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Re: [mythsoc] Two questions

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • 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 4 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 5 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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