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19041Re: Silmarillion as beloved book of childhood

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  • William Cloud Hicklin
    Oct 23, 2007
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      Although my teeneaged self pre-ordered the Silmarillion
      and even marked on the calendar the day I could
      triumphantly collect it at Waldenbooks, and I loved it
      from the start (unlike, I expect, many< I didn't then
      fully apprecioate it. It took perhaps collegiate study
      in both philosophy and Old English to enable deeper
      levels of understanding.

      I think for a considerable time I valued the Sil as too
      many still do: as mere backstory to The LR, the
      Appendices extended, an infodump, a mine of trivia.
      Substantial appreciation of its grandeur as a whole, of
      the elegance of its convoluted web of cause and long-
      delayed effect, of its powerful meditations on the nature
      of Evil, really began to dawn when I read it on a long,
      long deployment at sea in the Navy.

      Nowadays I don't believe the two can be ranked relative
      to one another: they are simply too different. I suppose
      that if one views The Lord of the Rings as Tolkien's 9th
      Symphony, glorious, uplifting, at times ferocious,
      inspiring, spiritual, but nonetheless 'popular'; then the
      Sil is his Late Quartets: spare, un-'popular',
      discursive, numinous in a manner harder to pin down,
      uncompromisingly driven by its own unique internal
      logic...and unfinished.
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