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5894Re: [mythsoc] The Golden Key , a bit of pub talk with a wild Tolkien suggestion

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  • David S. Bratman
    Apr 24, 2002
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      At 12:27 PM 4/24/2002 , ssigrist wrote:

      >0f course if one really wanted pub argument
      >one could say
      >"Tolkien expresses most fully what he has
      >to say on the human condition in Leaf
      >by Niggle and in the Myth of the Tower
      >in The Monsters and the Critics"...
      ><this of course COULD be asserted
      >inasmuch as LOTR is represented within
      >both items isnt it?>
      > but I will not be so bold as that. NOR
      >would I of course freely give up LOTR.

      Indeed, that would be a bold statement. There isn't anything like a
      definitive answer to this, so it's all the more an interesting question for
      discussion.

      What your suggestions seem to me to offer is Tolkien's most concise
      statements of why he wrote, as a literary artist. For his quintessential
      statement of what he was writing _about_ (which I see as closer to what you
      mean by "the human condition"), I would - not without a touch of regret at
      missing the end of "Leaf" - turn to "Smith of Wootton Major." Over the
      years I'm more and more convinced this story perfectly encapsules what
      Tolkien was really trying to say in terms of literary theme, and also that
      in short form it embodies Tolkien's notion of what a fairy story should be.
      (As "Leaf" does not - it's not a fairy story, but a story _about_ fairy
      stories. "Smith" is both.)

      David Bratman
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