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Two questions

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  • SusanPal@aol.com
    Hello, all! I m delurking again after several months (I m almost done with my Tolkien syllabus, and have had a jolly time; now I just hope the course goes
    Message 1 of 17 , Aug 4, 2002
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      Hello, all! I'm delurking again after several months (I'm almost done with
      my Tolkien syllabus, and have had a jolly time; now I just hope the course
      goes well!).

      Two questions:

      1. JRRT says somewhere, does he not, that the Elves are beardless? And yet
      near the end of "The Grey Havens," Cirdan the Shipwright is described as
      having a long beard. He's Elven, no? Can anyone resolve this?

      2. Does anyone know of any critical work that's been done on fantasy as
      trauma narrative? Shippey mentions in the Forward to AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY
      that many of the century's major writers (Tolkien, Orwell, Vonnegut) have
      both written in non-realistic modes and been survivors of wartime trauma. He
      says something like, "isn't that odd" (don't have the book here at the
      moment, so can't quote it exactly) but then passes over the issue. I don't
      think it's odd at all; I've done a bit of work -- a PCA paper a few years ago
      -- on how fantasy may represent the distorting aspects of trauma, the sheer
      strangeness of it, more accurately than mimesis does. I'd love to know if
      anyone else has pursued this idea. Do any of you know of anything? (It
      would make a *great* dissertation topic, if it hasn't been done; I'm devoting
      my energies to fiction rather than scholarly work, or I'd tackle it myself.)

      Thanks! I hope everyone's well!

      Susan
    • WendellWag@aol.com
      In a message dated 8/4/2002 8:56:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... I thought that that section was the least convincing part of the book. I thought that
      Message 2 of 17 , Aug 4, 2002
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        In a message dated 8/4/2002 8:56:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
        SusanPal@... writes:


        > Shippey mentions in the Forward to AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY
        > that many of the century's major writers (Tolkien, Orwell, Vonnegut) have
        > both written in non-realistic modes and been survivors of wartime trauma.

        I thought that that section was the least convincing part of the book. I
        thought that Shippey was selectively choosing authors who happened to have
        had some connection with one of the wars of the 20th century and claiming
        them as being typical examples of writers who had written in non-realistic
        modes. He was using at least three different wars (World War I, the Spanish
        Civil War, and World War II) and including people who weren't in combat at
        all. Lots of people have been, more or less, involved in one of the wars of
        the last century. Lots of people have written in non-realistic modes. I
        think that you can't really prove any sort of a connection unless you
        actually do some statistics.

        Wendell Wagner


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • SusanPal@aol.com
        In a message dated 8/4/2002 8:45:44 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Yes, that s probably true. But it s also true that many people who ve written in fabulist
        Message 3 of 17 , Aug 5, 2002
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          In a message dated 8/4/2002 8:45:44 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
          WendellWag@... writes:


          > Lots of people have been, more or less, involved in one of the wars of
          > the last century. Lots of people have written in non-realistic modes. I
          > think that you can't really prove any sort of a connection unless you
          > actually do some statistics.
          >

          Yes, that's probably true. But it's also true that many people who've
          written in fabulist modes *have* been involved in trauma (as have most
          people, arguably). What I'm interested in is the notion of fantasy as a
          "non-escapist" response to trauma; i.e., the way fantasy represents the
          distorting effect of trauma upon the world rather than running away from it.

          I hope that makes sense. It's rather early in the morning, and I haven't had
          my coffee yet!

          Susan


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David S. Bratman
          ... There s an implication buried somewhere, probably in _Unfinished Tales_, that Elves are beardless, and that s the way they re certainly normally seen. Yet
          Message 4 of 17 , Aug 5, 2002
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            At 05:55 PM 8/4/2002 , Susan wrote:

            >1. JRRT says somewhere, does he not, that the Elves are beardless? And yet
            >near the end of "The Grey Havens," Cirdan the Shipwright is described as
            >having a long beard. He's Elven, no? Can anyone resolve this?

            There's an implication buried somewhere, probably in _Unfinished Tales_,
            that Elves are beardless, and that's the way they're certainly normally
            seen. Yet this is something on which Tolkien must have changed his mind at
            some point, for at some other time he wrote that Cirdan has a beard.

            >2. Does anyone know of any critical work that's been done on fantasy as
            >trauma narrative? Shippey mentions in the Forward to AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY
            >that many of the century's major writers (Tolkien, Orwell, Vonnegut) have
            >both written in non-realistic modes and been survivors of wartime trauma. He
            >says something like, "isn't that odd" (don't have the book here at the
            >moment, so can't quote it exactly) but then passes over the issue. I don't
            >think it's odd at all; I've done a bit of work -- a PCA paper a few years ago
            >-- on how fantasy may represent the distorting aspects of trauma, the sheer
            >strangeness of it, more accurately than mimesis does. I'd love to know if
            >anyone else has pursued this idea. Do any of you know of anything? (It
            >would make a *great* dissertation topic, if it hasn't been done; I'm devoting
            >my energies to fiction rather than scholarly work, or I'd tackle it myself.)

            Unlike Wendell, I find Shippey's comments on this matter convincing. Human
            psychology is not a "Push button A, get result B" matter, and it's not
            necessary for every author who experienced war trauma to write fantasy, or
            every fantasy to be the result of war trauma (these days, in particular,
            many fantasies are the result of writers aping other writers) for there to
            be a connection. It's a distancing effect, surely, a way to face something
            better by setting it off in another place and time.

            There's a famous children's psychologist who wrote about fantasization in
            children as a result of psychological trauma. It's not the same thing, but
            it might be related. I'm not turning up anything when I try various
            permutations of my recollection of this psychologist's name, so I probably
            have it wrong.

            David Bratman
          • intyalin@aol.com
            In a message dated 8/5/2002 6:22:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Are you thinking of Bruno Bettelheim, author of THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT (1975) - ?? Kevin
            Message 5 of 17 , Aug 6, 2002
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              In a message dated 8/5/2002 6:22:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
              dbratman@... writes:


              > There's a famous children's psychologist who wrote about fantasization in
              > children as a result of psychological trauma. It's not the same thing, but
              > it might be related. I'm not turning up anything when I try various
              > permutations of my recollection of this psychologist's name, so I probably
              > have it wrong.
              >

              Are you thinking of Bruno Bettelheim, author of
              THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT (1975) - ??

              Kevin



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David S. Bratman
              ... No, though Bettelheim might be a better choice. The person I m thinking of was a woman. The name that my mind keeps sending up is Alice Duer Miller, but
              Message 6 of 17 , Aug 6, 2002
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                At 03:47 AM 8/6/2002 , Kevin wrote:
                >dbratman@... writes:
                >
                >> There's a famous children's psychologist who wrote about fantasization in
                >> children as a result of psychological trauma. It's not the same thing, but
                >> it might be related. I'm not turning up anything when I try various
                >> permutations of my recollection of this psychologist's name, so I probably
                >> have it wrong.
                >
                >Are you thinking of Bruno Bettelheim, author of
                >THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT (1975) - ??

                No, though Bettelheim might be a better choice. The person I'm thinking of
                was a woman. The name that my mind keeps sending up is Alice Duer Miller,
                but that was somebody else.

                David Bratman
              • SusanPal@aol.com
                Alice Miller is a famous child psychologist, so she s probably the one you mean! Thanks to all for your responses to my questions. I m behind on e-mail, but
                Message 7 of 17 , Aug 6, 2002
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                  Alice Miller is a famous child psychologist, so she's probably the one you mean!

                  Thanks to all for your responses to my questions. I'm behind on e-mail, but hope to catch up soon!

                  Susan
                • yarrowp
                  ... Talk to Bruce Leonard, M.D., who is a psychiatrist. I know Bruce presented a Mythcon paper on Frodo and PTSD. Write to me privately at yarrowp@ mscd.edu
                  Message 8 of 17 , Aug 6, 2002
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                    --- In mythsoc@y..., SusanPal@a... wrote:
                    >
                    Talk to Bruce Leonard, M.D., who is a psychiatrist. I know Bruce
                    presented a Mythcon paper on Frodo and PTSD. Write to me privately
                    at yarrowp@ mscd.edu (without the space) for Bruce's eddress if you
                    don't have it already.
                    Pat

                    > 2. Does anyone know of any critical work that's been done on
                    fantasy as
                    > trauma narrative? Shippey mentions in the Forward to AUTHOR OF THE
                    CENTURY
                    > that many of the century's major writers (Tolkien, Orwell,
                    Vonnegut) have
                    > both written in non-realistic modes and been survivors of wartime
                    trauma. He
                    > says something like, "isn't that odd" (don't have the book here at
                    the
                    > moment, so can't quote it exactly) but then passes over the issue.
                    I don't
                    > think it's odd at all; I've done a bit of work -- a PCA paper a few
                    years ago
                    > -- on how fantasy may represent the distorting aspects of trauma,
                    the sheer
                    > strangeness of it, more accurately than mimesis does. I'd love to
                    know if
                    > anyone else has pursued this idea. Do any of you know of
                    anything? (It
                    > would make a *great* dissertation topic, if it hasn't been done;
                    I'm devoting
                    > my energies to fiction rather than scholarly work, or I'd tackle it
                    myself.)
                    >
                    > Thanks! I hope everyone's well!
                    >
                    > Susan
                  • michael_martinez2
                    ... This whole bearded Elves issue has caused a great deal of discussion through the years. Happily, it can all be resolved with a few citations....which I
                    Message 9 of 17 , Aug 7, 2002
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                      --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:
                      > At 05:55 PM 8/4/2002 , Susan wrote:
                      >
                      > >1. JRRT says somewhere, does he not, that the Elves are
                      > > beardless? And yet near the end of "The Grey Havens," Cirdan
                      > > the Shipwright is described as having a long beard. He's Elven,
                      > > no? Can anyone resolve this?
                      >
                      > There's an implication buried somewhere, probably in _Unfinished
                      > Tales_, that Elves are beardless, and that's the way they're
                      > certainly normally seen. Yet this is something on which Tolkien
                      > must have changed his mind at some point, for at some other time
                      > he wrote that Cirdan has a beard.

                      This whole "bearded Elves" issue has caused a great deal of
                      discussion through the years. Happily, it can all be resolved with a
                      few citations....which I am unable to provide, because I'm about to
                      leave work and don't know when my Internet access at home will be
                      restored. Still, here is what I can recall on my own. Treat it as a
                      rough summation of the facts, subject to correction at a later time.


                      The passage in UNFINISHED TALES is found in the chapter on Galadriel
                      and Celeborn and is in one of the appendices. It concerns Prince
                      Imrahil's Elvish ancestry, and Christopher Tolkien paraphrases some
                      late-life essay of his father's. Many readers have taken this as the
                      final word in Elf beards.

                      But it's not. A couple of issues back, VINYAR TENGWAR published some
                      additional material for "The Shibboleth of Feanor". In one of the
                      notes associated with this material, JRRT writes that Nerdanel's
                      father was remarkable for having grown a beard in the Second Cycle
                      (of his life).

                      The reader is left to infer that all male Elves normally grow beards
                      when they reach their Third Cycle (no clues, yet, as to what defines
                      a cycle of life). Cirdan, by inference (rather than implication,
                      since the note does not mention him), must have long since reached
                      his Third Cycle by the end of the Third Age.

                      Since Denethor sports a long white beard, and since the statue of the
                      Gondorian king by the crossroads (where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum watch
                      the army from Minas Morgul pass by) has a beard, it must be accepted
                      that Dunadan men DID grow beards, but perhaps because of their Elvish
                      ancestry (THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH says that the Stewards
                      were "ultimately of royal origin"), some of the Dunedain did not grow
                      beards until THEIR Third Cycle (or some Dunadan/half-elf equivalent
                      of the full Elvish Third Cycle).
                    • WendellWag@aol.com
                      In a message dated 8/4/2002 11:45:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... In a message dated 8/5/2002 6:21:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... not ... If that was meant
                      Message 10 of 17 , Aug 11, 2002
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                        In a message dated 8/4/2002 11:45:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                        WendellWag@... writes:

                        > I think that you can't really prove any sort of a connection unless you
                        > actually do some statistics.

                        In a message dated 8/5/2002 6:21:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                        dbratman@... writes:

                        > Human psychology is not a "Push button A, get result B" matter, and it's
                        not
                        > necessary for every author who experienced war trauma to write fantasy, or
                        > every fantasy to be the result of war trauma (these days, in particular,
                        > many fantasies are the result of writers aping other writers) for there to
                        > be a connection.

                        If that was meant as a reply to my statement above, that's a pretty silly
                        misinterpretation of what I was saying. Obviously it's not true that every
                        writer who experienced war trauma wrote fantasy, or that every writer who
                        writes fantasy has experienced war trauma. If I had meant something trivial
                        like that, why would I have mentioned using statistics? Categorical
                        statements (ones of the form "All X are Y") don't require the use of
                        statistics for either a rigorous or a loose proof. All you have to do is
                        list all writers (or at least a sufficiently large set of them) and check if
                        there are any counterexamples to the statement. If you find any
                        counterexamples at all, you've disproved the statement. That's simple
                        enumeration, not statistics.

                        Look, there are several claims we could make about the relationship of war
                        trauma and writing fantasy. Even before you can make any claim, you have to
                        specify the set over which you're making the claim. So let's say that the
                        set is all twentieth century fiction writers in English. You could make the
                        following categorical claims: (a) Any fiction writer (of the twentieth
                        century in English) who suffered war trauma wrote fantasy, or (b) Any fiction
                        writer (of the twentieth century in English) who wrote fantasy suffered war
                        trauma, or (c) A fiction writer (of the twentieth century in English)
                        suffered war trauma if and only if he wrote fantasy.

                        Disproving one of these categorical statements is pretty easy once we collect
                        information about a large set of fiction writers (of the twentieth century in
                        English). (Henceforth, you may add the qualification "of the twentieth
                        century in English" whenever I speak of fiction writers.) If you find any
                        example of a fiction writer who suffered war trauma but didn't write fantasy,
                        you've disproved statement (a). If you find any example of a fiction writer
                        who wrote fantasy but didn't suffer war trauma, you've disproved statement
                        (b). If you find any example of either a fiction writer who suffered war
                        trauma but didn't write fantasy or of a fiction writer who wrote fantasy but
                        didn't suffer war trauma, you've disproved statement (c). If you've actually
                        collected information about every single fiction writer and used that as your
                        source of data, then you've rigorously proved the statements if you can't
                        find any such counterexamples. If you've only collected information about a
                        large set of fiction writers (say, several hundred of them), then you've only
                        loosely proved the statements if you can't find any counterexamples.

                        But any of the statements (a), (b), or (c) are pretty ridiculous claims, and
                        I don't think anyone has ever said something so silly. Anyone of us could
                        quickly come up with some obvious counterexamples to all those statements.
                        What I was talking about were statistical statements. The following
                        statistical claims could be made: (d) Among all fiction writers who suffered
                        war trauma, the proportion who wrote fantasy is greater than among those
                        fiction writers didn't suffer war trauma, or (e) Among all fiction writers
                        who wrote fantasy, the proportion who suffered war trauma is greater than
                        among those fiction writers who didn't write fantasy. To prove either
                        statement, we would have to count the following groups:

                        Set I: Fiction writers who suffered war trauma and wrote fantasy
                        Set II: Fiction writers who suffered war trauma and didn't write fantasy
                        Set III: Fiction writers who didn't suffer war trauma and wrote fantasy
                        Set IV: Fiction writers who didn't suffer war trauma and didn't write fantasy

                        Suppose that we found, for instance, that in the sample we did there were 131
                        people in set I, 47 people in set II, 207 people in set III, and 752 people
                        in set IV, we've proved both statements (d) and (e). The proportion of
                        fiction writers in set I divided by the total number of fiction writers who
                        suffered war trauma is 131/178, so 73.6% of fiction writers who suffered war
                        trauma have written fantasy. The proportion of fiction writers in set III
                        divided by the total number of fiction writers who didn't suffer war trauma
                        is 207/959, so 21.6% of fiction writers who didn't suffer war trauma have
                        written fantasy. So statement (d) is true, since among fiction writers who
                        suffered war trauma, the proportion who wrote fantasy is greater than the
                        proportion among fiction writers who didn't suffer war trauma.

                        Furthermore, statement (e) would also be true if those numbers were true.
                        The proportion of people in set I divided by the total number of fiction
                        writers who wrote fantasy is 131/338, so 38.8% of fiction writers who wrote
                        fantasy suffered war trauma. The proportion of fiction writers in set II
                        divided by the total number of non-fantasy writers is 47/799, so 5.9% of
                        fiction writers who didn't write fantasy suffered war trauma.

                        (I'm going to ignore the matter of statistical significance, since that would
                        be even harder to explain. It's not sufficient to show that one proportion
                        is larger than another. It's also necessary to show that the set you've
                        chosen is large enough that the numbers would hold up if you looked at the
                        entire set over which you've chosen to make your claim. If someone ever does
                        such a statistical test as I've explained above, be sure you get a
                        statistician to check the statistical significance of your numbers.)

                        What Shippey did was none of the above. He listed perhaps half a dozen
                        writers, each of which he claimed wrote fantasy and suffered war trauma
                        (i.e., members of set I). That proves absolutely nothing. I think that all
                        of us could, with a few minutes of thought, come up with members of sets I,
                        II, III, and IV. The absolute most that does is suggest that maybe something
                        might be proved if they did a big survey as I suggest.

                        Furthermore, Shippey is vague about both the terms "fantasy" and "war
                        trauma." What's fantasy? Unless you have a definition for it precise enough
                        that no one can fudge things by moving writers from one category to another,
                        how can you split things up into the sets given above? What's war trauma?
                        He lists people who were in three different wars (World War I, World War II,
                        and the Spanish Civil War), and he's vague about whether it's necessary to be
                        in combat. For that matter, wouldn't being a civilian caught up in the
                        fighting of a war be "war trauma" just as much as being a soldier in combat?
                        No, I think all of this is too vague to be proved, and certainly Shippey
                        hasn't proved it.

                        Wendell Wagner
                      • SusanPal@aol.com
                        In a message dated 8/11/2002 4:20:12 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... As the person who started this thread, allow me to clarify: I never thought Shippey had or
                        Message 11 of 17 , Aug 11, 2002
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                          In a message dated 8/11/2002 4:20:12 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
                          WendellWag@... writes:


                          > No, I think all of this is too vague to be proved, and certainly Shippey
                          > hasn't proved it.
                          >

                          As the person who started this thread, allow me to clarify: I never thought
                          Shippey had or hadn't proved anything. At most, he pointed out an intriguing
                          set of correspondences. *My* interest in pursuing the issue is to examine
                          the ways in which fantasy allows people to respond to trauma -- of any sort
                          -- in *productive* (rather than "escapist") ways that aren't possible in
                          realist narrative.

                          Terri Windling's essay "Surviving Childhood" is an excellent example of the
                          kind of thing I'm talking about. Because she recognized her own very dire
                          childhood circumstances in the fairy tales she was reading, she was able to
                          escape -- literally and physically -- from an extremely destructive
                          situation. (What's that line in "On Fairy Stories" about how the only people
                          who disapprove of escape are jailors?) I'm interested in how writers and
                          readers use fantasy as a key to release themselves from various real prisons,
                          and in the ways in which fantasy sometimes fits those locks better than
                          mimesis would.

                          I hope this is clearer than whatever I originally said!

                          Susan


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                        • ckostyn
                          On Sun, 11 Aug 2002 19:35:00 EDT, SusanPal@aol.com scribed: *My* interest in pursuing the issue is to examine the ways in which fantasy allows people to
                          Message 12 of 17 , Aug 11, 2002
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                            On Sun, 11 Aug 2002 19:35:00 EDT, SusanPal@... scribed:
                            *My* interest in pursuing the issue is to examine
                            \\>the ways in which fantasy allows people to respond to trauma -- of
                            any sort
                            \\>-- in *productive* (rather than "escapist") ways that aren't
                            possible in
                            \\>realist narrative.

                            This is an interesting topic. I know someone who grew up through
                            assorted abusive situations, reform school, prison, etc. She did
                            eventually pull her life together but she survived prison (which she
                            calls the "belly of the beast") by writing fantasy fiction.

                            This does seem to be a common way to deal with assorted traumatic
                            events and life circumstances, whether writing or reading fantas
                            fiction.


                            Catherine K.
                          • David S. Bratman
                            Wendell, as the disproving of your proposed statements a, b, and c is the essence of what I was saying in 3 sentences, I m not sure why you devoted (by my
                            Message 13 of 17 , Aug 12, 2002
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                              Wendell, as the disproving of your proposed statements a, b, and c is the
                              essence of what I was saying in 3 sentences, I'm not sure why you devoted
                              (by my e-mail program's count) 10 KB to tell me the same thing.

                              I've gone back and re-read your original post, and I still think my comment
                              was worth making, and not "a pretty silly misinterpretation." In
                              particular, I think your proposed statistical survey would not prove
                              anything. There are too few writers of genius in any place and time to
                              demonstrate that any trend is statistically significant. More importantly,
                              they differ entirely in temperament and reaction to influences.

                              If Shippey is correct, and Tolkien, Lewis, White, et al., wrote as they did
                              at least partly in response to war trauma, it still does not at all
                              necessarily follow that any other writers (let alone a statistically
                              significant number) must have done the same thing. In other words, a
                              statistical survey with a negative result would not disprove Shippey's
                              hypothesis.

                              And if a statistically significant number of writers did do as Shippey
                              suggests, that does not prove that any given one of them did so for the
                              reasons he suggests. If (let us suggest) the Jackson film appealed to
                              audiences because it's an action film, that does not prove that I went to
                              see it twice because I like action films (I don't).

                              How then can Shippey's hypothesis be proved? By a counter-example
                              scientific procedure, as you propose, it can't. Which is surely why
                              Shippey did not claim to have proven anything, as Janet noted. It can only
                              be judged probable on a case-by-case test: Here's a bunch of writers who
                              all experienced this, and who all wrote this way, and here's the evidence
                              (concrete resemblance between their fiction and the reality they
                              experienced; comments they made about their fiction and why they wrote)
                              that there's a connection. This is how evidentiary technique in literary
                              criticism usually works. Shippey's arguments in this mode seemed
                              satisfactory to me. Statistics about writers as a whole would add nothing
                              to this.

                              David Bratman
                            • Berni Phillips
                              From: ... sort ... Susan, you need to get in contact with Dr. Bruce Leonard, a Colorado mythie. He s a psychiatrist in Columbine. At this
                              Message 14 of 17 , Aug 12, 2002
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                                From: <SusanPal@...>

                                > *My* interest in pursuing the issue is to examine
                                > the ways in which fantasy allows people to respond to trauma -- of any
                                sort
                                > -- in *productive* (rather than "escapist") ways that aren't possible in
                                > realist narrative.

                                Susan, you need to get in contact with Dr. Bruce Leonard, a Colorado mythie.
                                He's a psychiatrist in Columbine. At this most recent Mythcon, Dan Timmons
                                showed the video he had been filming last year, which includes interviews
                                with various members of the Mythopoeic Society.

                                In the video, Bruce said that, in his practice, he found that many of his
                                younger patients had read _The Lord of the Rings_. He eventually caught on
                                that finding who they identified with was a tremendous indicator of how
                                badly damaged they were and the prospect of recovery. (I'm probably
                                misrepresenting him terribly, but this is my impression of what was said.)
                                He found that patients who identified with Frodo had much, much better
                                chances of recovery than those who identified with Gollum. (Me, I never
                                even conceived of someone identifying with Gollum.)

                                Some years earlier (the first Colorado Mythcon?) he gave a splendid paper on
                                Frodo as a sufferer of post-tramatic stress syndrome.

                                Berni
                              • SusanPal@aol.com
                                In a message dated 8/12/2002 5:32:48 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Wow. Good heavens! The LotR Personality Quiz: better than the Myer-Briggs . . . . This
                                Message 15 of 17 , Aug 12, 2002
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                                  In a message dated 8/12/2002 5:32:48 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
                                  bernip@... writes:


                                  > He found that patients who identified with Frodo had much, much better
                                  > chances of recovery than those who identified with Gollum. (Me, I never
                                  > even conceived of someone identifying with Gollum.)
                                  >

                                  Wow. Good heavens! The LotR Personality Quiz: better than the Myer-Briggs
                                  . . . .

                                  This does sound fascinating (and someone else mentioned his name a while ago;
                                  I've been really slow about responding to posts because I just got a bear of
                                  a work project off my back this morning). Thanks for the recommendation!

                                  Susan


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                                • Merlin DeTardo
                                  I was searching for something else when I stumbled on this interesting old post, but I can t find that there was ever any follow- up on one small point, by
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Jan 5, 2007
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                                    I was searching for something else when I stumbled on this
                                    interesting old post, but I can't find that there was ever any follow-
                                    up on one small point, by Michael Martinez or anyone else:

                                    "...Denethor sports a long white beard..."

                                    Was Denethor bearded? I didn't know that, and I can't find a
                                    reference to it in The Lord of the Rings. Does anyone have a
                                    citation?

                                    I know of a website that purports to list the eye and hair colors
                                    (including beards) of all the characters in LotR, The Hobbit, The
                                    Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales:

                                    http://www.lcwsites.org/~lisa/colors.html

                                    but even if that site is completely accurate, merely not listing a
                                    beard color for Denethor doesn't mean there is no beard, only that
                                    its color is not given in the text of those books.

                                    Is Denethor described as having a beard elsewhere? In LotR drafts,
                                    perhaps?

                                    I did read an interesting short essay on Denethor about a year ago
                                    that noted that his face is described in more detail than most other
                                    characters in LotR:

                                    http://www.theonering.net/rumour_mill/rpg/viewer/readingroom/43A9E62C0
                                    0023776.html

                                    Nothing there about a beard (or lack of one), however.

                                    -Merlin DeTardo


                                    >>--- Mysthoc message #6263
                                    >>--- On Aug 7, 2002 6:17 pm, "michael_martinez2" <michael@...> wrote:
                                    >>This whole "bearded Elves" issue has caused a great deal of
                                    discussion through the years. Happily, it can all be resolved with a
                                    few citations....which I am unable to provide, because I'm about to
                                    leave work and don't know when my Internet access at home will be
                                    restored. Still, here is what I can recall on my own. Treat it as a
                                    rough summation of the facts, subject to correction at a later time.

                                    >>The passage in UNFINISHED TALES is found in the chapter on
                                    Galadriel and Celeborn and is in one of the appendices. It concerns
                                    Prince Imrahil's Elvish ancestry, and Christopher Tolkien paraphrases
                                    some late-life essay of his father's. Many readers have taken this
                                    as the final word in Elf beards.

                                    >>But it's not. A couple of issues back, VINYAR TENGWAR published
                                    some additional material for "The Shibboleth of Feanor". In one of
                                    the notes associated with this material, JRRT writes that Nerdanel's
                                    father was remarkable for having grown a beard in the Second Cycle
                                    (of his life).

                                    >>The reader is left to infer that all male Elves normally grow
                                    beards when they reach their Third Cycle (no clues, yet, as to what
                                    defines a cycle of life). Cirdan, by inference (rather than
                                    implication, since the note does not mention him), must have long
                                    since reached his Third Cycle by the end of the Third Age.

                                    >>Since Denethor sports a long white beard, and since the statue of
                                    the Gondorian king by the crossroads (where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum
                                    watch the army from Minas Morgul pass by) has a beard, it must be
                                    accepted that Dunadan men DID grow beards, but perhaps because of
                                    their Elvish ancestry (THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH says that the
                                    Stewards were "ultimately of royal origin"), some of the Dunedain did
                                    not grow beards until THEIR Third Cycle (or some Dunadan/half-elf
                                    equivalent of the full Elvish Third Cycle).
                                  • William Cloud Hicklin
                                    ... ago ... other ... In the absence of other evidence, I would apply ejusdem generis here and say he was (probably) beardless. Of course that says nothing
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Jan 5, 2007
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Merlin DeTardo" <emptyD@...>
                                      wrote:


                                      >
                                      > I did read an interesting short essay on Denethor about a year
                                      ago
                                      > that noted that his face is described in more detail than most
                                      other
                                      > characters in LotR:

                                      In the absence of other evidence, I would apply ejusdem generis
                                      here and say he was (probably) beardless. Of course that says
                                      nothing about his genetics, just his razor.

                                      Take MM with a grain of salt- he does tend to extrapolate
                                      "facts" where there are only possibilities. The "true" answer is
                                      dormitat Homerus: Tolkien really wasn't paying attention when he
                                      stuck beards on Cirdan and the ancient statue. Convincing as
                                      Tolkien is, there isn't actually an underlying reality to be
                                      plumbed!
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