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"Times" reviewer channels Edmund Wilson, is roundly put down...

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  • Croft, Janet B.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-2100395,00.html I always wonder when I read this sort of review -- are Éowyn and Galadriel invisible? When they
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 27, 2006
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      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-2100395,00.html

      I always wonder when I read this sort of review -- are Éowyn and Galadriel invisible? When they ask "where are the women," are they, as this reviewer seems to be, only looking for the Gueneveres and Iseults? There are more roles available to women than these...more to being a woman than being defined by your relationship (however illicit, exciting, and poetically inspiring) with a man, as both Éowyn and Galadriel prove.

      Janet Brennan Croft
    • David Bratman
      In a word, yes: he only thinks that Gueneveres and Iseults count. Anyone who could lay out as his ideal women in medieval romance two cases of tragic
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 27, 2006
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        In a word, yes: he only thinks that Gueneveres and Iseults count. Anyone
        who could lay out as his ideal women in medieval romance two cases of
        tragic forbidden love is clearly not looking for women who do anything
        else. Although that's not as spectacular a case of blindness as those who
        demand Warrior Princesses and then ignore Eowyn. From the other
        spectacularly daff opinions this fellow shows, I suspect he found Galadriel
        - emotionally cool, placidly married - to be nugatory, and I rather guess
        that he ignores Eowyn's heroism because he never got as far as volume 3 at all.

        It can get worse than that, though. I regret I didn't save the article by
        a determined feminist who, after declaring that Harry Potter was merely a
        boys' story with no girls in it, actually went on to explain why Hermione
        didn't count.

        The present writer is one of those tiresome critics (Edmund Wilson did not
        have this particular bug) who insists that anything relating to sex is
        mature and anything relating to food is immature. Notice his obsessive
        disgust at anything relating to eating. Possibly he was frightened by a
        Freudian while in the womb. His insistence that LOTR is alien from
        medieval romances but is indistinguishable from Star Wars and Enid Blyton
        strongly suggests his lack of familiarity with any of the above. This is
        not the first time Blyton has been brought up as a comparison with Tolkien,
        but the earlier instance is instructive: Colin Wilson (not to be confused
        with Edmund) confessed being originally put off the opening chapters of
        LOTR by what he saw as a Blytonish air, but quickly realized as he went
        further that this was quite wrong.

        Possibly the present writer not only didn't get as far as volume 3, he
        didn't even get as far as chapter 3, and the rest of his complaints come
        from things he was told about. To single out Merry & Pippin eating lembas
        after escaping from the orcs as the ultimate instance of twee - and not
        even mentioning their feast on the ruins of Isengard, which by his
        standards is surely much worse - just exposes ignorance.

        Unfortunately Jeremy Marshall's following piece, while good enough in
        itself, is not a reply at all, and I can only hope it was not written as one.

        Notice, by the way, that the newspaper misspells Tolkien's name in the
        headline.

        - David Bratman


        At 08:28 AM 3/27/2006 -0600, Croft, Janet B. wrote:
        >http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-2100395,00.html
        >
        >I always wonder when I read this sort of review -- are Éowyn and Galadriel
        >invisible? When they ask "where are the women," are they, as this reviewer
        >seems to be, only looking for the Gueneveres and Iseults? There are more
        >roles available to women than these...more to being a woman than being
        >defined by your relationship (however illicit, exciting, and poetically
        >inspiring) with a man, as both Éowyn and Galadriel prove.
      • Mike Foster
        It s, yawn, the same old Opposing Viewpoints doo-dah that, as a recovering newspaper reporter, I am accustomed to. One can always find a Nay-sayer whether the
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 27, 2006
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          It's, yawn, the same old Opposing Viewpoints doo-dah that, as a
          recovering newspaper reporter, I am accustomed to. One can always find
          a Nay-sayer whether the topic be the Beatles or Shakespeare. Say, maybe
          we can find an Oxford don to beat up on Will if we look hard enough.

          David Bratman wrote:

          >In a word, yes: he only thinks that Gueneveres and Iseults count. Anyone
          >who could lay out as his ideal women in medieval romance two cases of
          >tragic forbidden love is clearly not looking for women who do anything
          >else. Although that's not as spectacular a case of blindness as those who
          >demand Warrior Princesses and then ignore Eowyn. From the other
          >spectacularly daff opinions this fellow shows, I suspect he found Galadriel
          >- emotionally cool, placidly married - to be nugatory, and I rather guess
          >that he ignores Eowyn's heroism because he never got as far as volume 3 at all.
          >
          >It can get worse than that, though. I regret I didn't save the article by
          >a determined feminist who, after declaring that Harry Potter was merely a
          >boys' story with no girls in it, actually went on to explain why Hermione
          >didn't count.
          >
          >The present writer is one of those tiresome critics (Edmund Wilson did not
          >have this particular bug) who insists that anything relating to sex is
          >mature and anything relating to food is immature. Notice his obsessive
          >disgust at anything relating to eating. Possibly he was frightened by a
          >Freudian while in the womb. His insistence that LOTR is alien from
          >medieval romances but is indistinguishable from Star Wars and Enid Blyton
          >strongly suggests his lack of familiarity with any of the above. This is
          >not the first time Blyton has been brought up as a comparison with Tolkien,
          >but the earlier instance is instructive: Colin Wilson (not to be confused
          >with Edmund) confessed being originally put off the opening chapters of
          >LOTR by what he saw as a Blytonish air, but quickly realized as he went
          >further that this was quite wrong.
          >
          >Possibly the present writer not only didn't get as far as volume 3, he
          >didn't even get as far as chapter 3, and the rest of his complaints come
          >from things he was told about. To single out Merry & Pippin eating lembas
          >after escaping from the orcs as the ultimate instance of twee - and not
          >even mentioning their feast on the ruins of Isengard, which by his
          >standards is surely much worse - just exposes ignorance.
          >
          >Unfortunately Jeremy Marshall's following piece, while good enough in
          >itself, is not a reply at all, and I can only hope it was not written as one.
          >
          >Notice, by the way, that the newspaper misspells Tolkien's name in the
          >headline.
          >
          >- David Bratman
          >
          >
          >At 08:28 AM 3/27/2006 -0600, Croft, Janet B. wrote:
          >
          >
          >>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-2100395,00.html
          >>
          >>I always wonder when I read this sort of review -- are Éowyn and Galadriel
          >>invisible? When they ask "where are the women," are they, as this reviewer
          >>seems to be, only looking for the Gueneveres and Iseults? There are more
          >>roles available to women than these...more to being a woman than being
          >>defined by your relationship (however illicit, exciting, and poetically
          >>inspiring) with a man, as both Éowyn and Galadriel prove.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Lezlie
          Nay-saying the Beatles??? Now, *that is* blasphemy. I ll take Galadriel over those wasting-away love sick heroines who die tragically -- if
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 31, 2006
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            Nay-saying the Beatles??? Now, *that is* blasphemy. <smile>

            I'll take Galadriel over those "wasting-away" love sick heroines who
            die tragically -- if operatically -- any old day.

            Of course, as warrior-pricess *fans* go, it may be the facat that
            Eowyn's creater wasn't obsessed by her tits but by her character that
            makes her less appealing to them. <she says sarcastically>. Lezlie

            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote:
            >
            > It's, yawn, the same old Opposing Viewpoints doo-dah that, as a
            > recovering newspaper reporter, I am accustomed to. One can always find
            > a Nay-sayer whether the topic be the Beatles or Shakespeare. Say,
            maybe
            > we can find an Oxford don to beat up on Will if we look hard enough.
            >
            > David Bratman wrote:
            >
            > >In a word, yes: he only thinks that Gueneveres and Iseults count.
            Anyone
            > >who could lay out as his ideal women in medieval romance two cases of
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