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9783Re: Reading the Road to Middle Earth

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  • bkillian3
    Jul 9, 2003
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      I havn't read either of those books yet, but would like to very soon.

      Barfield did seem to have influenced Tolkien to some extent, but as
      a Catholic I am sure Tolkien did not go for all of Barfield's ideas,
      or at least his interpretations of certain facts. I find Barfield
      very interesting, but it's difficult to really understand where he
      is coming from in some areas. The idea that Tolkien and Barfield
      seemed to share the most was the idea that language was supremely
      poetical at its very birth, and denoted a sort of iconic perception
      of the world, what Barfield would call 'concrete thinking'. Tolkien
      makes a reference to this in The Hobbit and again in LOTR.

      BTY...Why is the salvation of elves in question?

      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, bowring <bowring@b...> wrote:
      > Tom Shippey's Road to Middle Earth has finally been reissued in a
      new edition.
      > What a book! I am glad I read his Tolkien: Author of the Century
      first,
      > otherwise I would not have enjoyed it nearly so much--RME is so
      much better.
      > There are some interesting things to puzzle out, too. For
      instance, RME
      > doesn't so much as mention Owen Barfield's theories about
      language, whereas
      > Flieger, in her book Splintered Light, makes Barfield an important
      influence
      > on Tolkien's views on language. I am not steeped enough in all
      this to really
      > evaluate the two positions adequately, but I have two suspicions:
      (1) that
      > Tolkien's philological training had already largely immunized him
      against
      > "chronological snobbery", Barfield's important contribution to
      Lewis'
      > intellectual cadre; (2) that Tolkien went no further than Lewis
      did in the
      > direction of Barfield's key theories about the evolution of
      consciousness.
      > Large and important questions.
      >
      > (I have another pet suspicion: that because Barfield outlived all
      the other
      > principals by a good bit, and that many like Flieger got to know
      him and to
      > one degree or another came under his influence, he had a large
      hand in shaping
      > the reception of issues like the "Great War," theory of language,
      > interpretation on the Imagination, etc. I would also count him
      among the
      > writers that have most influenced my thinking on these issues, but
      the
      > evolution of consciousness business, at least in its
      Anthroposophical form,
      > just doesn't ring any bells for me--or rather, the bells jangle.
      I am not
      > entirely happy with such discussions of Lewis' and
      Tolkien's "philosophy" of
      > the imagination as I have thus far encountered.)
      >
      > I also find a lingering sense of pathos at Shippey's discussion of
      the
      > possibility of the salvation of elves, etc. Alas....
      >
      > Fortunately, Shippey's book is not entirely off the topic (he has
      at least a
      > toe over the border into my territory) of my dissertation. It has
      me
      > thinking.
      >
      > Kevin
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