6535Re: [mythsoc] White Query
- Oct 1, 2002In a message dated 10/1/2002 6:50:39 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> He might not have liked it, and wouldn't haveWell, David points out that JRRT liked Eddison despite stylistic differences.
> dreamed of using it himself, but would he have written off a story just
> because of style?
But if there's ever been a reader for whom style was nearly inseparable from
content, it was Tolkien, and I can imagine that some of White's stylistic
quirks might have been sufficiently distracting to severely compromise his
enjoyment of the narrative. That happens to me -- sometimes I have such a
style allergy to a story that I can't force myself to read it, even when I
can tell that the plot's original and interesting -- and I'm probably far
*less* sensitive to such things than Tolkien was.
And the anachronism issue is one on which he had vehement ideological views,
not simply stylistic tastes. See, for instance, Letter 171 (which,
coincidentally, I'm having my class read for tomorrow). He might have
acquitted White of the charge of "parochialism of time" on the grounds that
White *did* use more ancient language in some scenes; but the "modern" ones
surely would have been painful for him (and perhaps all the more so if he
knew that White *could* write more authentic language when he chose).
Samuel R. Delany has a wonderful essay in his collection THE JEWEL-HINGED JAW
arguing that style and content aren't separable, that the distinction is a
false dichotomy. I'm not sure I completely agree with him, but I do think
that the more style-sensitive the reader, the harder it is to divorce the
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