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Re: [mythsoc] Mainstream literary acknowledgements of Tolkien and Lewis

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  • David S. Bratman
    ... I ve looked at this book, and should have mentioned it. The selection process was very curious: it s mostly authors of high literary reputation, either
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30 5:24 PM
      On Sat, 30 Sep 2000 WendellWag@... wrote:

      > Just recently I came across two mainstream literary mentions of Tolkien and
      > Lewis that seemed surprisingly favorable. One was in a new reference book
      > called _The salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors_ ...
      > Tolkien is one of the authors discussed, and the
      > interesting thing is that he's discussed favorably and with the same
      > enthusiasm as, say, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, or Thomas Pynchon. Most
      > mainstream literary sorts in the past have barely even deigned to notice
      > Tolkien's existence.

      I've looked at this book, and should have mentioned it. The selection
      process was very curious: it's mostly authors of high literary
      reputation, either famous or unknown, with a few megahit monsters like
      King and Crichton salted in. Some areas of literature are scanted, and I
      was particularly struck by the difference in their treatment of fantasy
      and of science fiction. There are a good number, and a good selection,
      of SF authors, from Philip K. Dick among deceased authors down to the
      cyberpunk stars Gibson and Stephenson; but apart from Tolkien, King (if
      you count him as fantasy), and Le Guin (who was surely chosen as an sf
      author) there are no genre fantasy writers at all. I suppose that Robert
      Jordan is not enough of a megahitter to compare with King and Crichton;
      but the total omission of anyone of the order of Beagle or McKillip,
      where authors of similar fame and reputation in other areas of literature
      are present, suggests that they merely didn't have any editor who knows
      fantasy at all. Against that, the fact that someone remembered Tolkien,
      and had the guts to include him, weighs little. He may merely have been
      another megahit courtesy turn. (None of the entries I read are snide.)

      Yes, please do review that Louis Markos tape course on Lewis.

      David Bratman
      - not responsible for the following advertisement -
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