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Myth & Middle-earth

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  • Grace E. Funk
    I have just read Myth & Middle-earth by Leslie Ellen Jones(Cold Spring Harbour, N.Y. Cold Spring Presss, 2002 ISBN1-892975-81-5) By a certain amount of
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 25, 2003
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      I have just read Myth & Middle-earth by Leslie Ellen Jones(Cold Spring
      Harbour, N.Y. Cold Spring Presss, 2002 ISBN1-892975-81-5)

      By a certain amount of stretching and squeezing, IMHO, Jones equates
      LOTR with a number of mostly Celtic myths. Gandalf, for example has
      become a “trickster”. I am not qualified to judge her comparative
      mythology. I am, however, well able to spot such bloopers as the
      following:
      on page 80 Tolkien was “recovering from shell shock”; although on page
      28 she states corrctly that Tolkien suffered from trench fever.
      on page 67 “Tom and Goldberry seem to live a hunter-gatherer type of
      existence, picking up what they find in the forest”. This in direct
      contradiction to “yellow cream, honeycomb, and white bread and butter”,
      not to mention the “kitchen garden”, with its “tall line of beans on
      poles”.
      on page 89 “Sam will abandon his [Frodo’s] body in Cirith Ungol under
      the influence of the Ring”
      The Author note states that Jones took a doctorate in 1992, and has
      taught at UCLA and Harvard. Maybe so, but when she makes mistakes like
      that, how can I believe anything else that she says? What is there in
      the mind of an academic who does not take ten minutes to reread and
      verify a passage? Also she is currently writing a biography of Tolkien.
      It is to be hoped that she gets her facts a lot straighter! I noted also
      that although she writes quite a bit about mythical hero types, her
      bibliography does not include Joseph Campbell.
      Grace

      --
      Grace E. Funk 2102 Hwy 6, Lumby, B.C. V0E 2G1 Phone (250)547-6333
    • Ernest S. Tomlinson
      On Sat, 25 Jan 2003 11:26:33 -0800, Grace E. Funk ... When did it become popular to coerce every important character from a
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 25, 2003
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        On Sat, 25 Jan 2003 11:26:33 -0800, "Grace E. Funk" <gfunk@...>
        said:

        > By a certain amount of stretching and squeezing, IMHO, Jones equates
        > LOTR with a number of mostly Celtic myths. Gandalf, for example has
        > become a “trickster”.

        <sigh> When did it become popular to coerce every important character
        from a story like _The Lord of the Rings_, or every god or hero from the
        mythologies and religions of every culture, into some simplistic category
        like this? In a similar spirit are Osiris, Adonis, and Jesus all called
        "dying gods", as though anyone who hadn't the least familiar with the
        stories of each couldn't tell that they have about as much in common with
        each other as any three given people in line at the five-and-dime. Is
        this sort of reductionism Campbell's fault? (I've never read any
        Campbell; without knowledge I have written him off as a poseur, the sort
        of philosophaster whom Bill Moyers likes to interview on his TV specials.
        Hey, I've got my unreasonable prejudices and I might as well admit
        them.)

        Ernest.
        --
        Ernest S. Tomlinson
        thiophene@...
      • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
        Ow, Grace, ow. Thanks for the book review. I am sad to observe that the press is local to me here. Sad because I think it s important to support the small
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 25, 2003
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          Ow, Grace, ow. Thanks for the book review. I am sad to observe that the
          press is local to me here. Sad because I think it's important to support
          the small presses, but how could so many errors of the sort you pointed out
          get through?

          Lizzie Triano
          lizziewriter@...
          amor vincit omnia
        • LARRY SWAIN
          THANKS FOR THE WARNING!!!!
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 25, 2003
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            THANKS FOR THE WARNING!!!!


            --- "Grace E. Funk" <gfunk@...> wrote:
            > I have just read Myth & Middle-earth by Leslie
            > Ellen Jones(Cold Spring
            > Harbour, N.Y. Cold Spring Presss, 2002
            > ISBN1-892975-81-5)
            >
            > By a certain amount of stretching and squeezing,
            > IMHO, Jones equates
            > LOTR with a number of mostly Celtic myths. Gandalf,
            > for example has
            > become a �trickster�. I am not qualified to judge
            > her comparative
            > mythology. I am, however, well able to spot such
            > bloopers as the
            > following:
            > on page 80 Tolkien was �recovering from shell
            > shock�; although on page
            > 28 she states corrctly that Tolkien suffered from
            > trench fever.
            > on page 67 �Tom and Goldberry seem to live a
            > hunter-gatherer type of
            > existence, picking up what they find in the forest�.
            > This in direct
            > contradiction to �yellow cream, honeycomb, and white
            > bread and butter�,
            > not to mention the �kitchen garden�, with its �tall
            > line of beans on
            > poles�.
            > on page 89 �Sam will abandon his [Frodo�s] body in
            > Cirith Ungol under
            > the influence of the Ring�
            > The Author note states that Jones took a doctorate
            > in 1992, and has
            > taught at UCLA and Harvard. Maybe so, but when she
            > makes mistakes like
            > that, how can I believe anything else that she says?
            > What is there in
            > the mind of an academic who does not take ten
            > minutes to reread and
            > verify a passage? Also she is currently writing a
            > biography of Tolkien.
            > It is to be hoped that she gets her facts a lot
            > straighter! I noted also
            > that although she writes quite a bit about mythical
            > hero types, her
            > bibliography does not include Joseph Campbell.
            > Grace
            >
            > --
            > Grace E. Funk 2102 Hwy 6, Lumby, B.C. V0E 2G1 Phone
            > (250)547-6333
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website
            > http://www.mythsoc.org
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
            > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
          • David S Bratman
            ... It most certainly is not Campbell s fault; it long predates him. Maybe it s J.G. Frazer s fault, but do you realize that you re slamming both C.S. Lewis
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 26, 2003
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              At 02:28 PM 1/25/2003 -0800, Ernest wrote:

              ><sigh> When did it become popular to coerce every important character
              >from a story like _The Lord of the Rings_, or every god or hero from the
              >mythologies and religions of every culture, into some simplistic category
              >like this? In a similar spirit are Osiris, Adonis, and Jesus all called
              >"dying gods", as though anyone who hadn't the least familiar with the
              >stories of each couldn't tell that they have about as much in common with
              >each other as any three given people in line at the five-and-dime. Is
              >this sort of reductionism Campbell's fault?

              It most certainly is not Campbell's fault; it long predates him. Maybe
              it's J.G. Frazer's fault, but do you realize that you're slamming both C.S.
              Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, their knowledge of myth and the latter's insight
              that led the former to convert to Christianity? It was the realization
              that Christ was the primary-world embodiment of the multi-cultural Dying
              God myth that led Lewis to understand what the story of Christ was saying
              to him. Lewis absorbed this insight, and later on, especially in _The
              Abolition of Man_, he argued that myths of this sort reflect imperfect
              glimpses of the Christian truth.

              (Note: I am describing Lewis's perceptions here, not my own. I am not a
              Christian, nor do I understand the aesthetic appeal of the Dying God
              myth. Lewis's favorite such myth was the death of Baldur, which I've
              always thought an incredibly stupid story, less a Norse version of Jesus
              than a Norse demonstration of the Greek concept of hubris.)

              - David Bratman
            • Croft, Janet B
              I ran across this confusion between shell shock and trench fever in an essay in Gidding s _Tolkien: This Far Land_. Maybe that s where she got it. The author
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 27, 2003
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                I ran across this confusion between shell shock and trench fever in an essay
                in Gidding's _Tolkien: This Far Land_. Maybe that's where she got it. The
                author of the essay obviously would have preferred Tolkien to have developed
                a serious mental illness in reaction to the Great War; while it is possible
                that his relapses into the symptoms of trench fever after he was sent home
                might have been in part psychosomatic, trench fever is a disease spred by
                lice, and his initial attack was purely physical as far as we can tell.

                Janet Croft

                -----Original Message-----
                From: LARRY SWAIN [mailto:theswain@...]
                Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2003 9:03 PM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Myth & Middle-earth


                THANKS FOR THE WARNING!!!!


                --- "Grace E. Funk" <gfunk@...> wrote:
                > I have just read Myth & Middle-earth by Leslie
                > Ellen Jones(Cold Spring
                > Harbour, N.Y. Cold Spring Presss, 2002
                > ISBN1-892975-81-5)
                >
                > By a certain amount of stretching and squeezing,
                > IMHO, Jones equates
                > LOTR with a number of mostly Celtic myths. Gandalf,
                > for example has
                > become a "trickster". I am not qualified to judge
                > her comparative
                > mythology. I am, however, well able to spot such
                > bloopers as the
                > following:
                > on page 80 Tolkien was "recovering from shell
                > shock"; although on page
                > 28 she states corrctly that Tolkien suffered from
                > trench fever.
                > on page 67 "Tom and Goldberry seem to live a
                > hunter-gatherer type of
                > existence, picking up what they find in the forest".
                > This in direct
                > contradiction to "yellow cream, honeycomb, and white
                > bread and butter",
                > not to mention the "kitchen garden", with its "tall
                > line of beans on
                > poles".
                > on page 89 "Sam will abandon his [Frodo's] body in
                > Cirith Ungol under
                > the influence of the Ring"
                > The Author note states that Jones took a doctorate
                > in 1992, and has
                > taught at UCLA and Harvard. Maybe so, but when she
                > makes mistakes like
                > that, how can I believe anything else that she says?
                > What is there in
                > the mind of an academic who does not take ten
                > minutes to reread and
                > verify a passage? Also she is currently writing a
                > biography of Tolkien.
                > It is to be hoped that she gets her facts a lot
                > straighter! I noted also
                > that although she writes quite a bit about mythical
                > hero types, her
                > bibliography does not include Joseph Campbell.
                > Grace
                >
                > --
                > Grace E. Funk 2102 Hwy 6, Lumby, B.C. V0E 2G1 Phone (250)547-6333
                >
                >
                >
                > The Mythopoeic Society website
                > http://www.mythsoc.org
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >


                The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              • Croft, Janet B
                I don t know that I can really recommend the more recent Joseph Campbell books and videos, but I read _The Hero with a Thousand Faces_ in a college class and
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 27, 2003
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                  I don't know that I can really recommend the more recent Joseph Campbell
                  books and videos, but I read _The Hero with a Thousand Faces_ in a college
                  class and it was a major eye-opener. (My copy is full of amusingly
                  sophomoric marginalia...) I still refer to it frequently. If you are
                  interested in comparative mythology and the roots of archetypal characters,
                  it's well worth reading. To tie this back in with our discussion of "plot
                  coupons" and the like, there is a big difference between cookie-cutter
                  characters like The Barbarian Hero and The Wizard with the Silly Name, and
                  well-drawn realistic characters like Gandalf, through whom you catch a
                  glimpse of the archetype, but who is not just the archetype made flesh.

                  Janet Croft.

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Ernest S. Tomlinson [mailto:thiophene@...]
                  Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2003 4:28 PM
                  To: Mythopoeic Society
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Myth & Middle-earth


                  On Sat, 25 Jan 2003 11:26:33 -0800, "Grace E. Funk" <gfunk@...>
                  said:

                  > By a certain amount of stretching and squeezing, IMHO, Jones equates
                  > LOTR with a number of mostly Celtic myths. Gandalf, for example has
                  > become a "trickster".

                  <sigh> When did it become popular to coerce every important character
                  from a story like _The Lord of the Rings_, or every god or hero from the
                  mythologies and religions of every culture, into some simplistic category
                  like this? In a similar spirit are Osiris, Adonis, and Jesus all called
                  "dying gods", as though anyone who hadn't the least familiar with the
                  stories of each couldn't tell that they have about as much in common with
                  each other as any three given people in line at the five-and-dime. Is
                  this sort of reductionism Campbell's fault? (I've never read any
                  Campbell; without knowledge I have written him off as a poseur, the sort
                  of philosophaster whom Bill Moyers likes to interview on his TV specials.
                  Hey, I've got my unreasonable prejudices and I might as well admit
                  them.)

                  Ernest.
                  --
                  Ernest S. Tomlinson
                  thiophene@...


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                  <http://www.mythsoc.org>

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                  <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Bill
                  I discovered Campbell while in college myself, specifically the four volume Masks of God. The fourth volume, Creative Mythology discusses Arthurian romances
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 27, 2003
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                    I discovered Campbell while in college myself, specifically
                    the
                    four volume Masks of God. The fourth volume, Creative
                    Mythology
                    discusses Arthurian romances and the Grail Quest in
                    particular.
                    I'm going to have go read the 'plot coupon' post again. I
                    can't recall
                    if the writer asserts this is a fault in recent fantasy
                    writers or if he
                    makes note of the fact that such devices are mainstays of folk
                    tales
                    and quests for centuries.

                    Croft, Janet B wrote:

                    > I don't know that I can really recommend the more recent Joseph
                    > Campbell
                    > books and videos, but I read _The Hero with a Thousand Faces_ in a
                    > college
                    > class and it was a major eye-opener. (


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ernest S. Tomlinson
                    ... He does not, but neither does he assert that plot coupons are a recent invention. In any case, appeal to antiquity is hardly a good defence; clumsy plot
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 27, 2003
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                      On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 13:24:46 -0500, "Bill" <lunacy2@...> said:

                      > I'm going to have go read the 'plot coupon' post again. I
                      > can't recall
                      > if the writer asserts this is a fault in recent fantasy
                      > writers or if he
                      > makes note of the fact that such devices are mainstays of folk
                      > tales
                      > and quests for centuries.

                      He does not, but neither does he assert that plot coupons are a recent
                      invention. In any case, appeal to antiquity is hardly a good defence;
                      clumsy plot devices are none the more graceful for their being steeped in
                      tradition.

                      Ernest.
                      --
                      Ernest S. Tomlinson
                      thiophene@...
                    • Stolzi@aol.com
                      ... I keep wondering about Tom and Goldberry. Are they married? Do they need to be? If they re so at one with fertile nature, why don t they have any
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jan 27, 2003
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                        > "Tom and Goldberry seem to live a
                        > > hunter-gatherer type of
                        > > existence, picking up what they find in the forest".
                        > > This in direct
                        > > contradiction to "yellow cream, honeycomb, and white
                        > > bread and butter",
                        > > not to mention the "kitchen garden", with its "tall
                        > > line of beans on
                        > > poles".
                        >

                        I keep wondering about Tom and Goldberry. Are they married? Do they need to
                        be?

                        If they're so at one with fertile nature, why don't they have any children?
                        Or is Goldberry (being a nature spirit sort of person) constantly popping out
                        little voles, owls, and other furry creatures, fortunately off-stage?

                        Diamond Proudbrook


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                        Diamond pondered: I keep wondering about Tom and Goldberry. Are they married? Do they need to be? If they re so at one with fertile nature, why don t they
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jan 28, 2003
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                          Diamond pondered: I keep wondering about Tom and Goldberry. Are they
                          married? Do they need to be?

                          If they're so at one with fertile nature, why don't they have any children?
                          Or is Goldberry (being a nature spirit sort of person) constantly popping
                          out little voles, owls, and other furry creatures, fortunately off-stage?
                          >>

                          I would say their arrangement predates such trappings of civilization as
                          marriage, perhaps. And they are ageless-old. Likely they have grown
                          offspring who don't figure in the tales yet. ?

                          Lizzie Triano
                          lizziewriter@...
                          amor vincit omnia
                        • Margaret Dean
                          ... Actually, if you read the poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (which details his first meeting with Goldberry among other things), you ll find that Tom
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jan 28, 2003
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                            Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:
                            >
                            > Diamond pondered: I keep wondering about Tom and Goldberry. Are they
                            > married? Do they need to be?

                            > I would say their arrangement predates such trappings of civilization as
                            > marriage, perhaps.

                            Actually, if you read the poem "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil"
                            (which details his first meeting with Goldberry among other
                            things), you'll find that Tom and Goldberry "had a merry
                            wedding."

                            About offspring, the tales are silent...


                            --Margaret Dean
                            <margdean@...>
                          • Stolzi@aol.com
                            In a message dated 1/28/2003 9:58:17 AM Central Standard Time, ... Thanks, Lizzie and Margaret! [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jan 28, 2003
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                              In a message dated 1/28/2003 9:58:17 AM Central Standard Time,
                              margdean@... writes:


                              > Tom and Goldberry

                              Thanks, Lizzie and Margaret!


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