Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Following Gandalf, and

Expand Messages
  • David Lenander
    ... Nice to see some discussion of one of the Scholarship Award finalists. I didn t like it as well as Matthew or David, I guess, but I did have a somewhat
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      >
      Nice to see some discussion of one of the Scholarship Award finalists.
      I didn't like it as well as Matthew or David, I guess, but I did have a
      somewhat similar reaction to Matthew's: looking at the book I was
      dreading reading it, half thinking "how could THIS have become a
      finalist?" which is judging a book by its cover. It's very nicely
      written, and while I was NOT blown away by its insights--I can't think
      of anything that surprised or delighted me (as Verlyn Flieger seems to
      in every essay), but there was much with which I entirely agreed. I
      also thought it might be useful to have the various observations about
      free will and goodness drawn together in an orderly fashion. I never
      was bothered by the attacks (such as they are) that Tolkien glorifies
      warfare and battle, pretty much for the reasons that Dickerson
      marshalls in his first chapters, but I'm not sure that I'd ever thought
      about the artful presentation of Gimli's and Legolas's contest to kill
      the most orcs in the Battle of Helm's Deep as tending to minimize and
      undercut any suggestion that this bloodthirsty contest is glorifying
      murder and slaughter for its own sake (for instance) (I would have
      described the operation of this passage rather differently, but perhaps
      it comes to the same end). In the end, this book seems to focus on
      many things that I think are much more important to Tolkien's work than
      the arguments of many of these schlockier books appearing everywhere.
      On the other hand, I found many single essays in _Tolkien the
      Medievalist_ more valuable than the whole of _Following Gandalf_.
      (Read both and decide for yourself! You can find all of this year's
      Mythopoeic Scholarship Award finalists listed on the Society web-page
      at www.mythsoc.org And it's worth noting that all of the Inklings
      finalists, and most of the general Mythic and Fantasy Studies nominees
      are remarkably clear and easy to read, free of abstruse academese, this
      year. CSL and Tolkien would approve of that , at least!) (If you can't
      find the finalists at your library or bookstore--and the fine _Tolkien
      and the Great War_ seems to be everywhere, including Borders and Barnes
      & Noble--try asking for an interlibrary loan at your public or school
      library).


      > Message: 5
      > Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 21:22:06 -0700
      > From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
      > Subject: Re: Newest Greenman Review
      >
      > It's gratifying to see our own Matthew Winslow with such a fine take on
      > Matthew Dickerson's _Following Gandalf_ (long may the fellowship of
      > Matthews wave). His reaction is pretty much identical to mine.
      >
      > - David Bratman
      >
      David Lenander
      d-lena@... or david_lenander@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113
      651-292-8887 or 651-697-1807
      http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html
    • David Bratman
      ... Perhaps the mere act of reading a whole new book about Tolkien, by someone whose work I didn t already know, which was almost entirely free of
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        At 07:50 AM 7/7/2004 -0500, David Lenander wrote:

        >It's very nicely
        >written, and while I was NOT blown away by its insights--I can't think
        >of anything that surprised or delighted me (as Verlyn Flieger seems to
        >in every essay), but there was much with which I entirely agreed.

        Perhaps the mere act of reading a whole new book about Tolkien, by someone
        whose work I didn't already know, which was almost entirely free of
        wrongheadedness, filled me with delight because it's such a rare experience.


        >In the end, this book seems to focus on
        >many things that I think are much more important to Tolkien's work than
        >the arguments of many of these schlockier books appearing everywhere.

        Absolutely.


        >On the other hand, I found many single essays in _Tolkien the
        >Medievalist_ more valuable than the whole of _Following Gandalf_.

        Many of them, yes, but not all. Which ones did you like? I gave top
        rankings to Verlyn Flieger (of course), Richard C. West, and two scholars
        whose work I hadn't known, Gergely Nagy and Christine Chism.

        On the other hand there were at least two essays in the book I thought
        utterly incompetent.


        >And it's worth noting that all of the Inklings
        >finalists, and most of the general Mythic and Fantasy Studies nominees
        >are remarkably clear and easy to read, free of abstruse academese, this
        >year.

        Clarity of thought and writing are among my chief criteria as a Scholarship
        Award jury member.

        - David Bratman
      • Croft, Janet B.
        ... Many of them, yes, but not all. Which ones did you like? I gave top rankings to Verlyn Flieger (of course), Richard C. West, and two scholars whose work
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          David Bratman wrote:

          >On the other hand, I found many single essays in _Tolkien the
          >Medievalist_ more valuable than the whole of _Following Gandalf_.

          Many of them, yes, but not all. Which ones did you like? I gave top
          rankings to Verlyn Flieger (of course), Richard C. West, and two
          scholars whose work I hadn't known, Gergely Nagy and Christine Chism.

          On the other hand there were at least two essays in the book I thought
          utterly incompetent.

          *** Which ones didn't you like? My favorite was Leslie Donovan's "The
          Valkyrie Reflex", which is already being cited in one of the essays on
          Jackson's depictions of the female characters for the _Tolkien on Film_
          book. I agree on the Fleiger (both of them) and Chism pieces. I also
          liked Michael Maher's essay on Marian imagery in the depiction of
          Galadriel, though it seems to me I have seen some of this material
          elsewhere.

          But I still liked _Following Gandalf_ better as a whole, though that may
          be because I am just personally more interested in Tolkien's thoughts on
          war and on free will than in his medieval roots.

          And I have to agree with the criticisms of the review of _Artist and
          Illustrator_. It seemed like the reviewer read a different book from
          the one I have found so interesting and useful!

          Janet Brennan Croft
        • Larry Swain
          ... I haven t read the book; I heard most of these papers delivered at Kalamazoo a few years back. I have to say that my assessment is much like David s,
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            > *** Which ones didn't you like? My favorite was Leslie Donovan's "The
            > Valkyrie Reflex", which is already being cited in one of the essays on
            > Jackson's depictions of the female characters for the _Tolkien on Film_
            > book. I agree on the Fleiger (both of them) and Chism pieces. I also
            > liked Michael Maher's essay on Marian imagery in the depiction of
            > Galadriel, though it seems to me I have seen some of this material
            > elsewhere.
            >
            > But I still liked _Following Gandalf_ better as a whole, though that may
            > be because I am just personally more interested in Tolkien's thoughts on
            > war and on free will than in his medieval roots.
            >
            > And I have to agree with the criticisms of the review of _Artist and
            > Illustrator_. It seemed like the reviewer read a different book from
            > the one I have found so interesting and useful!
            >
            > Janet Brennan Croft
            >

            I haven't read the book; I heard most of these papers delivered at Kalamazoo a few years back. I have to say that my assessment is much like David's, though I don't know which ones he didn't like and would be curious.

            Having said that, I have to say that unless the Valkyrie article has been substantially revised in the printed version, I can not recommend it. At the time that I heard it read, I thought it a very poorly argued piece, no matter how much others are citing it. Now I'll have to get the book and give it a read.

            I was delighted to see that Nagy's article made it; at the time he was a graduate student in Hungary. I know he has done subsequent work on Tolkien in Chance's Kalamazoo sessions too, so hopefully we'll be seeing more from him in print in the near future.

            Larry Swain
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >

            --
            _____________________________________________________________
            Web-based SMS services available at http://www.operamail.com
            From your mailbox to local or overseas cell phones.

            Powered by Outblaze
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.