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17231re. mythology for England

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  • John D Rateliff
    Nov 29, 2006
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      >> --- William Cloud Hicklin <solicitr@...> wrote:
      >>> OK, could somebody post a summary of the Stenstrom Theory so
      >>> the rest of us know what you're talking about?


      >>> --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...>
      >>> wrote:
      >> Anders could probably summarize himself better than I can, but
      > here's a short excerpt from my "Mythology for England"
      > Encyclopedia entry:
      >> [snip]
      >
      > On Nov 28, 2006, at 8:20 PM, William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
      > Thanks, Jason. Now I rather shamefacedly see that my previous
      > (forewarded) post was an extended restatement of the obvious. In
      > my defense, I can say that I was unfamiliar with the secondary
      > lit, and worked out half the problem on my own!


      One important additional point not made in the excerpt is that Anders
      doesn't just trace the history of the term; he rejects the idea that
      Tolkien ever set out to create a mythology for England or that the
      legendarium can be called a 'mythology'. He admits that the stories
      have mythological elements but claims this is backdrop, distinct from
      the legends or stories themselves. Unfortunately for his argument,
      Tolkien himself describes the whole legendarium as his "mythology" in
      his Denys Gueroult interview, which Anders does not cite. My own
      position is that if the exact phrase "a mythology for England" was
      Carpenter's coinage, it was an inspired and accurate description of
      Tolkien's aims when he started, but this remains a contentious point
      for many.

      Re. working out a problem on yr own: there are few things more
      important than for scholars to go back from time to time and re-
      examine the conventional wisdom. At the very least, you wind up with
      a good first-hand knowledge of the evidence supporting that point; in
      some cases you might realize there are some serious gaps in the
      evidence and come up with a completely new perspective on the issue.
      That's how I came to realize that Carpenter was almost certainly
      wrong when he claimed Tolkien abandoned THE HOBBIT in an unfinished
      state and only wrote the conclusion years later. What's often
      dismissed as "reinventing the wheel" is in fact the experience of a
      new wheelwright learning his or her craft.

      --JDR
      current reading: DID GOD HAVE A WIFE?: ARCHEOLOGY & FOLK RELIGION IN
      ANCIENT ISRAEL by Wm Dever
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