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lorien
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

[ Edited ]
JesseBC Wrote:
Again, I'm NOT suggesting that's going on here. Only that "How would you have written it differently?" is one of those types of questions that utilizes literature for self-actualization.
-----------------------------

But isn't that what this is all about? If I may again drop in the famous quote of Tolkien's:

"I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of the readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

The real value of literature is how we end up applying it to our own thinking and it might not necessarily be the intended meaning of the author. The author's ideas and way of presenting them is often just a catalyst for our own thinking. With a good writer, who stimulates new ways of looking at things, we come away richer and probably changed, though not necessarily in the ways the author intended.

I must admit, though, I am developing a fondness for trees. I am even beginning to feel guilty about the prospect of pruning them! :smileywink:

Message Edited by lorien on 05-12-2008 03:20 PM
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JesseBC
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

I think it's a product of the times and even the fact that I don't see anything wrong with it just shows what a product of postmodernism I am myself.

People have always read for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, of course. And, one way or another, literature's always been interpreted in terms of what it says about the human condition. But this self-actualization, book-as-group-therapy, Oprah-effect is new.

To illustrate the point, one of my favorite books a few years ago was an overlooked little scrap called The Best People in the World by Justin Tussing. It got tossed into the "literary fiction" slag heap and undoubtedly lost money.

But there was an early scene in the story in which the characters are watching a morality play at a commune and one of the participants comments (rather critically), "A play is something an audience watches to try and figure out what’s going on on the stage. Whereas what we did, everyone tries to figure out what it means about them. The difference is in the audience."

The quote stuck with me because it seems to speak to how we consume art and literature now that these things are consumer goods, judged by their utility to the consumer. We're always trying to figure out what it means about us. Which seems kind of narcissistic, in a way.

I'm so steeped in it myself that it's like a goldfish trying to examine the water in its own bowl. Because, you're right -- I don't see any reason we should be married to the author's expressed intent. Our own interpretations can be just as illuminating (if not more so).

On the other hand, constantly seeking personal meaning in a book is the other extreme on that continuum. To the point where publishers have become obsessed with the factual accuracy of memoirs. Contemporary readers love memoirs because they're "real" and, therefore, whatever they say about us must be "real" too, so we can extract "real" homilies from them.

It's kind of weird.






lorien wrote:
JesseBC Wrote:
Again, I'm NOT suggesting that's going on here. Only that "How would you have written it differently?" is one of those types of questions that utilizes literature for self-actualization.
-----------------------------

But isn't that what this is all about? If I may again drop in the famous quote of Tolkien's:

"I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of the readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

The real value of literature is how we end up applying it to our own thinking and it might not necessarily be the intended meaning of the author. The author's ideas and way of presenting them is often just a catalyst for our own thinking. With a good writer, who stimulates new ways of looking at things, we come away richer and probably changed, though not necessarily in the ways the author intended.

I must admit, though, I am developing a fondness for trees. I am even beginning to feel guilty about the prospect of pruning them! :smileywink:

Message Edited by lorien on 05-12-2008 03:20 PM


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Dagor
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?



JesseBC wrote:
People have always read for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, of course. And, one way or another, literature's always been interpreted in terms of what it says about the human condition. But this self-actualization, book-as-group-therapy, Oprah-effect is new.
"A play is something an audience watches to try and figure out what’s going on on the stage. Whereas what we did, everyone tries to figure out what it means about them. The difference is in the audience."

The quote stuck with me because it seems to speak to how we consume art and literature now that these things are consumer goods, judged by their utility to the consumer. We're always trying to figure out what it means about us. Which seems kind of narcissistic, in a way.

I'm so steeped in it myself that it's like a goldfish trying to examine the water in its own bowl. Because, you're right -- I don't see any reason we should be married to the author's expressed intent. Our own interpretations can be just as illuminating (if not more so).

On the other hand, constantly seeking personal meaning in a book is the other extreme on that continuum. To the point where publishers have become obsessed with the factual accuracy of memoirs. Contemporary readers love memoirs because they're "real" and, therefore, whatever they say about us must be "real" too, so we can extract "real" homilies from them.

It's kind of weird.






lorien wrote:
JesseBC Wrote:
Again, I'm NOT suggesting that's going on here. Only that "How would you have written it differently?" is one of those types of questions that utilizes literature for self-actualization.






LOL, number me among the unabashed "self-actualizers," I find it very difficult to separate myself from myself, seems to be the epistemological base for everything, I cannot really escape ME, carrying myself about with me wherever I go, ME is always the final basis of my understanding, my interactions with the world...

Hmmm, I'm probably mis-interpreting your message here, JesseBC, but I'll blunder ahead anyway. I'm not certain I see any real difference, no genuine continuum, no bipolarity in this issue. When I read a book, I automatically remove the text from the author's intentions by the simple fact that is MY brain, my set of references, my set of interpretations, my set of connections and inferences that is being provoked/ engaged by the narrative. As I read, the book -- if it has ANY power to stimulate my thought -- it becomes MINE. At best I might consider myself as being in a sort of partnership with an author, he/ she provides a verbal skeleton by way of text, and I flesh it out, colour it up, enthuse it with life. I believe that in this process I often am simultaneously extracting from the narration a "personal meaning" for myself and a critical appreciation of what the text might have meant to the author, and in this sense, I may be quite aware that the author's "personal meaning" may be different from my own. But, in my, admittedly egotistical interpretation, the author's apparent intent does not invalidate, nor even stand necessarily as superior to my own experience/ adaptation of his/ her work to suit my beliefs/ prejudices.

So, how would I re-write the Middle-earth corpus? -- Tolkien grew up and lived most of his life in a racist world, my own experiences came during and after the basic struggle for Civil Rights here in the U.S.A., so MY conception of racism is predicated on MY times, MY experiences. Consequently, when I read Tolkien, I subconsciously filter out the racism appropriate to HIS era, and supply, in my own mind, a corrective formula that suits my beliefs. I was less vitally influenced by the feminist movement, but I still find myself supplying a corrective formula to "update" the interpretation of female roles that Tolkien supplies us. In matters of religion, I subtract the conservative, "one way" Christianity that Tolkien lived by, and replace it with my own more generalized philosophical-religious underpinnings -- reflecting a sort of half-thought-out agnostic-generalism that has a moderate Valentinic-Gnostic flavour to it (if theology-cosmogeny need be addressed at all). All these "correctives" allow ME to continue, year after year, to find a great deal of personal sustenance from my sojourns to Middle-earth.
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lorien
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

Dagor Wrote:

* * * * *

When I read a book, I automatically remove the text from the author's intentions by the simple fact that is MY brain, my set of references, my set of interpretations, my set of connections and inferences that is being provoked/ engaged by the narrative. As I read, the book -- if it has ANY power to stimulate my thought -- it becomes MINE. At best I might consider myself as being in a sort of partnership with an author, he/ she provides a verbal skeleton by way of text, and I flesh it out, colour it up, enthuse it with life. I believe that in this process I often am simultaneously extracting from the narration a "personal meaning" for myself and a critical appreciation of what the text might have meant to the author, and in this sense, I may be quite aware that the author's "personal meaning" may be different from my own. But, in my, admittedly egotistical interpretation, the author's apparent intent does not invalidate, nor even stand necessarily as superior to my own experience/ adaptation of his/ her work to suit my beliefs/ prejudices.

So, how would I re-write the Middle-earth corpus? -- Tolkien grew up and lived most of his life in a racist world, my own experiences came during and after the basic struggle for Civil Rights here in the U.S.A., so MY conception of racism is predicated on MY times, MY experiences. Consequently, when I read Tolkien, I subconsciously filter out the racism appropriate to HIS era, and supply, in my own mind, a corrective formula that suits my beliefs. I was less vitally influenced by the feminist movement, but I still find myself supplying a corrective formula to "update" the interpretation of female roles that Tolkien supplies us. In matters of religion, I subtract the conservative, "one way" Christianity that Tolkien lived by, and replace it with my own more generalized philosophical-religious underpinnings -- reflecting a sort of half-thought-out agnostic-generalism that has a moderate Valentinic-Gnostic flavour to it (if theology-cosmogeny need be addressed at all). All these "correctives" allow ME to continue, year after year, to find a great deal of personal sustenance from my sojourns to Middle-earth.
---------------------------------------

So well stated Dagor! I think you have stated what most of us do and believe but didn't articulate. You are an inspiration. Five gold stars!
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JesseBC
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

I think my comments are being interpreted as too all-or-nothing, right-or-wrong. (Either that or my posts to the religion thread have resulted in my just being written off as a complete idiot and no matter what say, it will be contested as suspect. In which case, I'm no longer contributing anything worthwhile to the discussion and might as well stop posting and wasting your time.)

I'm not saying there's anything there's particularly "wrong" with this ontological way of reading. I'm just saying that it is a product of contemporary society, that this personal application of literature says something about us as readers and what we expect from books.

Even "looking within" is uniquely post-Freudian. Morality plays have been around forever, but if you compare modernist writers like Tolkien to postmodernist writers, there's a distinct shift in which contemporary writers expect us to identify with the characters (including the bad ones). Psychology has increasingly entered the literary experience.

We, in turn, usually expect to be able to identify with them and feel ripped-off if we can't (hence you see book groups sitting around reading Jodi Picoult and getting mad when the main character does something the group didn't think she should do).

Commercialization, mass literacy, and even the book club fad have affected all of these things. Now that virtually everyone in the industrial world can read and books are being cranked out by the thousands every year, the quality of literature is judged more by sales than by other measures of merit. If it's popular, it must be good and, if you question that, you're a snob. Books can now be dubbed "instant classics," even if no one remembers them a year later and they've gone out of print.

Book clubs like these have become a huge target market for publishers to seek out books that are simplistic enough to have mass appeal, but have at least one major social issue to get the group talking about their own personal experiences in relation to the characters -- book-as-group-therapy.

None of this is necessarily good or bad. It just is. The way we read and what we expect from literature isn't the same as it was a century ago or even 50 years ago.

I kind of wish I hadn't bothered to bring it up. I thought I'd found a group who would think the subject interesting instead of getting all defensive about it. Obviously, I was wrong.





Dagor wrote:


JesseBC wrote:
People have always read for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, of course. And, one way or another, literature's always been interpreted in terms of what it says about the human condition. But this self-actualization, book-as-group-therapy, Oprah-effect is new.
"A play is something an audience watches to try and figure out what’s going on on the stage. Whereas what we did, everyone tries to figure out what it means about them. The difference is in the audience."

The quote stuck with me because it seems to speak to how we consume art and literature now that these things are consumer goods, judged by their utility to the consumer. We're always trying to figure out what it means about us. Which seems kind of narcissistic, in a way.

I'm so steeped in it myself that it's like a goldfish trying to examine the water in its own bowl. Because, you're right -- I don't see any reason we should be married to the author's expressed intent. Our own interpretations can be just as illuminating (if not more so).

On the other hand, constantly seeking personal meaning in a book is the other extreme on that continuum. To the point where publishers have become obsessed with the factual accuracy of memoirs. Contemporary readers love memoirs because they're "real" and, therefore, whatever they say about us must be "real" too, so we can extract "real" homilies from them.

It's kind of weird.






lorien wrote:
JesseBC Wrote:
Again, I'm NOT suggesting that's going on here. Only that "How would you have written it differently?" is one of those types of questions that utilizes literature for self-actualization.






LOL, number me among the unabashed "self-actualizers," I find it very difficult to separate myself from myself, seems to be the epistemological base for everything, I cannot really escape ME, carrying myself about with me wherever I go, ME is always the final basis of my understanding, my interactions with the world...

Hmmm, I'm probably mis-interpreting your message here, JesseBC, but I'll blunder ahead anyway. I'm not certain I see any real difference, no genuine continuum, no bipolarity in this issue. When I read a book, I automatically remove the text from the author's intentions by the simple fact that is MY brain, my set of references, my set of interpretations, my set of connections and inferences that is being provoked/ engaged by the narrative. As I read, the book -- if it has ANY power to stimulate my thought -- it becomes MINE. At best I might consider myself as being in a sort of partnership with an author, he/ she provides a verbal skeleton by way of text, and I flesh it out, colour it up, enthuse it with life. I believe that in this process I often am simultaneously extracting from the narration a "personal meaning" for myself and a critical appreciation of what the text might have meant to the author, and in this sense, I may be quite aware that the author's "personal meaning" may be different from my own. But, in my, admittedly egotistical interpretation, the author's apparent intent does not invalidate, nor even stand necessarily as superior to my own experience/ adaptation of his/ her work to suit my beliefs/ prejudices.

So, how would I re-write the Middle-earth corpus? -- Tolkien grew up and lived most of his life in a racist world, my own experiences came during and after the basic struggle for Civil Rights here in the U.S.A., so MY conception of racism is predicated on MY times, MY experiences. Consequently, when I read Tolkien, I subconsciously filter out the racism appropriate to HIS era, and supply, in my own mind, a corrective formula that suits my beliefs. I was less vitally influenced by the feminist movement, but I still find myself supplying a corrective formula to "update" the interpretation of female roles that Tolkien supplies us. In matters of religion, I subtract the conservative, "one way" Christianity that Tolkien lived by, and replace it with my own more generalized philosophical-religious underpinnings -- reflecting a sort of half-thought-out agnostic-generalism that has a moderate Valentinic-Gnostic flavour to it (if theology-cosmogeny need be addressed at all). All these "correctives" allow ME to continue, year after year, to find a great deal of personal sustenance from my sojourns to Middle-earth.



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lorien
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

JesseBC
I kind of wish I hadn't bothered to bring it up. I thought I'd found a group who would think the subject interesting instead of getting all defensive about it. Obviously, I was wrong.
-----------------------------------

I'm afraid I don't see where people are indicating any defensiveness. I really and honestly don't. I just reread the entire thread. Maybe you are thinking of another discussion thread. I agree mostly with your observations in your post minus the first and last paragraph. However, I still feel that what a reader gets from something is up to them. Yes, maybe they are manipulated and exploited by publishers--and they are--but an intelligent reader should be able to see through it--well, mostly. But I still hold to the opinion, and I am not being defensive (nor is anyone else that I can tell), that reading and interpreting is a personal experience and that a discussion group is where we share our personal interpretations. And I think that is what you essentially said.

I think by looking around these boards you will see some interesting patterns. There are "social" boards where people just talk about what they are "currently-reading" and "suggest-a-book for me to read" where everyone just throws in their favorites with no discussion. These have their place and are nothing more. There are "best sellers" and most go nowhere and die with less then a few comments.

Then there are a few very successful ones that do continue on and do get serious and thoughtful comments. Among them I would list our Tolkien board (and we don't even have a moderator to stimulate conversation), the Epics board, the Literature by Women board, the Literature and Life board. These are quality discussions and mainly of classics that have stood the test of time and provoke thoughtful and usually personal interpretations. There are some publisher driven boards--like those that feature authors (though some can be an opportunity to actually get behind the book and find out what the author was thinking). And the very successful First Look that pulls in people with free books and an exclusive closed club atmosphere--and they literally pack it with hundreds of free books! But I've noticed after the "free" book phase they get absolutely no attention when people actually have to buy the book. I think this does say something about the readers. There are different kinds, and I for one will leave each to their own interest and expectations. I think each has a right to exist and the public "votes" by their participation and purchases. However, I think we have a decent and quality discussion board here.

----------------------------------
JesseBC wrote (minus the first and last paragraph):

I'm not saying there's anything there's particularly "wrong" with this ontological way of reading. I'm just saying that it is a product of contemporary society, that this personal application of literature says something about us as readers and what we expect from books.

Even "looking within" is uniquely post-Freudian. Morality plays have been around forever, but if you compare modernist writers like Tolkien to postmodernist writers, there's a distinct shift in which contemporary writers expect us to identify with the characters (including the bad ones). Psychology has increasingly entered the literary experience.

We, in turn, usually expect to be able to identify with them and feel ripped-off if we can't (hence you see book groups sitting around reading Jodi Picoult and getting mad when the main character does something the group didn't think she should do).

Commercialization, mass literacy, and even the book club fad have affected all of these things. Now that virtually everyone in the industrial world can read and books are being cranked out by the thousands every year, the quality of literature is judged more by sales than by other measures of merit. If it's popular, it must be good and, if you question that, you're a snob. Books can now be dubbed "instant classics," even if no one remembers them a year later and they've gone out of print.

Book clubs like these have become a huge target market for publishers to seek out books that are simplistic enough to have mass appeal, but have at least one major social issue to get the group talking about their own personal experiences in relation to the characters -- book-as-group-therapy.

None of this is necessarily good or bad. It just is. The way we read and what we expect from literature isn't the same as it was a century ago or even 50 years ago.
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Dagor
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

[ Edited ]
Re JesseBC's "I think my comments are being interpreted as too all-or-nothing, right-or-wrong. (Either that or my posts to the religion thread have resulted in my just being written off as a complete idiot and no matter what say, it will be contested as suspect. In which case, I'm no longer contributing anything worthwhile to the discussion and might as well stop posting and wasting your time.)"

Jesse, there is always the opportunity for misunderstanding in such free fora as this one, and it is hard not to react in a "black-white" fashion where the nuances of another poster's statement get simplified to the point of being mis-represented -- happens to all of us here. In a very real sense, we are all speculating on these pages, offering messages of personal interpretation where there is no particularly "right or wrong" interpretation even though some may be couched as diametric opposites. Far from being considered "idiotic," your comments on all the boards have been quite fair, quite well stated, and highly productive in stimulating the rest of us to consider various points more deeply, and then attempt to express our own feelings on these matters. And, if you will allow it, the only one capable of determining when my time is being "wasted" is ME! LOL, YOU do NOT in any way "waste" my time! I find your posts send me off to search out arcane bits of lore that otherwise I would never have given any regard. Thank You for your valuable participation.

RE JesseBC's "Book clubs like these have become a huge target market for publishers to seek out books that are simplistic enough to have mass appeal, but have at least one major social issue to get the group talking about their own personal experiences in relation to the characters -- book-as-group-therapy.

None of this is necessarily good or bad. It just is. The way we read and what we expect from literature isn't the same as it was a century ago or even 50 years ago."

Now see here, Jesse, I protest (in a squeaky high tone) I think the "expectations" of literature have remained largely the same over time, at least since the general public became a "reading" public. In Benjamin Franklin's day, books were not so plentiful and to stimulate the trade they were often aimed at discussion groups in the coffee houses and taverns (one copy passed around for a pre-planed discussion later on), as well as the select salons of the nobility. From Jane Austen's works we have several examples of people reading the latest book, and then discussing it in much the same fashion as we go through with Tolkien here. The application of the "moral" of such books to the life of the reader seems to be a fairly constant theme, hence all the "uplifting" moral-suasion literature of the past. I guess I'm seeing people like Voltaire, Austen, B. Franklin et al as the Oprahs of their own age? Hmmm, maybe Plato is just another commercial-minded popularizer, retailing and retelling the "personally applicable" and "improving" philosophies of Socrates? LOL. At least today, we can simply press the "off" button and walk away from Oprah, can you imagine turning your back on Voltaire or Plato!?

___________________

BRAVA, Lorien, I find myself in FULL agreement with your latest post here! Er, can I give you 6 stars, without creating an act of stellar inflation? Six it is!

Message Edited by Dagor on 05-30-2008 10:16 AM
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

Good Afternoon JesseBC ---
 
I must concur with Dagor ( and I'm positive everyone else agrees ) at no time did ANY
 of us feel like you were being an "idiot." ---
[ there were times when I felt like you were being a real "gadfly" - but there's nothing wrong with that - although I found myself getting a little "idiotic" sometimes, stumbling all over myself trying to assert my arguments ( in that "Religion Thread" ) in response to your criticisms... ]
 
For my own part,
The tone of my own response to this speculation you brought up in this Thread
( way back, earlier on )
WAS "defensive", however - but only because I did not see anything in the way of
"Self-Analysis/Actualization" in the premise of the Thread, which was:
"How Would You Have Written It" ?---
It all seemed like nothing more than a relatively harmless, faintly frivolous, pastime to me
 -- simply a small excercize in "creative writing" ...
 
If we wanted to fully discuss these thoughts that you brought up, it would seem like yet another case of the need for another new Thread - something to do with
"Self-Absorption In The Modern-Day World & How It Relates To Book Clubs & Other Such Activities"
( or something like that )...
 
Ardo Whortleberry
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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lorien
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

Ardo wrote:
If we wanted to fully discuss these thoughts that you brought up, it would seem like yet another case of the need for another new Thread - something to do with
"Self-Absorption In The Modern-Day World & How It Relates To Book Clubs & Other Such Activities"
( or something like that )...
--------------------------------------

I was thinking the same thing, Ardo. This thread was started as a joke--a bit of whimsy to lighten up things. So we had the two discussions side-by side and Jesse's really belonged in another more serious thread. I was thinking maybe the jokes we were making up might have been misconstrued as reactions to Jesse's comments when they were in no way related to it. They were just part of the original thread. Most people follow these discussions in linear mode, where the last posting is on the bottom, rather than in thread mode, where the threads are kept together, so it appears that the last post is related to the previous post rather than a response to something posted several days ago.

I know we have lots of threads but we talk about many things and I think mixing topics may be misleading to people. Plus I think separate threads make it easier for people to identify the subject and read or respond where their interest is drawn too.

:smileyvery-happy: However, Ardo, I discovered that there is a limit on how long a title you can put on a thread and I think your's exceeds the limit: "Self-Absorption In The Modern-Day World & How It Relates To Book Clubs & Other Such Activities" :smileyvery-happy: :smileyvery-happy: :smileyvery-happy:.

Perhaps Jesse could come up with a title and start a thread. I doubt that we could find a moderator to move things over for us, but we could copy over our posts the old fashioned copy and paste way and leave this one for our jokes.
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Middle Earth How would you written it?

Hi, lorien ---
 
Well, you know how I am -- I'm sure I could have crammed in a few more words in that "Title" -
If only I had tried!      :smileyvery-happy:
 
 Words seem to pop up and grow quickly and wildly all over my posts - sort of like those crazy trees of
The Old Forest running riot and encroaching on the hobbit's domain...
Often, I must slog through my posts before I send them and hack away at the excess verbiage...
But there still remains a dense thicket of words, anyway...
 
I'm just glad my "Thread Title" brought a smile and maybe a laugh, as well, to your "mind's eye" ---
 
A. W.
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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lorien
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Re: Middle Earth: The Matter of Middle-earth

There is a very tight copyright control on the Matter of Middle-earth. And I was thinking this weekend--would that have been the way Tolkien would have wanted it? His primary goal was to write a mythology for England because he felt it didn't really have one. Mythology is one of the most important building blocks of literature and, in fact, other mythologies were important sources and building blocks for his own. Yet, no one (except maybe the fan-fiction writers) can use it.

I wonder if this would have been what Tolkien would have wanted. My thinking is that if he were still alive he would have been very pleased if other writers built on his mythology and would not have kept such a tight control.
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Re: Middle Earth: The Matter of Middle-earth

There is a very tight copyright control on the Matter of Middle-earth. And I was thinking this weekend--would that have been the way Tolkien would have wanted it? His primary goal was to write a mythology for England because he felt it didn't really have one. Mythology is one of the most important building blocks of literature and, in fact, other mythologies were important sources and building blocks for his own. Yet, no one (except maybe the fan-fiction writers) can use it.
I wonder if this would have been what Tolkien would have wanted. My thinking is that if he were still alive he would have been very pleased if other writers built on his mythology and would not have kept such a tight control.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Having read a few of Tolkien's thoughts on his desires for creation. I have to agree that he wouldn't be too pleased. He was trying to weave an new mythology, a hopeful foundation for future dreams and stories.

If you want to overlay this with the behavior of other writers in his time period. There is ample evidence of world sharing. One of the most documented cases is with the correspondence of Howard and Lovecraft. Lovecraft willingly(despite his personal dislike of Howard) handed Howard the foundations of his creation, here try a few tales; let see what you do with it. Howard reciprocated with doing Lovecraft's character editing, he put some backbone in a few. Now these 2 writers were not only writing at the same time, they competed for print space. Helping each other put a crimp in their own pocket books.

If authors whose dinner table depended on whether the new short story sold, freely shared mental property. It shows a lot about the general mindset of the period.
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Re: Middle Earth: The Matter of Middle-earth

If authors whose dinner table depended on whether the new short story sold, freely shared mental property. It shows a lot about the general mindset of the period.
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And the mindset of people now who want to keep everything locked up because there is money in it. And the people are often not even the originators of the work as in the case of Tolkien.
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Dagor
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎03-04-2008
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Re: Middle Earth: The Matter of Middle-earth

I agree with Tiggerbear and Lorien, the money issue has put Middle-earth in a tomb, it is now a fossilized corpus. Even Andre Norton, who was making big bucks, saw that the only way to keep her fantasy realms alive was to associate them with new authors. She formed many fruitful partnerships in her last years, helping new authors get themselves established in Sci-Fi/ Fantasy by letting them take some of her Old Classic themes and update them, refresh them with new ideas based on the same old worlds.

Tolkien often worked with his fellow Inklings on collaborative projects, so if the Old Master had lived a decade longer, I bet he would have welcomed an association with new writers who would add to and further elaborate his "English Mythology." One such book, just screaming to find a competent Tolkien-style author, would be the further Hobbit Adventures that are briefly mentioned in LotR: just what took Isengar out to sea ("said to have 'gone to sea' in his youth" -- genealogical table Appendix C, RotK, p. 381 hb version). And just what sort of adventures did the "remarkable daughter" Belladonna Took (Bilbo's mother) go through with Gandalf? Sigh, maybe we'll have to wait, for such Middle-earth resurrecting-tales, another hundred years or so, when the legal-stranglehold of copyright privilege finally dies itself...
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