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Re: New Tolkien for Harper Collins

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  • Merlin DeTardo
    ...
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 8, 2009
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      ---John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
      << Let's see anyone try to maintain that "Tolkien was an escapist"
      after the back-to-back double dose of Turin + Sigurd! >>

      Wouldn't Tolkien himself agree that both _The Children of Hurin_ and
      _The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun_ are "escapist" in at least one way,
      and wouldn't he welcome that label? As in this passage from "On
      Fairy-stories":

      "And if we leave aside for a moment 'fantasy', I do not think that
      the reader or the maker of fairy-stories need even be ashamed of
      the 'escape' of archaism: of preferring not dragons but horses,
      castles, sailing-ships, bows and arrows; not only elves, but knights
      and kings and priests. For it is after all possible for a rational
      man, after reflection (quite unconnected with fairy-story or
      romance), to arrive at the condemnation, implicit at least in the
      mere silence of 'escapist' literature, of progressive things like
      factories, or the machine-guns and bombs that appear to be their most
      natural and inevitable, dare we say 'inexorable', products."

      -Merlin DeTardo
    • John Davis
      Which is to say escapism as an active form of protest? Reminds me of one of the Linklater quote: withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy . John ...
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 9, 2009
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        Which is to say escapism as an active form of protest?

        Reminds me of one of the Linklater quote: "withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy".

        John

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Merlin DeTardo
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 11:16 PM
        Subject: [mythsoc] Re: New Tolkien for Harper Collins


        ---John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
        << Let's see anyone try to maintain that "Tolkien was an escapist"
        after the back-to-back double dose of Turin + Sigurd! >>

        Wouldn't Tolkien himself agree that both _The Children of Hurin_ and
        _The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun_ are "escapist" in at least one way,
        and wouldn't he welcome that label? As in this passage from "On
        Fairy-stories":

        "And if we leave aside for a moment 'fantasy', I do not think that
        the reader or the maker of fairy-stories need even be ashamed of
        the 'escape' of archaism: of preferring not dragons but horses,
        castles, sailing-ships, bows and arrows; not only elves, but knights
        and kings and priests. For it is after all possible for a rational
        man, after reflection (quite unconnected with fairy-story or
        romance), to arrive at the condemnation, implicit at least in the
        mere silence of 'escapist' literature, of progressive things like
        factories, or the machine-guns and bombs that appear to be their most
        natural and inevitable, dare we say 'inexorable', products."

        -Merlin DeTardo





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      • Doug Kane
        ... I think that John was probably thinking of Tolkien s opinion of the critics of his work who considered them escapist in the sense of not serious.
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 9, 2009
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          Merlin DeTardo wrote:

          > Wouldn't Tolkien himself agree that both _The Children of Hurin_ and
          > _The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun_ are "escapist" in at least one way,
          > and wouldn't he welcome that label?

          I think that John was probably thinking of Tolkien's opinion of the critics of his work who considered them "escapist" in the sense of "not serious." Consider, for instance, his comments in Letter to 227 to a Mrs E. C. Ossen Drijver on 5 January 1961:

          "I am now under contract engaged (among alas! other less congenial tasks) in putting into order for publication the mythology and stories of the First and Second Ages - written long ago, but judged hardly publishable, until (so it seems) the surprising success of _The Lord of the Rings_, which comes at the end, has provided a probable demand for the beginnings. But there are, I fear, no _hobbits_ in _The Silmarillion_ (or history of the Three Jewels), little fun or earthiness but mostly grief and disaster. Those critics who scoffed at _The Lord_ because 'all the good boys came home safe and everyone was happy ever after' (quite untrue) ought to be satisfied. They will not be, of course - even if they deign to notice the book!"

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John D Rateliff
          Ah, so that s where REM got it from. I d always assumed the Richard they were attributing it to was Nixon, which didn t seem quite right. Thanks for the
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 11, 2009
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            Ah, so that's where REM got it from. I'd always assumed the "Richard"
            they were attributing it to was Nixon, which didn't seem quite
            right. Thanks for the clarification.

            On Jan 9, 2009, at 1:54 AM, John Davis wrote:
            > Which is to say escapism as an active form of protest?
            >
            > Reminds me of one of the Linklater quote: "withdrawing in disgust
            > is not the same as apathy".

            As for "escapist", I meant it in its common (mis)application, not in
            its preferred Tolkienian sense.

            --JDR

            Merlin DeTardo wrote
            > Wouldn't Tolkien himself agree that both _The Children of Hurin_
            > and _The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun_ are "escapist" in at least
            > one way, and wouldn't he welcome that label? As in this passage
            > from "On Fairy-stories":
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