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Re: [mythsoc] a question on The Lord of the Rings

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  • Vincent Ferré
    thank you David (once again !) absolutely. Vincent ... From: David S. Bratman To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 6:05 PM Subject: Re:
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 10, 2002
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      thank you David (once again !)
      absolutely.

      Vincent

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David S. Bratman
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 6:05 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] a question on The Lord of the Rings


      Vincent -

      The OED definition of "fail" that appears most appropriate to Tolkien's
      meaning is the verb definition number 2b: "To become extinct; to die out,
      lose vitality, pass away." But the hobbit song refers to the failing in
      space, not in time. The word "end", which someone offered as a synonym,
      likewise usually refers to time ("the end of his life"), but can also be
      applied to space ("the end of the pathway"), and "end" is more commonly
      applied to space than "fail" is. It is the unusualness of applying "fail"
      to space that puzzled you, I think.

      David Bratman


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Michael Martinez <michael@xenite.org>
      Tolkien used many words in new ways throughout THE LORD OF THE RINGS. He was inventing new contexts all the time, adding new shades of meaning. Quite a few of
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 10, 2002
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        Tolkien used many words in new ways throughout THE LORD OF THE
        RINGS. He was inventing new contexts all the time, adding new shades
        of meaning.

        Quite a few of his uses of words have puzzled people through the
        years, sending legions of fans to the dictionaries looking for just
        the right archaic meanings, only to find no clear matches.

        He was very subtle, but quite prolific and consistent in this
        reinvention of the written word. I suppose there may have been some
        professional aspect to that practice I cannot discern, but once
        people see what he was doing with so many words, their eyes light up
        and they appreciate the beauty of Tolkien's English prose even more.

        :)
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