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The Golden Key , a bit of pub talk with a wild Tolkien suggestion

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  • ssigrist
    Friends, 0n the theme of brief fantasy, I am going to make what might be the sort of assertion one makes in pub conversation, has everyone a pinta harp in
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 24, 2002
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      Friends,
      0n the theme of brief fantasy, I am going
      to make what might be the sort of assertion
      one makes in pub conversation, has everyone a
      pinta harp in hand?, and let it be we are
      in Sophia's pub...
      But that George Macdonald said best and
      most fully what he had to say on the human
      condition( and all the other worlds too) in
      The Golden Key.

      0f course if one really wanted pub argument
      one could say
      "Tolkien expresses most fully what he has
      to say on the human condition in Leaf
      by Niggle and in the Myth of the Tower
      in The Monsters and the Critics"...
      <this of course COULD be asserted
      inasmuch as LOTR is represented within
      both items isnt it?>
      but I will not be so bold as that. NOR
      would I of course freely give up LOTR.

      Could John be quintessentially represented
      by one story?
      I think not, though the end of Ugly Bird
      is close...

      '"Lady I never loved witchcraft
      Never dealt in privy wile
      But evermore held the high way
      0f love and honor free from guile.."

      'And though I couldnt bring myself to look
      back to the place I was leaving forever,I knew
      that Winnie watched me and that she
      listened,listened, till she had to
      strain here ears to catch the last
      faintest end of my song...'
      +Seraphim Joseph Sigrist
    • David S. Bratman
      ... Indeed, that would be a bold statement. There isn t anything like a definitive answer to this, so it s all the more an interesting question for
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 24, 2002
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        At 12:27 PM 4/24/2002 , ssigrist wrote:

        >0f course if one really wanted pub argument
        >one could say
        >"Tolkien expresses most fully what he has
        >to say on the human condition in Leaf
        >by Niggle and in the Myth of the Tower
        >in The Monsters and the Critics"...
        ><this of course COULD be asserted
        >inasmuch as LOTR is represented within
        >both items isnt it?>
        > but I will not be so bold as that. NOR
        >would I of course freely give up LOTR.

        Indeed, that would be a bold statement. There isn't anything like a
        definitive answer to this, so it's all the more an interesting question for
        discussion.

        What your suggestions seem to me to offer is Tolkien's most concise
        statements of why he wrote, as a literary artist. For his quintessential
        statement of what he was writing _about_ (which I see as closer to what you
        mean by "the human condition"), I would - not without a touch of regret at
        missing the end of "Leaf" - turn to "Smith of Wootton Major." Over the
        years I'm more and more convinced this story perfectly encapsules what
        Tolkien was really trying to say in terms of literary theme, and also that
        in short form it embodies Tolkien's notion of what a fairy story should be.
        (As "Leaf" does not - it's not a fairy story, but a story _about_ fairy
        stories. "Smith" is both.)

        David Bratman
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