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Re: Smith of Wootton Major as beloved book of childhood

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  • Jason Fisher
    ... Anthony, I couldn t agree more on the new edition. I m not sure exactly what sort of study you might be looking for, but I published a piece you might be
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 22, 2007
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      > Thank you David et al for this thread, I modified the subject
      > of this post to Smith [...] had been, call me a lil behind but
      > I am now just getting to Flieger's Smith and the incredible
      > essay that Tolkien wrote in regards to Smith. Some fleeting
      > thoughts regarding it, has there ever been a study done
      > since its release or reviews of this piece?

      Anthony,

      I couldn't agree more on the new edition. I'm not sure exactly what sort of study you might be looking for, but I published a piece you might be interested in tracking down. You'll already know some of what I discuss, having now read Flieger's edition; but I also undertake some (perfunctory) comparison of Tolkien's fiction for children with MacDonald's, and I even dare to venture some character analysis of Tolkien, vis-�-vis the souring of his attitude toward MacDonald. I'd be curious for any feedback if you end up reading it. It appears very few people subscribe to the journal of the George MacDonald Society � forgive me stifling a snicker at that. ;)

      The piece is:
      Fisher, Jason. �Reluctantly Inspired: George MacDonald and the Genesis of J.R.R. Tolkien�s Smith of Wootton Major.� North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies 25 (2006): 113-20.

      Best,
      Jason

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Bratman
      ... I ll just bet you do. I m looking forward to seeing the article. Do you venture ideas of exactly what it is in MacDonald that earned Tolkien s distaste?
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 22, 2007
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        Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:

        >I also undertake some (perfunctory) comparison of
        >Tolkien's fiction for children with MacDonald's, and
        >I even dare to venture some character analysis of
        >Tolkien, vis-à-vis the souring of his attitude toward MacDonald.

        I'll just bet you do. I'm looking forward to seeing the article. Do you venture ideas of exactly what it is in MacDonald that earned Tolkien's distaste?
      • Jason Fisher
        ... I suppose it depends on just what you mean by exactly , hahae. But yes, I take a stab at it. As much as an eight-page comparison permitted — and as much
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 22, 2007
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          > --- David Bratman wrote ---
          > I'm looking forward to seeing the article. Do you venture
          > ideas of exactly what it is in MacDonald that earned
          > Tolkien's distaste?

          I suppose it depends on just what you mean by "exactly", hahae. But yes, I take a stab at it. As much as an eight-page comparison permitted — and as much as the evidence available to me supported. It's a jumping-off point for further, more involved research I would like to complete on the subject. Maybe it will spark some wider interest in comparative studies of the two as well. I hope so.

          And I will certainly welcome any thoughts — complimentary or critical — when you get a chance to read it, David.

          Jason
        • William Cloud Hicklin
          Although my teeneaged self pre-ordered the Silmarillion and even marked on the calendar the day I could triumphantly collect it at Waldenbooks, and I loved it
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 23, 2007
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            Although my teeneaged self pre-ordered the Silmarillion
            and even marked on the calendar the day I could
            triumphantly collect it at Waldenbooks, and I loved it
            from the start (unlike, I expect, many< I didn't then
            fully apprecioate it. It took perhaps collegiate study
            in both philosophy and Old English to enable deeper
            levels of understanding.

            I think for a considerable time I valued the Sil as too
            many still do: as mere backstory to The LR, the
            Appendices extended, an infodump, a mine of trivia.
            Substantial appreciation of its grandeur as a whole, of
            the elegance of its convoluted web of cause and long-
            delayed effect, of its powerful meditations on the nature
            of Evil, really began to dawn when I read it on a long,
            long deployment at sea in the Navy.

            Nowadays I don't believe the two can be ranked relative
            to one another: they are simply too different. I suppose
            that if one views The Lord of the Rings as Tolkien's 9th
            Symphony, glorious, uplifting, at times ferocious,
            inspiring, spiritual, but nonetheless 'popular'; then the
            Sil is his Late Quartets: spare, un-'popular',
            discursive, numinous in a manner harder to pin down,
            uncompromisingly driven by its own unique internal
            logic...and unfinished.
          • Walter Padgett
            Wow. That s really heavy. That s the best thing I ve read all day. Thanks for rendering so eloquently your profound appreciation. I especially like your
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 23, 2007
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              Wow. That's really heavy. That's the best thing I've read all day.

              Thanks for rendering so eloquently your profound appreciation.

              I especially like your observation of "the elegance of its convoluted
              web of cause and long-delayed effect."

              I feel that _The Silmarillion_ is like a fine wine, or maybe a fine
              esoteric blend of tobacco, or chese or something like that. First
              you've got to develop a taste for that, and then as your sensibilities
              become more refined your appreciation of it becomes more substantial.

              There seems something quite romantic about your experience with _The
              Silmarillion_ on that long deployment at sea.

              Wonderful.

              On 10/23/07, William Cloud Hicklin <solicitr@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Although my teeneaged self pre-ordered the Silmarillion
              > and even marked on the calendar the day I could
              > triumphantly collect it at Waldenbooks, and I loved it
              > from the start (unlike, I expect, many< I didn't then
              > fully apprecioate it. It took perhaps collegiate study
              > in both philosophy and Old English to enable deeper
              > levels of understanding.
              >
              > I think for a considerable time I valued the Sil as too
              > many still do: as mere backstory to The LR, the
              > Appendices extended, an infodump, a mine of trivia.
              > Substantial appreciation of its grandeur as a whole, of
              > the elegance of its convoluted web of cause and long-
              > delayed effect, of its powerful meditations on the nature
              > of Evil, really began to dawn when I read it on a long,
              > long deployment at sea in the Navy.
              >
              > Nowadays I don't believe the two can be ranked relative
              > to one another: they are simply too different. I suppose
              > that if one views The Lord of the Rings as Tolkien's 9th
              > Symphony, glorious, uplifting, at times ferocious,
              > inspiring, spiritual, but nonetheless 'popular'; then the
              > Sil is his Late Quartets: spare, un-'popular',
              > discursive, numinous in a manner harder to pin down,
              > uncompromisingly driven by its own unique internal
              > logic...and unfinished.
              >
              >
            • William Cloud Hicklin
              ... your experience with _The ... Well, there s an added resonance to all the stuff about Ulmo and water when there s nothing to look at but ocean, day after
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 24, 2007
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                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Walter
                Padgett" <wpadgett@...> wrote:

                > There seems something quite romantic about
                your experience with _The
                > Silmarillion_ on that long deployment at sea.
                >


                Well, there's an added resonance to all the stuff about
                Ulmo and water when there's nothing to look at but ocean,
                day after day after day....... :)
              • Walter Padgett
                I thought it was MacDonald s grand-fatherly uncular stance that earned Tolkien s distaste, and that Tolkien saw some of this in his own writing in _The
                Message 7 of 18 , Oct 25, 2007
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                  I thought it was MacDonald's grand-fatherly "uncular" stance that earned
                  Tolkien's distaste, and that Tolkien saw some of this in his own writing in
                  _The Hobbit_, detesting it all the more. But where I read that, I can't
                  remember.

                  On 10/22/07, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > --- David Bratman wrote ---
                  > > I'm looking forward to seeing the article. Do you venture
                  > > ideas of exactly what it is in MacDonald that earned
                  > > Tolkien's distaste?
                  >
                  > I suppose it depends on just what you mean by "exactly", hahae. But yes, I
                  > take a stab at it. As much as an eight-page comparison permitted � and as
                  > much as the evidence available to me supported. It's a jumping-off point for
                  > further, more involved research I would like to complete on the subject.
                  > Maybe it will spark some wider interest in comparative studies of the two as
                  > well. I hope so.
                  >
                  > And I will certainly welcome any thoughts � complimentary or critical �
                  > when you get a chance to read it, David.
                  >
                  > Jason
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Walter Padgett
                  Oops! the word is avuncular (`_ ;) ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 25, 2007
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                    Oops! the word is "avuncular" (`_';)






                    On 10/25/07, Walter Padgett <wpadgett@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I thought it was MacDonald's grand-fatherly "uncular" stance that earned
                    > Tolkien's distaste, and that Tolkien saw some of this in his own writing in
                    > _The Hobbit_, detesting it all the more. But where I read that, I can't
                    > remember.
                    >
                    > On 10/22/07, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > > --- David Bratman wrote ---
                    > > > I'm looking forward to seeing the article. Do you venture
                    > > > ideas of exactly what it is in MacDonald that earned
                    > > > Tolkien's distaste?
                    > >
                    > > I suppose it depends on just what you mean by "exactly", hahae. But yes,
                    > > I take a stab at it. As much as an eight-page comparison permitted � and as
                    > > much as the evidence available to me supported. It's a jumping-off point for
                    > > further, more involved research I would like to complete on the subject.
                    > > Maybe it will spark some wider interest in comparative studies of the two as
                    > > well. I hope so.
                    > >
                    > > And I will certainly welcome any thoughts � complimentary or critical �
                    > > when you get a chance to read it, David.
                    > >
                    > > Jason
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Vincent Ferré
                    and do not forget Gandalf, in The Lord..., according to his depiction by Tolkien : Though he may seem testy at times, has a sense of humour, and adopts a
                    Message 9 of 18 , Oct 25, 2007
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                      and do not forget Gandalf, in The Lord..., according to his depiction by
                      Tolkien :

                      "Though he may seem testy at times, has a sense of humour, and adopts a
                      somewhat avuncular attitude to hobbits, he is a person of high and noble
                      authority, and great dignity. The description on I p. 239 should never be
                      forgotten"
                      (Letters #210)

                      Vincent

                      >
                      I thought it was MacDonald's grand-fatherly "uncular" stance that earned
                      Tolkien's distaste, and that Tolkien saw some of this in his own writing in
                      _The Hobbit_, detesting it all the more. But where I read that, I can't
                      remember.
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