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Re: [mythsoc] Article in The New Yorker about Tolkien (or whatever)

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  • Sara Ciborski
    Well, I m going to take this opportunity (the noting of Gopnik s praise for THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING) to express my opinion of that book, which (my opinion) I
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 4, 2011
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      Well, I'm going to take this opportunity (the noting of Gopnik's praise for THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING) to express my opinion of that book, which (my opinion) I usually suppress because it seems to be shared by so few:     it was one of the worst books I've ever read, or tried to read---I gave up not too far along when there was something about the brutal murder of a unicorn. Just now I checked Amazon to see what negative reviewers, if any, may have said,  to remind me about its defects. Comments include that it is a desecration, a dull-witted hatchet job on a thing (the legend) of uncommon beauty, and that it's full of pop culture references that jar you out of the story and that it's very boring (lots of them say that).  The minority view for sure, but I agree with it.
      Sara Ciborski

      On Sat, Dec 3, 2011 at 11:09 AM, Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote:
       

      Wendell,
      It’s worth reading.  Gopnik anecdotalizes Tolkien’s teaching foibles, then moves on. He gleefully slags the Eragon book as the pastichiest of the imitators.  His final point is worth discussion: he suggests the one work that may be superior to LotR in the medieval fantasy is T.H. White’s THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING for adding elements Tolkien lacks, such as sex. 
       
      Mike
       
      Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2011 9:55 AM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Article in The New Yorker about Tolkien (or whatever)
       
       

      There is an article in the December 5th issue of The New Yorker by Adam Gopnik.  It's about Tolkien and, um, recent young adult fantasy . . . or something.  I'm not sure.  It looks like such a mess that I'm not going to bother to read it.  If someone else does, perhaps they might want to discuss it.
       
      Wendell Wagner




      --
      Sara Ciborski
      603-313-2625
      655 Gilsum Mine Road
      Alstead, NH 03602
    • David Bratman
      At someone else s impetus, I ve performed a full-scale fisking of Gopnik s article. If you care to read it, it s at
      Message 2 of 18 , Dec 5, 2011
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        At someone else's impetus, I've performed a full-scale fisking of Gopnik's
        article. If you care to read it, it's at
        http://kalimac.blogspot.com/2011/12/tolkien-reconstructed.html
      • Doug Kane
        ... Nice title. ;-) dck
        Message 3 of 18 , Dec 5, 2011
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        • Bill West
          Further discussion on the New Yorker blog: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/backissues/2011/11/tolkien-tedious-or-tremendous.html As for Paolini, I tried
          Message 4 of 18 , Dec 5, 2011
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            Further discussion on the New Yorker blog:

            http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/backissues/2011/11/tolkien-tedious-or-tremendous.html

            As for Paolini, I tried to read the first book but couldn't finish it.
            However it is quite an accomplishment for a then 16year old(or
            thereabout in age). I hope he finally attended
            college and I have hopes that his writing will improve with maturity.

            Bill West
          • Croft, Janet B.
            ... Nice title. ;-) dck **And nice fisking. Janet ... The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
            Message 5 of 18 , Dec 5, 2011
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              > http://kalimac.blogspot.com/2011/12/tolkien-reconstructed.html

              Nice title. ;-)

              dck

              **And nice fisking.

              Janet

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

              The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
            • nmb@kingcon.com
              I just joined the group and noticed you discussed Adam Gopnik s article in the New Yorker a couple of months ago. I too thought it was a mess, but for
              Message 6 of 18 , Jan 27, 2012
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                I just joined the group and noticed you discussed Adam Gopnik's article in the New Yorker a couple of months ago. I too thought it was a mess, but for different reasons. Here's a letter I wrote to the magazine, which unfortunately they didn't publish.

                Adam Gopnik, in his review of Christopher Paolini's "Inheritance" ("The Dragon's Egg," December 5th), seems to have muddled up his Eddas and Sagas. There is nothing remotely approaching "big Icelandic romance" in the Elder or Poetic Edda. This anonymous collection of obscure and disjointed medieval poems is hard to even make sense of without reference to the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, written c. 1220, or to the anonymous Volsunga Saga. "Big Icelandic romance" better refers to another work of Snorri's, Heimskringla, his collection of sagas of the kings of Norway, or to Egil's Saga, also attributed to Snorri. If Paolini's Eragon books "are effectively co-written with Tolkien," then Tolkien's books are effectively co-written with Snorri Sturluson. Snorri created the character of the wandering wizard and loremaster with the long grey beard, broad-brimmed hat, and magical staff; he called him Odin. Tolkien called Gandalf an "Odinic wanderer." It was on Snorri's templates that Tolkien modeled his dwarves and trolls, heroes and kings, shapeshifters, wargs, dragon, valkyries, giant eagles, magic swords, and cursed ring of power. And he expected his readers to know it. Reviewing "The Hobbit," C.S. Lewis wrote, it "has the air of inventing nothing. [Tolkien] has studied trolls and dragons at first hand and describes them with that fidelity which is worth oceans of glib `originality.'" Lewis was also the one to compare Tolkien's work to a marriage between "The Wind and the Willows" and—not the Elder Edda—but the grand and sweeping Njal's Saga.

                Nancy Marie Brown
                author of The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman (Harcourt 2007) and the soon-to-be-published Song of the VIkings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myth (Palgrave-MacMillan 2012)
              • Travis Buchanan
                Excellent response Nancy, and thanks for the information! Cheers, Travis Not all those who wander are lost. - J. R. R. Tolkien ... Excellent response Nancy,
                Message 7 of 18 , Jan 27, 2012
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                  Excellent response Nancy, and thanks for the information!

                  Cheers,

                  Travis



                  Not all those who wander are lost.
                                          - J. R. R. Tolkien



                  On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 1:40 PM, <nmb@...> wrote:
                   



                  I just joined the group and noticed you discussed Adam Gopnik's article in the New Yorker a couple of months ago. I too thought it was a mess, but for different reasons. Here's a letter I wrote to the magazine, which unfortunately they didn't publish.

                  Adam Gopnik, in his review of Christopher Paolini's "Inheritance" ("The Dragon's Egg," December 5th), seems to have muddled up his Eddas and Sagas. There is nothing remotely approaching "big Icelandic romance" in the Elder or Poetic Edda. This anonymous collection of obscure and disjointed medieval poems is hard to even make sense of without reference to the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, written c. 1220, or to the anonymous Volsunga Saga. "Big Icelandic romance" better refers to another work of Snorri's, Heimskringla, his collection of sagas of the kings of Norway, or to Egil's Saga, also attributed to Snorri. If Paolini's Eragon books "are effectively co-written with Tolkien," then Tolkien's books are effectively co-written with Snorri Sturluson. Snorri created the character of the wandering wizard and loremaster with the long grey beard, broad-brimmed hat, and magical staff; he called him Odin. Tolkien called Gandalf an "Odinic wanderer." It was on Snorri's templates that Tolkien modeled his dwarves and trolls, heroes and kings, shapeshifters, wargs, dragon, valkyries, giant eagles, magic swords, and cursed ring of power. And he expected his readers to know it. Reviewing "The Hobbit," C.S. Lewis wrote, it "has the air of inventing nothing. [Tolkien] has studied trolls and dragons at first hand and describes them with that fidelity which is worth oceans of glib `originality.'" Lewis was also the one to compare Tolkien's work to a marriage between "The Wind and the Willows" and—not the Elder Edda—but the grand and sweeping Njal's Saga.

                  Nancy Marie Brown
                  author of The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman (Harcourt 2007) and the soon-to-be-published Song of the VIkings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myth (Palgrave-MacMillan 2012)


                • davise@cs.nyu.edu
                  Hi Nancy! Welcome to Mythsoc! ... I suppose that you also noticed that we discussed your article Practical Education and your book The Abacus and the
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jan 28, 2012
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                    Hi Nancy! Welcome to Mythsoc!

                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, nmb@... wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I just joined the group and noticed you discussed Adam Gopnik's article in the New Yorker a couple of months ago.

                    I suppose that you also noticed that we discussed your article "Practical Education" and your book "The Abacus and the Cross" back in November.

                    I have since then read "The Abacus and the Cross" (biography of Pope Sylvester II), and immensely enjoyed it.

                    -- Ernie
                  • nmb@kingcon.com
                    What a nice welcome! I should have found this group years ago. --Nancy Marie Brown
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jan 30, 2012
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                      What a nice welcome! I should have found this group years ago.
                      --Nancy Marie Brown

                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, davise@... wrote:
                      > I suppose that you also noticed that we discussed your article "Practical Education" and your book "The Abacus and the Cross" back in November.
                      >
                      > I have since then read "The Abacus and the Cross" (biography of Pope Sylvester II), and immensely enjoyed it.
                      >
                      > -- Ernie
                      >
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