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RE: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking

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  • Doug Kane
    ... treatment of the feminine Elizabeth Whittingham has an excellent discussion of this subject, and how the depiction of the Valier and other female spirits
    Message 1 of 18 , May 11 8:12 AM
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      Joseph Furolo wrote:

      > For me, the female Valar and other immortals are the most positive
      treatment of the feminine

      Elizabeth Whittingham has an excellent discussion of this subject, and how
      the depiction of the Valier and other female spirits changed over the
      history of Tolkien's writing of his mythology in her _The Evolution of
      Tolkien's Mythology_. Sorry I don't have the book here so I can't give
      specific page citations.

      Doug
    • Croft, Janet B.
      I also just heard a paper at Pop Culture that covered the same ground as Rawls but didn t cite her. I told the presenter she needed to read both the Rawls and
      Message 2 of 18 , May 11 8:27 AM
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        I also just heard a paper at Pop Culture that covered the same ground as Rawls but didn't cite her. I told the presenter she needed to read both the Rawls and your paper (which is one of the most important ones on the topic, but I figured you knew that already...)

        Janet


        -----Original Message-----
        From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Edith Crowe
        Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2009 1:34 PM
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking

        Yeah, Janet! What a librarian--I ask for a few examples and I get a whole
        bibliography. This makes me feel better because it confirms much of what I
        already have (in many cases telling me that my vague memory of some of these
        is fairly accurate) and adds some intriguing new items. An link between two
        articles:

        Green, William H. ""Where's Mama?" the Construction of the Feminine in the
        Hobbit." Lion and the Unicorn 22.2 (1998): 188-95.
        An interesting mixed bag, making much of the lack of female characters. From
        his conclusion:
        "In *The Hobbit*, a revisionist version of the Victorian ideology, some
        feminine virtues--such as passivity and fear of adventure--are weaknesses to
        be overcome, but their masculine opposites, the restlessness and
        testosterone-driven ambition of the macho here, are vices. "

        He has a whole section with an argument similar to Melanie Rawls' below,
        although he seems unaware of it--he cites no journal articles at all, only
        13 books (including the infamous Catherine Stimpson's). Melanie's is one of
        the seminal (you'll excuse the expression) articles on Tolkien & gender,
        IMHO.

        > Rawls, Melanie. "The Feminine Principle in Tolkien." Mythlore 10.4 (#38)
        > (1984): 5-13.
        > Explores the interaction of Masculine and Feminine principles (gender as
        > opposed to sex) in Tolkien's Middle-earth, showing how the balance of the
        > principles within a character is an important factor in his or her place in
        > the struggle of good and evil, evil resulting in many cases from an
        > imbalance of these principles.


        BTW, I think my own "Power in Arda: Sources, Uses and Misuses" in the
        Centenary Conference *Proceedings* isn't bad either.

        How about some opinions from thoses possessing a Y chromosome?

        >
        >
        > <much snipped>



        > Janet Brennan Croft
        > Associate Professor
        > Head of Access Services
        > University of Oklahoma Libraries
        > Bizzell 104NW
        > Norman OK 73019
        > 405-325-1918
        > Fax 405-325-7618
        > jbcroft@...<mailto:jbcroft@...>
        > http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/
        > http://libraries.ou.edu/
        > Editor of Mythlore http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html
        > Editor of Oklahoma Librarian
        > http://www.oklibs.org/oklibrarian/current/index.html
        > "Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the rising ape
        > meets the falling angel." -Terry Pratchett
        > ________________________________
        > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Edith
        > Crowe [correspondence@...]
        > Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 3:31 PM
        > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > I'm one of the presenters at the NEH-funded institute "J. R. R. Tolkien's
        > The Lord of the Rings: The Real and the Imagined Middle Ages" at
        > UT-Commerce
        > this summer. I'm supposed to be the gender expert, although where they got
        > that notion I have no idea. But hey, who turns down a free trip to
        > Commerce,
        > Texas in August? (See
        > http://community.livejournal.com/lotr_middleages/886.html if you wish, but
        > please be advised I did not write the blurb attached to my name, and its
        > hyperbole makes me by turns appalled and hysterical.)
        >
        > I hereby humbly request that fellow scholars and aficionados help me out by
        > answering the following:
        > What do you think are the best and worst things written on the topic of
        > Tolkien and women/gender/the feminine, etc. in Tolkien's work (and
        > preferably why)? In addition (or instead of) what are the most widely held
        > wrong-headed notions about the previous topics held by scholars or the
        > general public?
        >
        > I have some notions of my own but this group is more widely read and
        > variously opinionated than my head by itself. I just got a first deadline
        > of
        > June 1 for handouts to be copied, so I am suddenly more highly motivated
        > than heretofore, and your assistance will be greatly appreciated.
        > Replies can be sent to me at correspondence@...<mailto:
        > correspondence%40mythsoc.org <correspondence%2540mythsoc.org>> or shared
        > with the
        > list if you like.
        > --
        > Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary
        > The Mythopoeic Society
        > http://www.mythsoc.org | correspondence@...<mailto:
        > correspondence%40mythsoc.org <correspondence%2540mythsoc.org>>
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo<http://www.mythsoc.orgyahoo/>!
        > Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >


        --
        Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary
        The Mythopoeic Society
        http://www.mythsoc.org | correspondence@...


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



        ------------------------------------

        The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
      • alexeik@aol.com
        ... From: Joseph Furolo To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Mon, 11 May 2009 6:59 am Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender
        Message 3 of 18 , May 11 10:32 AM
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          -----Original Message-----
          From: Joseph Furolo <joseph.f@...>
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Mon, 11 May 2009 6:59 am
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, women, gender and brain-picking
          Also the inversion of the 'traditional' male/female
          associations with sun and moon.
          <<

          Tolkien's gender associations for sun and moon are the "traditional"
          ones for Germanic languages.
          Alexei
        • Merlin DeTardo
          ... And Kristine Larsen treats the evolution of Varda specifically in (V)Arda Marred: The Evolution of the Queen of the Stars in Tolkien s Legendarium , which
          Message 4 of 18 , May 11 10:59 AM
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            ---"Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:
            >>Elizabeth Whittingham has an excellent discussion of this subject, and how the depiction of the Valier and other female spirits changed over the history of Tolkien's writing of his mythology in her _The Evolution of Tolkien's Mythology_. Sorry I don't have the book here so I can't give specific page citations.


            And Kristine Larsen treats the evolution of Varda specifically in "(V)Arda Marred: The Evolution of the Queen of the Stars in Tolkien's Legendarium", which she posted online here:

            http://www.physics.ccsu.edu/larsen/varda.html

            -Merlin DeTardo
          • Edith Crowe
            Doug, I agree--I have Whittingham s book next to me even as we speak, ready to copy the relevant pages (92-98). She also has a bit on pp. 19-21 noting the very
            Message 5 of 18 , May 11 2:56 PM
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              Doug, I agree--I have Whittingham's book next to me even as we speak, ready
              to copy the relevant pages (92-98). She also has a bit on pp. 19-21 noting
              the very male-oriented education and upbringing Tolkien had, especially
              after his mother's death.

              On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 7:12 AM, Doug Kane <dougkane@...>wrote:

              >
              >
              >
              > Joseph Furolo wrote:
              >
              > > For me, the female Valar and other immortals are the most positive
              > treatment of the feminine
              >
              > Elizabeth Whittingham has an excellent discussion of this subject, and how
              > the depiction of the Valier and other female spirits changed over the
              > history of Tolkien's writing of his mythology in her _The Evolution of
              > Tolkien's Mythology_. Sorry I don't have the book here so I can't give
              > specific page citations.
              >
              > Doug
              >
              >
              >



              --
              Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary
              The Mythopoeic Society
              http://www.mythsoc.org | correspondence@...


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Edith Crowe
              Joseph, I hope so. As I understand it, this is institute is designed for high school teachers of Tolkien, so I expect they will be most interested in LOTR.
              Message 6 of 18 , May 11 3:07 PM
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                Joseph, I hope so. As I understand it, this is institute is designed for
                high school teachers of Tolkien, so I expect they will be most interested in
                LOTR. However, it's pretty limiting to talk about women/gender issues and
                limit oneself only to LOTR. I'm hoping some of their students will be up for
                some extra credit assignments that will get them into other parts of the
                legendarium--especiallywhen they relate to characters or situations in LOTR
                (Galadriel's wild youth; why Arwen Warrior Princess is less of a stretch
                when you know more about her female ancestry, etc.).

                On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 2:59 AM, Joseph Furolo <joseph.f@...>wrote:

                > Hi Edith
                >
                > Will you be covering any of these dimensions of Tolkien's writing in
                > your presentation? I know you are to focus on LOTR but of course
                > Elbereth and the legendarium are part of the imagination of Middle
                > Earth and some note of this broader backdrop perhaps could be noted?.
                >
                > --
                > Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary
                > The Mythopoeic Society
                > http://www.mythsoc.org | correspondence@...
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Merlin DeTardo
                ... Just an aside: that essay was criticized in two different papers delivered last month at the sixth annual Tolkien conference at the University of Vermont;
                Message 7 of 18 , May 16 1:32 PM
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                  ---"Croft, Janet B." <jbcroft@...> wrote:
                  > As a corrective, consider this one:
                  > Timmons, Daniel. "Hobbit Sex and Sensuality in The Lord of the Rings." Mythlore 23.3 (#89) (2001): 70-79.
                  > Refutes critics who see no evidence of mature sexuality in Tolkien's Middle-earth by examining the distinction between sex and sensuality, and by describing depictions of romantic and married love in contrast to matelessness.

                  Just an aside: that essay was criticized in two different papers delivered last month at the sixth annual Tolkien conference at the University of Vermont; you can read a report on that conference here:

                  http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=183401

                  -Merlin DeTardo
                • David Bratman
                  ... I may have missed something, but I could only see one discussion of Timmons in that report. It is perilous to judge any paper by a second-hand report
                  Message 8 of 18 , May 16 3:25 PM
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                    Merlin DeTardo <emptyD@...> wrote:

                    >---"Croft, Janet B." <jbcroft@...> wrote:
                    >> As a corrective, consider this one:
                    >> Timmons, Daniel. "Hobbit Sex and Sensuality in The Lord of the Rings." Mythlore 23.3 (#89) (2001):
                    >>70-79.
                    >> Refutes critics who see no evidence of mature sexuality in Tolkien's Middle-earth by examining the
                    >>distinction between sex and sensuality, and by describing depictions of romantic and married love in
                    >>contrast to matelessness.
                    >
                    >Just an aside: that essay was criticized in two different papers delivered last month at the sixth
                    >annual Tolkien conference at the University of Vermont; you can read a report on that conference here:
                    >
                    >http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=183401

                    I may have missed something, but I could only see one discussion of Timmons in that report. It is perilous to judge any paper by a second-hand report summary by someone taking notes, but if that is a fair summary of Vaccaro's arguments, Timmons stands unimpaired.

                    In fact, the comment quoted that "Vaccaro reported with approval," the one beginning, "Sam's love for Frodo and for Rosie are two different kinds of loveā€¦ I don't think Sam imagined that the one would affect the other," actually paraphrases one of Timmons' most important points, on p. 78: "No depicted or implied rivalry exists between Frodo and Rose for the love of Sam. Each share a 'spiritual' bond, sensual in certain respects, but of a different order and distinctive nature." (There's more on this, mostly further up the page.)

                    Lastly, somebody will have to tell me what's at all homophobic about Timmons' paper. Is it that he brushes aside critics who "imagined a submerged homoeroticism between Tolkien and Lewis (or Sam and Frodo)"?
                  • Merlin DeTardo
                    ... Perilous indeed! You missed nothing, David: my report mentions Timmons only once. His essay also came up briefly in Chance s paper, but my notes include no
                    Message 9 of 18 , May 16 3:56 PM
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                      ---David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:
                      > I may have missed something, but I could only see one discussion of Timmons in that report. It is perilous to judge any paper by a second-hand report summary by someone taking notes, but if that is a fair summary of Vaccaro's arguments, Timmons stands unimpaired.

                      Perilous indeed! You missed nothing, David: my report mentions Timmons only once. His essay also came up briefly in Chance's paper, but my notes include no details, except that her comments echoed Vaccaro's. That I haven't read Timmons' study certainly doesn't help the report. However, since Chance's piece is slated for publication later this year, it should soon be possible to consider her argument more closely.

                      -Merlin DeTardo
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