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Re: Recommended reading

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  • Margaret L. Carter
    I recently read the anthology TALES BEFORE NARNIA and was quite favorably impressed. I haven t read TALES BEFORE TOLKIEN, the previous anthology with the same
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 26, 2010
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      I recently read the anthology TALES BEFORE NARNIA and was quite
      favorably impressed. I haven't read TALES BEFORE TOLKIEN, the previous
      anthology with the same approach, but it should also be a good source
      of earlier stories.

      Margaret L. Carter
    • dale nelson
      Dasent, as quoted by Tolkien, was right, of course, that undue preoccupation with the ingredients of the stew can get in the way of savoring the dish
      Message 2 of 25 , Feb 26, 2010
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        Dasent, as quoted by Tolkien, was right, of course, that undue preoccupation with the "ingredients" of the "stew" can get in the way of savoring the dish that's been set before us.  And one can become annoyed by people who too rashly assert that they've found "the" source of something in an author's work.
         
        But, on the other hand, Tolkien himself, in the same part of "On Fairy-Stories" in which he cites Dasent's remark, admits that he himself  "feels strongly, the fascination of the desire to unravel the intricately knotted and ramified history of the branches on the Tree of Tales."  It's fun to read "The Man Who Lived Backwards" in Douglas Anderson's Tales Before Narnia anthology, and realize that here, we may be virtually sure, is the story that suggested to C. S. Lewis an element of his own (superior) story, The Great Divorce.  A classic example of literary detective work is J. Livingston Lowes' The Road to Xanadu, on S. T. Coleridge's reading and how various things became part of the compost of the mind that gave us "Kubla Khan" and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
         
        But one of the things I like the most about the business of discovering possible sources, influences, etc. is that things that are worth reading in their own right are revived.  If not for "source-hunting," "The Man Who Lived Backwards" might have been forgotten.  It's not a superb story, but it's quite enjoyable in its own right.  There's an anecdote in which Lewis and Tolkien are talking and someone says that there's not enough of the kind of fiction they like (so the should write some; and they did).  But while the "amount" is finite, still things worth reading are "out there" awaiting discovery and revival.  The sometimes-maligned "source-hunting" can help bring them (back in)to light.
         
        Dale Nelson


        From: Margaret L. Carter <mlcvamp@...>
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, February 26, 2010 2:00:30 PM
        Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

         

        I recently read the anthology TALES BEFORE NARNIA and was quite
        favorably impressed. I haven't read TALES BEFORE TOLKIEN, the previous
        anthology with the same approach, but it should also be a good source
        of earlier stories.

        Margaret L. Carter


      • David Bratman
        ... And, since you have quoted it, you must realize that the entire thrust of that remark is to acknowledge the urge in passing, in the context of dismissing
        Message 3 of 25 , Feb 26, 2010
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          dale nelson wrote:

          >But, on the other hand, Tolkien
          >himself, in the same part of "On
          >Fairy-Stories" in which he cites
          >Dasent's remark, admits that he
          >himself "feels strongly, the
          >fascination of the desire to
          >unravel the intricately knotted
          >and ramified history of the branches
          >on the Tree of Tales."

          And, since you have quoted it, you must realize that the entire thrust of that remark is to acknowledge the urge in passing, in the context of dismissing its importance. "It is of merely secondary interest that the re-told versions of this story, in which the little girl is saved by wood-cutters, is directly derived from Perrault's story in which she was eaten by the wolf. The really important thing is ... [the] very profound difference ... The essential quality and aptitudes of a given language in a living moment is both more important to seize and far more difficult to make explicit than its linear history. ... I shall therefore pass lightly over the question of origins."

          >It's fun to read "The Man Who Lived
          >Backwards" in Douglas Anderson's Tales
          >Before Narnia anthology, and realize
          >that here, we may be virtually sure,
          >is the story that suggested to C. S.
          >Lewis an element of his own (superior)
          >story, The Great Divorce.

          And it is perilous - I do not consider that too strong a word - to have such realizations when there is no evidence for them save some coincidence of plot or setting or even name. This goes on ALL THE TIME. People are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN they've found the origin of some story in some other story, ignoring the profound differences between them and thus missing the point, and sometimes going on in spite of lack of evidence, even when it turns out to be impossible that the one author had read the other.

          The dangers are not only moral, but legal. Have you seen the latest inane plagiarism suit against J.K. Rowling? Detailed taking apart at <http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012205.html> This is what comes of a default assumption that if work A bears some superficial similarities to work B, it must be derived from it.

          >But one of the things I like the most
          >about the business of discovering
          >possible sources, influences, etc. is
          >that things that are worth reading in
          >their own right are revived.

          Sure, and if it's worth reading in its own right, then it should be read in its own right, not as the source for some other story. At most we can say, "Look, here are some interesting parallels, isn't that intriguing?" or, as Doug Anderson is saying in compiling his books, "This is the storytelling tradition, the set of modes and ideas, that Lewis was working in when he wrote Narnia." If the older stories _are_ worth reading, that should be enough, unless we have either documentary evidence of a connection, or - with caution - if extremely striking parallels are seen by scholars who do not see them behind every tree.
        • dale nelson
          Abusus non tollit usum.  I do agree: unless there is documentary evidence or basically irresistible scholarly inference, one should not claim flatly that X
          Message 4 of 25 , Feb 26, 2010
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            Abusus non tollit usum.  I do agree: unless there is documentary evidence or basically irresistible scholarly inference, one should not claim flatly that X influenced Y.  I agree: there is a way of mishandling such matters that minimizes or ignores the differences between X and Y; this, like other forms of reductionism, is baneful, and lends itself to bad reading.  I too think that when evaluating X, which came before Y and may have influenced the writing of magnificent Y, we should be cautious about rating X unduly high.
            One's agreement with all of these propositions doesn't, however, mean that one must shun any such matters of influence.  I don't have Tom Shippey's recent piece for Mallorn in which he encourages the exploration of 19th- and 20th-century literary elements in Tolkien's fantasy.  (Since I don't have the piece at hand, I won't use the more disturbing term "influences.")  But I would agree with Shippey, as I understand him, that such work, undertaken and and written up with due caution, may be interesting in itself, may enhance the enjoyment of the great work (Y), etc. 
             
            I think sometimes people who are not troubled when writers offer possible or probable instances of "influence" upon Tolkien of medieval materials, or upon Lewis of Spenser, are uncomfortable when it's a matter of popular adventure fiction such as that of Haggard et al.  Should this be so?
             
            In fact Tolkien acknowledged the likely influence of Haggard's She upon his fantasy, when interviewed, and Lewis put his awareness of indebtedness to American pulp sf ("scientifiction") in print in the book edition of The Great Divorce.  I think that, for me, a reluctance to consider further possible influence instances, would be analogous to the attitude towards Biblical interpretation of some Protestants.  They will grant that a few passages in the Old Testament are typological because the New Testament refers to them (the Exodus as a type of Baptism, the looking-to-the-brazen-serpent in-the-wilderness as a type of looking to Christ in faith, etc.), but they shy violently away from, e.g., the patristic detection of the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers, the money they were paid for him, Joseph's being put in the well and then drawn out, etc. as types of the betrayal, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Of course there are enormously important differences between patristic "typological reading" and "influence-mongering."  My point is that if someone refuses any use of either typology or consideration of influence, except where confirmed by unimpeachable authority, this seems unduly severe to me although the desire behind such refusal may be commendable. 
             
            I would hope that nobody imagines those who report possible instances as being people who are necessarily unbalanced, crazy, etc.  Paranoiacs may be ingenious in identifying "evidence" of conspiracy against them, and those who read widely in earlier fantasy, science fiction, and adventure fiction may do so not from any love of a tradition(s) but from an obsession to belittle great authors by saying that they got everything from earlier sources that they were unwilling to acknowledge, or other unendearing reasons.  I don't know if there are researchers like that in Tolkienian-Lewisian circles but there may be.
             
            But abusus non tollit usum.
             
            Dale Nelson
             
             


            From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Fri, February 26, 2010 6:31:30 PM
            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

             

            dale nelson wrote:

            >But, on the other hand, Tolkien
            >himself, in the same part of "On
            >Fairy-Stories" in which he cites
            >Dasent's remark, admits that he
            >himself "feels strongly, the
            >fascination of the desire to
            >unravel the intricately knotted
            >and ramified history of the branches
            >on the Tree of Tales."

            And, since you have quoted it, you must realize that the entire thrust of that remark is to acknowledge the urge in passing, in the context of dismissing its importance. "It is of merely secondary interest that the re-told versions of this story, in which the little girl is saved by wood-cutters, is directly derived from Perrault's story in which she was eaten by the wolf. The really important thing is ... [the] very profound difference ... The essential quality and aptitudes of a given language in a living moment is both more important to seize and far more difficult to make explicit than its linear history. ... I shall therefore pass lightly over the question of origins."

            >It's fun to read "The Man Who Lived
            >Backwards" in Douglas Anderson's Tales
            >Before Narnia anthology, and realize
            >that here, we may be virtually sure,
            >is the story that suggested to C. S.
            >Lewis an element of his own (superior)
            >story, The Great Divorce.

            And it is perilous - I do not consider that too strong a word - to have such realizations when there is no evidence for them save some coincidence of plot or setting or even name. This goes on ALL THE TIME. People are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN they've found the origin of some story in some other story, ignoring the profound differences between them and thus missing the point, and sometimes going on in spite of lack of evidence, even when it turns out to be impossible that the one author had read the other.

            The dangers are not only moral, but legal. Have you seen the latest inane plagiarism suit against J.K. Rowling? Detailed taking apart at <http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012205.html> This is what comes of a default assumption that if work A bears some superficial similarities to work B, it must be derived from it.

            >But one of the things I like the most
            >about the business of discovering
            >possible sources, influences, etc. is
            >that things that are worth reading in
            >their own right are revived.

            Sure, and if it's worth reading in its own right, then it should be read in its own right, not as the source for some other story. At most we can say, "Look, here are some interesting parallels, isn't that intriguing?" or, as Doug Anderson is saying in compiling his books, "This is the storytelling tradition, the set of modes and ideas, that Lewis was working in when he wrote Narnia." If the older stories _are_ worth reading, that should be enough, unless we have either documentary evidence of a connection, or - with caution - if extremely striking parallels are seen by scholars who do not see them behind every tree.


          • David Bratman
            I hardly think it is necessary to caution me, as your Latin tag does, against denying the usefulness of source studies altogether, since I specified the
            Message 5 of 25 , Feb 26, 2010
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              I hardly think it is necessary to caution me, as your Latin tag does, against denying the usefulness of source studies altogether, since I specified the conditions under which I consider it entirely legitimate.

              The problem is that, since source analysis easily becomes reductionist and tries to prove too much, this needs to be guarded against with great care.  I also noted that it's perfectly possible to pursue studies of literary parallelism without trying to make a source analysis out of it.  As in your example of the O.T./N.T. parallels.  To discuss parallels is to study what is there for all to see; to state source is to presume knowledge of the author's mind, which, as Lewis reminds us, often goes down perilously wrong paths.

              Unfortunately, there have been seriously unbalanced Tolkien source studies.  These authors are not trying to belittle Tolkien, but there are at least two full books each claiming to find the secret key - the one and only true source! - to Tolkien's imagination in some unlikely and implausible place.  Each case claims that the parallels are too strong to deny, without any understanding of measuring probability.  Each takes what is at most a provocative idea and runs it totally into the ground.



              -----Original Message-----
              From: dale nelson
              Sent: Feb 26, 2010 9:15 PM
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading



              Abusus non tollit usum.  I do agree: unless there is documentary evidence or basically irresistible scholarly inference, one should not claim flatly that X influenced Y.  I agree: there is a way of mishandling such matters that minimizes or ignores the differences between X and Y; this, like other forms of reductionism, is baneful, and lends itself to bad reading.  I too think that when evaluating X, which came before Y and may have influenced the writing of magnificent Y, we should be cautious about rating X unduly high.
              One's agreement with all of these propositions doesn't, however, mean that one must shun any such matters of influence.  I don't have Tom Shippey's recent piece for Mallorn in which he encourages the exploration of 19th- and 20th-century literary elements in Tolkien's fantasy.  (Since I don't have the piece at hand, I won't use the more disturbing term "influences.")  But I would agree with Shippey, as I understand him, that such work, undertaken and and written up with due caution, may be interesting in itself, may enhance the enjoyment of the great work (Y), etc. 
               
              I think sometimes people who are not troubled when writers offer possible or probable instances of "influence" upon Tolkien of medieval materials, or upon Lewis of Spenser, are uncomfortable when it's a matter of popular adventure fiction such as that of Haggard et al.  Should this be so?
               
              In fact Tolkien acknowledged the likely influence of Haggard's She upon his fantasy, when interviewed, and Lewis put his awareness of indebtedness to American pulp sf ("scientifiction") in print in the book edition of The Great Divorce.  I think that, for me, a reluctance to consider further possible influence instances, would be analogous to the attitude towards Biblical interpretation of some Protestants.  They will grant that a few passages in the Old Testament are typological because the New Testament refers to them (the Exodus as a type of Baptism, the looking-to-the-brazen-serpent in-the-wilderness as a type of looking to Christ in faith, etc.), but they shy violently away from, e.g., the patristic detection of the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers, the money they were paid for him, Joseph's being put in the well and then drawn out, etc. as types of the betrayal, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Of course there are enormously important differences between patristic "typological reading" and "influence-mongering."  My point is that if someone refuses any use of either typology or consideration of influence, except where confirmed by unimpeachable authority, this seems unduly severe to me although the desire behind such refusal may be commendable. 
               
              I would hope that nobody imagines those who report possible instances as being people who are necessarily unbalanced, crazy, etc.  Paranoiacs may be ingenious in identifying "evidence" of conspiracy against them, and those who read widely in earlier fantasy, science fiction, and adventure fiction may do so not from any love of a tradition(s) but from an obsession to belittle great authors by saying that they got everything from earlier sources that they were unwilling to acknowledge, or other unendearing reasons.  I don't know if there are researchers like that in Tolkienian-Lewisian circles but there may be.
               
              But abusus non tollit usum.
               
              Dale Nelson
               
               


              From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Fri, February 26, 2010 6:31:30 PM
              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

               

              dale nelson wrote:

              >But, on the other hand, Tolkien
              >himself, in the same part of "On
              >Fairy-Stories" in which he cites
              >Dasent's remark, admits that he
              >himself "feels strongly, the
              >fascination of the desire to
              >unravel the intricately knotted
              >and ramified history of the branches
              >on the Tree of Tales."

              And, since you have quoted it, you must realize that the entire thrust of that remark is to acknowledge the urge in passing, in the context of dismissing its importance. "It is of merely secondary interest that the re-told versions of this story, in which the little girl is saved by wood-cutters, is directly derived from Perrault's story in which she was eaten by the wolf. The really important thing is ... [the] very profound difference ... The essential quality and aptitudes of a given language in a living moment is both more important to seize and far more difficult to make explicit than its linear history. ... I shall therefore pass lightly over the question of origins."

              >It's fun to read "The Man Who Lived
              >Backwards" in Douglas Anderson's Tales
              >Before Narnia anthology, and realize
              >that here, we may be virtually sure,
              >is the story that suggested to C. S.
              >Lewis an element of his own (superior)
              >story, The Great Divorce.

              And it is perilous - I do not consider that too strong a word - to have such realizations when there is no evidence for them save some coincidence of plot or setting or even name. This goes on ALL THE TIME. People are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN they've found the origin of some story in some other story, ignoring the profound differences between them and thus missing the point, and sometimes going on in spite of lack of evidence, even when it turns out to be impossible that the one author had read the other.

              The dangers are not only moral, but legal. Have you seen the latest inane plagiarism suit against J.K. Rowling? Detailed taking apart at <http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012205.html> This is what comes of a default assumption that if work A bears some superficial similarities to work B, it must be derived from it.

              >But one of the things I like the most
              >about the business of discovering
              >possible sources, influences, etc. is
              >that things that are worth reading in
              >their own right are revived.

              Sure, and if it's worth reading in its own right, then it should be read in its own right, not as the source for some other story. At most we can say, "Look, here are some interesting parallels, isn't that intriguing?" or, as Doug Anderson is saying in compiling his books, "This is the storytelling tradition, the set of modes and ideas, that Lewis was working in when he wrote Narnia." If the older stories _are_ worth reading, that should be enough, unless we have either documentary evidence of a connection, or - with caution - if extremely striking parallels are seen by scholars who do not see them behind every tree.




            • Joseph Furolo
              This is not in the same league as the discussions here on Tolkien but there are echos of the dynamics in attributing sources at work in this news story....
              Message 6 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                This is not in the same league as the discussions here on Tolkien but there are echos of the dynamics in 'attributing sources' at work in this news story.... 

                "EMI Music is appealing against a court ruling that found Australian band Men at Work plagiarised a Girl Guides' song in their 1983 hit Down Under."

                in dispute is a 'flute rif'. It is interesting to get people's opinion on whether the influence is there or not - or even if it matters.


                Joseph

              • Larry Swain
                As one who practices source criticism, I feel it necessary to chime in here.  In the end, perhaps, it is more my need being addressed than any light being
                Message 7 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                  As one who practices source criticism, I feel it necessary to chime in here.  In the end, perhaps, it is more my need being addressed than any light being shed, but one hopes not.

                  Any approach to literature, or history, or current issues, etc can be done badly.  Source critical studies are not the only examples, to stick with Tolkien studies, of approaches to the material not done well, or making baseless claims to find the truth, the secret, the oracle of all knowledge as it pertains to Tolkien's legendarium. 

                  Source criticism, like philology and historical reconstructions of the past, works largely on probabilities.  In some cases there can be little doubt of an earlier text's influence on a later author because we know that the author knew the earlier text and where there is parallel, same or similar wording, structure, imagery etc, chances are the later author is borrowing consciously or unconsciously from the former.  Tolkien knew Beowulf, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, the Katherine Group, SGGK....and many another work.  We know this because he tells us in some way: we can look at the courses he taught, his notes, his scholarly output etc. 

                  In other cases, we work in degrees of what is probable.  How do we make an argument for knowledge of an earlier text by a later author?  Availibility for one, likelihood, for another, to name two.  How likely is it that Tolkien knew De Excidio Troiae?  Pretty likely...anyone looking into medieval treatments of the Matter of Troy knows of this text, and even in Tolkien's day it was available at Oxford.  So far as I know we can't be absolutely certain Tolkien knew it, but it is far far more likely that he did than that he didn't.  Did this text influence Tolkien?  Hard to say: many of the items found in this influential text that appear in Tolkien may come directly from the De Excidio, but may just as well come through any of the many treatments of the Troy legend in medieval literature, such as Chaucer.  So much harder in that case to argue direct influence. 

                  Anyway, enough to illustrate the point.  Wholesale acceptance or rejection of source critical studies on Tolkien are unjustified (and no, David, this is more just a contribution to the discussion than a response directly to you; your message is just the one I picked to hit reply to).

                  Larry Swain

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "David Bratman"
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading
                  Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 02:48:02 -0500 (EST)

                   

                  I hardly think it is necessary to caution me, as your Latin tag does, against denying the usefulness of source studies altogether, since I specified the conditions under which I consider it entirely legitimate.

                  The problem is that, since source analysis easily becomes reductionist and tries to prove too much, this needs to be guarded against with great care.  I also noted that it's perfectly possible to pursue studies of literary parallelism without trying to make a source analysis out of it.  As in your example of the O.T./N.T. parallels.  To discuss parallels is to study what is there for all to see; to state source is to presume knowledge of the author's mind, which, as Lewis reminds us, often goes down perilously wrong paths.

                  Unfortunately, there have been seriously unbalanced Tolkien source studies.  These authors are not trying to belittle Tolkien, but there are at least two full books each claiming to find the secret key - the one and only true source! - to Tolkien's imagination in some unlikely and implausible place.  Each case claims that the parallels are too strong to deny, without any understanding of measuring probability.  Each takes what is at most a provocative idea and runs it totally into the ground.



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: dale nelson
                  Sent: Feb 26, 2010 9:15 PM
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups .com
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading



                  Abusus non tollit usum.  I do agree: unless there is documentary evidence or basically irresistible scholarly inference, one should not claim flatly that X influenced Y.  I agree: there is a way of mishandling such matters that minimizes or ignores the differences between X and Y; this, like other forms of reductionism, is baneful, and lends itself to bad reading.  I too think that when evaluating X, which came before Y and may have influenced the writing of magnificent Y, we should be cautious about rating X unduly high.
                  One's agreement with all of these propositions doesn't, however, mean that one must shun any such matters of influence.  I don't have Tom Shippey's recent piece for Mallorn in which he encourages the exploration of 19th- and 20th-century literary elements in Tolkien's fantasy.  (Since I don't have the piece at hand, I won't use the more disturbing term "influences. ")  But I would agree with Shippey, as I understand him, that such work, undertaken and and written up with due caution, may be interesting in itself, may enhance the enjoyment of the great work (Y), etc. 
                   
                  I think sometimes people who are not troubled when writers offer possible or probable instances of "influence" upon Tolkien of medieval materials, or upon Lewis of Spenser, are uncomfortable when it's a matter of popular adventure fiction such as that of Haggard et al.  Should this be so?
                   
                  In fact Tolkien acknowledged the likely influence of Haggard's She upon his fantasy, when interviewed, and Lewis put his awareness of indebtedness to American pulp sf ("scientifiction" ) in print in the book edition of The Great Divorce.  I think that, for me, a reluctance to consider further possible influence instances, would be analogous to the attitude towards Biblical interpretation of some Protestants.  They will grant that a few passages in the Old Testament are typological because the New Testament refers to them (the Exodus as a type of Baptism, the looking-to-the- brazen-serpent in-the-wilderness as a type of looking to Christ in faith, etc.), but they shy violently away from, e.g., the patristic detection of the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers, the money they were paid for him, Joseph's being put in the well and then drawn out, etc. as types of the betrayal, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Of course there are enormously important differences between patristic "typological reading" and "influence-mongerin g."  My point is that if someone refuses any use of either typology or consideration of influence, except where confirmed by unimpeachable authority, this seems unduly severe to me although the desire behind such refusal may be commendable. 
                   
                  I would hope that nobody imagines those who report possible instances as being people who are necessarily unbalanced, crazy, etc.  Paranoiacs may be ingenious in identifying "evidence" of conspiracy against them, and those who read widely in earlier fantasy, science fiction, and adventure fiction may do so not from any love of a tradition(s) but from an obsession to belittle great authors by saying that they got everything from earlier sources that they were unwilling to acknowledge, or other unendearing reasons.  I don't know if there are researchers like that in Tolkienian-Lewisian circles but there may be.
                   
                  But abusus non tollit usum.
                   
                  Dale Nelson
                   
                   


                  From: David Bratman <dbratman@earthlink. net>
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups .com
                  Sent: Fri, February 26, 2010 6:31:30 PM
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

                   

                  dale nelson wrote:

                  >But, on the other hand, Tolkien
                  >himself, in the same part of "On
                  >Fairy-Stories" in which he cites
                  >Dasent's remark, admits that he
                  >himself "feels strongly, the
                  >fascination of the desire to
                  >unravel the intricately knotted
                  >and ramified history of the branches
                  >on the Tree of Tales."

                  And, since you have quoted it, you must realize that the entire thrust of that remark is to acknowledge the urge in passing, in the context of dismissing its importance. "It is of merely secondary interest that the re-told versions of this story, in which the little girl is saved by wood-cutters, is directly derived from Perrault's story in which she was eaten by the wolf. The really important thing is ... [the] very profound difference ... The essential quality and aptitudes of a given language in a living moment is both more important to seize and far more difficult to make explicit than its linear history. ... I shall therefore pass lightly over the question of origins."

                  >It's fun to read "The Man Who Lived
                  >Backwards" in Douglas Anderson's Tales
                  >Before Narnia anthology, and realize
                  >that here, we may be virtually sure,
                  >is the story that suggested to C. S.
                  >Lewis an element of his own (superior)
                  >story, The Great Divorce.

                  And it is perilous - I do not consider that too strong a word - to have such realizations when there is no evidence for them save some coincidence of plot or setting or even name. This goes on ALL THE TIME. People are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN they've found the origin of some story in some other story, ignoring the profound differences between them and thus missing the point, and sometimes going on in spite of lack of evidence, even when it turns out to be impossible that the one author had read the other.

                  The dangers are not only moral, but legal. Have you seen the latest inane plagiarism suit against J.K. Rowling? Detailed taking apart at <http://nielsenhayde n.com/makingligh t/archives/ 012205.html> This is what comes of a default assumption that if work A bears some superficial similarities to work B, it must be derived from it.

                  >But one of the things I like the most
                  >about the business of discovering
                  >possible sources, influences, etc. is
                  >that things that are worth reading in
                  >their own right are revived.

                  Sure, and if it's worth reading in its own right, then it should be read in its own right, not as the source for some other story. At most we can say, "Look, here are some interesting parallels, isn't that intriguing?" or, as Doug Anderson is saying in compiling his books, "This is the storytelling tradition, the set of modes and ideas, that Lewis was working in when he wrote Narnia." If the older stories _are_ worth reading, that should be enough, unless we have either documentary evidence of a connection, or - with caution - if extremely striking parallels are seen by scholars who do not see them behind every tree.





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                • dale nelson
                  I wouldn t be surprised if many people on this discussion list have encountered a greater quantity of bad source studies than I have, in books or articles, or
                  Message 8 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                    I wouldn't be surprised if many people on this discussion list have encountered a greater quantity of bad source studies than I have, in books or articles, or perhaps in meetings of discussion groups!  I wouldn't even have a guess as to what those two books are. 

                    Probably some people (not necessarily anyone reading this message!) have an aversion to any discussion of possible influence.  I hope they don't mind too much those who do find such discussion, when conducted responsibly, interesting and an enhancement of their love and even, sometimes, their understanding of the books and their authors.  For myself, I've never been much attracted to Tolkienian filksinging, Tolkienian fan fiction, parodies of Tolkien, etc., but have found them easy to avoid.

                    Dale Nelson

                    ....
                    Unfortunately, there have been seriously unbalanced Tolkien source studies.  These authors are not trying to belittle Tolkien, but there are at least two full books each claiming to find the secret key - the one and only true source! - to Tolkien's imagination in some unlikely and implausible place.  Each case claims that the parallels are too strong to deny, without any understanding of measuring probability.  Each takes what is at most a provocative idea and runs it totally into the ground.



                  • David Bratman
                    Interesting that you should bring up the Down Under case, because that shows the harm that an unbridled source-studies attitude can cause. The quotation is
                    Message 9 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                      Interesting that you should bring up the "Down Under" case, because that
                      shows the harm that an unbridled source-studies attitude can cause.

                      The quotation is definitely there. The musicians claim that it was
                      accidental. If they're not lying, then any critical (as opposed to legal)
                      discussion of how the kookaburra song must have been their unconscious
                      source would depend on an incredibly presumptuous claim to know the workings
                      of their minds. See my comment to Larry Swain about that.

                      The quotation is also extremely brief, in a totally different musical
                      context, and immediately goes off in a different direction. And this is
                      where the harm a source-studies attitude causes comes in, because once you
                      turn literature (or music) into a hunt for sources, _everything_ that isn't
                      totally unpredecented becomes the legal property of your predecessors and
                      plagiarism becomes perceived as rampant. And that's a ridiculous attitude
                      to take, even if the quotations were documentarily intentional. What
                      matters, as Tolkien pointed out in OFS, is not what you take but how you
                      change it, mutate it, make it your own. True plagiarists are those who
                      copy and change nothing. Artists are those who create a new work out of
                      whatever their sources or inspirations may have been.

                      Here's an article all about that. It's by Graeme Downes, who is both a
                      professional musicologist and a member of a notable sophisticated rock band,
                      The Verlaines. http://theverlaines.co.nz/blog/view/id/411


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Joseph Furolo" <joseph.f@...>
                      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 4:36 AM
                      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading


                      This is not in the same league as the discussions here on Tolkien but there
                      are echos of the dynamics in 'attributing sources' at work in this news
                      story....

                      "EMI Music is appealing against a court ruling that found Australian band
                      Men at Work plagiarised a Girl Guides' song in their 1983 hit Down Under."

                      in dispute is a 'flute rif'. It is interesting to get people's opinion on
                      whether the influence is there or not - or even if it matters.

                      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8536689.stm

                      Joseph
                    • David Bratman
                      ... Even then there s a huge assumption being made. If the author admits to knowing the work but says he or she was not influenced by it, you can always say
                      Message 10 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                        "Larry Swain" <theswain@...> wrote:

                        >Source criticism, like philology and historical reconstructions of the
                        >past, works largely on probabilities. In some cases there can be little
                        >doubt of an earlier text's influence on a later author because we know
                        >that the author knew the earlier text and where there is parallel, same
                        >or similar wording, structure, imagery etc, chances are the later author
                        >is borrowing consciously or unconsciously from the former.

                        Even then there's a huge assumption being made. If the author admits to
                        knowing the work but says he or she was not influenced by it, you can always
                        say it was unconscious. Thus you have an outside critic, sitting in an
                        armchair and probably not even knowing the author personally, claiming to
                        know the author's mind better than the author does. You know,
                        psychoanalysts can work closely with patients for years on end and refrain
                        from claiming a sure knowledge of their minds. It takes a lot of gall for a
                        critic to state that they know what an artist was thinking in the teeth of a
                        flat denial.

                        >In other cases, we work in degrees of what is probable. How do we make
                        >an argument for knowledge of an earlier text by a later author?
                        >Availibility for one, likelihood, for another, to name two.

                        Oh, but that is so easily abused. I've seen the most fantastic chains of
                        evidence constructed. Did I say I know of two wacky books presenting
                        outlandish Tolkien source theories? My mistake; I just remembered a third.
                        It doesn't take quite as all-encompassing an attitude as the others, but its
                        theories are even more ridiculous. From my summary of "The Year's Work in
                        Tolkien Studies 2003":

                        "Mahmoud Shelton in _Alchemy in Middle-earth: The Significance of J.R.R.
                        Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings_ ([Ashland, Oregon]: Temple of Justice
                        Books, 2002) finds Islamic and hermetic parallels to various items of
                        Tolkienian symbolism which he considers too striking to be anything other
                        than conscious. According to Shelton, the Balrog is named for Baal, the
                        Eagles are rocs, the Stewards are the Stuarts of Scotland who are reputedly
                        descendants of Muhammad, Aragorn as a warrior-healer is a type of the
                        caliphs rather than a Christian king, as is Gandalf the White Rider, and so
                        on. Shelton's final proof that this was all intentional is that Tolkien
                        knew Charles Williams, who had once belonged to a hermetic order (97-98)."

                        Note the two call signs of bad source study here: the jumping to conclusions
                        based on scanty parallels by a critic with no sense of coincidence or of the
                        likelihood of ideas or even sound patterns being invented by multiple people
                        independently; and the desperate hunt for any connection, however tenuous,
                        between the work being studied and the putative source. In all likelihood,
                        Tolkien probably didn't even know of Williams's hermetic background, which
                        he had severed connection with over a decade before they met, until he read
                        Williams's biography after LOTR was published. And, as John Rateliff has
                        pointed out in his brilliant study of Tolkien and Williams, it was after
                        learning more about Williams's background that Tolkien began retroactively
                        distancing himself from him - and I'm on at least as solid ground as any of
                        these source-hunters in speculating that one reason was to avoid associating
                        his own work with Williams's influences.

                        Now, you may say, as Dale does, that abuse of source-hunting doesn't
                        invalidate its legitimate use. This is true; but the problem is that by
                        jumping to the island of conclusions [that's a literary allusion, btw] with
                        words like "unconsciously" and "probable", you _encourage_ this sort of
                        nonsense.

                        >How likely
                        >is it that Tolkien knew De Excidio Troiae? Pretty likely...anyone
                        >looking into medieval treatments of the Matter of Troy knows of this
                        >text, and even in Tolkien's day it was available at Oxford. So far as I
                        >know we can't be absolutely certain Tolkien knew it, but it is far far
                        >more likely that he did than that he didn't.

                        And guess what one of my two original examples of unbalanced Tolkien source
                        studies uses as its secret fons et origo of Tolkien's work? You guessed it
                        ... the Matter of Troy, and De Excidio Troiae in particular. And what could
                        have been an excellent treatise of medieval parallels to and _possible_
                        influence on Tolkien devolved into a mad paranoid rant, because the authors
                        were obsessed with source study.

                        >Did this text influence
                        >Tolkien? Hard to say: many of the items found in this influential text
                        >that appear in Tolkien may come directly from the De Excidio, but may
                        >just as well come through any of the many treatments of the Troy legend
                        >in medieval literature, such as Chaucer. So much harder in that case to
                        >argue direct influence.

                        Parallels! That's another thing source-hunters don't get. My best example
                        here is the long-standing claims that George Lucas' Obi-Wan Kenobi was a
                        copy of Gandalf (later succeeded by claims from people who know nothing but
                        film that Peter Jackson ripped off Gandalf from Obi-Wan). Presumably Lucas
                        knew of Gandalf even if he'd never read LOTR, but surely it makes more sense
                        that Gandalf and Obi-Wan are independent manifestations of the greater
                        archetype of wizard? Lucas has acknowledged Jungian inspiration via Joseph
                        Campbell, and Jungian analysis - not Jungian source study! - has proven to
                        be a fruitful tool to analyze Tolkien with. That would make the two wizards
                        cousins rather than in a linear line of descent.

                        As you and Dale say, source study conducted responsibly can be useful and
                        enlightening. Unfortunately, you are demonstrating that irresponsible use
                        is buried at the very heart of its defense!

                        How much more sensible to discuss parallels without obsessing about source?
                        Then people could talk freely about what the Watcher in the Water reminds
                        them of without worrying about whether Tolkien did, or could have, gotten it
                        from there. Remember this discussion was originally about recommending
                        precursors to Tolkien and Lewis without regard to whether those precursors
                        had influenced them.
                      • WendellWag@aol.com
                        In a message dated 2/27/2010 12:00:22 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, dbratman@earthlink.net writes: Presumably Lucas knew of Gandalf even if he d never read LOTR,
                        Message 11 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                          In a message dated 2/27/2010 12:00:22 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, dbratman@... writes:
                          Presumably Lucas knew of Gandalf even if he'd never read LOTR, but surely it makes more sense that Gandalf and Obi-Wan are independent manifestations of the greater archetype of wizard?
                           
                          Yeah, but we know that Lucas read The Lord of the Rings, don't we?  I would say that Obi-Wan is constructed from Lucas's vague memories of many things that he read or saw, including Tolkien.
                           
                          Wendell Wagner
                        • dale nelson
                          Thanks, Larry. I think, David, that you and I are close in our opinions about influence, sources, etc. If we differ a little, that s probably nothing that
                          Message 12 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                            Thanks, Larry.

                            I think, David, that you and I are close in our opinions about "influence," "sources," etc.  If we differ a little, that's probably nothing that needs to be thrashed out.  So I'm moving on from the defense of the type of consideration of influence/source that I appreciate.

                            Here's a personal anecdote that I'd offer as an example of (I hope) unobjectionable influence/source discussion.

                            I believe that I read Lin Carter's Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings" as soon as it came out, in 1969.  I'd have been 14 at the time.*  Carter says Tolkien admitted being influenced by Rider Haggard's She.  Since I loved Tolkien's writings and other works of fantasy and always wanted to find more, I got She from the public library and read it with enjoyment.  (Later I was able to read for myself, in the interview with Tolkien published in Niekas, that Tolkien did indeed acknowledge the "sherd of Amenartas" in She as an influence on his writing of The Lord of the Rings.  Still later I learned of Tolkien's praise for Eric Brighteyes, another Haggard romance.  See Douglas Anderson's Tales Before Tolkien.)

                            I became a Haggard fan: while still in my teens, I discovered affordable used copies of some of his books, including Montezuma's Daughter.  A few years ago I reread it.  The romance's climax has the hero and the villain prepared to fight to the death on the edge of an active South American volcano.  Suddenly the villain seems to be struggling with an invisible enemy.  The hero-narrator sees the villain fall into the mouth of the volcano. 

                            When one puts together the fact that Tolkien read at least two of Haggard's romances and even acknowledged possible "influence" on him of one of them, it seems reasonable to consider the possibility that Tolkien read other Haggard tales, including Montezuma's Daughter, and was indeed influenced by them.  Yes, it is possible that Tolkien hadn't read this Haggard romance or, if he had, was not influenced by it.  Maybe his imagination was stirred by the volcanic landscape of Iceland, land of the sagas that he loved, and that influenced him to write the Mount Doom climax.  Or maybe he invented the whole episode entirely on his own.  But the Haggard situation is surely an unusual one; it isn't a Jungian-archetype deal so far as I know; yes, I think it probable that Montezuma's Daughter contributed significantly to The Lord of the Rings (maybe to The Hobbit, too, but that's another matter).  I furthermore find some interesting parallels in Tolkien's writings with sequences in other Haggard works.  Frankly, I suspect that the influence of Haggard on The Lord of the Rings could legitimately be described as pervasive.**  But if Christopher Tolkien comes forward one of these days and mentions that, no, his father told him after publication of The Lord of the Rings that he'd never read but the two Haggard romances, etc., I'd be very, very surprised, but I wouldn't be devastated!***

                            I believe that I'm able to avoid a reductive reading of Tolkien, and I hope no readers of things I have written on the matter would feel I was trying to encourage them to read Tolkien reductively.  In fact, if Haggard is an important influence on Tolkien, one of the most striking things about the situation is how free Tolkien's writing is from the weaknesses of Haggard's writing, whether we are talking about prose style or depth of wisdom or whatever else.  At the same time, reading Haggard has given me many, many hours of enjoyment, and I feel that I am a bit indebted to Tolkien for that, as well as for his own writings.

                            Dale Nelson

                            *I also got William Ready's notorious little Understanding Tolkien in the same year, and have a story about that.  Ready occasionally cites a source as Ibid.  "Ibid" appeared to me to be the title of a magazine, and I have a memory of looking for those back issues of Ibid in the stacks of the periodicals at the Coos Bay, Oregon, public library.  Alas, I never did find them.

                            **Evidence for that may be found in my entry on 19th- and 20-century literary influences on Tolkien in Michael Drout's J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, some short pieces for Beyond Bree, and a recent article in Mallorn, if anyone's interested.

                            ***I'm reminded of a preface that Arthur Machen wrote for a collection of his stories.  He says that he once received a letter from "a schoolmaster in Malaya" who was agog at Machen's use of indigenous occult rites (or something of the sort).  Machen says he'd always thought he'd just made it all up!


                            From: Larry Swain <theswain@...>
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Sat, February 27, 2010 8:45:26 AM
                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

                             

                            As one who practices source criticism, I feel it necessary to chime in here.  In the end, perhaps, it is more my need being addressed than any light being shed, but one hopes not.

                            Any approach to literature, or history, or current issues, etc can be done badly.  Source critical studies are not the only examples, to stick with Tolkien studies, of approaches to the material not done well, or making baseless claims to find the truth, the secret, the oracle of all knowledge as it pertains to Tolkien's legendarium. 

                            Source criticism, like philology and historical reconstructions of the past, works largely on probabilities.  In some cases there can be little doubt of an earlier text's influence on a later author because we know that the author knew the earlier text and where there is parallel, same or similar wording, structure, imagery etc, chances are the later author is borrowing consciously or unconsciously from the former.  Tolkien knew Beowulf, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, the Katherine Group, SGGK....and many another work.  We know this because he tells us in some way: we can look at the courses he taught, his notes, his scholarly output etc. 

                            In other cases, we work in degrees of what is probable.  How do we make an argument for knowledge of an earlier text by a later author?  Availibility for one, likelihood, for another, to name two.  How likely is it that Tolkien knew De Excidio Troiae?  Pretty likely...anyone looking into medieval treatments of the Matter of Troy knows of this text, and even in Tolkien's day it was available at Oxford.  So far as I know we can't be absolutely certain Tolkien knew it, but it is far far more likely that he did than that he didn't.  Did this text influence Tolkien?  Hard to say: many of the items found in this influential text that appear in Tolkien may come directly from the De Excidio, but may just as well come through any of the many treatments of the Troy legend in medieval literature, such as Chaucer.  So much harder in that case to argue direct influence. 

                            Anyway, enough to illustrate the point.  Wholesale acceptance or rejection of source critical studies on Tolkien are unjustified (and no, David, this is more just a contribution to the discussion than a response directly to you; your message is just the one I picked to hit reply to).

                            Larry Swain

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "David Bratman"
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups .com
                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading
                            Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 02:48:02 -0500 (EST)

                             

                            I hardly think it is necessary to caution me, as your Latin tag does, against denying the usefulness of source studies altogether, since I specified the conditions under which I consider it entirely legitimate.

                            The problem is that, since source analysis easily becomes reductionist and tries to prove too much, this needs to be guarded against with great care.  I also noted that it's perfectly possible to pursue studies of literary parallelism without trying to make a source analysis out of it.  As in your example of the O.T./N.T. parallels.  To discuss parallels is to study what is there for all to see; to state source is to presume knowledge of the author's mind, which, as Lewis reminds us, often goes down perilously wrong paths.

                            Unfortunately, there have been seriously unbalanced Tolkien source studies.  These authors are not trying to belittle Tolkien, but there are at least two full books each claiming to find the secret key - the one and only true source! - to Tolkien's imagination in some unlikely and implausible place.  Each case claims that the parallels are too strong to deny, without any understanding of measuring probability.  Each takes what is at most a provocative idea and runs it totally into the ground.



                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: dale nelson
                            Sent: Feb 26, 2010 9:15 PM
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups .com
                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading



                            Abusus non tollit usum.  I do agree: unless there is documentary evidence or basically irresistible scholarly inference, one should not claim flatly that X influenced Y.  I agree: there is a way of mishandling such matters that minimizes or ignores the differences between X and Y; this, like other forms of reductionism, is baneful, and lends itself to bad reading.  I too think that when evaluating X, which came before Y and may have influenced the writing of magnificent Y, we should be cautious about rating X unduly high.
                            One's agreement with all of these propositions doesn't, however, mean that one must shun any such matters of influence.  I don't have Tom Shippey's recent piece for Mallorn in which he encourages the exploration of 19th- and 20th-century literary elements in Tolkien's fantasy.  (Since I don't have the piece at hand, I won't use the more disturbing term "influences. ")  But I would agree with Shippey, as I understand him, that such work, undertaken and and written up with due caution, may be interesting in itself, may enhance the enjoyment of the great work (Y), etc. 
                             
                            I think sometimes people who are not troubled when writers offer possible or probable instances of "influence" upon Tolkien of medieval materials, or upon Lewis of Spenser, are uncomfortable when it's a matter of popular adventure fiction such as that of Haggard et al.  Should this be so?
                             
                            In fact Tolkien acknowledged the likely influence of Haggard's She upon his fantasy, when interviewed, and Lewis put his awareness of indebtedness to American pulp sf ("scientifiction" ) in print in the book edition of The Great Divorce.  I think that, for me, a reluctance to consider further possible influence instances, would be analogous to the attitude towards Biblical interpretation of some Protestants.  They will grant that a few passages in the Old Testament are typological because the New Testament refers to them (the Exodus as a type of Baptism, the looking-to-the- brazen-serpent in-the-wilderness as a type of looking to Christ in faith, etc.), but they shy violently away from, e.g., the patristic detection of the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers, the money they were paid for him, Joseph's being put in the well and then drawn out, etc. as types of the betrayal, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Of course there are enormously important differences between patristic "typological reading" and "influence-mongerin g."  My point is that if someone refuses any use of either typology or consideration of influence, except where confirmed by unimpeachable authority, this seems unduly severe to me although the desire behind such refusal may be commendable. 
                             
                            I would hope that nobody imagines those who report possible instances as being people who are necessarily unbalanced, crazy, etc.  Paranoiacs may be ingenious in identifying "evidence" of conspiracy against them, and those who read widely in earlier fantasy, science fiction, and adventure fiction may do so not from any love of a tradition(s) but from an obsession to belittle great authors by saying that they got everything from earlier sources that they were unwilling to acknowledge, or other unendearing reasons.  I don't know if there are researchers like that in Tolkienian-Lewisian circles but there may be.
                             
                            But abusus non tollit usum.
                             
                            Dale Nelson
                             
                             


                            From: David Bratman <dbratman@earthlink. net>
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups .com
                            Sent: Fri, February 26, 2010 6:31:30 PM
                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

                             

                            dale nelson wrote:

                            >But, on the other hand, Tolkien
                            >himself, in the same part of "On
                            >Fairy-Stories" in which he cites
                            >Dasent's remark, admits that he
                            >himself "feels strongly, the
                            >fascination of the desire to
                            >unravel the intricately knotted
                            >and ramified history of the branches
                            >on the Tree of Tales."

                            And, since you have quoted it, you must realize that the entire thrust of that remark is to acknowledge the urge in passing, in the context of dismissing its importance. "It is of merely secondary interest that the re-told versions of this story, in which the little girl is saved by wood-cutters, is directly derived from Perrault's story in which she was eaten by the wolf. The really important thing is ... [the] very profound difference ... The essential quality and aptitudes of a given language in a living moment is both more important to seize and far more difficult to make explicit than its linear history. ... I shall therefore pass lightly over the question of origins."

                            >It's fun to read "The Man Who Lived
                            >Backwards" in Douglas Anderson's Tales
                            >Before Narnia anthology, and realize
                            >that here, we may be virtually sure,
                            >is the story that suggested to C. S.
                            >Lewis an element of his own (superior)
                            >story, The Great Divorce.

                            And it is perilous - I do not consider that too strong a word - to have such realizations when there is no evidence for them save some coincidence of plot or setting or even name. This goes on ALL THE TIME. People are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN they've found the origin of some story in some other story, ignoring the profound differences between them and thus missing the point, and sometimes going on in spite of lack of evidence, even when it turns out to be impossible that the one author had read the other.

                            The dangers are not only moral, but legal. Have you seen the latest inane plagiarism suit against J.K. Rowling? Detailed taking apart at <http://nielsenhayde n.com/makingligh t/archives/ 012205.html> This is what comes of a default assumption that if work A bears some superficial similarities to work B, it must be derived from it.

                            >But one of the things I like the most
                            >about the business of discovering
                            >possible sources, influences, etc. is
                            >that things that are worth reading in
                            >their own right are revived.

                            Sure, and if it's worth reading in its own right, then it should be read in its own right, not as the source for some other story. At most we can say, "Look, here are some interesting parallels, isn't that intriguing?" or, as Doug Anderson is saying in compiling his books, "This is the storytelling tradition, the set of modes and ideas, that Lewis was working in when he wrote Narnia." If the older stories _are_ worth reading, that should be enough, unless we have either documentary evidence of a connection, or - with caution - if extremely striking parallels are seen by scholars who do not see them behind every tree.





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                          • dale nelson
                            That s true.  If we re talking about a short recommended reading list of writers/books of modern high fantasy prior to The Hobbit, then I d say Haggard s She
                            Message 13 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                              That's true.  If we're talking about a short recommended reading list of writers/books of modern high fantasy prior to The Hobbit, then I'd say Haggard's She belongs there but not Montezuma's Daughter and probably not even Eric Brighteyes; and no Wells, no John Buchan. But yes to Coleridge, Undine, MacDonald, Morris, Dunsany, Eddison. 
                               
                              Worth mentioning Kenneth Morris's Book of the Three DragonsLud-in-the-MistThe Shaving of Shagpat
                               
                              But this is interesting.  All of these were known, at least by repute, to many fantasy fans by the mid-Seventies.  Haven't there been any big rediscoveries since the end of the Ballantine fantasy series and the publication of Le Guin's From Elfland to Poughkeepsie essay (which mentions the K. Morris book & excerpts it; the Hyperion reprint was circa 1980)?
                               
                              Should mention should be made of children's books such as The Wind in the Willows, E. Nesbit's Five Children and It and sequels, etc.?
                               
                              Dale Nelson


                              From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Sat, February 27, 2010 10:22:37 AM
                              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

                              ...Remember this discussion was originally about recommending
                              precursors to Tolkien and Lewis without regard to whether those precursors
                              had influenced them....

                            • Sara Ciborski
                              Perhaps it has been mentioned (I m so far just skimming all these wonderful posts on early fantasy) but a book that I enjoyed immensely is The Life of Sir
                              Message 14 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                                Perhaps it has been mentioned (I'm so far just skimming all these
                                wonderful posts on early fantasy) but a book that I enjoyed immensely is
                                The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis by Clemence Housman; the edition I
                                have has an introduction by Douglas Anderson. Ah---but perhaps
                                Arthurian-theme fantasies are not to be included.
                                Thinking of the 19th century, another book that I love and always highly
                                recommend is Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Zanoni. Although it's on my
                                fantasy shelf, I'm pretty certain it does not meet the criteria for the
                                genre fantasy, whatever they are.

                                Sara Ciborski
                              • dale nelson
                                Does anyone know Sara Coleridge s Phantasmion?  This Wikipedia entry says: The songs in Phantasmion were much admired at the time by Leigh Hunt and other
                                Message 15 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                                  Does anyone know Sara Coleridge's Phantasmion?  This Wikipedia entry says: "The songs in Phantasmion were much admired at the time by Leigh Hunt and other critics. Some of them, such as Sylvan Stay and One Face Alone, are extremely graceful and musical, and the whole fairy tale is noticeable for the beauty of the story and the richness of its language."
                                   
                                   
                                  I've never read Phantasmion or even seen a physical copy, but it's available as a Google book.
                                   
                                  Dale Nelson


                                  From: Sara Ciborski <saraciborski2@...>
                                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Sat, February 27, 2010 5:18:05 PM
                                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

                                   

                                  Perhaps it has been mentioned (I'm so far just skimming all these
                                  wonderful posts on early fantasy) but a book that I enjoyed immensely is
                                  The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis by Clemence Housman; the edition I
                                  have has an introduction by Douglas Anderson. Ah---but perhaps
                                  Arthurian-theme fantasies are not to be included.
                                  Thinking of the 19th century, another book that I love and always highly
                                  recommend is Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton' s Zanoni. Although it's on my
                                  fantasy shelf, I'm pretty certain it does not meet the criteria for the
                                  genre fantasy, whatever they are.

                                  Sara Ciborski


                                • Larry Swain
                                  ... knowing the work but says he or she was not influenced by it, you can always say it was unconscious. Thus you have an outside critic, sitting in an
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                                    David Bratman wrote:

                                    >>Even then there's a huge assumption being made. If the author admits to
                                    knowing the work but says he or she was not influenced by it, you can always
                                    say it was unconscious. Thus you have an outside critic, sitting in an
                                    armchair and probably not even knowing the author personally, claiming to
                                    know the author's mind better than the author does.<<

                                    On the other hand, there is a big assumption being made that the author is telling the truth rather than admit he or she was not the great creator, that the author is an honest and accurate critic of his or her own work, process, and influences, or that the author can uncover his or her own unconscious influences and state definitively that a work he or she knows and has read did not influence a scene structured the same, with the same themes, similar wording, etc. The author is often not the most authoritative voice on his or her own work.

                                    >In other cases, we work in degrees of what is probable. How do we make
                                    >an argument for knowledge of an earlier text by a later author?
                                    >Availibility for one, likelihood, for another, to name two.

                                    >>Oh, but that is so easily abused.<<

                                    What in life isn't easily abused? Even librarians have been known to abuse their discipline and station on occasion. Any and every tool humans have created has been easily abused. I'm not sure why this is an argument against a particular methodology.

                                    >> I've seen the most fantastic chains of evidence constructed. <<

                                    Sure, and we could point to arguments for preservation that are fantastic, or we could point to arguments for global warming and its effects (on both sides of the debate) that are fantastic chains of evidence, and the list could go on and on and on and on listing issue after issue, academic, civil, religious, etc. One of the advantages of public discourse of all kinds, take Tolkien studies for example, is that once these fantastic chains of evidence are constructed, they can be evaluated by others and rejected, accepted, adjusted as is necessary.

                                    > Did I say I know of two wacky books presenting outlandish Tolkien source theories? My mistake; I just remembered a third. <

                                    Sure, so let's toss out Shippey's observations on scenes in Beowulf seeming to appear in LoTR or let's toss out Flieger's observations on the undead army and Passing of the Grey Company.....or many another well done source critical work because some have done it badly? Perhaps you've heard about not throwing babies out with bath water?

                                    >>It doesn't take quite as all-encompassing an attitude as the others, but its
                                    theories are even more ridiculous. From my summary of "The Year's Work in
                                    Tolkien Studies 2003":<<

                                    Well, first Shelton isn't and wasn't a source critic. Yes, he claims to have a degree in Medieval Studies from Stanford, but likely an undergraduate one from what I could tell when this nonsense came out....and I agree it is nonsense. Shelton made claims; he didn't engage as a source critical or do a source critical study. There's a difference.

                                    Let me make an analogy that I hope will hit close to home. Do we reject Judaism because of a nonsense practice of selling "kabbalah water" in LA?


                                    >> (some snippage)...and I'm on at least as solid ground as any of these source-hunters in speculating that one reason was to avoid associating his own work with Williams's influences.<<

                                    Being a source hunter and a source critic aren't the same thing and certainly don't use the same set of methodologies. You, David, are someone whom I would expect to know that.

                                    >>Now, you may say, as Dale does, that abuse of source-hunting doesn't
                                    invalidate its legitimate use. This is true; but the problem is that by
                                    jumping to the island of conclusions [that's a literary allusion, btw]...<<

                                    Gee thanks....next, perhaps you'll let me on the secret that Macbeth the play was written by Shakespeare. Perhaps those who argue that Shakespeare took his material from Holinshed's Chronicle and reshaped it have also jumped to the "island of conclusions."

                                    BTW, isn't pinning down your allusion a source critical exercise? I suppose that's illegitimate? And you could now claim that The Phantom Tollbooth though you read it isn't an influence on you?

                                    >>...with
                                    words like "unconsciously" and "probable", you _encourage_ this sort of
                                    nonsense.<<

                                    Poppycock. First, the vast majority of things you have written on the Inklings or any single writer would be tossed if we didn't deal in probabilities: if we accepted only black and white absolutes, then in most cases you haven't proven any of the things you've written about. You instead make a good case that the conclusion in question is probable. Certainly, you don't use those terms, but that is what you are doing: but you can't prove such things in most cases in an absolute sense. Not if you're being honest, anyway. Second, as for the unconscious, not every influence is directly copied from a book or knowingly and purposely reshaped. Some texts become such a part of the mind that an author is drawing on these texts much as he or she draws in air to breath.

                                    >How likely
                                    >is it that Tolkien knew De Excidio Troiae? Pretty likely...anyone
                                    >looking into medieval treatments of the Matter of Troy knows of this
                                    >text, and even in Tolkien's day it was available at Oxford. So far as I
                                    >know we can't be absolutely certain Tolkien knew it, but it is far far
                                    >more likely that he did than that he didn't.

                                    >>And guess what one of my two original examples of unbalanced Tolkien source
                                    studies uses as its secret fons et origo of Tolkien's work? You guessed it
                                    ... the Matter of Troy, and De Excidio Troiae in particular.<<

                                    I guessed it would be; I've seen exaggerated claims for this text's influence on Tolkien as well and found the book wanting and leaping to conclusions. That doesn't mean anything other than the authors who btw aren't source critics either jumped to conclusions and did it badly.

                                    >> And what could
                                    have been an excellent treatise of medieval parallels to and _possible_
                                    influence on Tolkien devolved into a mad paranoid rant, because the authors
                                    were obsessed with source study.<<

                                    Oh, indeed. But then again, an amateur's obsession with their conclusions means nothing as far I'm concerned about source criticism of any author much less the disciplinary tools source critics use. A physics student's bad conclusions doesn't mean that physics is invalid or that the methodology involved in physics is flawed and to be rejected. It means the student did it badly.

                                    >Did this text influence
                                    >Tolkien? Hard to say: many of the items found in this influential text
                                    >that appear in Tolkien may come directly from the De Excidio, but may
                                    >just as well come through any of the many treatments of the Troy legend
                                    >in medieval literature, such as Chaucer. So much harder in that case to
                                    >argue direct influence.

                                    >>Parallels! That's another thing source-hunters don't get. My best example
                                    here is the long-standing claims that George Lucas' Obi-Wan Kenobi was a
                                    copy of Gandalf (later succeeded by claims from people who know nothing but
                                    film that Peter Jackson ripped off Gandalf from Obi-Wan). Presumably Lucas
                                    knew of Gandalf even if he'd never read LOTR, but surely it makes more sense
                                    that Gandalf and Obi-Wan are independent manifestations of the greater
                                    archetype of wizard? Lucas has acknowledged Jungian inspiration via Joseph
                                    Campbell, and Jungian analysis - not Jungian source study! - has proven to
                                    be a fruitful tool to analyze Tolkien with. That would make the two wizards
                                    cousins rather than in a linear line of descent.<<

                                    Not a question of interest to me, though I'd tend to agree. On the other hand, I'd be interested in any source critic (not idle speculators out there) who have made the claim of linear descent.

                                    >>As you and Dale say, source study conducted responsibly can be useful and
                                    enlightening. Unfortunately, you are demonstrating that irresponsible use
                                    is buried at the very heart of its defense!<<

                                    Well, David, I disagree. Furthermore, I'd have to say from your list of examples that you are surprisingly unaware of what source criticism is and how to distinguish source criticism from amateur "source hunting". I say surprising, because I have a great deal of respect for your work, and frankly, I never expected to find such ignorance here.

                                    >>How much more sensible to discuss parallels without obsessing about source? <<

                                    So determining or exploring an author's intellectual "baggage" (meant in a positive way) is an uninteresting obsession? I'm not sure that discussing "parallels" qua parallels is necessarily all that interesting. About all you can say is "gee, those look like parallels." And others can say "yep" or "nope" depending on whether they see it. That's a short discussion and not terribly enlightening. Yes, it's quite true that every parallel is not necessarily taken from a source; sometimes a parallel is just a parallel. A case for source influence has to be made, not assumed.

                                    >>Then people could talk freely about what the Watcher in the Water reminds
                                    them of without worrying...<<<

                                    Why is it "worrying"? And why would considering possible sources in any way, shape or form hinder free conversation about what the WitW reminds you of?


                                    >> about whether Tolkien did, or could have, gotten it
                                    from there. Remember this discussion was originally about recommending
                                    precursors to Tolkien and Lewis without regard to whether those precursors
                                    had influenced them.<<

                                    I'm aware, and chimed in only when certain claims about the discipline of source criticism were made. Discussions do become wide ranging in fora such as this and threads do drift.

                                    Larry Swain




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                                  • David Bratman
                                    Larry, your arguments are so full of excluded middles, false analogies, and arbitrary credentialism that it isn t worth my while to try to engage further with
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                                      Larry, your arguments are so full of excluded middles, false analogies, and
                                      arbitrary credentialism that it isn't worth my while to try to engage
                                      further with such a vast quantity of nonsensical bumfuzzlery. Sorry.
                                    • Larry Swain
                                      David, As I pointed out in my last post, your rejection of source criticism is based on ignorance of the methodologies, confusion of amateurish source
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Feb 27, 2010
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                                        David,

                                        As I pointed out in my last post, your rejection of source criticism is based on ignorance of the methodologies, confusion of amateurish source hunting  by non-professionals, and a fallacious rejection of source criticism based on such amateurish efforts.  It is little wonder then that there was a perceived necessity on your part to characterize my own comments with your faults.  Regrettably, such claims are baseless until proven, much like badly done claims about sources and inspirations.  Sadly, your previous claims fall into the same category of those you excoriate.

                                        For the record, I disagree with Dale on the Watcher being taken from H. G. Wells, though I'd certainly read a source critical analysis of such a position and weigh the evidence.  Further, I recently recommended for rejection an article to a journal that in my view did in fact do source criticism badly claiming influence of a medieval text on one of Tolkien's texts; I share this to illustrate that I am more than well aware that not all source criticism of Tolkien is good source criticism.  But there is good source criticism of Tolkien. 

                                        Finally, I agree and disagree with the poster, sorry, I've forgotten whom, who mentioned that the Watcher fits very well in Tolkien's world.  But I disagree that the Paths of the Dead don't.  I find on the contrary that it fits very well, and Isildur's power to curse and have it affect events is part and parcel of the world view both of Tolkien's world as a subcreation as well as the worldview of the languages and literatures he studied.

                                        Likely returning to lurkerdom,
                                        Larry Swain

                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        From: "David Bratman"
                                        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading
                                        Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 17:33:04 -0800

                                         

                                        Larry, your arguments are so full of excluded middles, false analogies, and
                                        arbitrary credentialism that it isn't worth my while to try to engage
                                        further with such a vast quantity of nonsensical bumfuzzlery. Sorry.


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                                      • dale nelson
                                        No big deal, but I didn t say that the Watcher in the Water was taken from H. G. Wells s Sea-Raiders. I invited readers to read the Wells story and the
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Feb 28, 2010
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                                          No big deal, but I didn't say that the Watcher in the Water was taken from H. G. Wells's "Sea-Raiders."  I invited readers to read the Wells story and the Moria-gate passage and, knowing that Tolkien had read Wells, to consider the possibility that the Watcher owed something to Wells's creatures.  I don't think we will ever be able to say for sure.

                                          It would, I believe, impoverish reading and scholarship if we limited ourselves (not that anyone here is saying we must do this) to certainties as regards Y being derived from X.  We deal with reasonable possibilities.  I do think that, when it turns out there is an impressive accumulation of reasonable possibilities of influence, we may say that influence is probable or even highly probable.  We may then with caution offer ideas about why such probable influence not only exists but is, in some context, significant.

                                          Example:

                                          It is certain that Tolkien read at least one romance, She, by Rider Haggard.  He said so in an interview.  (He also used the name "Kor," the lost realm in She, in his early legendarium.  It is harder to believe this was pure coincidence than that he derived the name from Haggard.) We also have it on good authority that he had read Haggard's Eric Brighteyes.  We also know that Rider Haggard's romances were easy to come by.  It is, then, reasonable to suppose that he would have read other romances by Haggard as well. 

                                          Readers who are, I think, recognized as responsible readers of Tolkien have long suggested that, e.g., Gagool in King Solomon's Mines likely contributed to the invention of Gollum.  In work published in various places, I have pointed to interesting parallels (I use the word advisedly) between elements in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and romances by Haggard such as Montezuma's Daughter, Heart of the World, and some others.  Eventually I found quite a few instances of such "parallels," which I believe are not very reasonably explained away as nothing but two authors' use of common stock of fantasy and adventure-romance.  (For such argument may be itself a form of reductionism!)

                                          I didn't start out with an hypothesis about the specific significance of Haggard for Tolkien, but I have offered one in recent years.  I invite the criticism of people who know more about Tolkien and his reading, and about fantasy fiction in general, than I do. 

                                          My hypothesis goes like this: when Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he did not foresee The Lord of the Rings; in fact, he had little or no idea about a sequel.  He wanted to see the Silmarillion into print.  His publisher, however, pressed him for more about hobbits.  He agreed to try, but when he set out to write the "new Hobbit," he had to feel his way.  He was not an author who felt he must write this book or burst!  He began to write, and while I love The Lord of the Rings, I agree with a better reader than I (Tom Shippey) that there is an improvisatory quality to the adventures early in LOTR.  Tolkien is feeling his way.  My suggestion is that, in this situation, it was highly likely that Tolkien would draw upon his reading in romantic adventure fiction.  I leave undefined the question of whether this "drawing upon,"  if it occurred at all, was conscious, semi-conscious, unconscious!  But, to return to Haggard -- when, as was eventually the case, I found multiplied instances of peculiar parallels, such as a climactic struggle involving an invisible enemy at the edge of a volcano, then I came to feel justified in hypothesizing that Tolkien had read more than two books by Haggard and that he did draw upon them to help him with the invention of The Lord of the Rings.  I believe that this drawing-upon-Haggard happens at at least two crucial places in the book,* the Mt. Doom climax just mentioned, and the "halt at Bree."  Tolkien struggles with the question of who Trotter is.  Eventually he discards the unpromising idea of a hobbit with wooden shoes and we get a prince in exile.  The Nazgul attempt a murderous attack, stabbing the bedding where the hobbits have left dummies.  Now it has often been noted how much more terrible the Nazgul become later; here, their attack is not much different from that of brigands.  I find in Heart of the World parallels with the prince-in-exile theme, the brigand attack, and rather more that I won't rehearse here.  I think the Haggard book likely helped Tolkien at this juncture.  But he was not limited by its details.

                                          And so on.  I invite people who are interested in such things to consider the evidence I've offered** and so see if they don't agree that it helps to account for some of the features of LOTR and its known (thanks to Christopher Tolkien and The History of Middle-earth) composition-process.  I regard my work on this subject as a continuation of Jared Lobdell's well-argued claim that LOTR is an adventure story in the (Late Victorian and) Edwardian mode.  I hope deeper Tolkienian scholars than I will test my hypothesis and see if it doesn't prove out.  Perhaps such scholarship will help to balance what I think has been, up till now, a focus on medieval elements in Tolkien but a relative (not, of course, absolute) neglect of the influence of modern fantastic romance on him.  Always refraining from referring to probabilities as certainties, I think we will come to the point of accepting that it is highly probable that the influence of Haggard is really extensive and important in The Lord of the Rings.  But I'm not saying that LOTR is a composite work -- some Haggard here, some medieval literature there, etc.  It is a tremendous and unified work of the imagination, like Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner (cf. John Livingston Lowes's Road to Xanadu). 

                                          I ask just for ordinary scholarly courtesy on the part of anyone who reads my various pieces on Tolkien and Haggard (and Wells); if I'm mistaken in my facts, or brash in my speculations, or lacking in nuance in my formulations of significance, then it's well that these failings be exposed; but I'm not trying to con readers or to promote reductive reading or irresponsible biographical speculation.

                                          Dale Nelson

                                          *I find many more than two instances of possible Haggardian influence, though.  I've never counted them, but I suppose that, depending on how they were counted (e.g. does the "complex" of parallels with Bree and Heart of the World count as one or as around five), I've found something like 15-20 peculiar parallels.

                                          **Most of the evidence that I've considered is from Haggard's fiction.  I think Buchan and Wells are important, too.  To mention one more Wellsian item, the seeing-devices in Wells's "The Crystal Egg" may have contributed to the palantiri




                                          From: Larry Swain <theswain@...>
                                          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                          Sent: Sat, February 27, 2010 9:15:06 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading

                                           

                                          David,

                                          As I pointed out in my last post, your rejection of source criticism is based on ignorance of the methodologies, confusion of amateurish source hunting  by non-professionals, and a fallacious rejection of source criticism based on such amateurish efforts.  It is little wonder then that there was a perceived necessity on your part to characterize my own comments with your faults.  Regrettably, such claims are baseless until proven, much like badly done claims about sources and inspirations.  Sadly, your previous claims fall into the same category of those you excoriate.

                                          For the record, I disagree with Dale on the Watcher being taken from H. G. Wells, though I'd certainly read a source critical analysis of such a position and weigh the evidence.  Further, I recently recommended for rejection an article to a journal that in my view did in fact do source criticism badly claiming influence of a medieval text on one of Tolkien's texts; I share this to illustrate that I am more than well aware that not all source criticism of Tolkien is good source criticism.  But there is good source criticism of Tolkien. 

                                          Finally, I agree and disagree with the poster, sorry, I've forgotten whom, who mentioned that the Watcher fits very well in Tolkien's world.  But I disagree that the Paths of the Dead don't.  I find on the contrary that it fits very well, and Isildur's power to curse and have it affect events is part and parcel of the world view both of Tolkien's world as a subcreation as well as the worldview of the languages and literatures he studied.

                                          Likely returning to lurkerdom,
                                          Larry Swain

                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: "David Bratman"
                                          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups .com
                                          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Recommended reading
                                          Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 17:33:04 -0800

                                           

                                          Larry, your arguments are so full of excluded middles, false analogies, and
                                          arbitrary credentialism that it isn't worth my while to try to engage
                                          further with such a vast quantity of nonsensical bumfuzzlery. Sorry.


                                          --

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                                          Download Opera 9 at http://www.opera. com


                                          Powered by Outblaze

                                        • not_thou
                                          ... Perhaps it would be better not to name them, but I can t resist quoting the following passage, one of my favorites: One can deny any single example of a
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Mar 1, 2010
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                                            >--- dale nelson <extollager2006@...> wrote:
                                            > I wouldn't be surprised if many people on this discussion list have encountered a greater quantity of bad source studies than I have, in books or articles, or perhaps in meetings of discussion groups! I wouldn't even have a guess as to what those two books are.

                                            Perhaps it would be better not to name them, but I can't resist quoting the following passage, one of my favorites:

                                            "One can deny any single example of a more flexible approach if one wishes. But how can one deny them all? One can say, individually, that one does not believe that Atalante is Atlantis; that Avallone is Avalon; that Moria is Moriah; that Bree is the Berea; that Galadriel lives in Galatia; that Minas Tirith is Minos and Tyre; that Lebennin is Lebanon; that Gundabad is the Gunder Peak; that Buckland is the Buchan-land. One can deny, individually, that Gil-galad is Gilgal, that Mithrandir is Mithras, that Aragorn is Arrogant (one who makes a claim, as he claims the throne); that the Eotheod are the Dawn-people, that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego have become Shagrat, Gorbag and Snaga (My Sack = Your Bag), that Ioreth is Ruth, and the Black King a Haggard Rider, a coal-black Ignosi. One can refuse to believe that Pelargir (referred to as a port in west Middle-earth) comes from the Greek _pelagos_, sea; that Gorgoroth, translated in the phrase Ered Gorgoroth as 'Mountains of Terror' comes from _gorgos_, Greek, grim (as in the Gorgon); that Mordor, as well as _morthor_, is the place of death, _mors_, Latin, death, _dor_, Hebrew, habitation, while Gondor is the place of life, _gone_, Greek, generation, _dor_, Hebrew, habitation. And this last is the real reason why it is translated in Middle-earth as 'Land of Stone' and why it borders on the Bay of Belfalas."

                                            (_J.R.R. Tolkien: The Shores of Middle-earth_, by Robert Giddings and Elizabeth Holland (1981), p. 176.)

                                            I've only skimmed what I presume to be the other book, _The Forsaken Realm of Tolkien: Tolkien and the Medieval Tradition_, by Alex Lewis and Elizabeth Currie (2005), which seems to have no passages so entertaining as that. However, I notice they argue (p. 225) that, despite what Christopher Tolkien writes in _The Lays of Beleriand_ (p. 144), there probably is no connection between Earendil's boat, Wingelot and Wade's boat, Guingelot. This founders on J.R.R.T.'s explicit statement relating the two ships in _The Peoples of Middle-earth_ (p. 371) -- unnoticed by Lewis and Currie, who had at least allowed that future developments might prove them wrong on this point.

                                            -Merlin
                                          • Sue Bridgwater
                                            There was an excellent thread on the Tolkien/Haggard relation on LOTRPlaza a year or so back - sadly I can t seem to trace it but it is worth following up - an
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Mar 1, 2010
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                                              There was an excellent thread on the Tolkien/Haggard relation on LOTRPlaza a year or so back - sadly I can't seem to trace it but it is worth following up - an admin could find the way to it if it is now in an archive.

                                              from Sue


                                            • David Emerson
                                              ... Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Giddings and Holland! The most blatant example of assuming influence based completely on similarities. They
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Mar 1, 2010
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                                                >From: not_thou <emptyD@...>
                                                >
                                                >Perhaps it would be better not to name them, but I can't resist quoting the following passage, one of my favorites:
                                                > [...]
                                                >(_J.R.R. Tolkien: The Shores of Middle-earth_, by Robert Giddings and Elizabeth Holland (1981), p. 176.)


                                                Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Giddings and Holland! The most blatant example of assuming influence based completely on similarities. They claimed that Saruman was based on a character from _Lorna Doone_ because the latter had (a) long white hair and (b) a persuasive voice. Bah!

                                                emerdavid

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                                              • camontes_dragon2001
                                                What do you guys think of The Keys of Middle Earth by Stuart Lee? (Subtitle is Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien )
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Mar 1, 2010
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                                                  What do you guys think of "The Keys of Middle Earth" by Stuart Lee? (Subtitle is "Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien")

                                                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Emerson <emerdavid@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > >From: not_thou <emptyD@...>
                                                  > >
                                                  > >Perhaps it would be better not to name them, but I can't resist quoting the following passage, one of my favorites:
                                                  > > [...]
                                                  > >(_J.R.R. Tolkien: The Shores of Middle-earth_, by Robert Giddings and Elizabeth Holland (1981), p. 176.)
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Giddings and Holland! The most blatant example of assuming influence based completely on similarities. They claimed that Saruman was based on a character from _Lorna Doone_ because the latter had (a) long white hair and (b) a persuasive voice. Bah!
                                                  >
                                                  > emerdavid
                                                  >
                                                  > ________________________________________
                                                  > PeoplePC Online
                                                  > A better way to Internet
                                                  > http://www.peoplepc.com
                                                  >
                                                • Jason Fisher
                                                  ... By Stuart Lee *and Elizabeth Solopova*. :)   It s a very good collection. I especially like it because the authors print each selection in the original
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Mar 2, 2010
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                                                    > What do you guys think of "The Keys of Middle Earth" by Stuart Lee? (Subtitle
                                                    > is "Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien")
                                                     
                                                    By Stuart Lee *and Elizabeth Solopova*. :)
                                                     
                                                    It's a very good collection. I especially like it because the authors print each selection in the original language with translation on the facing page, unlike previous collections of this type (e.g., The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader, by Turgon). Lee and Solopova also contribute notes and commentary, which are both valuable and concise. Perhaps most significantly, they quote from previously unpublished academic lectures and essays by Tolkien. It's well worth reading.
                                                     
                                                    Jason
                                                  • Larry Swain
                                                    What Jason said.  I entirely agree.  I used it a few years ago as a source book for a Tolkien course I was teaching and it worked very well. Larry Swain ...
                                                    Message 25 of 25 , Mar 2, 2010
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                                                      What Jason said.  I entirely agree.  I used it a few years ago as a source book for a Tolkien course I was teaching and it worked very well.

                                                      Larry Swain

                                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                                      From: "Jason Fisher"
                                                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: "Smeagol also means 'It's me that's Gagool', on the principle of elision."
                                                      Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 06:40:54 -0800 (PST)

                                                       

                                                      > What do you guys think of "The Keys of Middle Earth" by Stuart Lee? (Subtitle
                                                      > is "Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien")
                                                       
                                                      By Stuart Lee *and Elizabeth Solopova*. :)
                                                       
                                                      It's a very good collection. I especially like it because the authors print each selection in the original language with translation on the facing page, unlike previous collections of this type (e.g., The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader, by Turgon). Lee and Solopova also contribute notes and commentary, which are both valuable and concise. Perhaps most significantly, they quote from previously unpublished academic lectures and essays by Tolkien. It's well worth reading.
                                                       
                                                      Jason


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