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Levine on Tolkien

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  • David Bratman
    One of my duties in keeping up on the Tolkien literature is to read the multitude of children s books on Tolkien. The main entertainment value in this is
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 6, 2006
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      One of my duties in keeping up on the Tolkien literature is to read the
      multitude of children's books on Tolkien. The main entertainment value in
      this is catching them out in bloopers. The latest one to come my way, "The
      Importance of J.R.R. Tolkien" (Lucent Books, 2004) by Stuart P. Levine ("a
      conservation educator at a zoological institution in central Florida" -
      author's note), has less than some - it's basically a rehash of several
      earlier books, mostly Carpenter's biography - but it has its amusing
      moments, largely in clumsy writing.

      (p. 43) "They took a brief honeymoon in Somerset, a popular English
      vacation town." It's a county.

      (p. 43) "... the Battle of the Somme, remembered as the site of the
      bloodiest battle ever fought in history." Hmm, a battle that took place on
      the site of itself, and only bloodier than battles fought in history, not I
      guess in battles not fought in history.

      (p. 47) "He decided that Quenya must have an antecedent, upon which it was
      based. He began piecing together the roots of the Quenyan language and,
      before long, he had built an entire second language, called Sindarin." I
      can hear Carl and Pa2 moaning from here.

      (p. 57) "Tolkien's third child, Christopher Reuel, was born the same year
      he was raised to professor." Precocious infant!

      (p. 76) "... worry about his sons Michael and John, who were fighting in
      Europe." Wrong son.

      (photo caption, p. 84) "In 1959 Tolkien, shown here with wife Edith,
      retired from teaching at Oxford University." Does it matter that the photo
      was taken in 1966? Probably not.

      (p. 85) "By the early 1960s, the popularity of The Lord of the Rings
      seemed to be waning." Only if you're Philip Toynbee, who is then cited.

      (photo caption, p. 88) "Since 1965 fans like this man have gathered at the
      author's Society of America functions to discuss Tolkien's works." What is
      this Society of America? Does he mean the Tolkien Society of America?
      Didn't anyone tell him that group has been dead for over 30 years? Now,
      the sample Tolkien fan in the picture: he's not wearing a costume. He
      wears a warm sweater and leans against a tree while holding a copy of the
      Collector's Edition of LOTR, and he looks just like ... by jove, I think he
      IS ... Mike Foster. Mike! Did you know your photo was in this book?

      (p. 95) "Created by a team of Tolkien purists led by director Peter Jackson
      ..." The next time some Jackson fan disparagingly calls me a purist,
      here's my evidence that Jackson is one.

      (p. 96) "The concept of modern fantasy for adults was unexplored before
      Tolkien." Those authors like Morris and Eddison ... you were only
      imagining their books.

      - DB
    • Mike Foster
      Thanks, David, No, I didn t know my photo was in this book. After your review, don t think I ll bother to order it just to see whether or not they cropped out
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 6, 2006
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        Thanks, David,
        No, I didn't know my photo was in this book. After your review, don't
        think I'll bother to order it just to see whether or not they cropped
        out the Foster Farm privy that was in the background of the Chicago
        Tribune original. And I've never been to any Tolkien Society of America
        function b/c they seem to be non-functioning. I am gathered in the
        photo with an old maple tree which is still functioning.

        The privy, by the way, is a Roosevelt-ERA WPA stinkless. Doesn't seem
        like Levine's fact-checker was.

        MAF

        David Bratman wrote:

        >One of my duties in keeping up on the Tolkien literature is to read the
        >multitude of children's books on Tolkien. The main entertainment value in
        >this is catching them out in bloopers. The latest one to come my way, "The
        >Importance of J.R.R. Tolkien" (Lucent Books, 2004) by Stuart P. Levine ("a
        >conservation educator at a zoological institution in central Florida" -
        >author's note), has less than some - it's basically a rehash of several
        >earlier books, mostly Carpenter's biography - but it has its amusing
        >moments, largely in clumsy writing.
        >
        >(p. 43) "They took a brief honeymoon in Somerset, a popular English
        >vacation town." It's a county.
        >
        >(p. 43) "... the Battle of the Somme, remembered as the site of the
        >bloodiest battle ever fought in history." Hmm, a battle that took place on
        >the site of itself, and only bloodier than battles fought in history, not I
        >guess in battles not fought in history.
        >
        >(p. 47) "He decided that Quenya must have an antecedent, upon which it was
        >based. He began piecing together the roots of the Quenyan language and,
        >before long, he had built an entire second language, called Sindarin." I
        >can hear Carl and Pa2 moaning from here.
        >
        >(p. 57) "Tolkien's third child, Christopher Reuel, was born the same year
        >he was raised to professor." Precocious infant!
        >
        >(p. 76) "... worry about his sons Michael and John, who were fighting in
        >Europe." Wrong son.
        >
        >(photo caption, p. 84) "In 1959 Tolkien, shown here with wife Edith,
        >retired from teaching at Oxford University." Does it matter that the photo
        >was taken in 1966? Probably not.
        >
        >(p. 85) "By the early 1960s, the popularity of The Lord of the Rings
        >seemed to be waning." Only if you're Philip Toynbee, who is then cited.
        >
        >(photo caption, p. 88) "Since 1965 fans like this man have gathered at the
        >author's Society of America functions to discuss Tolkien's works." What is
        >this Society of America? Does he mean the Tolkien Society of America?
        >Didn't anyone tell him that group has been dead for over 30 years? Now,
        >the sample Tolkien fan in the picture: he's not wearing a costume. He
        >wears a warm sweater and leans against a tree while holding a copy of the
        >Collector's Edition of LOTR, and he looks just like ... by jove, I think he
        >IS ... Mike Foster. Mike! Did you know your photo was in this book?
        >
        >(p. 95) "Created by a team of Tolkien purists led by director Peter Jackson
        >..." The next time some Jackson fan disparagingly calls me a purist,
        >here's my evidence that Jackson is one.
        >
        >(p. 96) "The concept of modern fantasy for adults was unexplored before
        >Tolkien." Those authors like Morris and Eddison ... you were only
        >imagining their books.
        >
        >- DB
        >
        >
        >
        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
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