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Re: [mythsoc] anecdotal

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  • David Bratman
    ... And what if you hate the horrid old grandmother and thereby think you would hate all fantasy? First impressions can be hard to eradicate, and I ve had
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 21, 2005
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      At 03:05 PM 2/21/2005 -0800, John Rateliff wrote:

      >I agree completely. Tolkien himself came down firmly on the side of 'better
      >a glimpse of Noakes' cake than no faerie at all' (e.g., better read a
      >'horrid old grandmother' like MacDonald than never discover the wonders of
      >fantasy).

      And what if you hate the horrid old grandmother and thereby think you would
      hate all fantasy? First impressions can be hard to eradicate, and I've had
      some sad cases where my cultural life was impoverished for years because of
      bad experiences I didn't realize were unrepresentative.


      >For what it's worth, my anecdotal evidence is all on Mike's side. By an
      >overwhelming majority, most people like both the book and the films. A very
      >few like the book but not the film. A similarly small percentage like the
      >films and not the book.

      Ted says otherwise, and since he's teaching a general fantasy course and
      not selecting for Tolkien readers, I don't think his evidence can be ignored.


      >The appearance of a few snipes on one side or the
      >other is pretty irrelevant; we've always had folks taking pot-shots at
      >Tolkien and those who liked his works and we always will. We've always had
      >ill-informed books and articles coming out on Tolkien: don't blame Jackson
      >for other people's carelessness and stupidity.

      What I am blaming Jackson for is being the -occasion- for their
      carelessness and stupidity. Were there no Jackson, the opportunity would
      not have arisen in their cases.


      >The books will survive, and
      >thrive, long after the films, good as they are, have slipped into the kind
      >of old-timey movie nostalgia.

      The better the films are, and by general consensus they are very good
      films, the less likely this will happen. Look at "Frankenstein" and "The
      Wizard of Oz" - both very old films, both very nostalgic and old-timey
      (especially the former, intended as horror but now incapable of scaring
      anyone) - but both have utterly buried the books they're based on.


      >I have a hard time convincing my co-workers that people exist who like
      >Tolkien but don't like the Peter Jackson movies; they're generally
      >incredulous at the idea.

      That shows how much their anecdotal evidence is worth, since as you know
      well the general reaction among the Tolkien scholarly community, with only
      a few exceptions, has been on a scale between resigned acceptance and fear
      & loathing.


      >The point is pretty moot, though; the real proof will come in twenty years'
      >time, when folks who have grown up first seeing the movies and then reading
      >the book become the next generation of Tolkien scholars.

      I would say that makes the point the opposite of moot.


      ><David Bratman said>
      >Saying "Whatever the faults & virtues of the [Peter Jackson] films ... they
      >have brought
      >many new readers to Tolkien" is equivalent to saying "Whatever the faults &
      >virtues of Gollum, he did get the Ring into the fire."
      >
      >Um, isn't that's pretty much explicitly Tolkien's point? Cf. the final
      >paragraph of "Mount Doom" (LotR Bk VI Ch III): "But for him . . . [t]he
      >Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end." Guess I don't follow
      >you here.

      My point is that this is no excuse for Gollum's behavior, and Tolkien never
      says it is. Good fortune cannot arise from evil intent without an evil
      intent. And since Jackson's intent wasn't evil (he's merely a fool, like
      Boromir), he can't even do that much.


      ><Ted Sherman wrote>
      >did not enjoy the books. Too much description, too little
      >action, too slow, not interesting, boring, etc..--
      >
      >I heard comments like those from my fellow students on just about every work
      >of literature I was assigned at a college level. Enthusiasm for mandatory
      >reading can be pretty thin on the ground; I wouldn't take it too seriously.

      Did Ted get those reactions in such quantity BEFORE the Age of Jackson?

      - David Bratman
    • Walkermonk@aol.com
      In a message dated 2/21/2005 5:06:38 PM Central Standard Time, john.rateliff@wizards.com writes: A very few like the book but not the film. -- I ve always
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 21, 2005
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        In a message dated 2/21/2005 5:06:38 PM Central Standard Time,
        john.rateliff@... writes:
        A very few like the book but not the film.
        --

        I've always wanted to be a part of a "very few" but up 'til now, I've never
        been unique. How fun to think that finally at age 40, I am one of the very few.
        Yippee!

        Grace Monk


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mike Foster
        Regarding Ted says otherwise, and since he s teaching a general fantasy course and not selecting for Tolkien readers, I don t think his evidence can be
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 21, 2005
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          Regarding

          Ted says otherwise, and since he's teaching a general fantasy course and
          not selecting for Tolkien readers, I don't think his evidence can be ignored.

          I first taught Tolkien as part of a Fantasy Literature class beginning
          in 1974--he was one writer on the syllabus--students who wanted a class
          on just Tolkien & petitioned the English department were the reason my
          college began offering one in 1978, or 23 B.J.

          Currently, I have one student taking both classes concurrently and
          several more in each who took the other one before.

          MAF

          David Bratman wrote:

          >At 03:05 PM 2/21/2005 -0800, John Rateliff wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          >>I agree completely. Tolkien himself came down firmly on the side of 'better
          >>a glimpse of Noakes' cake than no faerie at all' (e.g., better read a
          >>'horrid old grandmother' like MacDonald than never discover the wonders of
          >>fantasy).
          >>
          >>
          >
          >And what if you hate the horrid old grandmother and thereby think you would
          >hate all fantasy? First impressions can be hard to eradicate, and I've had
          >some sad cases where my cultural life was impoverished for years because of
          >bad experiences I didn't realize were unrepresentative.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>For what it's worth, my anecdotal evidence is all on Mike's side. By an
          >>overwhelming majority, most people like both the book and the films. A very
          >>few like the book but not the film. A similarly small percentage like the
          >>films and not the book.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >Ted says otherwise, and since he's teaching a general fantasy course and
          >not selecting for Tolkien readers, I don't think his evidence can be ignored.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>The appearance of a few snipes on one side or the
          >>other is pretty irrelevant; we've always had folks taking pot-shots at
          >>Tolkien and those who liked his works and we always will. We've always had
          >>ill-informed books and articles coming out on Tolkien: don't blame Jackson
          >>for other people's carelessness and stupidity.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >What I am blaming Jackson for is being the -occasion- for their
          >carelessness and stupidity. Were there no Jackson, the opportunity would
          >not have arisen in their cases.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>The books will survive, and
          >>thrive, long after the films, good as they are, have slipped into the kind
          >>of old-timey movie nostalgia.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >The better the films are, and by general consensus they are very good
          >films, the less likely this will happen. Look at "Frankenstein" and "The
          >Wizard of Oz" - both very old films, both very nostalgic and old-timey
          >(especially the former, intended as horror but now incapable of scaring
          >anyone) - but both have utterly buried the books they're based on.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>I have a hard time convincing my co-workers that people exist who like
          >>Tolkien but don't like the Peter Jackson movies; they're generally
          >>incredulous at the idea.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >That shows how much their anecdotal evidence is worth, since as you know
          >well the general reaction among the Tolkien scholarly community, with only
          >a few exceptions, has been on a scale between resigned acceptance and fear
          >& loathing.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>The point is pretty moot, though; the real proof will come in twenty years'
          >>time, when folks who have grown up first seeing the movies and then reading
          >>the book become the next generation of Tolkien scholars.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >I would say that makes the point the opposite of moot.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >><David Bratman said>
          >>Saying "Whatever the faults & virtues of the [Peter Jackson] films ... they
          >>have brought
          >>many new readers to Tolkien" is equivalent to saying "Whatever the faults &
          >>virtues of Gollum, he did get the Ring into the fire."
          >>
          >>Um, isn't that's pretty much explicitly Tolkien's point? Cf. the final
          >>paragraph of "Mount Doom" (LotR Bk VI Ch III): "But for him . . . [t]he
          >>Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end." Guess I don't follow
          >>you here.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >My point is that this is no excuse for Gollum's behavior, and Tolkien never
          >says it is. Good fortune cannot arise from evil intent without an evil
          >intent. And since Jackson's intent wasn't evil (he's merely a fool, like
          >Boromir), he can't even do that much.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >><Ted Sherman wrote>
          >>did not enjoy the books. Too much description, too little
          >>action, too slow, not interesting, boring, etc..--
          >>
          >>I heard comments like those from my fellow students on just about every work
          >>of literature I was assigned at a college level. Enthusiasm for mandatory
          >>reading can be pretty thin on the ground; I wouldn't take it too seriously.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >Did Ted get those reactions in such quantity BEFORE the Age of Jackson?
          >
          >- David Bratman
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bill West
          I will popup to once more put forth the fact that even now the sales of Tolkien s books are higher than they were before the movies. They aren t at the level
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 21, 2005
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            I will popup to once more put forth the fact that even now the
            sales of Tolkien's books are higher than they were before the movies. They
            aren't
            at the level they reached during the heights of the films' publicity, but
            they are
            higher than they were beforehand as for example some kids who saw the movies
            are
            growing older and seeking out the books.
            I am of course speaking from my experience of sixteen years as a bookseller
            for two different
            bookchains and at four different stores.
            The Jackson films definitely have had an effect on sales. I cannot speak
            for
            what reaction the new readers have after they've read the books.

            Bill West
          • Mike Foster
            Thanks, Bill. We can only hope and trust those new readers are discovering the one point I think we agree on: the books are better than the movies. Cheers,
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 21, 2005
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              Thanks, Bill. We can only hope and trust those new readers are
              discovering the one point I think we agree on: the books are better than
              the movies.

              Cheers,
              Mike

              Bill West wrote:

              >I will popup to once more put forth the fact that even now the
              >sales of Tolkien's books are higher than they were before the movies. They
              >aren't
              >at the level they reached during the heights of the films' publicity, but
              >they are
              >higher than they were beforehand as for example some kids who saw the movies
              >are
              >growing older and seeking out the books.
              > I am of course speaking from my experience of sixteen years as a bookseller
              >for two different
              >bookchains and at four different stores.
              > The Jackson films definitely have had an effect on sales. I cannot speak
              >for
              >what reaction the new readers have after they've read the books.
              >
              >Bill West
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              >Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • WendellWag@aol.com
              In a message dated 2/22/2005 12:05:57 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, lunacy2@mindspring.com writes: I will popup to once more put forth the fact that even now
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 22, 2005
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                In a message dated 2/22/2005 12:05:57 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                lunacy2@... writes:

                I will popup to once more put forth the fact that even now the
                sales of Tolkien's books are higher than they were before the movies. They
                aren't
                at the level they reached during the heights of the films' publicity, but
                they are
                higher than they were beforehand as for example some kids who saw the movies
                are
                growing older and seeking out the books.
                I am of course speaking from my experience of sixteen years as a bookseller
                for two different
                bookchains and at four different stores.
                The Jackson films definitely have had an effect on sales. I cannot speak
                for
                what reaction the new readers have after they've read the books.



                Does anybody have the sales figures of Tolkien's books? This list should go
                back far enough to be well before the Jackson films. I'd prefer world
                sales, but I'll accept American sales.

                Wendell Wagner


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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