6526RE: [mythsoc] White Query
- Oct 1, 2002I can't recall coming across any articles doing a point-by-point comparison
of White and Tolkien, but Shippey includes T.H.White in his list of
"traumatized authors". His article "Tolkien as a Post-War Writer" goes into
a bit of detail as to what he sees as White's response to evil in the 20th
Shippey, Thomas A. "Tolkien as a Post-War Writer." Proceedings of the J.R.R.
Tolkien Centenary Conference. Eds. Patricia Reynolds and Glen H. GoodKnight.
Keble College, Oxford: The Mythopoeic Press, 1992. 84-93.
There's also a little bit in his _Tolkien: Author of the Century_.
I do have one article just on White in my files for future reference:
Gallix, Francois. "T.H. White and the Legend of King Arthur: From Animal
Fantasy to Political Morality". In _King Arthur: A Casebook_. Edited by
Edward Donald Kennedy. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996. 281-297.
A quick search on the MLA Bibliography online turns up only 15 articles,
compared to hundreds and hundreds for Tolkien, so there is obviously plenty
of room for research...
Neither the Carpenter _Biography_ nor the _Letters_ mention T.H. White, but
there is some mention of Arthur in both if you check the indexes. Tolkien
started but never finished a poem about Arthur, and I don't know if it was
included in _The History of Middle-earth_ somewhere or if Oxford or
Marquette has it. But Carpenter quotes a few lines from it about Guenivere:
"lady ruthless,/ fair as fay-woman and fell-minded,/ in the world walking
for the woe of men." NOT the tragic heroine...
(Actually Tolkien did like some science fiction at least and spoke highly of
Asimov, and liked Dorothy Sayers before she introduced Harriet Vane to the
Lord Peter Wimsey novels. He also enjoyed E.R. Eddison and Mary Renault
(which surprises me because her books are sometimes earthily sexual and very
tolerant of homosexuality, which doesn't entirely fit Tolkien's image). See
Letters p.377. You know what I want? A list of all the books that were in
his personal library at the time of his death...and in spite of being a
librarian and being all for reader privacy, I'd like to know what he checked
out of the library, too!)
From: SusanPal@... [mailto:SusanPal@...]
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 12:44 AM
Subject: [mythsoc] White Query
Hello! Does anyone know if Tolkien ever read THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING?
imagine that he didn't, since he was so unenthusiastic about literature
Chaucer, but wondered if anyone knows for sure.) Or, better yet, does
know of articles dealing with with TOAFK and LOTR? It strikes me that there
are certain similarities (treatment of epic and of a British mythology,
etc.), although certainly there are also plenty of differences.
Do any scholars work on White? I loved TOAFK when I was growing up -- and
parents, who haven't read JRRT, both love it too, even though they don't
consider themselves fantasy fans -- but I never seem to hear people talk
about it. Perhaps it's been too tarred with the "Camelot" brush? I took a
poll in my Tolkien class today, and only three of my students have read it.
It's a glorious book, and if folks aren't reading it, there needs to be a
revival of some sort.
The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
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