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Re: [mythsoc] "… in defiance of Kipling"

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  • scribblerworks
    One would think that a very quick search could tell Bremer whether or not Tolkien was the professor Graves was speaking of. Heck, I just did so. Graves went to
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 5, 2013
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      One would think that a very quick search could tell Bremer whether or not
      Tolkien was the professor Graves was speaking of. Heck, I just did so.
      Graves went to Oxford in 1919 after the war. Tolkien did not take up a
      position at Oxford until 1925, apparently.

      So, no, NOT Tolkien saying such a very un-Tolkien-like thing.

      And frankly, because it was such a simple matter TO check that
      speculation, it irritates me to learn that it was inserted in to a
      supposedly scholarly work WITHOUT checking.

      Bah humbug, and what is this age coming to?
      ;)

      Sarah


      > On Jun 5, 2013, at 12:25 PM, Margaret Dean wrote:
      >> No definite knowledge, but I can easily imagine how the quoted verse
      >> could be misattributed to Kipling, by Tolkien or anyone else. It sounds
      >> just like one of his "Barrack-room Ballads" even if it isn't!
      >
      > Interesting. I'm not that familiar with Kipling's verse (of indeed most of
      > his work intended for adults) and so hadn't picked up on the fact that it
      > was a false quote. Thanks for the revelation, Pat.
      >
      > Speaking of misattributing, came across an example of that this week while
      > reading John Bremer's C. S. LEWIS, POETRY, AND THE GREAT WAR (one of the
      > finalist for the Mythopoeic Award). At one point, speaking of Robert
      > Graves' student days at Oxford, after he'd come back from the trenches,
      > Bremer says:
      >
      >
      > "Graves found the English LIterature course tedious, especially the
      > eighteenth century poets. The Anglo-Saxon lecturer (was it Tolkien?) was
      > candid and said his subject was of purely linguistic interest, holding
      > that there was little or no Anglo-Saxon writing that had any literary
      > merit. Graves disagreed, admiring both "Beowulf" and "Judith". (p. 149)
      >
      >
      > I'd say "Almost certainly not!", given that Tolkien's great contribution
      > to Old English studies was his insistence that works such as BEOWULF be
      > read as literature, not just as historical or philological documents. I
      > can see the Lowell getting misascribed to Kipling, since it sounds rather
      > Kiplingesque (esp. in its altered SECRET VICE form), but it's odd the
      > un-Tolkienesque things that get ascribed to Tolkien. Is that just the
      > price of fame: folks attach unlikely stories to you?
      >
      > --John R.
    • Jeanette Rost
      Bah humbug, and what is this age coming to? ;) Sarah Quite possibly what Tolkien himself would say today! Jeanette
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 5, 2013
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        Bah humbug, and what is this age coming to?
        ;)

        Sarah

        Quite possibly what Tolkien himself would say today!

        Jeanette


        On 6/5/2013 5:25 PM, scribbler@... wrote:
         

        One would think that a very quick search could tell Bremer whether or not
        Tolkien was the professor Graves was speaking of. Heck, I just did so.
        Graves went to Oxford in 1919 after the war. Tolkien did not take up a
        position at Oxford until 1925, apparently.

        So, no, NOT Tolkien saying such a very un-Tolkien-like thing.

        And frankly, because it was such a simple matter TO check that
        speculation, it irritates me to learn that it was inserted in to a
        supposedly scholarly work WITHOUT checking.

        Bah humbug, and what is this age coming to?
        ;)

        Sarah

        > On Jun 5, 2013, at 12:25 PM, Margaret Dean wrote:
        >> No definite knowledge, but I can easily imagine how the quoted verse
        >> could be misattributed to Kipling, by Tolkien or anyone else. It sounds
        >> just like one of his "Barrack-room Ballads" even if it isn't!
        >
        > Interesting. I'm not that familiar with Kipling's verse (of indeed most of
        > his work intended for adults) and so hadn't picked up on the fact that it
        > was a false quote. Thanks for the revelation, Pat.
        >
        > Speaking of misattributing, came across an example of that this week while
        > reading John Bremer's C. S. LEWIS, POETRY, AND THE GREAT WAR (one of the
        > finalist for the Mythopoeic Award). At one point, speaking of Robert
        > Graves' student days at Oxford, after he'd come back from the trenches,
        > Bremer says:
        >
        >
        > "Graves found the English LIterature course tedious, especially the
        > eighteenth century poets. The Anglo-Saxon lecturer (was it Tolkien?) was
        > candid and said his subject was of purely linguistic interest, holding
        > that there was little or no Anglo-Saxon writing that had any literary
        > merit. Graves disagreed, admiring both "Beowulf" and "Judith". (p. 149)
        >
        >
        > I'd say "Almost certainly not!", given that Tolkien's great contribution
        > to Old English studies was his insistence that works such as BEOWULF be
        > read as literature, not just as historical or philological documents. I
        > can see the Lowell getting misascribed to Kipling, since it sounds rather
        > Kiplingesque (esp. in its altered SECRET VICE form), but it's odd the
        > un-Tolkienesque things that get ascribed to Tolkien. Is that just the
        > price of fame: folks attach unlikely stories to you?
        >
        > --John R.


      • John Rateliff
        ... Actually, Tolkien was tutoring at Oxford throughout all of 1919 and the first half of 1920 (cf. Scull & Hammond CHRONOLOGY p. 107, 112), so it is possible.
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 5, 2013
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          On Jun 5, 2013, at 3:25 PM, scribbler@... wrote:
          > One would think that a very quick search could tell Bremer whether or not
          > Tolkien was the professor Graves was speaking of. Heck, I just did so.
          > Graves went to Oxford in 1919 after the war. Tolkien did not take up a
          > position at Oxford until 1925, apparently.
          >
          > So, no, NOT Tolkien saying such a very un-Tolkien-like thing.
          >
          > And frankly, because it was such a simple matter TO check that
          > speculation, it irritates me to learn that it was inserted in to a
          > supposedly scholarly work WITHOUT checking.

          Actually, Tolkien was tutoring at Oxford throughout all of 1919 and the first half of 1920 (cf. Scull & Hammond CHRONOLOGY p. 107, 112), so it is possible. It's even possible that JRRT didn't hold the same views in 1919 as he did in 1936. It's just very, very unlikely. I think it's pretty clear Bremer is just speculating, and as it happens is spectacularly wrong. It happens.

          Which of course makes me wonder just who this wrong-headed Old English tutor was, anyway.

          --John R.
        • David Bratman
          ... I knew of this, and read that as meaning lecturing.
          Message 4 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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            "Wayne G. Hammond" wrote:

            >The evidence of this period (so far as we're aware of it)
            >indicates that Tolkien tutored only students from the women's
            >colleges, and gave no lectures, though he did briefly teach a
            >class on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

            I knew of this, and read that as meaning lecturing.
          • Wayne G. Hammond
              ... it) ... women s ... teach a ... I knew of this, and read that as meaning lecturing. At Tolkien s Oxford, lectures and classes weren t the same. Lectures
            Message 5 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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              >The evidence of this period (so far as we're aware of it)
              >indicates that Tolkien tutored only students from the women's
              >colleges, and gave no lectures, though he did briefly teach a
              >class on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

              I knew of this, and read that as meaning lecturing.

              At Tolkien's Oxford, lectures and classes weren't the same. Lectures were given to (at least potentially) large groups of students, with no questions taken or work assigned, and could be freely attended by any member of the University; this was efficient (from an administrative point of view) and egalitarian. Classes, in contrast, were conducted with small groups of specifically enrolled students, with the teacher pausing or willing to be interrupted for questions. Some sources refer to classes as group conferences or seminars, and some include both seminars and classes, which we take to be the same thing except, probably, for the number of students involved. More personalized instruction would be given by one's tutor, or tutors, who would lead discussions, assign and critique essays, and recommend readings and lectures to attend.

              Anyway, by these definitions (which, as the undersigned were discussing earlier today, may differ between then and now, and between the English and American experiences of higher education) Tolkien did no lecturing in 1919-20.

              Wayne & Christina

            • David Bratman
              You re defining the difference, then, between lecturing and lecturing . That level of minute precision of nomenclature I can t follow you on. If he talked for
              Message 6 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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                You're defining the difference, then, between lecturing and "lecturing".  That level of minute precision of nomenclature I can't follow you on.  If he talked for an hour to a class, whether he was willing to be interrupted and enter into side discussions or not, he was lecturing, whether it was what the university formally called a "lecture" or not.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: "Wayne G. Hammond"
                Sent: Jun 15, 2013 3:05 PM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: "in defiance of Kipling"



                 

                >The evidence of this period (so far as we're aware of it)
                >indicates that Tolkien tutored only students from the women's
                >colleges, and gave no lectures, though he did briefly teach a
                >class on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

                I knew of this, and read that as meaning lecturing.

                At Tolkien's Oxford, lectures and classes weren't the same. Lectures were given to (at least potentially) large groups of students, with no questions taken or work assigned, and could be freely attended by any member of the University; this was efficient (from an administrative point of view) and egalitarian. Classes, in contrast, were conducted with small groups of specifically enrolled students, with the teacher pausing or willing to be interrupted for questions. Some sources refer to classes as group conferences or seminars, and some include both seminars and classes, which we take to be the same thing except, probably, for the number of students involved. More personalized instruction would be given by one's tutor, or tutors, who would lead discussions, assign and critique essays, and recommend readings and lectures to attend.

                Anyway, by these definitions (which, as the undersigned were discussing earlier today, may differ between then and now, and between the English and American experiences of higher education) Tolkien did no lecturing in 1919-20.

                Wayne & Christina



              • Wayne G. Hammond
                  You re defining the difference, then, between lecturing and lecturing .  That level of minute precision of nomenclature I can t follow you on.  If he
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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                  You're defining the difference, then, between lecturing and "lecturing".  That level of minute precision of nomenclature I can't follow you on.  If he talked for an hour to a class, whether he was willing to be interrupted and enter into side discussions or not, he was lecturing, whether it was what the university formally called a "lecture" or not.

                  It would have been a meaningful difference to the extent that a lecture was public -- so Graves could have attended like any other Oxford student -- while a class was not. Theoretically, Graves could have enrolled, but the number of students in a class was limited. The distinction, anyway, is important when discussing Oxford of the time, because one encounters these terms in the literature. Of course, we understand what you mean: it's all teaching.

                  Wayne & Christina

                • Troels Forchhammer
                  ... Would there have been a difference also in what kind of locations were used for lectures and classes? In my experience the difference between what I might
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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                    On 15 June 2013 21:51, Wayne G. Hammond <Wayne.G.Hammond@...> wrote:

                    You're defining the difference, then, between lecturing and "lecturing".  That level of minute precision of nomenclature I can't follow you on.  If he talked for an hour to a class, whether he was willing to be interrupted and enter into side discussions or not, he was lecturing, whether it was what the university formally called a "lecture" or not.

                    It would have been a meaningful difference to the extent that a lecture was public -- so Graves could have attended like any other Oxford student -- while a class was not. Theoretically, Graves could have enrolled, but the number of students in a class was limited. The distinction, anyway, is important when discussing Oxford of the time, because one encounters these terms in the literature. Of course, we understand what you mean: it's all teaching.

                    Would there have been a difference also in what kind of locations were used for lectures and classes? In my experience the difference between what I might call a lecture theatre (usually with built up rows of seats for the audience) and a class room (with everything at the same level — possibly with a raised dais for the teacher) means quite a lot to the dynamics of teaching (the difference you describe sound quite like the distinction we had between lectures and smaller “classes” when I was at university where different locations were invariably used for the two types of teaching, though of course things were called by different names at a Danish university). 

                    /Troels

                    --
                        Love while you've got
                            love to give.
                        Live while you've got
                            life to live.
                     - Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/
                  • Wayne G. Hammond
                    Would there have been a difference also in what kind of locations were used for lectures and classes? In my experience the difference between what I might call
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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                      Would there have been a difference also in what kind of locations were used for lectures and classes? In my experience the difference between what I might call a lecture theatre (usually with built up rows of seats for the audience) and a class room (with everything at the same level — possibly with a raised dais for the teacher) means quite a lot to the dynamics of teaching (the difference you describe sound quite like the distinction we had between lectures and smaller “classes” when I was at university where different locations were invariably used for the two types of teaching, though of course things were called by different names at a Danish university).

                      Lectures required larger rooms, though the size naturally would have varied according to location, and perhaps depending on the subject and the seniority, or popularity, of the lecturer. As a professor, Tolkien usually lectured in the Examination Schools, a building in the High Street which as the name suggests was (and is) also used for sitting exams. During the war, Tolkien lectured in the Taylor Institution in St Giles'. We note in our Chronology the locations where Tolkien taught, and where he was taught as a student, as far as we could discover them. His 1920 class on Sir Gawain was conducted at 40 Broad Street, at that time a former doctor's surgery occupied by the University of Oxford School of Geography, later one of a group of houses demolished to make way for the New Bodleian Library.

                      Wayne & Christina

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