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20491Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking

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  • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
    May 7, 2009
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      Interesting topic, Edith!

      Most certainly, I'd say that the worst misunderstanding of Tolkien's
      attitude toward women is the assumption that he condescends - especially
      when the interpretation is based solely on reading LOTR. Unless the
      reader pays close attention, he can easily miss the indications that
      Tolkien's women are generally strong and not "typical passive heroines"
      (that is, are they paying attention to Galadriel's history, the tale of
      Luthien, etc.).

      I think the contraints of the type of story he was telling in LOTR, and
      the character selection ended up making the novel atypical of JRRT's work
      in general, especially as it relates to female characters. Too many few
      Arwen as the *standard* of Tolkien heroines, where she is actually pretty
      much the exception (even Finduilas, who is rather passive, is a bit more
      active than Arwen).

      Huh. That would be a different tack to take: Eowyn is the standard of a
      Tolkien heroine, not the exception (Luthien, Ildis, Elwing, Galadriel --
      all "take action" types).

      > I'm one of the presenters at the NEH-funded institute "J. R. R. Tolkien's
      > The Lord of the Rings: The Real and the Imagined Middle Ages" at
      > UT-Commerce
      > this summer. I'm supposed to be the gender expert, although where they got
      > that notion I have no idea. But hey, who turns down a free trip to
      > Commerce,
      > Texas in August? (See
      > http://community.livejournal.com/lotr_middleages/886.html if you wish, but
      > please be advised I did not write the blurb attached to my name, and its
      > hyperbole makes me by turns appalled and hysterical.)
      > I hereby humbly request that fellow scholars and aficionados help me out
      > by
      > answering the following:
      > What do you think are the best and worst things written on the topic of
      > Tolkien and women/gender/the feminine, etc. in Tolkien's work (and
      > preferably why)? In addition (or instead of) what are the most widely held
      > wrong-headed notions about the previous topics held by scholars or the
      > general public?
      > I have some notions of my own but this group is more widely read and
      > variously opinionated than my head by itself. I just got a first deadline
      > of
      > June 1 for handouts to be copied, so I am suddenly more highly motivated
      > than heretofore, and your assistance will be greatly appreciated.
      > Replies can be sent to me at correspondence@... or shared with the
      > list if you like.
      > --
      > Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary
      > The Mythopoeic Society
      > http://www.mythsoc.org | correspondence@...
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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