Discussion in 'Other Related Topics' started by Mike, Apr 11, 2005.
Did anyone read this?
Is anyone grating their teeth as much as I am right now after reading this?
I just read it. I don't see any problem at all. The most important sentence in there is this:
Robert E. Howard wrote stories that revolved around One character. Conan. Tolkien wrote stories that revolved around entire peoples and the world of Arda.
The two stories :Howard's and Tolkien's stories have nothing in common.
The facts are so many proving that Tolkien's world (not only LOTR) has much more fans around the world.........the movies proved it too(if we have to compare the movies).
...anyway,just personal opinion.
I did not find the actual comarison offensive, but lines like this:
...seems a bit narrow-minded.
As if his arguments could not be well countered...
Don't even bother with the movies.
To be blunt this guy is clearly an ignoramous.
He implies that 'real' fantasy should be a big action film (typically american view.. however only a stereotype: many americans are quite smart and well-founded people). How can u possibly say that, because Tolkien immerses his readers into a world and howard 'attempts' to immerse readers into a single character, Howard is at an advantage? Who is the more talented writer of these two? one who creates a character or one who creates a universe?
By the way who is this guy and what literal authority does he have to bad-mouth works by an author who has been praised and praised for 50+ years, for works that have inspiered and entertained many generations. What can u say about conan? It became famous because of the comics it spawned (what a claim to fame! up there with Spawn and Hellboy!) which were in fact simply reading material for the sexually frustrated generation of adolescent males: "Conan rape wench.. now!" And lets not forget the movies it spawned... arnold is sooooo talented, as well as making way for further movies in the genre (Kevin Sorbeau aka Hercules in KULL THE CONQUEROR! WOAHHHH!)
This article is simply a matter of the writer believing he is right while everyone else is wrong: as i said earlier, typically american views
PS No offense to those americans who have brains... but ur image is ruined by certain individuals
What is "literary authority" (I'm guessing "literal" is a typo), and why would the author of the article need it to express an opinion?
I didn't get that impression at all. The writer is expressing an opinion (that's what he means when he says "here's my judgement"); and it doesn't necessarily follow from the fact that his or her views on Tolkien differ from yours that the writer believes he or she is right (in an absolute sense) while everyone else is wrong.
Yes. I began to take less interest in his opinions when I read that line. Suddenly I realised here is someone I will not be able to relate to, and also someone who I think fails to appreciate JRRT on the same level as many readers do.
I don't see why just anyone can't bad-mouth them.
I don't think years of praise necessarily prove that whatever is being praised is actually worthy of it.
This man clearly values different things in a fantasy book than some Tolkien fans do, and his article is only useful to me as a way to see how JRRT differs from other fantasy authors. (I do not read fantasy outside of Tolkien.)
But yes I was a little angered when he assumed any attempts to defend JRRT's works would be feeble ones.
All of the words I'm searching for have four letters and are entirely inappropriate.
I have a strong desire to hunt this fellow down and insert a cattle prod in him.
Maybe SOME Americans like to actually digest their fantasy literature and not look upon it like a typical action-adventure TV show on HBO.
That's the PROBLEM with American entertainment these days. It's assumed that the audience is lacking much intellect so they contrive a thin plot embellished with numerous blood 'n guts battle scenes and lots of scantily clad women and THAT is supposed to make the typical American viewer happy. It's assumed that it makes American's heads hurt to actually think about and digest what they are reading or watching, that all that is needed is to get the adrenalin going and the hormones pulsing. Don't make things too complicated or intellectual or else the reader will be completely lost, not to mention that it's considered "wimpish". Gimme a break!
I'm as true Red, White and Blue an American as they get. I bleed the stars and stripes and I'm profoundly embarrassed by this guy's POV. He's entitled to his opinion but he's really just perpetuating the stereotypical American Cowboy image in the way he voices that opinion. I guess his idea of intellectually stimulating entertainment is to stay home, rent Blockbuster movies and flip through back issues of Rolling Stone magazine. That's fine but to bust on those who prefer otherwise is irritating, to say the least.
Some of us actually have a modicum of intellect and can appreciate the finer points of fantasy literature. I happen to like Tolkien because an entire world and history comes complete with the action-adventure. I like depth with my drama, thank you very much! Comparing LOTR with Conan is just ridiculous. It's like comparing falafel with filet mignon. Excuse me if I prefer I good steak. Most Americans do.
Good day. I thought I'd dig up this old thread because, simply, I've read the Conan books since then.
And this, I believe, is the major misunderstanding of Robert E. Howard's character. Nowhere does Conan rape any woman--his own code of honour forbids such a thing. The typical stereotype of Conan by those who have not read the stories is that he's a brainless warrior, who's only thoughts are to kill and have sex. That's not Howard's Conan. That Conan had values, was intelligent, and was meant to exemplify an ideal Howard created. Howard believed that civilization was decadent, that it robbed the human race of what they stood for, and his answer was a man who took on civilization.
I don't share the same views, to be sure, but I find them interesting.
(And I did see "Kull the Conqueror". It made me laugh. A lot. As for the Conan films, I found the first one passable, the second one laughable.)
Perhaps the worst thing about the article I posted, upon re-reading, is how it portrays Howard's work. The author simply did not understand what Howard was about, or anything about Howard's life, for the matter. Such as:
Firstly, not all of the Conan stories are that "straight forward", and some of them don't actually involve that much "flesh and blood." But what's even worst about what's written here is calling Howard a "Texas Yahoo."
Robert E. Howard was a quiet man who tended nearly full time for his sick mother: he was pulling in cash through his stories in order to care for her. After she died, he commited suicide, unable to find a purpose in life.
Does that sound like a "Texas Yahoo" to you?
There is no question in my mind that Tolkien is the superior writer here--I enjoy Tolkien's work more (or I wouldn't be here), but they were men from completely different backgrounds writing about completely different things. They shouldn't be compared this way--black and white. Both of them, in my mind, are worthy of praise.
The article not only sets many Tolkien-fans on edge, but (I'm sure) many Howard fans as well. I being both, the thing wants me to find the author and bash his head against a desk. Frankly, I don't think he's read either books with any discernment.
Ah yes, and if you want to see a film about Robert E. Howard's life, check out "The Whole Wide World". "Texas Yahoo" anyone?
I have read several of the Conan books. The main differences between them were that EVIL in Tolkien's LOTR was a physical manifestation which included an entire race of beings. A more tangeble type of thing. Howard's form of evil was that which lies in each of us. It was also much more subtle. Politics, and personal adjenda's being on the "evil" side of life. Now, there were a few times when he was not EXACTLY honorable.
I denote one specific instance (I can not remember the book, I have read so many) that in the turning tide of the battle, he and his cohorts had switched sides. I.E. switch to the winning side. Along with that instance another one I remember was when he feined death in battle. After the battle was over, he stood up along with several others who did the same. Self-preservation over-riding honor in these gray instances. He was very good at surviving and it seemed to me that he had a great amount of wisdom and discretion.
I detest all amoral fantasy heroes.... (That's why in my book they all get emasculated, or was it the other one that starts with C? Can't remember. ) Although, the novel Conan gets off free. (Shcwarznegger (sp?), however......
I aim to be my own writer, but I will NOT be the writer this crass guy says he enjoys. Without Tolkien, no fantasy will be possible.
I am ashamed to be a fellow American to this crass pig. Killing and wenching? Abominable! Disgusting!! Sick! No wonder our world is so tragic. We need Tolkien now, more than ever.
I have no problem with Howard, or his works. It's this "Judger" and narrow thinker of Fantasy.
I hereby disown this perverse "fantasy" style. (*gavel falls, A-morals are exiled.)
(I'm heartily glad Conan isn't a rapist, even he has values!)
I found this article to be very offensive, maybe not to Tolkien himself, I'm sure if he were alive today he would write this toad a new one, but as someone who strives to hold up chivalric values, goodness, fair respectful treatment towards all women, and as a Roman Catholic Fantasy writer, I found this to be utterly distasteful. It is, however, really offensive to Howard. I'm sure Howard never wanted his work to be viewed in this way. I certainly wouldn't. Poor Guy, lost his mom, suicide? Darn.
Is this a Satire, it definitely reads like one. If not, this toad definitely loves to hear himself talk, and to think he knows better than Tolkien? Americans..... (Sorry about this guy, folks, we're not ALL like this....)
CL (The American Writer of Classical Chivalric Fantasy Heroes and Heroines: TAoCCFHaH)
Tragic but true, right with you there brother......
Really well said. Thank you for this information. I'll have to see that film some time. That's the thing about books, what Hollywood gets out of it is vastly different is from what is written.
I feel terrible for the guy, that's rough.
Old thread , but new question / thoughts...Please forgive my ramble into this old minefield...
I have read both The Lord of the Rings and the Conan Series by Howard* and enjoyed them both....Re-reading each is a pleasure for me.
But I have to ask : Why have one versus the other?
Both writers took a different approach to fantasy ....Howard was a pulp fiction writer and Tolkien was a University Professor , each had their own message ,writing style and audience.
Neither approach is "better" than the other.
Each has a loyal fan base and without either authors fantasy fiction today would be vastly diminished .
A quick trip to your local used book store , should show you the many influences these men had on the genre.
Two common issues I have seen when folks talk about or tackle these writers for the first time is:
That they can let what they think they know about the stories or have "heard" about the stories , rule their thinking .... And not let the writers , characters and stories speak for themselves.
Letting a outside force direct their view or knowledge...Outside force being a movie , director or non-original author writing about the subject.
Any of the above may not be in line with what the original author wanted to say or get across.
Please note that the above statement is not a jibe against those who enjoy the movies or other adaptions of the either author's works.
But I do think that when discussing these works that one needs to make clear whether one is talking about the original authors novels or other writers versions of the characters / finishing of the original authors works and the movies of the same.
There can be a world of difference between the two. ( Original authors work and adaptions )
At the end of the day , I can relax and enjoy both Howard and Tolkien.
Both have their merits and each is very readable for me....So for me there is no "LOTR vs. Conan" debate or issue.
*I have read the original series by Howard and many works w/Conan by other writers .
Separate names with a comma.