Re: [mythsoc] CJRT interview/article in Le Monde
- Personally, I see very little talk of the films in either Mythprint or Amon Hen (the UK Tolkien Society newsletter). Certainly no film fans 'badgering with devotion'.So yes, I think it is very possible to turn one's head away. Where to? The books, for a start. I wasn't interested in the Olympics being held in my back garden in 2012, so I didn't watch TV or the news for a month. I don't like adverts, so I don't watch TV channels with adverts. I'm not interested in emails about C.S. Lewis on this list, so I skip them. In each case, job done.The joy of a pluralist society as it applies to the arts is that those who enjoy something can be catered to, and those who don't do not have to watch/listen/read.And incidentally, I wasn't suggesting that 'movie fans should enthuse all they like...while those not so inclided shoul[d] just shut up' (not in that post at least). I am not sure how you read that between my lines as written. I was merely completing a quote by Christopher Tolkien, where I felt that his most important point had been unfairly cut.John----- Original Message -----From: David BratmanSent: Monday, December 10, 2012 11:43 AMSubject: Re: [mythsoc] CJRT interview/article in Le Monde
Unfortunately there is nowhere to turn one's head away _to_. Unless one wishes to live in seclusion in rural France and not participate in e-mail lists. Are you seriously suggesting that those distressed by the movies quit a Society (and its e-mail list) that is specifically devoted to Tolkien and his book, because the movie fans won't stop badgering us with their devotion even here? The only other solution would be to ban discussion of the movie from the Society, which would be equally unfair, and impossible to enforce.
But the suggestion that movie fans should enthuse all they like, anywhere they like, while those not so inclined shoul just shut up regardless of whether they're inclined to or not, is really rich.
I've made my position clear already: I will stop criticizing the movies in their capacity as Tolkien adaptations when others stop praising them in their capacity as Tolkien adaptations, and not before.
From: John Davis
Sent: Dec 10, 2012 1:39 AM
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] CJRT interview/article in Le Monde
Hi David,You missed out the final sentence of that quote, which seems sensible advice to those who dislike the films:"...There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away."John----- Original Message -----From: David EmersonTo: Mythsoc listSent: Saturday, December 08, 2012 4:12 PMSubject: [mythsoc] CJRT interview/article in Le Monde
' "Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time," Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. "The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing." '
- John Rateliff has given a more authoritative word, if coming from Roger Lancelyn Green, as well as a very sensible perspective. (He seems endowed with great sense, judging from his postings.) I had felt because of Tolkien's later letters (e.g., no. 252 to his son Michael) and Carpenter's biography (and Colin Duriez and others who follow him) that the 'cooling' (word first used by Carpenter?) in Tolkien and Lewis's relationship began or was accelerated by the arrival of Charles Williams in Oxford during the war, and the immediacy with which he and Lewis became intimate friends. It is popular knowledge of course that Tolkien wasn't fond of the Narnia stories, but I had never encountered the opinion offered by Bruce Charlton on the blog (http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/2012/08/timing-and-causes-of-breakdown-of.html) that Lewis's writing of The Chronicles was the breaking point in their relationship, or that Tolkien saw that as a violation of their original pact to both write some fiction where the chief characters discover or enact myth, which Lewis finished in good time (his Ransom trilogy under the theme of space-travel) and Tolkien--'that great but dilatory and unmethodical man', as Lewis commented in a letter on whether Tolkien's contribution to their agreement would ever be completed--never did (his The Notional Club Papers, under the theme of time-travel). Neither did Tolkien approve of several other of Lewis's works and certainly was bothered by Lewis's (mostly unsought) position as a popular articulater and defender of 'mere Christianity' to a generation (I think because he thought it improper for one without professional theological training to assume such a role (Austin Farrer would have been better suited, from the Anglican position, I assume Tolkien would say (indeed if he did not say so himself somewhere))--even if such a role was foisted upon Lewis--and he disagreed with many of Lewis's theological views due to their differing from traditional Catholic dogma--for example, in Letter 83 (1944) Tolkien commented that 'there is a good deal of Ulster still left in C.S.L. if hidden from himself'; and Tolkien was working on a commentary of objections to views presented Lewis's Letters to Malcolm which he never finished or shared with him, but which he was privately referring to as 'The Ulsterior Motive'). I would still guess (though Charlton has disagreed) that Tolkien was somewhat jealous over Lewis's quick and intimate friendship with Williams, which somewhat displaced him as an influence on Lewis, as well as Lewis's productivity and growing popularity beginning with his war broadcasts and the publication of The Screwtape Letters (1942), which incidentally was the only of his works ever dedicated to Tolkien. That, based on my limited exposure to the literature, is the explanation of the beginning of the 'cooling' with the most evidence, including Tolkien's own recollections about the arrival of Williams in Oxford and his (spoiling) influence over Lewis's writing (again see Letter 252). But Rateliff's common sense observation certainly also seems right, that 'friendships are complicated, and the ending of a long-time one is tragic but hardly unprecedented or strange', and so accumulative and thus difficult to trace to a specific event or point in time, as well as the apparent testimony of Roger Lancelyn Green Rateliff relayed by Rateliff that 'the cooling of the Lewis/Tolkien friendship was mutual, which seems to be far more likely than that Tolkien didn't like something Lewis had written and unfriended him on the spot'.TravisOn Sun, Dec 23, 2012 at 7:27 AM, John Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:On Dec 21, 2012, at 2:00 PM, dale nelson wrote:Thanks for the link, Dale. Having just read the post and skimmed the comments (what do those folks have against Spenser, anyway?), have to say I'm entirely unconvinced that the breakdown of a friendship of twenty-plus years' standing can be easily dated and traced to a single simple event. In some cases, yes; in this particular one, no. Roger Lancelyn Green told me the cooling of the Lewis/Tolkien friendship was mutual, which seems to be far more likely than that Tolkien didn't like something Lewis had written and unfriended him on the spot. Besides which the blogger's theory that CSL's starting Narnia violated the Lewis/Tolkien space-travel/time-travel pact doesn't take into account other works Lewis or Tolkien had worked on during that time that didn't fit into either category, like JRRT's FARMER GILES or CSL's THE GREAT DIVORCE, to name but two.In short, too pat. Friendships are complicated, and the ending of a long-time one is tragic but hardly unprecedented or strange.--John R.