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20501Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking

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  • Joseph Furolo
    May 11, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Edith

      This topic interests me a lot. I am an avid reader of Tolkien - no
      scholar - but currently in possession of a Y chromosome.. All I know
      is that I find no disrespect or belittlement in Tolkien's depiction of
      women and the feminine in any of his writings, even the lovely Lobelia
      Sackville-Baggins.

      For me, the female Valar and other immortals are the most positive
      treatment of the feminine, as are the human women of the First and
      Second Ages. Also the inversion of the 'traditional' male/female
      associations with sun and moon. But any thoughts of Elbereth and her
      stars just transports me to the most sublime places.......

      Will you be covering any of these dimensions of Tolkien's writing in
      your presentation? I know you are to focus on LOTR but of course
      Elbereth and the legendarium are part of the imagination of Middle
      Earth and some note of this broader backdrop perhaps could be noted?.

      Respectfully.

      Joseph


      On 11/05/2009, at 4:33 AM, Edith Crowe wrote:

      Yeah, Janet! What a librarian--I ask for a few examples and I get a
      whole
      bibliography. This makes me feel better because it confirms much of
      what I
      already have (in many cases telling me that my vague memory of some of
      these
      is fairly accurate) and adds some intriguing new items. An link
      between two
      articles:

      Green, William H. ""Where's Mama?" the Construction of the Feminine in
      the
      Hobbit." Lion and the Unicorn 22.2 (1998): 188-95.
      An interesting mixed bag, making much of the lack of female
      characters. From
      his conclusion:
      "In *The Hobbit*, a revisionist version of the Victorian ideology, some
      feminine virtues--such as passivity and fear of adventure--are
      weaknesses to
      be overcome, but their masculine opposites, the restlessness and
      testosterone-driven ambition of the macho here, are vices. "

      He has a whole section with an argument similar to Melanie Rawls' below,
      although he seems unaware of it--he cites no journal articles at all,
      only
      13 books (including the infamous Catherine Stimpson's). Melanie's is
      one of
      the seminal (you'll excuse the expression) articles on Tolkien & gender,
      IMHO.

      > Rawls, Melanie. “The Feminine Principle in Tolkien.” Mythlore 10.4
      > (#38)
      > (1984): 5-13.
      > Explores the interaction of Masculine and Feminine principles
      > (gender as
      > opposed to sex) in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, showing how the balance
      > of the
      > principles within a character is an important factor in his or her
      > place in
      > the struggle of good and evil, evil resulting in many cases from an
      > imbalance of these principles.


      BTW, I think my own "Power in Arda: Sources, Uses and Misuses" in the
      Centenary Conference *Proceedings* isn't bad either.

      How about some opinions from thoses possessing a Y chromosome?

      >
      >
      > <much snipped>



      > Janet Brennan Croft
      > Associate Professor
      > Head of Access Services
      > University of Oklahoma Libraries
      > Bizzell 104NW
      > Norman OK 73019
      > 405-325-1918
      > Fax 405-325-7618
      > jbcroft@...<mailto:jbcroft@...>
      > http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/
      > http://libraries.ou.edu/
      > Editor of Mythlore http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html
      > Editor of Oklahoma Librarian
      > http://www.oklibs.org/oklibrarian/current/index.html
      > "Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the rising ape
      > meets the falling angel." -Terry Pratchett
      > ________________________________
      > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      > Edith
      > Crowe [correspondence@...]
      > Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 3:31 PM
      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > 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@...<mailto:
      > correspondence%40mythsoc.org <correspondence%2540mythsoc.org>> or
      > shared
      > with the
      > list if you like.
      > --
      > Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary
      > The Mythopoeic Society
      > http://www.mythsoc.org | correspondence@...<mailto:
      > correspondence%40mythsoc.org <correspondence%2540mythsoc.org>>
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo<http://www.mythsoc.orgyahoo/
      > >!
      > Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >


      --
      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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