hints on time management for Library Managers who wish they were somewhere else entirely?
halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 04:36 AM
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Saranna: I meant to ask you if Tolkien Studies is available by bookshop purchase or only by subscription. My good friend at Chulalongkorn University is a subscriber  To the West Virginia University Press and thus I can borrow her copy, but I don’t really want the bore of having to fill out subscription forms etc. I’d just prefer to order it from a bookseller.

Late Edit: Do you have an ISBN number? My bookseller in the UK can’t track it down!

halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 04:36 AM
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Saranna: I meant to ask you if Tolkien Studies is available by bookshop purchase or only by subscription. My good friend at Chulalongkorn University is a subscriber  To the West Virginia University Press and thus I can borrow her copy, but I don’t really want the bore of having to fill out subscription forms etc. I’d just prefer to order it from a bookseller.

Late Edit: Do you have an ISBN number? My bookseller in the UK can’t track it down!

Saranna 25/Nov/2004 at 05:07 AM
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It says nothing on the website about bookstores, I fear.  I can let you have the ISSN - for it is a serial although it looks like a "book" (a red one no less) - when I go home (yes, this is me working!) SSSSH!
Saranna 25/Nov/2004 at 05:07 AM
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It says nothing on the website about bookstores, I fear.  I can let you have the ISSN - for it is a serial although it looks like a "book" (a red one no less) - when I go home (yes, this is me working!) SSSSH!
halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 02:31 PM
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Saranna: No- I noticed no bookshops were mentioned. But thanks for your email. I can send them a dollar check if I have to.X(
halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 02:31 PM
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Saranna: No- I noticed no bookshops were mentioned. But thanks for your email. I can send them a dollar check if I have to.X(
halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 03:52 PM
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Saranna: Let’s get back on track! You wrote:

I am intrigued by the way these rleationships are transformed in the course of their narratives. 

Yet surely this is exactly what Tolkien was saying with regard to the way in which journey’s change people- and thus relationships.

Though without any high motive people do change (or rather reveal the latent) on journeys: that is a fact of ordinary observation without any need of symbolical explanation. On a journey of a length sufficient to provide the untoward  in any  degree from discomfort to fear thechange in companions well-known in ’ordinary life’; (and in oneself) is often startling. {Note 183 - Letters my bold emphasis))

halfir 25/Nov/2004 at 03:52 PM
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Saranna: Let’s get back on track! You wrote:

I am intrigued by the way these rleationships are transformed in the course of their narratives. 

Yet surely this is exactly what Tolkien was saying with regard to the way in which journey’s change people- and thus relationships.

Though without any high motive people do change (or rather reveal the latent) on journeys: that is a fact of ordinary observation without any need of symbolical explanation. On a journey of a length sufficient to provide the untoward  in any  degree from discomfort to fear thechange in companions well-known in ’ordinary life’; (and in oneself) is often startling. {Note 183 - Letters my bold emphasis))

Saranna 26/Nov/2004 at 04:01 AM
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Oh, yes indeed!  (In my idiolect, intriguing = Mr. Spock’s interesting - ie deeply and forever fascinating!)  Thus on the simple surface level of the journey, we see the young and inexperienced hobbits learning to share and accept responsibility, Gimli and Legolas becoming "fast friends" against generations of mistrust between their races, Gandalf and Aragorn coming into the revelation of their true strength.
And on the deeper level; (literally and figuratively) - Moria, the dark place, like that in which Gilgamesh journeyed until, seeing no light before or ahead, he "gave a great shout." 
So yes, all journeys are transforming, it is probably why we go on holiday!  But on the specific point of the hero/sidekick relationship being transformed, there is often this shift from a relationship that is socially determined (master/servant, king/knight, civilised man/wild man (Oh, Friday and Crusoe as well as Gilgamesh and Enkidu - not to mention Crichton!) - see how this mushrooms - to a relationship based on true knowledge of each other, conventions gone.  This is still less deep than I would like the exploration to go, but must come back later.

Saranna 26/Nov/2004 at 04:02 AM
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Oh, yes indeed!  (In my idiolect, intriguing = Mr. Spock’s interesting - ie deeply and forever fascinating!)  Thus on the simple surface level of the journey, we see the young and inexperienced hobbits learning to share and accept responsibility, Gimli and Legolas becoming "fast friends" against generations of mistrust between their races, Gandalf and Aragorn coming into the revelation of their true strength.
And on the deeper level; (literally and figuratively) - Moria, the dark place, like that in which Gilgamesh journeyed until, seeing no light before or ahead, he "gave a great shout." 
So yes, all journeys are transforming, it is probably why we go on holiday!  But on the specific point of the hero/sidekick relationship being transformed, there is often this shift from a relationship that is socially determined (master/servant, king/knight, civilised man/wild man (Oh, Friday and Crusoe as well as Gilgamesh and Enkidu - not to mention Crichton!) - see how this mushrooms - to a relationship based on true knowledge of each other, conventions gone.  This is still less deep than I would like the exploration to go, but must come back later.

halfir 27/Nov/2004 at 05:22 PM
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see how this mushrooms - to a relationship based on true knowledge of each other, conventions gone. 

Saranna: I am sorry to be obtuse but isn’t this exactly what Tolkien refers to in the last sentence of Note /Letter 183?

On a journey of a length sufficient to provide the untoward  in any  degree from discomfort to fear the change in companions well-known in ’ordinary life’; (and in oneself) is often startling.

That ’startling change’ is because the duress of the journey has indeed ensured that all conventions have gone, and Frodo and Sam, Gimli and Legolas, even Merry and Pippin surely attest to this.

Yet again the Master unveils the greater overarching mythic truths.

halfir 27/Nov/2004 at 05:22 PM
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see how this mushrooms - to a relationship based on true knowledge of each other, conventions gone. 

Saranna: I am sorry to be obtuse but isn’t this exactly what Tolkien refers to in the last sentence of Note /Letter 183?

On a journey of a length sufficient to provide the untoward  in any  degree from discomfort to fear the change in companions well-known in ’ordinary life’; (and in oneself) is often startling.

That ’startling change’ is because the duress of the journey has indeed ensured that all conventions have gone, and Frodo and Sam, Gimli and Legolas, even Merry and Pippin surely attest to this.

Yet again the Master unveils the greater overarching mythic truths.

halfir 28/Nov/2004 at 08:24 PM
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To return to the main thrust of the thread the infleunce of Edwardian literarture on Tolkien!

Lobdel makes the point that:

’The past alive in the present is a recurring motif in the Edwardian adventure story’

and while, of course, others have felt the lure of the past this was indeed a very Edawrdian trait.

The application to LOTR is obvious - the One - from the past of ME returns to haunt it in the Third Age.

Lobel goes on to say:

’The framework of the story , even in Haggard’s time, is ’there and back again’. ’Then ’back again’ is skimped, and it would appear, in part, a convention necessitated by the first-person narrative: the narrator has to return home in order to tell his story (though Haggard did find a way around that in She). By Blackwood’s time - as a result I suppose of the short-story form - the framework largely disappears, and we are left with the real kernel of the story, which in Blackwood is the mystery ( or the ’supernaturalism’) of nature. (Chesterton dropped the first person narrative, while retaining the viewpoint of the first-person narrator, who likewise must return home to tell the story).

Does Tolkien present us with a ’skimped’ return journey for Frodo? He plays a lesser role on return, but that is totally different- and deliberate - so that cannot be used in debate.

After the The Steward and the King we have Many Partings and Homeward Bound. In MP other than Arwen’s gift and the Saruman episode we learn little more about Frodo on the homeward journey.

In HB other than the reference to Frodo’s recurrent pain little happens that concerns him per se.

The Scouring of the Shire  is designed to prepare us for his departure and expands on his dimiished role in the returned fellowship, and thus serves a different purpose to the preceding chapters.

Whether ’skimped’ would be a fair way of describing the way in which we move from The Steward and the King to The Scouring of the Shire is debateable, but it would perhaps be fair to say that as far as Frodo is concerned it is economical.

halfir 28/Nov/2004 at 08:24 PM
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To return to the main thrust of the thread the infleunce of Edwardian literarture on Tolkien!

Lobdel makes the point that:

’The past alive in the present is a recurring motif in the Edwardian adventure story’

and while, of course, others have felt the lure of the past this was indeed a very Edawrdian trait.

The application to LOTR is obvious - the One - from the past of ME returns to haunt it in the Third Age.

Lobel goes on to say:

’The framework of the story , even in Haggard’s time, is ’there and back again’. ’Then ’back again’ is skimped, and it would appear, in part, a convention necessitated by the first-person narrative: the narrator has to return home in order to tell his story (though Haggard did find a way around that in She). By Blackwood’s time - as a result I suppose of the short-story form - the framework largely disappears, and we are left with the real kernel of the story, which in Blackwood is the mystery ( or the ’supernaturalism’) of nature. (Chesterton dropped the first person narrative, while retaining the viewpoint of the first-person narrator, who likewise must return home to tell the story).

Does Tolkien present us with a ’skimped’ return journey for Frodo? He plays a lesser role on return, but that is totally different- and deliberate - so that cannot be used in debate.

After the The Steward and the King we have Many Partings and Homeward Bound. In MP other than Arwen’s gift and the Saruman episode we learn little more about Frodo on the homeward journey.

In HB other than the reference to Frodo’s recurrent pain little happens that concerns him per se.

The Scouring of the Shire  is designed to prepare us for his departure and expands on his dimiished role in the returned fellowship, and thus serves a different purpose to the preceding chapters.

Whether ’skimped’ would be a fair way of describing the way in which we move from The Steward and the King to The Scouring of the Shire is debateable, but it would perhaps be fair to say that as far as Frodo is concerned it is economical.

Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Nov/2004 at 11:05 PM
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In my view, ’skimped’ the journey ’back’ might be, because I have developed this understanding about the LotR - epic (and in the Hobbit as well !), viewed at in bulk,  that while at the beginning of "telling" the "tale" the "story-teller" focuses more on the characters, by the end he focuses more on the events, hence the journey ’back’ of a certain character is ’skimped’ in favour of the more detailed narration about the events involoving many characters, events that have become of a general importance to everyone, hence - paid much more attention to than the individual actions of individual characters.
Based on this "theory" of mine, I understand why so little is said about the ’journeys back’ of the individual participants in the Fellowship, but  detailed narration we get as soon as they reach a point when another event of a general importance is to happen - the Scouring of the Shire .

Besides ... just think about it!
What if Tolkien had written about the journeys ’back ’  in the same way as about  the journeys ’there’ ?!!!! We could’ve then had a book  twice larger !!! 

Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Nov/2004 at 11:05 PM
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In my view, ’skimped’ the journey ’back’ might be, because I have developed this understanding about the LotR - epic (and in the Hobbit as well !), viewed at in bulk,  that while at the beginning of "telling" the "tale" the "story-teller" focuses more on the characters, by the end he focuses more on the events, hence the journey ’back’ of a certain character is ’skimped’ in favour of the more detailed narration about the events involoving many characters, events that have become of a general importance to everyone, hence - paid much more attention to than the individual actions of individual characters.
Based on this "theory" of mine, I understand why so little is said about the ’journeys back’ of the individual participants in the Fellowship, but  detailed narration we get as soon as they reach a point when another event of a general importance is to happen - the Scouring of the Shire .

Besides ... just think about it!
What if Tolkien had written about the journeys ’back ’  in the same way as about  the journeys ’there’ ?!!!! We could’ve then had a book  twice larger !!! 

Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Nov/2004 at 11:17 PM
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In addition to the above ... don’t you find a difference in the language used at the beginning of the story and by the end?

When focussing on the characters and their environment and the journey ’there’ (at the beginning) the language is somehow "fitting" the purpose and is closer to modern English and is also simpler.

But by the end, when events become the focus of the narration, in order, perhaps, to even stronger underline their importance, the author uses a ’high-style’ language - both - that of the story-teller himself (the English language used there I find to be of a different style - more complex, more formal ... pompous if you like ) on one hand, and that of the characters themselves on the other hand ( more Elvish introduced, more "ceremonial" and official their conversations and statements  sound ..)

Just my opinion, you know. I might be not exactly right, though.

Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Nov/2004 at 11:17 PM
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In addition to the above ... don’t you find a difference in the language used at the beginning of the story and by the end?

When focussing on the characters and their environment and the journey ’there’ (at the beginning) the language is somehow "fitting" the purpose and is closer to modern English and is also simpler.

But by the end, when events become the focus of the narration, in order, perhaps, to even stronger underline their importance, the author uses a ’high-style’ language - both - that of the story-teller himself (the English language used there I find to be of a different style - more complex, more formal ... pompous if you like ) on one hand, and that of the characters themselves on the other hand ( more Elvish introduced, more "ceremonial" and official their conversations and statements  sound ..)

Just my opinion, you know. I might be not exactly right, though.

halfir 28/Nov/2004 at 11:27 PM
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Aldoriana: I think you make two very good points:

a). at the beginning of "telling" the "tale" the "story-teller" focuses more on the characters, by the end he focuses more on the events

b).But by the end, ........the author uses a ’high-style’ language X(

One of the problems in looking at possible similarities in style is that one runs the risk of ’straightjacketing’ the ’masterwork’ into the template that one is using as the discussion base, and I certainly don’t want to be accused of that, even though I do give some credence to Lobdel’s proposition overall.

halfir 28/Nov/2004 at 11:27 PM
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Aldoriana: I think you make two very good points:

a). at the beginning of "telling" the "tale" the "story-teller" focuses more on the characters, by the end he focuses more on the events

b).But by the end, ........the author uses a ’high-style’ language X(

One of the problems in looking at possible similarities in style is that one runs the risk of ’straightjacketing’ the ’masterwork’ into the template that one is using as the discussion base, and I certainly don’t want to be accused of that, even though I do give some credence to Lobdel’s proposition overall.

Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Nov/2004 at 12:18 AM
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halfir, thank you!

I need some help, though, in understanding the meaning of ’’straightjacketing’ .
Please ?! 
This is why I love this language ! It provides me with the opportunity of learning something new every day! 

Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Nov/2004 at 12:18 AM
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halfir, thank you!

I need some help, though, in understanding the meaning of ’’straightjacketing’ .
Please ?! 
This is why I love this language ! It provides me with the opportunity of learning something new every day! 

halfir 29/Nov/2004 at 01:10 AM
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Aldoriana: "constrict’, ’force into a pre-set mold’, ’restrain or confine’.X(
halfir 29/Nov/2004 at 01:10 AM
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Aldoriana: "constrict’, ’force into a pre-set mold’, ’restrain or confine’.X(
Saranna 29/Nov/2004 at 01:32 PM
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halfir, I don’t think you were being obtuse, i think I was being repetitive!
Aldoriana I agree that your points about the language and the focus of the story are excellent, thank you for pointing them out.
Isn’t it "straitjacket"? As in strait, meaning narrow or confined. In dire straits. etc??
Saranna 29/Nov/2004 at 01:32 PM
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halfir, I don’t think you were being obtuse, i think I was being repetitive!
Aldoriana I agree that your points about the language and the focus of the story are excellent, thank you for pointing them out.
Isn’t it "straitjacket"? As in strait, meaning narrow or confined. In dire straits. etc??
halfir 29/Nov/2004 at 02:35 PM
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Saranna: It can be spelled either way! cf .Webster’s New World, Cambridge Advanced Learner’s.My OED doesn’t have it!

 However, I think the convention is to spell it the way you have ’straitjacket’ so I  will amend my spelling accordingly!X(

halfir 29/Nov/2004 at 02:35 PM
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Saranna: It can be spelled either way! cf .Webster’s New World, Cambridge Advanced Learner’s.My OED doesn’t have it!

 However, I think the convention is to spell it the way you have ’straitjacket’ so I  will amend my spelling accordingly!X(

Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Nov/2004 at 10:58 PM
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sarana, halfir, thanks for the linguistic help up there!  

In both cases , however, I think it is the word "jacket" that forms the true notion of "constraining" of the whole compound word ... Right?

Now .. in addition to my musings up there, I was thinking ... and isn’t it characteristic for the tales of old / fairy-tales/ sagas  to follow the same "pattern" of narration? 
  -  from "Once upon a time there lived ..... someone, somewhere, he/she did this/that , ... then one day ........" - all that -  presenting in details and hence - focusing on the main character of the tale and his/her "journey there";
  -  and later the story would continue further to focus more on the events, not excluding the main character, but still not explicitly focusing on him/her... till the end is reached where the listener/reader would learn about the importance of the events told, learn the morals of the tale .... and by the very, very end, he would be let to just "wave good-bye" to the main character, who would (as it is very often the case )  start living "happily ever after".

I personally find the same "frame" in Tolkien’s works.... not in all of them, of course, but IMO, the Hobbit and the LotR are built upon this structure.
Is such structure, I wonder, characteristic for the Edwardian literature, as well? 

Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Nov/2004 at 10:58 PM
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sarana, halfir, thanks for the linguistic help up there!  

In both cases , however, I think it is the word "jacket" that forms the true notion of "constraining" of the whole compound word ... Right?

Now .. in addition to my musings up there, I was thinking ... and isn’t it characteristic for the tales of old / fairy-tales/ sagas  to follow the same "pattern" of narration? 
  -  from "Once upon a time there lived ..... someone, somewhere, he/she did this/that , ... then one day ........" - all that -  presenting in details and hence - focusing on the main character of the tale and his/her "journey there";
  -  and later the story would continue further to focus more on the events, not excluding the main character, but still not explicitly focusing on him/her... till the end is reached where the listener/reader would learn about the importance of the events told, learn the morals of the tale .... and by the very, very end, he would be let to just "wave good-bye" to the main character, who would (as it is very often the case )  start living "happily ever after".

I personally find the same "frame" in Tolkien’s works.... not in all of them, of course, but IMO, the Hobbit and the LotR are built upon this structure.
Is such structure, I wonder, characteristic for the Edwardian literature, as well? 

Saranna 30/Nov/2004 at 08:43 AM
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Aldoriana, personally I find that pattern underlies all fiction, except perhaps the ultra-modern novel which can be dedicated to nothing happening at all. there is always movement, whether geographical/physical or purely in terior, from one state of being to another. The situation is set at the beginning, something happens to change it, somone has to go along way (on foot or in his’her inner self) in an attempt to restore the status quo, but of course when it is restored it isn’t really because it’s different - as is made so explicit by Tolkien when Frodo cannot recover. First we focus on the person (Frodo) whis going to be the protagonist, then we have this enormous plot, then in the end the focus comes back down to frodo in his room at Bag End, clinging to the jewel Arwen gave him.
Saranna 30/Nov/2004 at 08:43 AM
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Aldoriana, personally I find that pattern underlies all fiction, except perhaps the ultra-modern novel which can be dedicated to nothing happening at all. there is always movement, whether geographical/physical or purely in terior, from one state of being to another. The situation is set at the beginning, something happens to change it, somone has to go along way (on foot or in his’her inner self) in an attempt to restore the status quo, but of course when it is restored it isn’t really because it’s different - as is made so explicit by Tolkien when Frodo cannot recover. First we focus on the person (Frodo) whis going to be the protagonist, then we have this enormous plot, then in the end the focus comes back down to frodo in his room at Bag End, clinging to the jewel Arwen gave him.
halfir 30/Nov/2004 at 01:20 PM
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Aldoriana: But to be fair to Lobdel this is only one facet of the ’Edwardian archetype’ that he is proposing, and it is I, not he, who for purposes of controlled discussion have somewhat disjointed the ’seamless web’ of his argument.

Moreover, I do not wish to push the similarities too far- I simply seek to illustrate that taking Lobdel’s approach might well throw some further light on the creative influences that went into the Master’s brilliant ’stew’ - I am in no way diminishing the fact that he was ultimately the Master Cook (shades of  On Fairy Stories and Smith of Wootton Major!) X(

halfir 30/Nov/2004 at 01:20 PM
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Aldoriana: But to be fair to Lobdel this is only one facet of the ’Edwardian archetype’ that he is proposing, and it is I, not he, who for purposes of controlled discussion have somewhat disjointed the ’seamless web’ of his argument.

Moreover, I do not wish to push the similarities too far- I simply seek to illustrate that taking Lobdel’s approach might well throw some further light on the creative influences that went into the Master’s brilliant ’stew’ - I am in no way diminishing the fact that he was ultimately the Master Cook (shades of  On Fairy Stories and Smith of Wootton Major!) X(

Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Nov/2004 at 10:11 PM
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halfir,
"But to be fair to Lobdel this is only one facet of the ’Edwardian archetype’ that he is proposing"

Ignorance, you know, sometimes can be so helpful!  
Don’t knowing who Lobdel is, to me this is just the name of a person who has obviously done some research on Tolkien and has stated his opinion.
But many others have, too ! With some I tend to agree, others’ opinions I can question, while thirds’ I am ready to simply reject.

Now.... not knowing Mr.Lobdel as, most probably, an eminent scholar in Englishj Literature,  I have allowed myself to just comment a bit on his suggestion.
And here it is how we are having a nice discussion, aren’t we ! 

sarana,
I do agree with you that the pattern is being  observed.
But here I remember what I read in "Tolkien- the author of the century" - that characters/locations etc. are being introduced in Tolkien’s works one at a time. And by the end of the story, his story !, can one say who is the "main" character?
They all seem ’main’! They all become important!
I find this a very smart literary "trick"!
I think this is one of the many that gives the impression of his works being so ... broad.  
In a way, this ’practical’ means of structuring his tales - isn’t it a reflection of his views on what myths and fairy stories are? ...
You remember ... the cauldron and the pot soup ... ?
"Speaking of the history of stories and especially of fairy-stories we may say that the Pot of Soup, the Cauldron of Story, has always been boiling, and to it have continually been added new bits, dainty and undainty"

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Nov/2004 at 10:11 PM
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halfir,
"But to be fair to Lobdel this is only one facet of the ’Edwardian archetype’ that he is proposing"

Ignorance, you know, sometimes can be so helpful!  
Don’t knowing who Lobdel is, to me this is just the name of a person who has obviously done some research on Tolkien and has stated his opinion.
But many others have, too ! With some I tend to agree, others’ opinions I can question, while thirds’ I am ready to simply reject.

Now.... not knowing Mr.Lobdel as, most probably, an eminent scholar in Englishj Literature,  I have allowed myself to just comment a bit on his suggestion.
And here it is how we are having a nice discussion, aren’t we ! 

sarana,
I do agree with you that the pattern is being  observed.
But here I remember what I read in "Tolkien- the author of the century" - that characters/locations etc. are being introduced in Tolkien’s works one at a time. And by the end of the story, his story !, can one say who is the "main" character?
They all seem ’main’! They all become important!
I find this a very smart literary "trick"!
I think this is one of the many that gives the impression of his works being so ... broad.  
In a way, this ’practical’ means of structuring his tales - isn’t it a reflection of his views on what myths and fairy stories are? ...
You remember ... the cauldron and the pot soup ... ?
"Speaking of the history of stories and especially of fairy-stories we may say that the Pot of Soup, the Cauldron of Story, has always been boiling, and to it have continually been added new bits, dainty and undainty"

 

halfir 01/Dec/2004 at 12:56 AM
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And in On Fairy Stories he also observes:

’In Dasent’s words I would say:’We must be satisfied with the soup that is set before us, and not desire to see the bones of the ox out of which it has been boiled.’ ...By ’the soup’ I mean the story as it is served up to us by its author or teller, and by ’the bones’ its sources or material - even when (by rare luck) these can with certainty be discovered.’

This hostility to source analysis is again seen in Letter # 337.

halfir 01/Dec/2004 at 12:56 AM
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And in On Fairy Stories he also observes:

’In Dasent’s words I would say:’We must be satisfied with the soup that is set before us, and not desire to see the bones of the ox out of which it has been boiled.’ ...By ’the soup’ I mean the story as it is served up to us by its author or teller, and by ’the bones’ its sources or material - even when (by rare luck) these can with certainty be discovered.’

This hostility to source analysis is again seen in Letter # 337.

Saranna 01/Dec/2004 at 02:24 AM
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Hard on me, then , since I love to uncover sources! But seriously, I do so only with reservations, as I have always tried to explain in my own threads. Unfortunately, so many people post a denial of parallels one has spotted, because they assume one is speaking of a a deliberate, wholesale insertion by JRRT. (Picturing the master in his study, thinking, "Now what myth can I put in this chapter?") - annoying but one can only keep explaining
Saranna 01/Dec/2004 at 02:24 AM
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Hard on me, then , since I love to uncover sources! But seriously, I do so only with reservations, as I have always tried to explain in my own threads. Unfortunately, so many people post a denial of parallels one has spotted, because they assume one is speaking of a a deliberate, wholesale insertion by JRRT. (Picturing the master in his study, thinking, "Now what myth can I put in this chapter?") - annoying but one can only keep explaining
Lady d`Ecthelion 01/Dec/2004 at 04:11 AM
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Applicability it is called. Right?
Lady d`Ecthelion 01/Dec/2004 at 04:11 AM
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Applicability it is called. Right?
Saranna 01/Dec/2004 at 07:17 AM
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halfir is the one to define applicability for you! As far as I can see, applicability is to do with what each reader finds in a text - sometimes the author will deny that it’s there! I once had the pleasure of an author reading what I had written about her works (Jane Curry). I had said that a dominant theme in her books was "Somewhere to belong" - she said that I was quite right, but she hadn’t noticed it until I pointed it out! Wow! On the other hand, if you go into the thread about Frodo and PTSD, you will see halfir and I arguing that that is trying to find something that isn’t there at all. It’s a fine line.
The fact that incidents, characters and themes (or "motifs") in a writer’s story are echoes of traditional themes, may be accidental or partly deliberate, in that they give the work a mythic depth. That’s not the same as applicability, which is reader-based. I think we’ll see if halfir comes back to add some wise words (and tell us whether he’s decided to publish some of those wise words for the benefit of the world!( )
Saranna 01/Dec/2004 at 07:17 AM
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halfir is the one to define applicability for you! As far as I can see, applicability is to do with what each reader finds in a text - sometimes the author will deny that it’s there! I once had the pleasure of an author reading what I had written about her works (Jane Curry). I had said that a dominant theme in her books was "Somewhere to belong" - she said that I was quite right, but she hadn’t noticed it until I pointed it out! Wow! On the other hand, if you go into the thread about Frodo and PTSD, you will see halfir and I arguing that that is trying to find something that isn’t there at all. It’s a fine line.
The fact that incidents, characters and themes (or "motifs") in a writer’s story are echoes of traditional themes, may be accidental or partly deliberate, in that they give the work a mythic depth. That’s not the same as applicability, which is reader-based. I think we’ll see if halfir comes back to add some wise words (and tell us whether he’s decided to publish some of those wise words for the benefit of the world!( )
halfir 01/Dec/2004 at 06:23 PM
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As far as I can see, applicability is to do with what each reader finds in a text - sometimes the author will deny that it’s thereX(

Saranna: That seems as good a defintion as any I might give.

Aldoriana: In his Foreword to FOTR (and thus LOTR) Tolkien observes- as I am sure that you will remember - that ’applicability’:

’resides in the freedom of the reader’.

By this he means that in the actual Reader -text interface the experience of the Reader will come into play in terms of the way in which he/she interprets the text.

Even those who religiously and scrupulously read the text as written- and do not warp it to some external agenda of their own, can arrive at conclusions very different to those that the author intended.

In another thread I have commented on Tolkien’s observation that once published LOTR was no longer his child:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=157352&PagePosition=1

‘Of course The L.R. does not belong to me. It has been brought forth and must now go its appointed way in the world, though naturally I take a deep interest in its fortunes as a parent would of a child. I am comforted to know that it has good friends to defend it against the malice of its enemies (But all fools are not in the other camp.) {Letter # 328}

I have commented on the subject of ’applicability’ and what I call"Reader Responsibility’ in a now archived earlier thread:

Externalization and LOTR - another speculation

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9881

In that I argue that:

’It seems to me that in being gratnted this freedom {that of apllicability} to bring our own thought and experience to the interpretation of his work, we owe it to the author to exercise that freedom responsibly and always with respect to the overall textual context. Otherwise  the ’Music of the Ainur’ that is LOTR will be given its own version of Melkor’s discord, with attendant disservice to the plan of Iluvatar- JRR Tolkien.’

halfir 01/Dec/2004 at 06:23 PM
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As far as I can see, applicability is to do with what each reader finds in a text - sometimes the author will deny that it’s thereX(

Saranna: That seems as good a defintion as any I might give.

Aldoriana: In his Foreword to FOTR (and thus LOTR) Tolkien observes- as I am sure that you will remember - that ’applicability’:

’resides in the freedom of the reader’.

By this he means that in the actual Reader -text interface the experience of the Reader will come into play in terms of the way in which he/she interprets the text.

Even those who religiously and scrupulously read the text as written- and do not warp it to some external agenda of their own, can arrive at conclusions very different to those that the author intended.

In another thread I have commented on Tolkien’s observation that once published LOTR was no longer his child:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=157352&PagePosition=1

‘Of course The L.R. does not belong to me. It has been brought forth and must now go its appointed way in the world, though naturally I take a deep interest in its fortunes as a parent would of a child. I am comforted to know that it has good friends to defend it against the malice of its enemies (But all fools are not in the other camp.) {Letter # 328}

I have commented on the subject of ’applicability’ and what I call"Reader Responsibility’ in a now archived earlier thread:

Externalization and LOTR - another speculation

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9881

In that I argue that:

’It seems to me that in being gratnted this freedom {that of apllicability} to bring our own thought and experience to the interpretation of his work, we owe it to the author to exercise that freedom responsibly and always with respect to the overall textual context. Otherwise  the ’Music of the Ainur’ that is LOTR will be given its own version of Melkor’s discord, with attendant disservice to the plan of Iluvatar- JRR Tolkien.’

Saranna 02/Dec/2004 at 04:31 AM
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Saranna: That seems as good a defintion as any I might give

halfir - now I can retire!  What more is there to achieve?

Saranna 02/Dec/2004 at 04:31 AM
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Saranna: That seems as good a defintion as any I might give

halfir - now I can retire!  What more is there to achieve?

halfir 02/Dec/2004 at 03:27 PM
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X(Don’t give up on us yet, your words of wisdom and reason are an important balance to my sometimes feisty intuitiveness!
halfir 02/Dec/2004 at 03:27 PM
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X(Don’t give up on us yet, your words of wisdom and reason are an important balance to my sometimes feisty intuitiveness!
halfir 04/Dec/2004 at 05:34 PM
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For those who would like to read in full the essay which we are discussing but cannot access Jared Lobdel’s A Tolkien Compass, the essay is contained in his latest published work - Tolkien- The World of the Rings - Language, Religion, And Adventure in Tolkien - Open Court 2004 ISBN 0-8126-9569-0.US$ 22.95

Open Court’s website is:

www.opencourtbooks.com

 

 

halfir 04/Dec/2004 at 05:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

For those who would like to read in full the essay which we are discussing but cannot access Jared Lobdel’s A Tolkien Compass, the essay is contained in his latest published work - Tolkien- The World of the Rings - Language, Religion, And Adventure in Tolkien - Open Court 2004 ISBN 0-8126-9569-0.US$ 22.95

Open Court’s website is:

www.opencourtbooks.com

 

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 05/Dec/2004 at 12:55 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Aldoriana: In his Foreword to FOTR (and thus LOTR) Tolkien observes- as I am sure that you will remember - that ’applicability’:

’resides in the freedom of the reader’.

By this he means that in the actual Reader -text interface the experience of the Reader will come into play in terms of the way in which he/she interprets the text.

Even those who religiously and scrupulously read the text as written- and do not warp it to some external agenda of their own, can arrive at conclusions very different to those that the author intended.


That and ...

"I hope ’comment on the world’ does not sound too solemn. I have no didactic purpose, and no allegorical intent. (I do not like allegory (properly so called: most readers appear to confuse it with significance or applicability) but that is a matter too long to deal with here.) But long narratives cannot be made out of nothing; and one cannot rearrange the primary matter in secondary patterns without indicating feelings and opinions about one’s material. ...."

Letter # 215

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 05/Dec/2004 at 12:55 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Aldoriana: In his Foreword to FOTR (and thus LOTR) Tolkien observes- as I am sure that you will remember - that ’applicability’:

’resides in the freedom of the reader’.

By this he means that in the actual Reader -text interface the experience of the Reader will come into play in terms of the way in which he/she interprets the text.

Even those who religiously and scrupulously read the text as written- and do not warp it to some external agenda of their own, can arrive at conclusions very different to those that the author intended.


That and ...

"I hope ’comment on the world’ does not sound too solemn. I have no didactic purpose, and no allegorical intent. (I do not like allegory (properly so called: most readers appear to confuse it with significance or applicability) but that is a matter too long to deal with here.) But long narratives cannot be made out of nothing; and one cannot rearrange the primary matter in secondary patterns without indicating feelings and opinions about one’s material. ...."

Letter # 215

 

Saranna 08/Dec/2004 at 03:24 AM
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Aldoriana, you have quoted a very important piece from JRRT, acknowledging as it does that writing is a subcreation, not primary creation, that the writer is reorganising material and cannot actually "make things up".. I am constantly saying this in all kinds of threads (such as the "Rowling has copied Tolkien" threads).
This of course means that when the writer looses his or her "littel book" out into the world, it takes with it the writer’s interpretation and reworking of traditional motifs, themes, ideas, and then at each reading it is inevitably seen by the reader through the haze of that readers own knowledge of and undertanding of the material drawn from the well of story. However, applicability can only go so far. If you have, say, been through a long and painful struggle in your life, and you see in Frodo’s journey a PARALLEL to that, and are perhaps helped and sustained by it - that is a perfectly valid response. BUT it is only an infinitesimable part of the whole truth about the LOTR. And appicability can only work on the material that is actually THERE; you cannot open a thread (now someone probabaly will) about how LOTR is really an instruction manual for ice-cream making - that would be insanity rather than reader aplicability!
Saranna 08/Dec/2004 at 03:24 AM
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Aldoriana, you have quoted a very important piece from JRRT, acknowledging as it does that writing is a subcreation, not primary creation, that the writer is reorganising material and cannot actually "make things up".. I am constantly saying this in all kinds of threads (such as the "Rowling has copied Tolkien" threads).
This of course means that when the writer looses his or her "littel book" out into the world, it takes with it the writer’s interpretation and reworking of traditional motifs, themes, ideas, and then at each reading it is inevitably seen by the reader through the haze of that readers own knowledge of and undertanding of the material drawn from the well of story. However, applicability can only go so far. If you have, say, been through a long and painful struggle in your life, and you see in Frodo’s journey a PARALLEL to that, and are perhaps helped and sustained by it - that is a perfectly valid response. BUT it is only an infinitesimable part of the whole truth about the LOTR. And appicability can only work on the material that is actually THERE; you cannot open a thread (now someone probabaly will) about how LOTR is really an instruction manual for ice-cream making - that would be insanity rather than reader aplicability!
halfir 10/Dec/2004 at 10:03 PM
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And appicability can only work on the material that is actually THERE;X( you cannot open a thread (now someone probabaly will) about how LOTR is really an instruction manual for ice-cream making - that would be insanity rather than reader aplicability! X(

halfir 10/Dec/2004 at 10:03 PM
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And appicability can only work on the material that is actually THERE;X( you cannot open a thread (now someone probabaly will) about how LOTR is really an instruction manual for ice-cream making - that would be insanity rather than reader aplicability! X(

Saranna 11/Dec/2004 at 03:11 AM
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Greetings, O halfir -of-the-thousand-days; that’s twice you’ve approved of what I have said - or possibly how I have said it - most gratifying. Hope you are thinking of a pun to equal "one of those Thingols", against the time when I shall, alas, have to cease to be Gildor.
This is CHAT of the rankest sort - apologies to others looking for LORE on this thread! There is plenty above.
Saranna 11/Dec/2004 at 03:12 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Greetings, O halfir -of-the-thousand-days; that’s twice you’ve approved of what I have said - or possibly how I have said it - most gratifying. Hope you are thinking of a pun to equal "one of those Thingols", against the time when I shall, alas, have to cease to be Gildor.
This is CHAT of the rankest sort - apologies to others looking for LORE on this thread! There is plenty above.
halfir 15/Dec/2004 at 05:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: All that Gild/ors is not gold?"X(

We have somewhat- creatively- strayed form the main thrust of this thread which is an examination of Jared Lobdel’s thesis that Tolkien’s creative imagination was in some way influenced by the milieu of Edwardian writing.

It is to that main theme that I would now like to return.

’Certainly this adventure story in the Edwardian mode is a prime candidate to be considered the pre-existing form to which The Lord of the Rings was designed to contribute. At the very least,a formal comparison of Lord of the Rings should prove to be enlightening’. {Lobdel-ibid - my bold emphasis.}

In that last sentence  Lobdel identifies the reason that I opened this thread. Not to prove that Tolkien was simply the product of his age, and a slavish copier of a past literary genre, but that aspects of his work do, in some ways, reflect or resonate archetypes of literature that have gone before, and in examining these we gain a deeper understanding of the creativity of the Master himself. That is indeed an approach that underlies many of my threads in AL and elsewhere.

While not making an exact comparison, Lobdel suggests that a way of comparing the Edwardian story type and LOTR might be to use Conan Doyle’s The Lost World as a comparator:

Lost World                                                                                            LOTR

4 travelers linked by Prof Challenger                                              9 travelers linked by Gandalf

Travel to unknown lands                                                                    Travel to unknown lands

Travel through a cave                                                                          Travel through a cave

Malign Nature- prehistoric animals                                                  Malign nature - OMW, Caradhras

Final triumph for all four                                                                       Final triumph for eight

Story told by the most ordinary of the group                                     Story told by the hobbits the ’little people’

The lost world -  the past alive in the present                                   The One et. al. - the past alive in the present

’In part the critical dislike of the Edwardian mode is merely an example of the critrical dislike of adventure stories" observes Mr. Lobdel in his castigation of those critics who have denigrated LOTR- such as William Ready, Brian Aldiss, Edmund Wilson et.al.

’ The particular characteristics of the Edwardian mode that seem to cause the most trouble for {hostile} critics are those that apparently form the substratum of almost all popular Edwardian literature: the aristocratic view, the black-and-white morality, the lack of interest in character development....the movement of ’there and back again’. the emphasis on ’we few, we happy few’ (related to , but not altogether the same as, the aristocratic view), the fascination of the past alive in the present, the undercurrent of mystery (or even malignity) in nature.’

halfir 15/Dec/2004 at 05:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: All that Gild/ors is not gold?"X(

We have somewhat- creatively- strayed form the main thrust of this thread which is an examination of Jared Lobdel’s thesis that Tolkien’s creative imagination was in some way influenced by the milieu of Edwardian writing.

It is to that main theme that I would now like to return.

’Certainly this adventure story in the Edwardian mode is a prime candidate to be considered the pre-existing form to which The Lord of the Rings was designed to contribute. At the very least,a formal comparison of Lord of the Rings should prove to be enlightening’. {Lobdel-ibid - my bold emphasis.}

In that last sentence  Lobdel identifies the reason that I opened this thread. Not to prove that Tolkien was simply the product of his age, and a slavish copier of a past literary genre, but that aspects of his work do, in some ways, reflect or resonate archetypes of literature that have gone before, and in examining these we gain a deeper understanding of the creativity of the Master himself. That is indeed an approach that underlies many of my threads in AL and elsewhere.

While not making an exact comparison, Lobdel suggests that a way of comparing the Edwardian story type and LOTR might be to use Conan Doyle’s The Lost World as a comparator:

Lost World                                                                                            LOTR

4 travelers linked by Prof Challenger                                              9 travelers linked by Gandalf

Travel to unknown lands                                                                    Travel to unknown lands

Travel through a cave                                                                          Travel through a cave

Malign Nature- prehistoric animals                                                  Malign nature - OMW, Caradhras

Final triumph for all four                                                                       Final triumph for eight

Story told by the most ordinary of the group                                     Story told by the hobbits the ’little people’

The lost world -  the past alive in the present                                   The One et. al. - the past alive in the present

’In part the critical dislike of the Edwardian mode is merely an example of the critrical dislike of adventure stories" observes Mr. Lobdel in his castigation of those critics who have denigrated LOTR- such as William Ready, Brian Aldiss, Edmund Wilson et.al.

’ The particular characteristics of the Edwardian mode that seem to cause the most trouble for {hostile} critics are those that apparently form the substratum of almost all popular Edwardian literature: the aristocratic view, the black-and-white morality, the lack of interest in character development....the movement of ’there and back again’. the emphasis on ’we few, we happy few’ (related to , but not altogether the same as, the aristocratic view), the fascination of the past alive in the present, the undercurrent of mystery (or even malignity) in nature.’

Ankala Teaweed 15/Dec/2004 at 07:35 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002

Halfir, the point on Nature blows the comparison out of the water IMHO. Now, I don’t have my books with me, and cannot give you a nice quote, but NOTE: the Elves’ use of the Three. They used them to enhance Nature. Nature is not really the enemy in Middle-earth, despite the cruelty of Caradhras! Nature is occasionally distorted by evil, as was Mirkwood when Sauron returned to Dol Goldur, but so are individuals such as the men enslaved by the Nine and Gollum.
Beyond that, I think that the idea of attempting to fit Tolkien into this template to be overly simplistic (square peg into round hole?). The formula leaves out SO MUCH, and the devil IS in the details, eh?

Ankala Teaweed 15/Dec/2004 at 07:35 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002

Halfir, the point on Nature blows the comparison out of the water IMHO. Now, I don’t have my books with me, and cannot give you a nice quote, but NOTE: the Elves’ use of the Three. They used them to enhance Nature. Nature is not really the enemy in Middle-earth, despite the cruelty of Caradhras! Nature is occasionally distorted by evil, as was Mirkwood when Sauron returned to Dol Goldur, but so are individuals such as the men enslaved by the Nine and Gollum.
Beyond that, I think that the idea of attempting to fit Tolkien into this template to be overly simplistic (square peg into round hole?). The formula leaves out SO MUCH, and the devil IS in the details, eh?

halfir 15/Dec/2004 at 07:54 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

AK: to be fair to Lobdel I don’t think he is trying to straitjacket Tolkien into any mold. He clearly distinguishes between the imaginative aspect of the Master’s work and that which we might call the linguistic professional. As to the former- the imaginative one- he suggests that the Edwardain mode approach pays dividends in helping to understand some aspects of the Master’s well-springs. He also states quite clearly:

’ Certainly this adventure story in the Edwardian mode is a prime candidate to be considered the pre-existing form to which The Lord of the Rings was designed to contribute. At the very least,a formal comparison of Lord of the Rings should prove to be enlightening’ {Lobdel-ibid - my bold emphasis.}

Moreover, as I said earlier in response to Aldoriana who raised a different but very fair criticism  like you have done, , I am presenting ’snapshots’ of the argument that Lobdel puts forward when really one needs to see the whole essay as an ongoing ’newsreel’.

And yes, the Elves use two of the Three rings to enhance nature, but Frodo et al. other than in their encounters with Tom B, Rivendell, Lorien, and perhaps for Merry and Pippin - Fanghorn - have some pretty mixed ’natural’ encounters: OMW and the Old Forest, wargs, crebain, Caradhras, the Watcher in the Water, the ’nameless things’ for Gandalf specifically, and Shelob. X(

halfir 15/Dec/2004 at 07:54 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

AK: to be fair to Lobdel I don’t think he is trying to straitjacket Tolkien into any mold. He clearly distinguishes between the imaginative aspect of the Master’s work and that which we might call the linguistic professional. As to the former- the imaginative one- he suggests that the Edwardain mode approach pays dividends in helping to understand some aspects of the Master’s well-springs. He also states quite clearly:

’ Certainly this adventure story in the Edwardian mode is a prime candidate to be considered the pre-existing form to which The Lord of the Rings was designed to contribute. At the very least,a formal comparison of Lord of the Rings should prove to be enlightening’ {Lobdel-ibid - my bold emphasis.}

Moreover, as I said earlier in response to Aldoriana who raised a different but very fair criticism  like you have done, , I am presenting ’snapshots’ of the argument that Lobdel puts forward when really one needs to see the whole essay as an ongoing ’newsreel’.

And yes, the Elves use two of the Three rings to enhance nature, but Frodo et al. other than in their encounters with Tom B, Rivendell, Lorien, and perhaps for Merry and Pippin - Fanghorn - have some pretty mixed ’natural’ encounters: OMW and the Old Forest, wargs, crebain, Caradhras, the Watcher in the Water, the ’nameless things’ for Gandalf specifically, and Shelob. X(

Ankala Teaweed 15/Dec/2004 at 08:10 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Okay, I admit I have not read his essay in entirety, but some of these are, I believe, distortions of Eru’s creations in Middle-earth by Morgoth/Sauron (or influenced/used by Saruman). Wargs were apparently twisted from real wolves by Morgoth or Sauron (or both). The crebain are used by Saruman.  The Watcher in the Water seems to be some ancient creature that was also under influence of Sauron (rather than under the influence of Osse).
Of course, Shelob/Ungoliant are a whole other discussion. Nature? Not too sure you could say Shelob is a part of the natural world?
But you have a point with the Old Forest and some of the trees in Fangorn’s forest!
Ankala Teaweed 15/Dec/2004 at 08:10 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Okay, I admit I have not read his essay in entirety, but some of these are, I believe, distortions of Eru’s creations in Middle-earth by Morgoth/Sauron (or influenced/used by Saruman). Wargs were apparently twisted from real wolves by Morgoth or Sauron (or both). The crebain are used by Saruman.  The Watcher in the Water seems to be some ancient creature that was also under influence of Sauron (rather than under the influence of Osse).
Of course, Shelob/Ungoliant are a whole other discussion. Nature? Not too sure you could say Shelob is a part of the natural world?
But you have a point with the Old Forest and some of the trees in Fangorn’s forest!
halfir 15/Dec/2004 at 09:06 PM
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AK: I accept that some of those referred to might have been ’distortions’ but I think- irresepctive of provenance Shelob could be compoared to the ’prehsitoric’ monsters of The Lost World. But I don’t want to belabor the point as it is only an aspect of the argument and Lobdel is referring to ’resonances’ rather than absolutes in his approach.
halfir 15/Dec/2004 at 09:06 PM
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AK: I accept that some of those referred to might have been ’distortions’ but I think- irresepctive of provenance Shelob could be compoared to the ’prehsitoric’ monsters of The Lost World. But I don’t want to belabor the point as it is only an aspect of the argument and Lobdel is referring to ’resonances’ rather than absolutes in his approach.
Saranna 16/Dec/2004 at 05:13 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Very good, halfir - I knew you’d think of something. 
  I want to express general support for the idea of this thread - your table of comparisons is very much to the point.  I think some of the objections - such as Ann Kalagon’s - are based on the assumption you are insisting on an exact similitude.  This was also a problem with my (sorry, now your!) thread on Goldberry.  People reacted against the idea that Goldberry was Persephone and Tom was Hades! Which was not what I meant at all.  To me it seems that the extent to which Tolkien was influenced by that Edwardian adventure strand only points up the exciting and astonishing ways in which he moved beyond it and interwove it with so many other strands.   It makes his achievement more remarkable, not less.
Saranna 16/Dec/2004 at 05:13 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Very good, halfir - I knew you’d think of something. 
  I want to express general support for the idea of this thread - your table of comparisons is very much to the point.  I think some of the objections - such as Ann Kalagon’s - are based on the assumption you are insisting on an exact similitude.  This was also a problem with my (sorry, now your!) thread on Goldberry.  People reacted against the idea that Goldberry was Persephone and Tom was Hades! Which was not what I meant at all.  To me it seems that the extent to which Tolkien was influenced by that Edwardian adventure strand only points up the exciting and astonishing ways in which he moved beyond it and interwove it with so many other strands.   It makes his achievement more remarkable, not less.
Ankala Teaweed 16/Dec/2004 at 04:30 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Halfir, just a little aside, but if you check the one reference to the Old Forest in the Index of Unfinished Tales, there is a paragraph from an alternate version of "the Hunting of the Ring" (was it called?) wherein the Witchking roused up the barrow wights and evil elements in the Forest when he arrived in the area.
Ankala Teaweed 16/Dec/2004 at 04:30 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Halfir, just a little aside, but if you check the one reference to the Old Forest in the Index of Unfinished Tales, there is a paragraph from an alternate version of "the Hunting of the Ring" (was it called?) wherein the Witchking roused up the barrow wights and evil elements in the Forest when he arrived in the area.
halfir 16/Dec/2004 at 07:44 PM
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Saranna: To me it seems that the extent to which Tolkien was influenced by that Edwardian adventure strand only points up the exciting and astonishing ways in which he moved beyond it and interwove it with so many other strands.  X(

And the Goldberry thread will always be yours, I am just a tributary stream contributing to the main river!

AK: The Hunt for the Ring- thank you so much for reminding me, I had completely forgotten that episode. But I would agree that overall - leaving aside parts of Mirkwood, and Fanghorn and the Old Wood, Tolkien’s forests do not have the grim foreboding nature of those in the Northern Myths where they are home to witches, demons, and sorcerers, or the Eastern European ones with the flavor of Dracula!X(

halfir 16/Dec/2004 at 07:44 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: To me it seems that the extent to which Tolkien was influenced by that Edwardian adventure strand only points up the exciting and astonishing ways in which he moved beyond it and interwove it with so many other strands.  X(

And the Goldberry thread will always be yours, I am just a tributary stream contributing to the main river!

AK: The Hunt for the Ring- thank you so much for reminding me, I had completely forgotten that episode. But I would agree that overall - leaving aside parts of Mirkwood, and Fanghorn and the Old Wood, Tolkien’s forests do not have the grim foreboding nature of those in the Northern Myths where they are home to witches, demons, and sorcerers, or the Eastern European ones with the flavor of Dracula!X(

Saranna 17/Dec/2004 at 05:50 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
halfir, I gave it to you for Yule - please do not reject my little giftie, or I shall .  I think you deserve it for helping it to develop so far. 
Saranna 17/Dec/2004 at 05:50 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
halfir, I gave it to you for Yule - please do not reject my little giftie, or I shall .  I think you deserve it for helping it to develop so far. 
halfir 17/Dec/2004 at 06:56 AM
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Saranna: My apologies- yes indeed you did as I have realized in checking back. Thank you very much- and a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year to you and yours. And the same to all my Plaza friends.X(

Hmm! ’Prosperous’. in the New Year perhaps we should start a thread on Shakespeare’s The Tempest’s main character being based on  the word Prosperous!’ The date’s right, it entered the English language in 1445 cf. OED.X(

halfir 17/Dec/2004 at 06:56 AM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: My apologies- yes indeed you did as I have realized in checking back. Thank you very much- and a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year to you and yours. And the same to all my Plaza friends.X(

Hmm! ’Prosperous’. in the New Year perhaps we should start a thread on Shakespeare’s The Tempest’s main character being based on  the word Prosperous!’ The date’s right, it entered the English language in 1445 cf. OED.X(

Saranna 17/Dec/2004 at 07:09 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Live long and prosper, Loremaster halfir!   Yes, let’s do that.  I am convinced of your ability to prove there is a link between anything, and anything else!!
Saranna 17/Dec/2004 at 07:09 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Live long and prosper, Loremaster halfir!   Yes, let’s do that.  I am convinced of your ability to prove there is a link between anything, and anything else!!
halfir 17/Dec/2004 at 07:13 AM
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X(
halfir 17/Dec/2004 at 07:13 AM
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X(
halfir 31/Dec/2004 at 10:17 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In an earlier post, quoting one of Lobdel’s comments I observed as follows:

Certainly this adventure story in the Edwardian mode is a prime candidate to be considered the pre-existing form to which The Lord of the Rings was designed to contribute. At the very least,a formal comparison of Lord of the Rings should prove to be enlightening’;. {Lobdel-ibid - my bold emphasis.}

In that last sentence  Lobdel identifies the reason that I opened this thread. Not to prove that Tolkien was simply the product of his age, and a slavish copier of a past literary genre, but that aspects of his work do, in some ways, reflect or resonate archetypes of literature that have gone before, and in examining these we gain a deeper understanding of the creativity of the Master himself.

I think it important to caveat my observation in one sense , and that is that on occasion Lobdel quite clearly sees, if not a direct derivative, a very heavy influence of specific prior Edradrdian stories on the actual textual  imagery of LOTR, going so far as to assert , in some instances, a direct realtionship bewteen LOTR descriptions and Tolkien’s other writings,  and those of certain Edwardian writers.

1. Sir Henry Rider Haggard ’She’: The death of Ayesha and the death of Saurman

Ayesha

Smaller she grew and smaller yet, till she was no larger than a monkey. Now the skin had puckered into a milion wrinkles, and on her shapeless face was the mark of unutterable age. I never saw anything like it; nobody ever saw anything to equal the infinite age which was graven on that fearful countenance; no bigger now than that of a two-month’s child, though the skull retained its size....I took up Ayesha’s kirtle and the gauyzy scarf..and averting my head so that I might not look upon it, I covered up that dreadful relic. (Dover edt. pp.222-223

Saruman

Frodo looked down on the body with pity and horror: for as he looked it seemed that long yeras of death were suddenly revealed in it, and it shrank, and the shriveled face became rags of skin upon a hideous skull. Ligting up the skirt of the dirty cloak that sprawled beside it, he covered it over and turned away (ROTK The Scouring of the Shire- penultimate paragraph).

Lobdel comments:

’the parallel is not exact, but it is highly suggestive’.

2. GK Chesterton

’......among Tolkien’s literary forbears......next among them - and here we may be on more tenuous grounds - we find G.K.Chesterton, between whose words and Tolkien’s ’On Fairy Stories’ we can trace a set of connections including some Tolkeinian passages with a remarkably Chestertonian ring.

Lobdel then lists a number of examples by quoting form ’On Fairy Stories"  which unfortunately imply a knowledge of Chesterton in some depth- a knowledge I do not possess and thus cannot comment on how valid or otherwise they are.

Lobdel goes on to say that with regard to Chesterton’s possible influence on Tolkien was that Chesteron:

’sought to portray the romance of what everyone could see was prosaic......but the root of his {Chesterton’s} love for paradox lies in the not at all paradoxical belief that the whole world is really a remarkably interesting place after all.

How then might this have influenced Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings? Most directly I believe in the character of the Hobbits. As Chesterton’s Father Brown is short and round and the essence of the Norfolk Flats, so BIlbo Baggins is short and round and the essence of an English shire. Perhaps  the Battle of Bywater is not unlike the battles in The Napoleon of Notting Hill .Of course , at these points Chestertonian paradox was touching something deep in the paradoxical character of England, and Tolkien could certainly have touched it entirely without Chestertonian intermediation. ButI do not think that he did.’

How far Chesterton had any influence on the Master -if any at all- is something that I find difficult to judge.

Tolkien clearly knew of his great (partial ) contemporary and of his works - Chesterton was born in 1874 and died in 1936 a year before the publication of The Hobbit.He would also know that after his death Chesterton was named ’Defender of the Catholic Faith’ by Pope Pius X1, and certainly some of Chesteron’s comments have the ’ring’ of some of Tolkein’s Letters- e.g.

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around."

Sentiments that would have struck chords with both Tolkien and Lewis, and Barfield too.Indeed we know that he particularly influenced the thinking of C.S.Lewis whose Christian (though non-Catholic) polemicism was very much like Chesterton’s (cf. The Inklings Handbook, Duriez and Porter- entry under G K Chesterton and Humphrey Carpenter- The Inklings).

Like Tolkien, too, he had lost close friends in the First World War- in particular his brother- Cecil, and like Tolkien he was a very devout Catholic- but unlike him, and like C.S.Lewis  -an avid prostletyzer of Christianity and in particular Catholicism. However, Carpenter observes that Lewis was in his challenge to unbelievers was :

’in agreement with two ultra-orthodox defenders of the faith, G.K. Chesterton, whose apologetic writings had been an influence on him during his conversion, and Tolkien’. (Humphrey Carpenter- The Inklings)

Another who was also heavily influenced by Chesterton’ s writings was the third of the ’Oxford Trintity’ of Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams - Charles Williams.( ibid)

However, reading through Humphrey Carpenter’s The Inklings and dropping in on their meetings it is Lewis and Williams, particularly the former, who are frequently quoting or mentioning Chesterton- not Tolkien- at least as far as Carpenter’s reporting is concerned.

And the first observatiion that we get in the Letters regarding Chesterton is hardly that of a devote and acolyte. Tolkien is writing to CT regarding his sister - Priscillas’ -reading of Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse.

.....my efforts to explain the obscurer parts to her convince me that it is not as good as I thought. The ending is absurd. The brilliant smash and glitter of the words and phrases (when they come off, and are not mere loud colours) cannot disguise the fact that G.K.C. knew nothing whatever about the "North’, heathen or Christian.’ (Letter # 80)

In Letter # 186 however he quotes a saying of Chesterton’s with approval , clearly demonstrating that he is more than just superficially  familiar with GKC’s works. And this point is again emphasised in Letter # 312 - where he again quotes Chesterton approvingly.

3. Algernon Blackwood.

Lobdel opens his comments on Blackwood’s possible  influence on Tolkien with this fascinating piece of information:

’Third among the authors Tolkien read - and here I claim an unfair advantage in the game of Quellenforschung(source hunting) - was Algernon Blackwood. The evidence I have seen lies in an entry in the original (but not the edited and published version) of the ’Notes on the Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, in which Tolkien traces his use of ’the cracks of doom’ to an unidentified story by Blackwood. {The published- and thus edited version- appears in Lobdel’s edt. work A Tolkien Compass} Now for our purposes it is unimportant whether the source of Tolkien’s Crack of Doom (in Orodruin) was indeed something Blackwood wrote; what is important is that Tolkien could not have thought it was if he had not read and been influenced by Blackwood. I suspect that there may be confirmatory evidence for the reading (and the influence) in the character of Old Man Willow, though he is not so  terrible as the willows in Blackwood’s story of that name.

Blackwood’s narrator writes of ’the acres of willows, crowding...pressing upon the river as though to suffocate it, standing in dense array mile after mile beneath the sky, watching, waiting, listening...Their serried ranks, growing everywhere darker about me as the shadows deepened...woke in me the curious and unwelcome suggestion that we had trespassed here upon the borders of....a world where we were intruders, a world where we were not invited to remain" And a little later ’the note of this willow-camp became unmistakably plain to me: we were interlopers, trespassers; we were not wanted. The sense of unfamiliarity grew upon me". And finally (in a passage with Entish- or perhaps Huornish-connotations) , ’They first became visible, these huge figures, just within the tops of the bushes - immense, bronze coloured, moving...I saw them plainly and noted, now I came to examine them morecalmly, that they were very much larger than human, and indeed that something in their appearnce proclaimed them to be not human  at all. I saw their limbs and huge bodies....rising up in a living column.(Strange Stories- Heinemann ed.pp.635-6, 644, 647)

The style is different of course, and yet I catch in Blackwood somehting I catch in Tolkien but in few others - perhaps at night in the wildwood in Wind in the Willows also (yet those willows are friendlier). I mean a sense of man (or Hobbit) as interloper in the woods, of the trees as sentient entities, and of something neither tree nor human  nor yet, as with Saki, clearly Pan........

I am not suggesting here that Blackwood is Tolkien’s source for the character of Old Man Willow, or for the snow-storm at Caradhras; he could be, I suppose, but it is not in this that his importance lies. What I am suggesting is that the cast of Blackwood’s mind as revealed in these pasages, is surprisingly like the cast of Tolkein’s mind. It does not much matter whether the snow at Caradhras comes from Tolkien’s alpine experiences or from Blackwood’s. It matters considerably that they saw snow in much the same way.(my bold emphasis.)


 

 

 

halfir 31/Dec/2004 at 10:17 PM
Emeritus Points: 46551 Posts: 44942 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In an earlier post, quoting one of Lobdel’s comments I observed as follows:

Certainly this adventure story in the Edwardian mode is a prime candidate to be considered the pre-existing form to which The Lord of the Rings was designed to contribute. At the very least,a formal comparison of Lord of the Rings should prove to be enlightening’;. {Lobdel-ibid - my bold emphasis.}

In that last sentence  Lobdel identifies the reason that I opened this thread. Not to prove that Tolkien was simply the product of his age, and a slavish copier of a past literary genre, but that aspects of his work do, in some ways, reflect or resonate archetypes of literature that have gone before, and in examining these we gain a deeper understanding of the creativity of the Master himself.

I think it important to caveat my observation in one sense , and that is that on occasion Lobdel quite clearly sees, if not a direct derivative, a very heavy influence of specific prior Edradrdian stories on the actual textual  imagery of LOTR, going so far as to assert , in some instances, a direct realtionship bewteen LOTR descriptions and Tolkien’s other writings,  and those of certain Edwardian writers.

1. Sir Henry Rider Haggard ’She’: The death of Ayesha and the death of Saurman

Ayesha

Smaller she grew and smaller yet, till she was no larger than a monkey. Now the skin had puckered into a milion wrinkles, and on her shapeless face was the mark of unutterable age. I never saw anything like it; nobody ever saw anything to equal the infinite age which was graven on that fearful countenance; no bigger now than that of a two-month’s child, though the skull retained its size....I took up Ayesha’s kirtle and the gauyzy scarf..and averting my head so that I might not look upon it, I covered up that dreadful relic. (Dover edt. pp.222-223

Saruman

Frodo looked down on the body with pity and horror: for as he looked it seemed that long yeras of death were suddenly revealed in it, and it shrank, and the shriveled face became rags of skin upon a hideous skull. Ligting up the skirt of the dirty cloak that sprawled beside it, he covered it over and turned away (ROTK The Scouring of the Shire- penultimate paragraph).

Lobdel comments:

’the parallel is not exact, but it is highly suggestive’.

2. GK Chesterton

’......among Tolkien’s literary forbears......next among them - and here we may be on more tenuous grounds - we find G.K.Chesterton, between whose words and Tolkien’s ’On Fairy Stories’ we can trace a set of connections including some Tolkeinian passages with a remarkably Chestertonian ring.

Lobdel then lists a number of examples by quoting form ’On Fairy Stories"  which unfortunately imply a knowledge of Chesterton in some depth- a knowledge I do not possess and thus cannot comment on how valid or otherwise they are.

Lobdel goes on to say that with regard to Chesterton’s possible influence on Tolkien was that Chesteron:

’sought to portray the romance of what everyone could see was prosaic......but the root of his {Chesterton’s} love for paradox lies in the not at all paradoxical belief that the whole world is really a remarkably interesting place after all.

How then might this have influenced Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings? Most directly I believe in the character of the Hobbits. As Chesterton’s Father Brown is short and round and the essence of the Norfolk Flats, so BIlbo Baggins is short and round and the essence of an English shire. Perhaps  the Battle of Bywater is not unlike the battles in The Napoleon of Notting Hill .Of course , at these points Chestertonian paradox was touching something deep in the paradoxical character of England, and Tolkien could certainly have touched it entirely without Chestertonian intermediation. ButI do not think that he did.’

How far Chesterton had any influence on the Master -if any at all- is something that I find difficult to judge.

Tolkien clearly knew of his great (partial ) contemporary and of his works - Chesterton was born in 1874 and died in 1936 a year before the publication of The Hobbit.He would also know that after his death Chesterton was named ’Defender of the Catholic Faith’ by Pope Pius X1, and certainly some of Chesteron’s comments have the ’ring’ of some of Tolkein’s Letters- e.g.

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around."

Sentiments that would have struck chords with both Tolkien and Lewis, and Barfield too.Indeed we know that he particularly influenced the thinking of C.S.Lewis whose Christian (though non-Catholic) polemicism was very much like Chesterton’s (cf. The Inklings Handbook, Duriez and Porter- entry under G K Chesterton and Humphrey Carpenter- The Inklings).

Like Tolkien, too, he had lost close friends in the First World War- in particular his brother- Cecil, and like Tolkien he was a very devout Catholic- but unlike him, and like C.S.Lewis  -an avid prostletyzer of Christianity and in particular Catholicism. However, Carpenter observes that Lewis was in his challenge to unbelievers was :

’in agreement with two ultra-orthodox defenders of the faith, G.K. Chesterton, whose apologetic writings had been an influence on him during his conversion, and Tolkien’. (Humphrey Carpenter- The Inklings)

Another who was also heavily influenced by Chesterton’ s writings was the third of the ’Oxford Trintity’ of Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams - Charles Williams.( ibid)

However, reading through Humphrey Carpenter’s The Inklings and dropping in on their meetings it is Lewis and Williams, particularly the former, who are frequently quoting or mentioning Chesterton- not Tolkien- at least as far as Carpenter’s reporting is concerned.

And the first observatiion that we get in the Letters regarding Chesterton is hardly that of a devote and acolyte. Tolkien is writing to CT regarding his sister - Priscillas’ -reading of Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse.

.....my efforts to explain the obscurer parts to her convince me that it is not as good as I thought. The ending is absurd. The brilliant smash and glitter of the words and phrases (when they come off, and are not mere loud colours) cannot disguise the fact that G.K.C. knew nothing whatever about the "North’, heathen or Christian.’ (Letter # 80)

In Letter # 186 however he quotes a saying of Chesterton’s with approval , clearly demonstrating that he is more than just superficially  familiar with GKC’s works. And this point is again emphasised in Letter # 312 - where he again quotes Chesterton approvingly.

3. Algernon Blackwood.

Lobdel opens his comments on Blackwood’s possible  influence on Tolkien with this fascinating piece of information:

’Third among the authors Tolkien read - and here I claim an unfair advantage in the game of Quellenforschung(source hunting) - was Algernon Blackwood. The evidence I have seen lies in an entry in the original (but not the edited and published version) of the ’Notes on the Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, in which Tolkien traces his use of ’the cracks of doom’ to an unidentified story by Blackwood. {The published- and thus edited version- appears in Lobdel’s edt. work A Tolkien Compass} Now for our purposes it is unimportant whether the source of Tolkien’s Crack of Doom (in Orodruin) was indeed something Blackwood wrote; what is important is that Tolkien could not have thought it was if he had not read and been influenced by Blackwood. I suspect that there may be confirmatory evidence for the reading (and the influence) in the character of Old Man Willow, though he is not so  terrible as the willows in Blackwood’s story of that name.

Blackwood’s narrator writes of ’the acres of willows, crowding...pressing upon the river as though to suffocate it, standing in dense array mile after mile beneath the sky, watching, waiting, listening...Their serried ranks, growing everywhere darker about me as the shadows deepened...woke in me the curious and unwelcome suggestion that we had trespassed here upon the borders of....a world where we were intruders, a world where we were not invited to remain" And a little later ’the note of this willow-camp became unmistakably plain to me: we were interlopers, trespassers; we were not wanted. The sense of unfamiliarity grew upon me". And finally (in a passage with Entish- or perhaps Huornish-connotations) , ’They first became visible, these huge figures, just within the tops of the bushes - immense, bronze coloured, moving...I saw them plainly and noted, now I came to examine them morecalmly, that they were very much larger than human, and indeed that something in their appearnce proclaimed them to be not human  at all. I saw their limbs and huge bodies....rising up in a living column.(Strange Stories- Heinemann ed.pp.635-6, 644, 647)

The style is different of course, and yet I catch in Blackwood somehting I catch in Tolkien but in few others - perhaps at night in the wildwood in Wind in the Willows also (yet those willows are friendlier). I mean a sense of man (or Hobbit) as interloper in the woods, of the trees as sentient entities, and of something neither tree nor human  nor yet, as with Saki, clearly Pan........

I am not suggesting here that Blackwood is Tolkien’s source for the character of Old Man Willow, or for the snow-storm at Caradhras; he could be, I suppose, but it is not in this that his importance lies. What I am suggesting is that the cast of Blackwood’s mind as revealed in these pasages, is surprisingly like the cast of Tolkein’s mind. It does not much matter whether the snow at Caradhras comes from Tolkien’s alpine experiences or from Blackwood’s. It matters considerably that they saw snow in much the same way.(my bold emphasis.)


 

 

 

Ankala Teaweed 03/Jan/2005 at 04:19 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Thursday, December 16, 2004
AK: The Hunt for the Ring- thank you so much for reminding me, I had completely forgotten that episode. But I would agree that overall - leaving aside parts of Mirkwood, and Fanghorn and the Old Wood, Tolkien’s forests do not have the grim foreboding nature of those in the Northern Myths where they are home to witches, demons, and sorcerers, or the Eastern European ones with the flavor of Dracula!X(
Halfir, in light of the Blackwood references, I think you are on to something here. There is that element (dating from either the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages, apparently from feudal society) in the European worldview of a fear of nature, which manifests in myth as well as literature. Yet Tolkien has, from his exposure to 20th century science, and perhaps also from his experience as a youth in England, more love of and wonder at nature, imho, than fear. I know! I am again going astray from the topic--forgive me!
Ankala Teaweed 03/Jan/2005 at 04:19 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Thursday, December 16, 2004
AK: The Hunt for the Ring- thank you so much for reminding me, I had completely forgotten that episode. But I would agree that overall - leaving aside parts of Mirkwood, and Fanghorn and the Old Wood, Tolkien’s forests do not have the grim foreboding nature of those in the Northern Myths where they are home to witches, demons, and sorcerers, or the Eastern European ones with the flavor of Dracula!X(
Halfir, in light of the Blackwood references, I think you are on to something here. There is that element (dating from either the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages, apparently from feudal society) in the European worldview of a fear of nature, which manifests in myth as well as literature. Yet Tolkien has, from his exposure to 20th century science, and perhaps also from his experience as a youth in England, more love of and wonder at nature, imho, than fear. I know! I am again going astray from the topic--forgive me!
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 04:32 PM
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AK: Yet Tolkien has, from his exposure to 20th century science, and perhaps also from his experience as a youth in England, more love of and wonder at nature, imho, than fear. I know! I am again going astray from the topic--forgive me! X(

I totally agree. Tolkien does not really ever give us ’nature raw in tooth and claw". His is the slow dreamy nature of an English countryside in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, counties I know and love well , as did he, and counties that, like the Shire, have a harmony between man and nature.

Here is no Livingstonian jungle or Amazonian rain forest!

Angela Carter observed about the wood in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

The English wood is nothing like the dark necromantic forest in which the Northern European imagination begins and ends, where its dead and witches live’

A comment that could be applied to Tolkien’s attitude towards woods and nature, Mirkwood, The Old Forest, and Fangorn notwithstanding.

halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 04:32 PM
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AK: Yet Tolkien has, from his exposure to 20th century science, and perhaps also from his experience as a youth in England, more love of and wonder at nature, imho, than fear. I know! I am again going astray from the topic--forgive me! X(

I totally agree. Tolkien does not really ever give us ’nature raw in tooth and claw". His is the slow dreamy nature of an English countryside in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, counties I know and love well , as did he, and counties that, like the Shire, have a harmony between man and nature.

Here is no Livingstonian jungle or Amazonian rain forest!

Angela Carter observed about the wood in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

The English wood is nothing like the dark necromantic forest in which the Northern European imagination begins and ends, where its dead and witches live’

A comment that could be applied to Tolkien’s attitude towards woods and nature, Mirkwood, The Old Forest, and Fangorn notwithstanding.

Ankala Teaweed 03/Jan/2005 at 04:54 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Yes!! I suppose we could speculate as to why this fear of nature is not manifested in at least that part of England as opposed to other parts of Europe--leftover ancient Druid-type tree-lover sensibilities which survived enserfitude mayhap? But for me it is a very important element of Tolkien’s works. (As a Native American, I know he would not have had anywhere near the same impact on me if his views had been otherwise.)
Ankala Teaweed 03/Jan/2005 at 04:54 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5953 Posts: 4202 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Yes!! I suppose we could speculate as to why this fear of nature is not manifested in at least that part of England as opposed to other parts of Europe--leftover ancient Druid-type tree-lover sensibilities which survived enserfitude mayhap? But for me it is a very important element of Tolkien’s works. (As a Native American, I know he would not have had anywhere near the same impact on me if his views had been otherwise.)
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 05:19 PM
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AK: It is indeed a fascinating subject and perhaps one we can consider when we have rid ourselves of the myriad other questions that buzz around us like flies with regard to the fascination and rationale of the Master’s works!X(
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 05:19 PM
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AK: It is indeed a fascinating subject and perhaps one we can consider when we have rid ourselves of the myriad other questions that buzz around us like flies with regard to the fascination and rationale of the Master’s works!X(
hammodius 03/Jan/2005 at 06:13 PM
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halfir, the bit about the resemblance between Saruman’s death and Ayesha’s makes me want to read She for myself, all its faults notwithstanding.

Thanks for that long post, which contained tons of information new to me.
hammodius 03/Jan/2005 at 06:13 PM
Pilgrim of Isengard Points: 1514 Posts: 1280 Joined: 19/Dec/2003
halfir, the bit about the resemblance between Saruman’s death and Ayesha’s makes me want to read She for myself, all its faults notwithstanding.

Thanks for that long post, which contained tons of information new to me.
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 07:17 PM
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hammodius: Praise from you is praise indeed- and I have to admit I have always been a ’closet’ Haggard lover!
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 07:17 PM
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hammodius: Praise from you is praise indeed- and I have to admit I have always been a ’closet’ Haggard lover!
hammodius 03/Jan/2005 at 07:34 PM
Pilgrim of Isengard Points: 1514 Posts: 1280 Joined: 19/Dec/2003
I admit the prospect of reading pure adventure appeals mightily!
hammodius 03/Jan/2005 at 07:34 PM
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I admit the prospect of reading pure adventure appeals mightily!
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 09:14 PM
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X(
halfir 03/Jan/2005 at 09:14 PM
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X(
halfir 24/Jan/2005 at 07:02 PM
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Lobdel from the outset of his thesis has distinguished what we might call Tolkien’s ’ imaginative creativity’ and what had influenced that, ’and his ’professional philology’ and how they both had influenced his  fictional work.

He ends his argument by observing:

’..what differentiates Tolkien from other writers of Edwardian adventure stories would be properly treated in a discussion of his professional life on his imaginative creation, with the root of the differnce lying in the love of language that led him to philology as his life’s work’.

I think that difference is a critical one, for unlike so many of his great philological contemporaries and predecessors who studied the theory and development of language he saw words as the on-going embodiment of myth, culture and history, as  living entities, and he gave them their optimum context by setting them in the greatest fictional epic of the Twentieth Century.

But Lobdel’s assertion- that on the imaginative side of his creativity the Edwardian ’Adventure story’ influence has a bearing, is one I think for which he makes a sustainable argument.

The question, as with all influences on any writer is  a matter of degree!

And to answer that one can do no better than to quote the Master himself from Letter # 337

’To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider.’

Thank you all for your contributions to this thread!X(

Acte est fabula

halfir 24/Jan/2005 at 07:02 PM
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Lobdel from the outset of his thesis has distinguished what we might call Tolkien’s ’ imaginative creativity’ and what had influenced that, ’and his ’professional philology’ and how they both had influenced his  fictional work.

He ends his argument by observing:

’..what differentiates Tolkien from other writers of Edwardian adventure stories would be properly treated in a discussion of his professional life on his imaginative creation, with the root of the differnce lying in the love of language that led him to philology as his life’s work’.

I think that difference is a critical one, for unlike so many of his great philological contemporaries and predecessors who studied the theory and development of language he saw words as the on-going embodiment of myth, culture and history, as  living entities, and he gave them their optimum context by setting them in the greatest fictional epic of the Twentieth Century.

But Lobdel’s assertion- that on the imaginative side of his creativity the Edwardian ’Adventure story’ influence has a bearing, is one I think for which he makes a sustainable argument.

The question, as with all influences on any writer is  a matter of degree!

And to answer that one can do no better than to quote the Master himself from Letter # 337

’To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider.’

Thank you all for your contributions to this thread!X(

Acte est fabula

halfir 05/Mar/2005 at 07:05 PM
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As an ’addendum’ to this thread, a friend has brought to my attention that in the first publication of Tolkien Studies (edts. Douglas Anderson, Micahel Drout, Verlyn Flieger ) -April 2004 one of the contributions has relevance to this thread.

Dale J Nelson’s essay ’Possible Echoes of Blackwood and Dunsany in Tolkien’s Fantasy’ chimes well with Lobdel’s assertion that Tolkien was influenced- inter alia- by Blackwood’s writings.

Unfortunately I have not yet received my copy of this journal, althoguh I know Saranna is in possession of it, and she, or anyone else with a copy, may like to give us some idea of what Nelson says, as it is germane to this thread.

halfir 05/Mar/2005 at 07:05 PM
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As an ’addendum’ to this thread, a friend has brought to my attention that in the first publication of Tolkien Studies (edts. Douglas Anderson, Micahel Drout, Verlyn Flieger ) -April 2004 one of the contributions has relevance to this thread.

Dale J Nelson’s essay ’Possible Echoes of Blackwood and Dunsany in Tolkien’s Fantasy’ chimes well with Lobdel’s assertion that Tolkien was influenced- inter alia- by Blackwood’s writings.

Unfortunately I have not yet received my copy of this journal, althoguh I know Saranna is in possession of it, and she, or anyone else with a copy, may like to give us some idea of what Nelson says, as it is germane to this thread.

Saranna 06/Mar/2005 at 03:53 AM
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Your wish is my command! Still not got it, that’s dreadful!    Summary here below; (Nelson’s article is quite brief)

JRRT quoted as saying that he thought "TheCrack of Doom" might have originated from "something written by Blackwood".

Lobdell, 1981, "England and always" - suggests JRRT influenced by Blackwoods "The willows" and "The glamour of the snow" - stories dated from 1907 and 1912.

Nelson himself goes on to suggest influence of a third Blackwood tale, "The Wendigo", from "The lost valley", 1910. A remote region of Canada is haunted by a "great Outer Horror", stealing victims from tents and racing across the skies - Nelson suggests, a protoype for the Nazgul. Nelson quotes this "Far overhead, muted by great height and distance, strangley thinned and wailing, he heard the crying voice - - " and another simliar passage, linking them with the terror of the Nazgul, in particular when Pippin and Beregond are struck with horror as they talk upon the battlements of Minas Tirirth.
Moreover, the Wendigo sniff out their victims and those victims may become like their captors.

Turning to Dunsany, Nelson cites the peer’s "Hoard of the Gibbelins"as a possible antecedent to "The Mewlips".

This is a bare outline, but contains the main points.

Saranna 06/Mar/2005 at 03:53 AM
Lúthien Points: 8643 Posts: 10367 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Your wish is my command! Still not got it, that’s dreadful!    Summary here below; (Nelson’s article is quite brief)

JRRT quoted as saying that he thought "TheCrack of Doom" might have originated from "something written by Blackwood".

Lobdell, 1981, "England and always" - suggests JRRT influenced by Blackwoods "The willows" and "The glamour of the snow" - stories dated from 1907 and 1912.

Nelson himself goes on to suggest influence of a third Blackwood tale, "The Wendigo", from "The lost valley", 1910. A remote region of Canada is haunted by a "great Outer Horror", stealing victims from tents and racing across the skies - Nelson suggests, a protoype for the Nazgul. Nelson quotes this "Far overhead, muted by great height and distance, strangley thinned and wailing, he heard the crying voice - - " and another simliar passage, linking them with the terror of the Nazgul, in particular when Pippin and Beregond are struck with horror as they talk upon the battlements of Minas Tirirth.
Moreover, the Wendigo sniff out their victims and those victims may become like their captors.

Turning to Dunsany, Nelson cites the peer’s "Hoard of the Gibbelins"as a possible antecedent to "The Mewlips".

This is a bare outline, but contains the main points.

halfir 25/Oct/2005 at 10:02 PM
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Saranna: Many thanks- sorry for the delay in replying.I was struck, both by Lobdel and Nelson’s comments with the similarity to an article that Christina Scull wrote on Tom Bombadil- aspects of which I quote in my Bomadil AL thread.

What strikes one is the way in which Tolkien ’picked-up’ on things that interested him (or in the case of the Scull essay, his own children’s misadventures and the stories he made up about them) and then - like the turning of base metal into gold- used them to great effect in his own works.

I see this as in no way ’copying’ and indeed I suspect part of the time, at least, it wasn’t even a conscious act.

As he himself says, and as I am never tired of quoting:

’To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider.’ {Letter # 337}

Bruin 26/Oct/2005 at 01:20 AM
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Wow how completely random that this post should be top on my recent posts, (and recently commented on) after so long in obscurity.  What a great debate, by much smarter men (and women) then me.

Halfir:  Now couldn’t one take that same quote and apply it to the rigorous debate of the author’s "plaguerism" from the Bible, and Catholocism (just to play devil’s advocate momentarily)

halfir 26/Oct/2005 at 03:08 AM
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Bruin: Yes, of course one could. But I don’t see that Tolkien did any such thing regarding Catholicism and the Bible. In the hotly debated letter to Father  Robert Murray  {Letter # 142} he talks of :

’the religious element is absorbed into the story and symbolism’

This is to me the same as a ’Platonist’ saying that his/her philosophy is subsumed into the story.

And the Biblical references that are rammed down our throats by Christian apologists that they avow appear in LOTR are their avowals- not Tolkien’s.

He is a storyteller par excellence- not an apologist.

Of course I accept he was a believing Christian and a  devout Roman Catholic and that this influenced his world-picture. But it did not dominate , nor was it the basis of his writng- it was a part of it.

As I have said before, to me Tolkien is a writer who was a Christian, not a Christian who was a writer.

 

MaryJayne Took 26/Oct/2005 at 08:48 AM
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Being a Hobbit that is interested in literary works, the subject of word meaning attracted me to this subject... Way over my short little head ! I must admit that when reading Shakespeare I was thankful for the olde english dictionary in the back!! I’ll be coming back,but next time BEFORE I have my second breakfast and bowl! A clearer mind is required to get in to these subjects...

halfir 26/Oct/2005 at 03:55 PM
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MJT: But the important thing is that you will be coming back! Enjoy.X(
Saranna 27/Oct/2005 at 04:16 AM
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Halfir, I asked for this thread to be restored as I have finally read She for the first time  and should love to add some comments when I have a chance- infantile prattling though they may be!  So would you consider perhaps a second thread for this topic?
halfir 27/Oct/2005 at 05:18 AM
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Saranna: Sure. Please go ahead and do the honors!X( And nothing you can say would be infantile or prattling- though of course it might be incorrect!X(
Saranna 27/Oct/2005 at 07:35 AM
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Humph!  OK everyone, I am starting a new thread that leads on from this one and shall try to paste in the last few posts. 

PLEASE DON’T POST IN HERE ANY MORE!!!!!

(By the auhtority vested in me by High Lord halfir!)

<And seconded by the Forum Admin...Nessascooby>