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Re: [mythsoc] A question in Tolkien Criticism

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    ... I link it _partly_ to that slaughter, in that it was among the manifestations and consequences of the northern-spirited martial heroism that Tolkien saw
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 26 11:52 AM
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      On Sep 26, 2003, at 10:56 AM, Stolzi@... wrote:

      > I see Aelfwine has interpreted the reference also in a somewhat
      > unfavorable sense, though he links it to the slaughter of the BEF
      > rather than to the much-vaunted "Will" of Hitler and Co.

      I link it _partly_ to that slaughter, in that it was among the
      manifestations and consequences of the northern-spirited "martial
      heroism" that Tolkien saw in his own time. But I do not link it _only_
      to that, any more than Tolkien would have linked Beowulf's own martial
      heroism only to his death at the hands/claws/jaws of the dragon.
      Indeed, the point that Tolkien is making is that _northern_ heroism is
      characterized by willingness to sacrifice one's life even in the face
      of certain defeat -- and defeat is the one certainty within the circles
      of this world, as both the northern pagans and the Christians Tolkien
      is comparing recognized -- simply because it is the right thing for Man
      to do: to struggle and persevere against the Monsters.


      --
      =============================================
      Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
    • Stolzi@aol.com
      Seems to me that the British in WWI - at least, the ones who weren t totally disaffected by it all (War Poets) - would have thought of themselves not so much
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 27 12:05 PM
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        Seems to me that the British in WWI - at least, the ones who weren't totally
        disaffected by it all (War Poets) - would have thought of themselves not so
        much as Northern, as representing "the forces of Christian civilization" -
        everything all the way from Jerusalem through Rome and Europe to the North -
        against Barbarism from the East - they even called the Germans "the Hun." This
        although the Kaiser by no means disavowed Judeo-Christian civilization in the
        way that Hitler did, and though the German atrocities in -that- war were largely
        propaganda inventions iirc. I think of Belloc: "Europe is the Faith, the
        Faith is Europe."

        There was not nearly the sense of a "desperate and possibly losing last
        stand", I think, that the British had in the later conflict - Dunkirk, the Battle
        of Britain, and "we shall fight them on the beaches..." etc. - a conflict
        which hadn't yet happened when Tolkien delivered BEOWULF: THE MONSTER AND THE
        CRITICS.


        Diamond Proudbrook



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