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Re: [mythsoc] Re: mythology for England

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  • Walter Padgett
    Hello: ... Yes. I agree, Mr. Hammond, But it is the context which is so complex. For anyone to use the term myth or any of it s related terms, ie. mythic,
    Message 1 of 28 , Dec 2, 2006
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      Hello:

      On 12/1/06, Wayne G. Hammond <Wayne.G.Hammond@...> wrote:
      >
      > ...


      ... He may, then, have thought about creating
      > a 'mythology for England' in 1914, but he did not write 'I would that we
      > had more of it left -- something of the same sort that belonged to the
      > English' until nearly a decade later" (The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and
      > Guide, vol. 2, p. 441, based on study of Tolkien's Kalevala papers at the
      > Bodleian).
      >
      >Beregond (Stenstrom [sic]) wrote:
      >
      > >But _mythology_ in a central sense refers to what Tolkien here
      > >calls "the large and cosmogonic" (and in 27 of the 54 instances in
      > >_Letters_ he seems to be using the term with that reference).
      > >Tolkien's mythology, in this sense, is an essential and highly
      > >interesting element of his legendarium. If we use _mythology_ about
      > >the legendarium, what word do we use about the mythology?
      >
      > "Mythology" will do for both, if understood in context.
      >
      > Wayne Hammond
      >


      Yes. I agree, Mr. Hammond,

      But it is the context which is so complex.

      For anyone to use the term "myth" or any of it's related terms, ie.
      mythic, mythological, mythopoeic, etc., in relation to Tolkien's
      Silmarillion has become problematic.

      It's like the tower of Babel story.

      We all use the same words but mean different things, because of
      contextual, or metacontextual (better), disjunctions.

      There is no common ground for an understanding of this ancient term.

      It should be relegated to the archaic.

      Thanks, Walter.
    • Wayne G. Hammond
      ... Three brief responses to this come to mind. 1) A good writer will be able to convey clearly the meaning of myth, mythology etc. -- or of any other term --
      Message 2 of 28 , Dec 2, 2006
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        Walter wrote, in regard to mythology:

        >There is no common ground for an understanding of this ancient term.
        >
        >It should be relegated to the archaic.

        Three brief responses to this come to mind.

        1) A good writer will be able to convey clearly the meaning of myth,
        mythology etc. -- or of any other term -- as he or she wishes it to be
        understood in a particular context.

        2) If what you suggest for mythology were applied to all such "ancient
        terms", our vocabulary would be much reduced.

        3) If the word was good enough for Tolkien, it's good enough for me.

        Wayne


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Larry Swain
        ... Well, not exotic for some of us..... It works better than _mythology_ by being unfamiliar: it ... I m not convinced this is true though. If it
        Message 3 of 28 , Dec 4, 2006
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          Beregond wrote:

          > That is a point. The historical meaning of _legendarium_ is,
          > I think, 'a collection of saints' lives'. But I suppose the word
          > is now so exotic that that sense does not interfere much, while
          > it sounds fitting as a label for the kind of thing Tolkien
          > produced.

          Well, not exotic for some of us.....


          It works better than _mythology_ by being unfamiliar: it
          > makes fewer false suggestions.

          I'm not convinced this is true though.

          If it overemphasizes the legendary
          > element, well, that is a point against _legendarium_, but not a
          > point in favour of _mythology_.


          Agreed, my point being that replacing one unsatisfactory and misleading term with another unsatisfactory and misleading one (even if misleading by some degrees less than the former) isn't really all that satisfactory.

          > Another of Tolkien's terms for what he did, that I also like
          > to use, is _feigned history_; it is in fact on the whole more
          > historical than legendary in kind.
          > (There is also the word _matter_, as in the "Matters" of Rome,
          > Britain, and Charlemagne; but it is perhaps a bit awkward.)

          I like "Matter" in fact, the Matter of Middle Earth has a nice alliterative quality, is descriptive, and I think gets at the various genres and kinds of things that are in Tolkien's writings than anything else--and can be stretched a little to include the modern elements as it has in the Matter of Britain too.

          >
          > I also repeat my question: if we use _mythology_ about the
          > legendarium, what word do we use about the mythology? Tolkien's
          > whatchamacallit contains a lot of mythology (both in chunks and
          > blended into the rest), and I think we will want to talk about
          > that and will need the word for that purpose.

          Sure, but the same problem pertains to _legendarium_, Tolkien's whatchamacallit contains a lot of legendary material both in chunks and blended into the rest, and when we want to talk about that we need a word for that: does "legend" really have enough difference from "legendarium" to adequately do this and is legendarium sufficiently large to include all the various types of literature that need to come under that umbrella? I'm not necessarily arguing for a term I use, just pointing out the inadequacies we face regardless of what we end up calling it.

          Perhaps Mytho-Legedendariumlike Matter of Middle Earth's Feigned History: Molmefh.

          --
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