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Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 830

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  • jchristopher@tarleton.edu
    ... Burning issues? What burning issues? (Outside of comments one way or the other on the movie.) The fight is still on over Tolkien s merits as a writer, as
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 13, 2002
      Susan Palwick wrote:

      > So I joined Mythsoc hoping I could get
      >some sense of current, burning issues in Tolkien criticism; I'd also be
      >interested in hearing from people who've already taught similar courses.
      >
      Burning issues? What burning issues? (Outside of comments one way or the
      other on the movie.)

      The fight is still on over Tolkien's merits as a writer, as you realize
      from Tom Shippey's _J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century_. I was on the
      list of people who made suggestions for the latest edition of _The Norton
      Anthology of English Literature_, and I suggested "Leaf by Niggle" be
      included--you'll notice that Tolkien is not even mentioned. So much for my
      advice. (I may have played a part in keeping _The Duchess of Malfi_ in
      vol. 1.)

      Someone recently on an email discussion, perhaps this one--I don't
      remember--said that Tolkien's non-Germanic sources need to be discussed.
      Last month in an essay on Tolkien for a schoolbook publisher, I mentioned
      in passing that _Iluvatar_ may have been influenced by _Jupiter_, from the
      "father" element in each--and from the sound, although I didn't say it.
      (Probably someone has made this point earlier.) This, I suppose, might be
      an example of the sort of supplement to Shippey's _Road to Middle-earth_
      that is worth investigation. After all, in the _Letters_ Tolkien said he
      liked Latin.

      The studies of Tolkien's linguistics continue apace, although the number of
      readers of (for example) _Parma Eldalamberon_ remain limited.

      David Bratman, in a review in the latest _Mythprint_, has said (quite
      rightly) that Ursula K. Le Guin's essay on the narrative technique in Book
      1, Ch. 8 of _The Lord of the Rings_ is excellent. (This is in her essay
      "Rhythmic Pattern in _The Lord of the Rings_" in Karen Haber's _Meditations
      on Middle-earth_ [2001].) Obviously, there is more to do in this area of
      study--soon there will be a dissertation on the topic, I feel sure. But it
      probably won't be a clearly written as Le Guin's essay. (One could tie this
      to the Inklings' interest in discussing narrative technique.)

      This is all that occurs to me at the moment.

      --Joe
    • SusanPal@aol.com
      In a message dated 2/13/2002 9:41:26 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... Ha! Well, if there are none, that s good to know too. But thank you for everything you
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 13, 2002
        In a message dated 2/13/2002 9:41:26 AM Pacific Standard Time,
        jchristopher@... writes:


        > Burning issues? What burning issues? (Outside of comments one way or the
        > other on the movie.)
        >

        Ha! Well, if there are none, that's good to know too. But thank you for
        everything you mentioned!

        > The fight is still on over Tolkien's merits as a writer, as you realize
        > from Tom Shippey's _J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century_.

        I realized it even without reading Shippey, which I still have to do (shame,
        shame: but we all have huge books-to-be-read lists, yes?). When my chair
        agreed to let me teach the Tolkien course -- instead of freshman comp, I
        might add -- he couldn't resist adding, "But I should think you'd set your
        sights higher." And this from someone who'd told me not ten minutes before
        that he hasn't even read Tolkien! How can one presume to have an informed
        opinion on a book one hasn't read? That's the kind of thing we try to teach
        our students NOT to do, right?

        Right?

        *Sigh*

        (Meanwhile, a senior colleague came dancing up to me in the hallway yesterday
        and said, "I want to *take* your Tolkien course!" So there!)

        Susan


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Lenander
        on 2/13/02 4:15 AM, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com at mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote: And don t we have a monthly Discussion Group in Reno? We did, at least at one
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 13, 2002
          on 2/13/02 4:15 AM, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com at mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          wrote:
          And don't we have a monthly Discussion Group in Reno? We did, at least at
          one point. You might want to attend a meeting at some point--even if it's
          not exactly you're regular cup of tea, they might like to discuss one of
          your books some time, with you. Or you might get some different
          perspectives on Tolkien or even Charles Williams (or "Chuck" as some in the
          Society fondly know him). Or some of your students might want to know about
          the local DG. --David Lenander, Former Secretary for DGs.

          > Message: 1
          > Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 19:39:38 EST
          > From: SusanPal@...
          > Subject: Intro
          >
          > Hello! My name's Susan Palwick and I teach English (lit and writing) at the
          > University of Nevada, Reno -- where, I just learned to my delight, I'll be
          > teaching a Tolkien course next fall. (I plan to concentrate on LotR, the
          > Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.) So I joined Mythsoc hoping I could get
          > some sense of current, burning issues in Tolkien criticism; I'd also be
          > interested in hearing from people who've already taught similar courses.
          >
          > Oh, yes, and I'm also a Lewis fan from way back, although I'm sadly
          > unfamiliar with Charles Williams. And I write SF/F myself, and am currently
          > teaching a grad seminar in writing speculative fiction (where we've talked
          > quite a bit about Tolkien), so I guess I fit in here in a number of ways!
          >
          > Looking forward to getting to know all of you.
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Susan

          -- David Lenander
          293 Selby Ave. St. Paul, MN 55102-1811
          d-lena@... 651-292-8887
        • SusanPal@aol.com
          In a message dated 2/13/2002 4:55:58 PM Pacific Standard Time, d-lena@umn.edu ... Your website says you do, but I tried to e-mail them a few days ago and
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 13, 2002
            In a message dated 2/13/2002 4:55:58 PM Pacific Standard Time, d-lena@...
            writes:


            > And don't we have a monthly Discussion Group in Reno?

            Your website says you do, but I tried to e-mail them a few days ago and
            haven't heard anything back, so I wonder if it's defunct. I did forward to
            my grad students (the ones taking my seminar in writing speculative fiction)
            the Mythcon CFP . . . not sure I'll be able to get to that, but it sure
            sounds like fun! (I also really want to go to Wiscon; we'll see if I make it
            to that one, either.)

            Thanks for the thought!

            Susan


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Trudy Shaw
            ... From: jchristopher@tarleton.edu To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 11:42 AM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 830 ... Oh, I
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 14, 2002
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: jchristopher@...
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 11:42 AM
              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 830


              Susan Palwick wrote:

              >> So I joined Mythsoc hoping I could get
              >>some sense of current, burning issues in Tolkien criticism; I'd also be
              >>interested in hearing from people who've already taught similar courses.
              >>

              >Burning issues? What burning issues? (Outside of comments one way or the
              >other on the movie.)

              Oh, I don't know. There was a pretty intense umm... discussion... here not too long ago about what it was that Hal really saw on the north moors. 8-)



              >Someone recently on an email discussion, perhaps this one--I don't
              >remember--said that Tolkien's non-Germanic sources need to be discussed.
              The one disagreement I've heard some people have with Shippey is that he puts _too much_ weight on Tolkien's Anglo-Saxon influences, almost to the exclusion of others. I'm certainly not knowledgeable enough to have my own opinion on the matter, but it is, at least, a current issue, so might be interesting to look into.

              --Trudy


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