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19751Re: Inspiration the other direction?

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  • Morlin Saarinen
    May 11, 2008
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      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Merlin DeTardo" <emptyD@...> wrote:
      >
      > >>---"Morlin Saarinen" <ebadams2000@> wrote:
      > << Specifically, I am thinking of "Beowulf: The Monsters and the
      > Critics" essay. Is it possible that it was the experience of
      writing
      > what would become "The Silmarillion" that gave Tolkien the insight
      that
      > revolutionized Beowulf scholarship? >>
      >
      > Can you be more specific? What in the "Silmarillion" are you
      thinking
      > of, that might have influenced the "Beowulf" essay?
      >
      > It has certainly been argued that "On Fairy-Stories" grew from
      > Tolkien's experience writing fiction, and I vaguely remember that
      there
      > may be something similar written about "The Monsters and the
      Critics",
      > but nothing in particular is leaping to mind. Maybe Randel Helms,
      in
      > _Tolkien's World_? (However, Helms wouldn't have been discussing
      _The
      > Silmarillion_, which hadn't yet been published.)
      >
      > -Merlin DeTardo
      >


      As I understand it, prior to Tolkien, the norm for "Beowulf"
      scholarship was to concentrate on the possibly historical elements
      and de-emphasize the fantastical elements. Tolkien realized that the
      fantastical elements were as central to the story as anything else,
      and that the whole poem should be examined as a whole, unified epic.
      It seems not unlikely to me that he may have come to this realization
      while writing his own epic(the pre-Silmarillion writings), in which
      one certainly would not be able to ignore the fantastical and
      understand anything of it.
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