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Allegory? Re: {Disarmed} [TolkienDiscussions] Hello

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  • Wilson, Bruce
    JRRT is on record as despising allegory; he never wrote an allegory in his life. That isn t to say that he didn t put things in his stories that have
    Message 1 of 12 , Jun 7, 2007

      JRRT is on record as despising allegory; he never wrote an allegory in his life.

       

      That isn’t to say that he didn’t put things in his stories that have resonances with things in the real world, but that is a very different thing than allegory.

       

      Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.

      Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library

      304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)

      FAX: 304-558-3673

       

      The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

       

    • Stanier, Alan M
      I have never been able to reconcile Leaf by Niggle with JRRT s dislike of allegory. ________________________________ From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 12 , Jun 7, 2007
        I have never been able to reconcile "Leaf by Niggle" with JRRT's dislike of allegory.


        From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wilson, Bruce
        Sent: 07 June 2007 14:13
        To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
        Subject Allegory?

        .

        JRRT is on record as despising allegory; he never wrote an allegory in his life.

        That isn’t to say that he didn’t put things in his stories that have resonances with things in the real world, but that is a very different thing than allegory

         

      • John Davis
        Hi, My understanding is that Tolkein objected to the idea that LotR might be an allegory, that he felt further that people frequently misused the term
        Message 3 of 12 , Jun 7, 2007
          Hi,

          My understanding is that Tolkein objected to the idea that LotR might be an
          allegory, that he felt further that people frequently misused the term
          (confusing it with work that had applicability), and many writers didn't
          know how to write allegory. But that, in theory, he had nothing against it,
          as evidenced by pieces like Leaf by Niggle (and I think he also wrote a few
          short works for lectures that he said were allegorical - including something
          about a tower that was an allegory for scholarly Beowulf study, if memory
          serves). My guess is that he stated his case so strongly in the introduction
          to LotR to make sure that readers understood that this particular work
          wasn't an allegory.

          John
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Wilson, Bruce" <brucewilson@...>
          To: <TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 2:12 PM
          Subject: Allegory? Re: {Disarmed} [TolkienDiscussions] Hello


          JRRT is on record as despising allegory; he never wrote an allegory in
          his life.



          That isn't to say that he didn't put things in his stories that have
          resonances with things in the real world, but that is a very different
          thing than allegory.



          Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.

          Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library

          304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)

          FAX: 304-558-3673



          The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms
          of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure
          in heart. ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green
        • Pippin
          ... JRRT is on record as despising allegory; he never wrote an allegory in his life. I despised cigarette smoking most of my life, but I still did it for over
          Message 4 of 12 , Jun 7, 2007
            ----- Original Message -----
            JRRT is on record as despising allegory; he never wrote an allegory in his life.
            I despised cigarette smoking most of my life, but I still did it for over 35 years.  Old Toby can be quite addictive, and denial is a mysterious thing.
             
            I think JRRT claimed an aversion to allegory so he would not be tied by everyone in his audience to one mythology.  And he could also gain a wider audience with a variety of myths, apologues, parables--choose one, choose them all.  In both he was very successful.  As one example, he clearly had a reverence for the earth and trees that coincides very well with (neo-)Celtic tree lore.  Search "Celtic tree month" without quotation marks if you want more 'bout that lore.  Environmental duties certainly appear in the teachings of some major world religions, but I doubt Tolkien's love of trees and the earth came from the Catholic church or the New Testament.
             
            Pippin
            <+><+>
          • Wilson, Bruce
            He said in one of his Letters I despise allegory wherever I smell it. JRRT was an environmentalist long before it became fashionable. But that is fully in
            Message 5 of 12 , Jun 8, 2007

              He said in one of his Letters “I despise allegory wherever I smell it.”

               

              JRRT was an environmentalist long before it became fashionable.  But that is fully in accord with Christian tradition.  God made the world and pronounced it to be ‘very very good’, and the Psalms, the Book of Job, and many passages of the Prophets extol the wonder and beauty of what God has made.   God commanded Adam to care for the Garden.  You may take this as a moral fable or as literal truth, but the meaning is very much the same.  Toil only became a curse after the Fall.   The NT says that it is God’s will to restore all things in Jesus, including the prelapsarian relation between Man and the Earth.

               

              And Leaf by Niggle is not an allegory.  Compare it with the Divine Comedy, the Romance of the Rose, or Pilgrim’s Progress and you will see that it is not.

               

              Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.

              Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library

              304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)

              FAX: 304-558-3673

               

              The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

               

            • John Davis
              Hi Bruce, ... He did indeed. (Though wasn t he talking about in certain literary forms, rather than in general? I can t recall quite where that quote is from)
              Message 6 of 12 , Jun 8, 2007
                Hi Bruce,

                > He said in one of his Letters "I despise allegory wherever I smell it."

                He did indeed. (Though wasn't he talking about in certain literary forms,
                rather than in general? I can't recall quite where that quote is from) But
                at any rate, then he went and wrote several. People change their minds, and
                indeed overstate feelings for effect, especially in private writings. Even
                Tolkien! Shippey pointed out a few examples of Tolkien writing allegory in
                Author of the Century, I think. I don't have it to hand, but I'll try and it
                if you want. Someone more knowledgeable than I on the list probably knows
                them...?

                Perhaps Leaf by Niggle is not an example of allegory. But if not, I am not
                sure how to understand it. Certainly its allegorical content isn't as
                obvious as, say, Dryden's King Arthur and that kind of work, where every
                character was very obviously 'meant' to be someone or something else. But
                for me, LbN only works (i.e. only makes sense) if the characters and events
                are taken allegorically, which is to say representing in for other things.
                Otherwise, it is just somewhat strange!

                What is your take on it if not allegorical, then?

                John


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Wilson, Bruce" <brucewilson@...>
                To: <TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 4:01 PM
                Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: Allegory?


                He said in one of his Letters "I despise allegory wherever I smell it."



                JRRT was an environmentalist long before it became fashionable. But
                that is fully in accord with Christian tradition. God made the world
                and pronounced it to be 'very very good', and the Psalms, the Book of
                Job, and many passages of the Prophets extol the wonder and beauty of
                what God has made. God commanded Adam to care for the Garden. You may
                take this as a moral fable or as literal truth, but the meaning is very
                much the same. Toil only became a curse after the Fall. The NT says
                that it is God's will to restore all things in Jesus, including the
                prelapsarian relation between Man and the Earth.



                And Leaf by Niggle is not an allegory. Compare it with the Divine
                Comedy, the Romance of the Rose, or Pilgrim's Progress and you will see
                that it is not.



                Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.

                Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library

                304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)

                FAX: 304-558-3673



                The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms
                of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure
                in heart. ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green
              • Pippin
                ... And then there s the part where Adam and Eve are told to subdue the earth ( Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. ), and the part
                Message 7 of 12 , Jun 8, 2007
                  > JRRT was an environmentalist long before it became fashionable. But
                  > that is fully in accord with Christian tradition. God made the world
                  > and pronounced it to be 'very very good', and the Psalms, the Book of
                  > Job, and many passages of the Prophets extol the wonder and beauty of
                  > what God has made.

                  And then there's the part where Adam and Eve are told to "subdue" the
                  earth ("Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it."),
                  and the part where God floods the whole earth, destroying everything
                  except the pairs of creatures that an ark can hold, then says:

                  "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the
                  earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on
                  the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are
                  delivered." (Genesis 9:1-4)

                  A lot more fire, brimstone, famine, and plague could be quoted. And
                  then there is this passage, speaking of trees specifically:

                  On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he [Jesus] was
                  hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see
                  if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing
                  but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it "May
                  no-one ever eat fruit from you again. . . . And as they passed by in
                  the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And
                  Peter remembered and said to him, "Master, look! The fig tree which
                  you cursed has withered." (Mark 11:12-25)

                  For it was not the season for figs.

                  No expectation that we'll come anywhere close to agreement on this
                  topic, Bruce.

                  Pippin
                • Stanier, Alan M
                  Sorry, Bruce, I ve compared Leaf by Niggle to all three, and I still see it as an allegory. If you don t think of it as an allegory, how do you see it? Alan
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jun 9, 2007
                    Sorry, Bruce, I've compared Leaf by Niggle to all three, and I still see
                    it as an allegory.

                    If you don't think of it as an allegory, how do you see it?

                    Alan

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                    [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wilson, Bruce
                    Sent: 08 June 2007 16:02
                    To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: {Disarmed} [TolkienDiscussions] Re: Allegory?


                    And Leaf by Niggle is not an allegory. Compare it with the Divine
                    Comedy, the Romance of the Rose, or Pilgrim's Progress and you will see
                    that it is not.
                  • Wilson, Bruce
                    Pippin: And then there s the part where Adam and Eve are told to subdue the earth ( Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. ), and the
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jun 11, 2007

                      Pippin:

                      And then there's the part where Adam and Eve are told to "subdue" the
                      earth ("Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it."),
                      and the part where God floods the whole earth, destroying everything
                      except the pairs of creatures that an ark can hold, then says:

                      "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the
                      earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on
                      the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are
                      delivered." (Genesis 9:1-4)”

                       

                      That was after the Curse, not as part of the original goodness of creation.

                       

                      If you will read the Laws of Moses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, especially the laws on Agriculture, you will see that God enjoined on the ancient Israelites sustainable agricultural practices. 

                       

                      The story in the Gospel of the withered fig tree, I agree, is a puzzling one on many levels.  It is the ONLY time that Jesus is recorded as using His power destructively, for example (unless you count the Gadarine Swine).  A lot of ink has been spilled by theologians down through the past two-thousand-odd years (some very odd indeed); this is not the time or place to go over them (even were I qualified), but suffice it to say that there is more to that story than meets the eye.

                       

                      Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.

                      Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library

                      304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)

                      FAX: 304-558-3673

                       

                      The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

                       

                    • Jack
                      Gaderene swine? Wasn t that Homer s Odyssey? Perhaps you are thinking of the time Jesus whipped the moneylenders out of the temple? I don t remember the bit
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jun 11, 2007

                        Gaderene swine?  Wasn’t that Homer’s Odyssey?

                         

                        Perhaps you are thinking of the time Jesus whipped the moneylenders out of the temple?

                         

                        I don’t remember the bit about the withered fig tree…

                         

                        Hth

                        Jack

                         


                        From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wilson, Bruce

                         

                        The story in the Gospel of the withered fig tree, I agree, is a puzzling one on many levels.  It is the ONLY time that Jesus is recorded as using His power destructively, for example (unless you count the Gadarine Swine).  A lot of ink has been spilled by theologians down through the past two-thousand- odd years (some very odd indeed); this is not the time or place to go over them (even were I qualified), but suffice it to say that there is more to that story than meets the eye.

                         

                        Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.

                        Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library

                        304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)

                        FAX: 304-558-3673

                         

                        The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

                         

                      • Ronn! Blankenship
                        At 09:14 AM Monday 6/11/2007, Jack wrote: Gaderene swine? Wasn’t that Homer’s Odyssey? See Mark 5:1-17 and Luke 8:26-40. Perhaps you are thinking of the
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jun 11, 2007
                          At 09:14 AM Monday 6/11/2007, Jack wrote:
                          Gaderene swine?  Wasn’t that Homer’s Odyssey?
                           


                          See Mark 5:1-17 and Luke 8:26-40.



                          Perhaps you are thinking of the time Jesus whipped the moneylenders out of the temple?
                           
                          I don’t remember the bit about the withered fig tree…



                          Matthew 21:17-22.  Verse 21 contains the origin of a common saying that you may recognize.


                           
                          Hth
                          Jack
                           

                          From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [ mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wilson, Bruce
                           
                          The story in the Gospel of the withered fig tree, I agree, is a puzzling one on many levels.  It is the ONLY time that Jesus is recorded as using His power destructively, for example (unless you count the Gadarine Swine).  A lot of ink has been spilled by theologians down through the past two-thousand-odd years (some very odd indeed); this is not the time or place to go over them (even were I qualified), but suffice it to say that there is more to that story than meets the eye.
                           
                          Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.
                          Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library
                          304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)
                          FAX: 304-558-3673
                           
                          The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green
                           

                          -- Ronn!  :)

                        • Jack
                          Quite right - I was thinking of this http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.10.x.html Not Gadarene at all. ... Jack _____ From:
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jun 11, 2007

                            Quite right – I was thinking of this

                            http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.10.x.html

                             

                            Not Gadarene at all…

                             

                            :o)

                            Jack

                             


                            From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ronn! Blankenship
                            Sent: 11 June 2007 19:27
                            To: Tolkien Discussions
                            Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: Allegory?

                             

                            At 09:14 AM Monday 6/11/2007, Jack wrote:

                            Gaderene swine?  Wasn’t that Homer’s Odyssey?
                             



                            See Mark 5:1-17 and Luke 8:26-40.




                            Perhaps you are thinking of the time Jesus whipped the moneylenders out of the temple?
                             
                            I don’t remember the bit about the withered fig tree…




                            Matthew 21:17-22.  Verse 21 contains the origin of a common saying that you may recognize.



                             
                            Hth
                            Jack
                             


                            From: TolkienDiscussions@ yahoogroups. com [ mailto:TolkienDiscu ssions@yahoogrou ps.com] On Behalf Of Wilson, Bruce
                             
                            The story in the Gospel of the withered fig tree, I agree, is a puzzling one on many levels.  It is the ONLY time that Jesus is recorded as using His power destructively, for example (unless you count the Gadarine Swine).  A lot of ink has been spilled by theologians down through the past two-thousand- odd years (some very odd indeed); this is not the time or place to go over them (even were I qualified), but suffice it to say that there is more to that story than meets the eye.
                             
                            Bruce A. Wilson, M.Ed., M.S.L.S.
                            Reference Librarian, W.Va. State Law Library
                            304-558-2607 (direct dial: 304-340-3980)
                            FAX: 304-558-3673
                             
                            The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green
                             

                            -- Ronn!  :)

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