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11687RE: [mythsoc] Joseph Pearce

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  • David Bratman
    Mar 10, 2004
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      At 12:10 PM 3/10/2004 -0600, Jay Hershberger wrote:

      >My verbage was too sweeping. The comments he made were in the context
      >of a conversation about the relationship between Tolkien's published canon
      >and Christopher's editing of the HoME. Pearce hopes that at some point in
      >the future, the manuscripts and papers can be made available to scholars
      >independent of family control. I did not mean to suggest that Pearce
      >rejected Christopher's work and his collaboration with HC as unreliable.
      >Pearce just expressed reservations about HC in the context of Christopher
      >Tolkien's control of the primary source material.

      If Pearce doesn't think Carpenter is unreliable, then what reservations
      does he have? Or do you mean to say that Pearce accepts HoME and Letters
      ("Christopher's work and his collaboration with HC") as reliable, but has
      reservations about Carpenter's biography?

      One should be cautious about accepting wholesale any biography, authorized
      or not. But Carpenter's book rang true when it was new to everything else
      we knew about Tolkien, and time and further study has verified its
      essential truthfulness and perception.

      Some years later, after the quality of his scholarly work had begun to fall
      off, Carpenter scripted a radio dramatization of Tolkien's life. I've
      heard it: it's dreadful. It depicts Tolkien as some kind of absent-minded
      looney, apt to cry out imaginary words in public places. There's no
      evidence that he had Tourette's Syndrome, and even if he did, it would be
      the most superficial depiction of the man to emphasize it.

      If the family's restrictions on Carpenter's biographical work saved us from
      a book of that kind, then we must be profoundly grateful to them that they
      exercised it.

      - David Bratman
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