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Re: [mythsoc] What words cannot express

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    I think in large part it is due to the alliteration in Bilbo s breath , express his staggerment, since , the language learned of elves , and when all the
    Message 1 of 8 , May 2 6:41 PM
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      I think in large part it is due to the alliteration in "Bilbo's breath", "express his staggerment, since", "the language learned of elves", and "when all the world was wonderful"; and to the forceful string of monosyllables that introduce the second sentence ("There are no words left"). It is thus more poetic and at once more expansive and yet, thanks to the alliteration, cohesive than Faramir's briefer, simpler, and more direct statement.

      Carl


      On May 2, 2011, at 7:56 PM, Ernest Davis wrote:

      >
      > I very much enjoyed David's review of "War of the Fantasy Worlds" by
      > Martha Sammons in this month's Mythprint, and look forward to the
      > full-length hatchet job in Mythlore.
      >
      > One point that he raises I find particularly thought-provoking. He quotes
      > the passage from The Hobbit:
      >
      > To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all.
      > There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed
      > the language they learned of elves in the days when all the world was
      > wonderful.
      >
      > This is one of JRRT's little gems. David contrasts it with some clunky
      > passages in Narnia where Lewis says that he can't describe this or that in
      > Narnia.
      >
      > I think it's correct to say, though, that other, similar attempts by
      > Tolkien at the same thing are much less successful. For example, Faramir
      > says to Eowyn:
      >
      > you are a lady beautiful, I deem, even beyond the words of the
      > Elven-tongue to tell.
      >
      > I find that pedestrian. I'm really not sure where the difference lies, and
      > would be interested in any thoughts. I can think of a few possibilities:
      >
      > 1. The thought that language was more expressive in days of yore is
      > compelling and moving; the thought that the Elves speak a more expressive
      > language is just another superlative associated with the Elves.
      >
      > 2. The logical structure is different. The passage from the Hobbit says
      > that the language of the elves _would_ be adequate to describe Bilbo's
      > staggerment; Faramir says that it would _not_ be adequate to describe
      > Eowyn's beauty.
      >
      > 3. Difference in subject matter and the inherent plausibility of the
      > claim. Smaug's hoard was indeed absolutely breath-taking as compared to
      > the small collection of dwarf treasures in the museum at Michel Delving.
      > Whereas one doesn't suppose that Eowyn was actually _that_ much more
      > beautiful than the other lovely maidens in Minas Tirith that Faramir had
      > dated.
      >
      > 4. Just unevenness in the writing. "in the days when all the world was
      > wonderful" is a beautiful phrase. "a lady beautiful, I deem" is a rather
      > ugly one.
      >
      > -- Ernie
      >
    • Doug Kane
      A while back the dispute over the book Mirkwood, A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien sparked quite a discussion about the Tolkien Estate s actions protecting
      Message 2 of 8 , May 3 10:30 AM
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        A while back the dispute over the book Mirkwood, A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien sparked quite a discussion about the Tolkien Estate's actions protecting Tolkien's intellectual property rights (actions which I generally support).  I have now learned that the lawsuit that the author of the book, Steven Hillard, filed in order to obtain a declaratory judgment has been settled.  According to The Hollywood Reporter:
         
        According to the settlement, the book will now be released with a modified reference to Tolkien on the cover and will also include the disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The JRR Tolkien Estate or its publisher." 
         
        The Estate's attorney, Aaron Morse, adds "The settlement terms are confidential, but the agreement adequately addresses the Estate's concerns about Mr. Hillard's book."
         
        Sounds like a reasonable settlement to me, addressing the concerns that the Estate had while still allowing the publication to go through.
         
        Now if only something could be done about Hillard's prose.
      • lynnmaudlin
        Now if only something could be done about Hillard s prose. THAT is, I fear, beyond the power of the courts.... -- Lynn --
        Message 3 of 8 , May 3 7:00 PM
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          "Now if only something could be done about Hillard's prose."

          THAT is, I fear, beyond the power of the courts....

          -- Lynn --

          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > A while back the dispute over the book Mirkwood, A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien sparked quite a discussion about the Tolkien Estate's actions protecting Tolkien's intellectual property rights (actions which I generally support). I have now learned that the lawsuit that the author of the book, Steven Hillard, filed in order to obtain a declaratory judgment has been settled. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
          >
          > According to the settlement, the book will now be released with a modified reference to Tolkien on the cover and will also include the disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The JRR Tolkien Estate or its publisher."
          >
          > The Estate's attorney, Aaron Morse, adds "The settlement terms are confidential, but the agreement adequately addresses the Estate's concerns about Mr. Hillard's book."
          >
          > Sounds like a reasonable settlement to me, addressing the concerns that the Estate had while still allowing the publication to go through.
          >
          > Now if only something could be done about Hillard's prose.
          >
        • Andrew Higgins
          Continuing along this line of Tolken themed books - has anyone dipped into Michael Ridpath s Where the Shadows Lie a thriller set in Iceland whose main plot
          Message 4 of 8 , May 4 12:01 AM
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            Continuing along this line of Tolken themed books - has anyone dipped into Michael Ridpath's Where the Shadows Lie a thriller set in Iceland whose main plot centers around a lost Norse aaga - Gaukur's Saga - which relates a story about an evil ring (the ring of Andavari perhaps?) and has characters named Isildur and Gandalf.  This saga was "discovered" and sent to Tolkien in 1937-8 just as he was working on his new Hobbit and, in a "letter" Tolkien said he would keep the saga quiet.  In the Modern day there is a group of "fanatical" Tolkienists vying for this saga to discover if the ring is real.  it does have its moments and the portrayal of the onlime Tolkien world is "interesting" and I shall comment more on that when I finish the book on my Kindle/Ipad.

            But clearly there is use of Tolkien's name, characters and items from the legendarium and I wonder how much the Tolkien Estate was consulted for this one.  

            Link to book below....


            I know there is another Inkling themed out there which I will load up to read this summer.  Still ruminating about my new thrill series of Richard Wagner as Solver of Murder Mysteries (Book One - Who Killed the Heldentenor????) 

            Thanks Andy 

            Sent from the IPAD of Andrew Higgins asthiggins@...  asthiggins on Twitter 
            And at his blog Wotan's Musings http://wotanselvishmusings.blogspot.com/


            On 4 May 2011, at 03:00, lynnmaudlin <lynnmaudlin@...> wrote:

             

            "Now if only something could be done about Hillard's prose."

            THAT is, I fear, beyond the power of the courts....

            -- Lynn --

            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > A while back the dispute over the book Mirkwood, A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien sparked quite a discussion about the Tolkien Estate's actions protecting Tolkien's intellectual property rights (actions which I generally support). I have now learned that the lawsuit that the author of the book, Steven Hillard, filed in order to obtain a declaratory judgment has been settled. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
            >
            > According to the settlement, the book will now be released with a modified reference to Tolkien on the cover and will also include the disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The JRR Tolkien Estate or its publisher."
            >
            > The Estate's attorney, Aaron Morse, adds "The settlement terms are confidential, but the agreement adequately addresses the Estate's concerns about Mr. Hillard's book."
            >
            > Sounds like a reasonable settlement to me, addressing the concerns that the Estate had while still allowing the publication to go through.
            >
            > Now if only something could be done about Hillard's prose.
            >

          • Ernest Davis
            ... It occurs to me that there is an interesting contrasting passage in Thomas Mann s short story A Man and his Dog (1918) (great story, incidentally). The
            Message 5 of 8 , May 11 6:54 AM
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              On Mon, 2 May 2011, Ernest Davis quoted The Hobbit:

              >
              > To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all.
              > There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed
              > the language they learned of elves in the days when all the world was
              > wonderful.
              >

              It occurs to me that there is an interesting contrasting passage in Thomas
              Mann's short story "A Man and his Dog" (1918) (great story,
              incidentally). The author's dog Bashan has for the first time seen a
              huntsman shoot a duck.

              I can think of large words with which to describe it, phrases we use for
              great occasions: I could say that he was thunderstruck. But I do not
              like them, I do not want to use them. The large words are worn out, when
              the great occasion comes they do not describe it. Better use the small
              ones and put into them every ounce of their weight. I will simply say
              that when Bashan heard the explosion, saw its meaning and consequence,
              he started; and it was the same start which I have seen him give a
              thousand times when something surprises him, only raised to the nth
              degree. It was a start which flung his whole body backwards with a
              right-and-left motion, so sudden that it jerked his head against his
              chest and almost bounced it off his shoulders: a start which made his
              whole body seem to be crying out: What! What! What was that? Wait a
              minute in the devil's name! What was _that_?

              Here it is the figurative "thunderstruck" that is worn out, and the
              solution is to resort to a very literal, very unpoetic, account.

              -- Ernie
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