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Re: [mythsoc] Two questions

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  • 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 1 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


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    • 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 2 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


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      • 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 3 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 4 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



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          • 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 of 17 , Jan 5, 2007
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                                    --- 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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