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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdq1958 View Post
    Personally, I don't consider the Professor's work to be fantasy, in modern usage. I consider it to be the mythological equivalent, if England had it, to the Norse Elder Edda and other similar legendary mythological histories. In his own words, the Professor sought to create an historical mythology 'fairy' story set to England that other Germanic peoples had been known to have. I consider this work of literature to be equivalent to Homer's Iliad, not 'fantasy'. Others have their own opinions.
    Well, if Homer wrote the Iliad today, we would call it fantasy.

    The thing that sets mythology apart from modern fantasy literature is that mythology is created by a culture, not a person. No single person created the stories that appear in the Elder Edda or the Iliad. The people who wrote those specific works were drawing from cultural knowledge and cultural storytelling. They only created those specific ways of telling those stories.

    All of Middle-earth came from Tolkien's imagination. Sure, his imagination was inspired by various cultures and mythologies, but he still invented everything that exists in Middle-earth. It's not mythology, it's mythopoeic fantasy.
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  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnuala View Post
    Well, if Homer wrote the Iliad today, we would call it fantasy.

    The thing that sets mythology apart from modern fantasy literature is that mythology is created by a culture, not a person. No single person created the stories that appear in the Elder Edda or the Iliad. The people who wrote those specific works were drawing from cultural knowledge and cultural storytelling. They only created those specific ways of telling those stories.

    All of Middle-earth came from Tolkien's imagination. Sure, his imagination was inspired by various cultures and mythologies, but he still invented everything that exists in Middle-earth. It's not mythology, it's mythopoeic fantasy.
    Apparently the forum gods have decreed I must give rep to others....
    "You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81



  3. #28

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Beautiful Oregon
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    1,262
    For me the writings of Tolkien are rich in everything, everything meshes to feel RIGHT. I think part of it is his ability to "paint" a detailed picture of a place, of a creature, of the enchantment involved. He is an artist in every sense of the word. Then suddenly, you might find yourself in the story where he does not paint a picture as vividly as before and your imagination moves in, that is a true joy.

    I know some say they couldn't stand reading LOTR because Tolkien was too "flowery" and he seemed to go on and on about things when they wanted to get to the point. This may be true for them but I admit, going on and on about things makes that thing bloom in my mind and anchors it, makes it substantial and it feels true. It also teaches me the use of obscure words which I can appreciate.

    Having studied 19th and 20th century literature I found many writers wrote more descriptively, they even got bogged down in it to the point that they went unpublished or sunk into obscurity. It was definitely a time when language was richer and the truly creative used a variety of words that were just right for the phrase and to make its meaning more clear. I do think much of modern writing misses a chance to bloom because they are trying to follow the strictures of what they have been taught as to what is important as modern writers. We seem to be a people of short sentences and short attention spans. We have developed into being satisfied with short sound bites rather than wanting to know more detail. I think we who enjoy Tolkien miss that older way of writing.

    It has been said Professor Tolkien created his stories to set up a mystical past for England, that the stories were carriers for his languages. I think it's why it is logical, it has a history that goes far beyond the world as it sits now and many of the things that happen relate to that history. So they don't feel contrived.

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    96
    Simply put, this is the reason: Tolkien has delved deeper, conducted more research, elaborated further and expanded greater than ANY other writer so far to ensure that his fantasy world would have a real elaborate history and feel "complete" and "right" to readers. Everyone knows it is NOT complete, but it feels like it is, because you know most things go so deep that it is far enough to feel complete.

    And as Laurefinde says, Tolkien is a master of mixing (and switching between) adventure, action, dialogue, lore and simple storytelling, tales and songs. Everything is exactly right (for patient readers with open and (semi-)intelligent minds) and that makes it great.


    EDIT: I have studied Tolkien for the last two years or so, and, together with a friend, I have just written an essay on the influence of the Old English epic poem "Beowulf" on J.R.R. Tolkien's best-known works: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The essay now contains 47 pages full of text, but we are planning to add more text on subjects we haven't covered yet and if we also add illustrations, we hope to get to 100 pages, if we can. The essay is our "profile essay" for secondary school which is kind of a last essay you need to write to show that you can do research in an orderly manner when you go to university (which I am next year).

    For the people wondering: I am hoping to become a writer later in my life and to create a fantasy world that is almost as elaborate as Tolkien's. This is just a plan that I hope to execute, though... these things cannot be planned and one can only hope for those kind of dreams to come true. It's like wanting to become a professional sports player, a rock star or a hollywood actor, except that there is more opportunity for low-level starters in the writing business.
    Last edited by DwarfFriend; Jan 11 2013 at 06:33 PM.
    The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can.
    ~Bilbo Baggins~

 

 
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