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Re: [mythsoc] Farewell, Lloyd Alexander

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  • John D Rateliff
    ... Good point, David. Yes, I was blurring the early/mid 70s with the writers from the 60s you had listed. Interesting that poor old Lin Carter devoted the
    Message 1 of 17 , May 30, 2007
      On May 30, 2007, at 7:55 AM, David Bratman wrote:
      > Yes, those are good authors too, but in naming Kendall, Garner, and
      > Alexander I was limiting myself to authors whose books PREDATE all
      > three of
      > _Watership Down_, _The Last Unicorn_, and _A Wizard of Earthsea_,
      > and none
      > of those three do (except Bellairs's _St. Fidgeta_, which isn't
      > Tolkien-evoking). Before 1968, if you wanted post-Tolkien
      > literature that
      > evoked his work in the way I described, you had Kendall, Garner, and
      > Alexander, and that was about it.

      Good point, David. Yes, I was blurring the early/mid 70s with the
      writers from the 60s you had listed. Interesting that poor old Lin
      Carter devoted the Postscript of his A LOOK BEHIND 'THE LORD OF THE
      RINGS' (1969) to those same three, in that same sequence, as the
      first to show influence from JRRT, so I guess it's a judgment that's
      stood the test of time.

      > So before 1968, it was pretty quiet out there, and Alexander was
      > one of the
      > pioneer explorers. The approximate decade 1968-1976 was something
      > of the
      > golden age for post-Tolkien fantasy, with Adams, Beagle, Le Guin,
      > Bellairs,
      > Nichols, and Chant - to which one should certainly add Patricia
      > McKillip,
      > who appeared then (I first heard of her when _The Forgotten Beasts
      > of Eld_
      > was an MFA nominee in 1975), and maybe Sanders Ann Laubenthal's
      > _Excalibur_, a 1973 book that wasn't really very good but which
      > managed to
      > evoke all three major Inklings at once, then a unique achievement.

      I rather like the idea of that having been a golden age of post-
      Tolkienian fantasy, before the Tolk-clones hit big in the mid-70s
      (early Donaldson, Brooks, and, rather later but worst of all,
      Keirnan). Most of what I've re-read of this material in recent years
      holds up extremely well; I'll have to make a point of working my way
      back round to some of the others.

      --JDR
    • David Bratman
      ... It has indeed. Carter s flaws were many, but in those days he really knew the fantasy field. Ironically, even as he was writing _Look Behind_, three new
      Message 2 of 17 , May 30, 2007
        At 05:18 PM 5/30/2007 -0700, John D Rateliff wrote:

        >Good point, David. Yes, I was blurring the early/mid 70s with the
        >writers from the 60s you had listed. Interesting that poor old Lin
        >Carter devoted the Postscript of his A LOOK BEHIND 'THE LORD OF THE
        >RINGS' (1969) to those same three, in that same sequence, as the
        >first to show influence from JRRT, so I guess it's a judgment that's
        >stood the test of time.

        It has indeed. Carter's flaws were many, but in those days he really knew
        the fantasy field.

        Ironically, even as he was writing _Look Behind_, three new books were
        coming out by then little-known authors (Beagle, Bellairs, and Le Guin)
        which expanded both the quantity, and what I guess you'd call the maturity
        of Tolkien-evoking fantasy, and he didn't see them in time. Never mind, he
        praised them all, along with Joy Chant and Evangeline Walton, in his next
        nonfiction book, _Imaginary Worlds_, four years later. In the interim he'd
        published Chant and Walton himself, and I think his comments on _The Face
        in the Frost_ were probably more responsible for that book's original
        reputation than anything else was.

        >I rather like the idea of that having been a golden age of post-
        >Tolkienian fantasy, before the Tolk-clones hit big in the mid-70s
        >(early Donaldson, Brooks, and, rather later but worst of all,
        >Keirnan). Most of what I've re-read of this material in recent years
        >holds up extremely well; I'll have to make a point of working my way
        >back round to some of the others.

        This was a period during which those of us who liked fantasy read
        absolutely everything new that came out. And I remember our bewilderment
        at the sudden advent of giant trilogies and other series that really
        weren't very good. First it was Neil Hancock (remember him?), then the
        stunningly awful Terry Brooks, then Donaldson, who had his merits but was
        just ...

        It was a little bit like: you live in a small town of cranky old houses and
        an occasional newer building in the same style. Every time a new neighbor
        moves to town, you go over and greet them and they're always interested in
        learning about the town's customs and habits.

        Suddenly a developer comes and builds a vast tract of identikit box-like
        houses on the edge of town, and a lot of new people move in who not only
        aren't interested in the way things have always been done, they consider
        their area to be the real town, and the old town to be an appendical old
        slum district.
      • Elizabeth Hardy
        I m a little slow at replying myself, and I ve been numbed by Alexander s death. His books came to as I had finished my first time through the Chronicles of
        Message 3 of 17 , May 31, 2007
          I'm a little slow at replying myself, and I've been numbed by Alexander's death. His books came to as I had finished my first time through the Chronicles of Narnia, and they still resonate deeply with me. I longed to be one of his heroines, although, like you, I was always most connected to Fflewdur (my maiden name, Baird, is a variation of bard). In high school, I did a report on Westmark, complete with a 3-D map made from modeling clay! I wonder if poor Mrs. Thomas still had it when she retired! To me, his great gift was creating haunting scenes that still come to mind: not just the war horrors of Kestrel. The scene in The High King, with the company gathered around the dying fire made from Fflewdur's harp, is one I don't think I can ever escape, and Alexander's emotional resonance firmly places him, in my mind, among the constellations of Lewis and Tolkien. I look forward to introducing Taran and his friends to my son (we're just starting Robin Hood), and to my daughter,
          in hopes she will admire Eilonwy and Mickle as much as I did.
          Elizabeth

          "Pauline J. Alama" <PJAlama@...> wrote:
          Sorry to be replying to old messages...I've been awfully out of touch,
          and just found out about the death Lloyd Alexander, who was my absolute
          favorite author for a few formative years of childhood. Like Jason, I
          too found that he answered every letter I ever sent him, charmingly and
          personally. No wonder I feel like I knew him. Well, that and having
          spent two or three years of childhood reading and re-reading the
          Prydain chronicles and generally trying my best to find the door into
          Prydain. I'd still go there in a minute, if I could find it. Before I'd
          every heard of Tolkien, he got me hooked on fantasy. I sent him a copy
          of THE EYE OF NIGHT when it came out with a note of thanks for opening
          the doors of imagination. He sent back a gracious letter with some kind
          words about it that I suspect of "coloring the facts," as Fflewdur
          Fflamm (my favorite of his characters) might say. He seemed to be as
          lovely a person as he was an author, and his gentle world view is much
          needed in the times we're living through. I hope his books will
          continue to reach young readers for many years to come.
          Pauline J. Alama

          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:
          >
          > > While working on the Mythlore index project, I ran across a
          > > letter from Alexander in one of the earliest issues, so we go
          > > way back with him.
          >
          > I wrote to him twice back the early 1980s – even venturing to send
          him copies of some poems I had written. He replied to both letters
          (typed and signed by hand), offering comments on my poems, and telling
          me about the new book he was working on (it was probably The Beggar
          Queen or The Illyrian Adventure; I don't recall at the moment), and he
          sent me an autographed commemorative pamphlet about the Prydain Cycle.
          He was the best.
          >
          > Jason
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >






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