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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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