Re: [mythsoc] Re: Alexander and Garner
- On May 30, 2007, at 8:54 AM, Jason Fisher wrote:
>> It's interesting to think, though, that both Garner andGarner claimed not to have read Tolkien when he wrote his books, but
>> Alexander did not read Tolkien until after they'd written
>> their Tolkienesque books.
> How do you know Garner hadn't, if you don't mind my asking? "The
> Weirdstone of Brisingamen" (another favorite of mine growing up)
> was published in 1960, I believe, so it seems plausible Garner had
> just finished reading Tolkien when he decided to plumb the Norse
> and Celtic myths for "Brisingamen". If you have a source for the
> claim that he hadn't read Tolkien, I'd be curious to learn more.
> Perhaps something Garner himself said in an interview, I'm
> guessing? I know he's disavowed any conscious borrowing, but I
> hadn't heard any claim that he hadn't even *read* him before he
> wrote the Alderley Edge books.
I can't cite you a primary source on that. Interestingly enough, the
authors of THE RING OF WORDS say they've disproved his claim:
"Within fantasy literature, Tolkien's coinages and distinctive
uses can be found everywhere . . . one of the earliest [examples] was
Alan Garner, whose successful children's fantasy novel The Weirdstone
of Brisingamen (1960) contains a number of thematic echoes of Tolkien
(as discussed by Shippey*). Curiously, Garner claims never to have
read The Lord of the Rings, as part of a policy of not reading
fiction for fear of being subconsciously influenced by other writers'
ideas; and yet, unless Garner has also read [the 15th-century poem]
Cursor Mundi, there is no other obvious source for his description of
the evil wizard Grimnir as 'a great lore-master'. The word now occurs
frequently in fatnasy writing . . ." (Gilliver, Marshall, & Weiner,
THE RING OF WORDS: TOLKIEN AND THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, page 227).
*[Shippey's discussion comes in the last chapter of AUTHOR OF THE
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- In response to:
> > Personally, I think that Alexander's finest work was theI recently came across an interview in which Alexander said the
> > _Westmark_ trilogy, especially the middle volume, _The Kestrel_.
descriptions of the horrors of war in The Kestrel came from his
personal experience in WWII. He'd been an eager recruit, hoping to be a
hero, till those visions collided hard with bloody reality. That, like
Tolkien's war experience, explained a whole lot in his books. It also
fits right into T. Shippey's ideas (in Tolkien, Author of the 20th
Century) that a significant number of 20th-century fantasists were
writing out of an experience of war and the horrors of war.