Discussion in 'J.R.R. Tolkien : The Creator of Middle-earth' started by Beorn, Sep 14, 2003.
A Great story-teller.
a ruddy brilliant bloke!
It is said (Verlyn Flieger - "Splintered Light") about one of the members of the Inklings - Owen Barfield, to be a:
"speculative thinker and philosopher whose interest lies chiefly in the relationship between language, myth and cultural reality"
I think that Tolkien is all that but I would also add "history" to the above enlisted aspects.
This is what Tolkien is to me - a great mind, a scientist and a "speculative thinker" who searches the "roots" of the words - firmly convinced that there at those "roots" he will find a reality that once upon a time had given birth to the words themselves - a reality in which lived certain people with certain culture and certain view of life!
I think it takes a little more than reading the introduction of Prof. Flieger's Splintered Light – an overall very good book, btw. - to understand the difference between Owen Barfield and J.R.R. Tolkien. And since Barfield evidently - as can be gathered from his books e.g. Poetic Diction, History in English Words or Saving the Appearances - had a profound knowledge and understanding of history, I don't think that 'history' – or their amount of knowledge thereof - is what characterizes the distinction between Barfield and Tolkien. Aside from their different profession they also seemed to have rather different approaches to philology, philosophy, history and myth.
Tolkien's essay Sigelwara Land (published in Medium Aevum 1932 & 1934) is not only an interesting excurse – and able to show whence the idea for Tolkien's Balrogs may have come from: the "jewel-sun roasted" Sigelhearwan who could be seen as the sons of Muspell, the fire-giant of the South from northern tradition – it also gives an idea about the limitations of all scientific examination of the origins of words and thus language: language - in its earliest forms - predates writing most probably for several tens of thousands of years and hence we have no documents or anything that gives us direct access to early stages of language and thought. And this - for Tolkien - lead to speculative thinking, fantasy e.g. in form of "Fairy-stories" or "secret vices" in form of invented languages.
This also is what – IMHO – makes for the major difference between Barfield and Tolkien: the latter, in attempting to overcome the scientific limitations, became a "sub-creator", and his "sub-creation" as presented throughout his legendarium is an extraordinarily beautiful one…
I takes that, indeed.
Yet, while reading, one can still come across a combination of words expressing in a very appropriate way what's on the mind; words that one sees and thinks "Ah! I could not say it better!".
It's not about similarities or/and differences Tolkien has as a scientist and/or as a writer, when compared to other scientists and/or writers, I think, but about the way one feels about him and his works. What's on the mind on this subject can be expressed in simple words, true. But one can also quote someone else's words, too, those of someone who has succeeded in finding the very right combination of words that in fact expresses exactly what you think. And even if the found combination of words refers to sth. or someone else, if you feel them right and appropriate for expressing your own thoughts, then why not use them.
To me, Tolkien is the writer who created the saga in which I dwell during meals, and science and maths periods. He's the writer of possibly one of the greatest, informative, detailed, poetically beautiful, non-religious piece of literature. To me, he is one of the best writers of the world, who has created the masterpiece of Ea.
To me, Tolkien is an inspiration. He inspires me to write my novel and make unique and original. To me, Tolkien is a genius!
To me Tolkien is the best author. he has created a new world. Many readers live in that world, sometimes they escape from the real world and 'went' to Tolkien's though sometimes it is tragic. But that world is special. It has specific influence on each reader. It is powerful and interesting. It has many things to me found and that's why there are too many people who want to find them.
Professor Tolkien is a great figure in my life.
He opened the World for me, that was hidden for a while, but in which I was born and had lived until I came to the Earth.
Many people have an opinion that everything written in the Fantasy genre is a tale, the product of the author’s illusions.
If yes – I can advice – try to UNDERSTAND that this “unreal” world is totally real.
Many people live in one dimension and use the brain as a supreme way of thinking. But, if to open soul and feelings and suddenly FIGURE OUT that there is something else that is hidden from the eyes, which see just those things that we COMMAND them to see. But they (eyes) don’t see those things that we implanted “This is unreal, this is fantasy, so – not true.”
Who said that?
Here are creatures-guides, sent from other worlds for opening these worlds to us and showing that the Universe is unlimited and any “illusion” is reality.
In my life the first person-guide like this is the Professor from Oxford.
Let other think that he died, but he still lives among us – I know that. Souls such as this one just DON’T KNOW HOW TO DIE!
I just want to say to him THANK YOU MISTER TOLKIEN for everything because of what I can remember, where I came from. Now I know my race and my goals. Thank you for Arda, which exists in reality! And for all those wonderful friends, which Tolkienism connected me with!…
...Is probably the biggest influence and inspiration in my writing career.
The author of the greatest story ever told
the author of my most beloved piece of fiction
To me, Professor Tolkien was a genius - - the creator of my special fantasy world which kept me company during my lonely childhood (not the fault of my good mother - lonely because I was a geek/nerd back then)...
Feanor, before the influence of Melkor The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings are true Silmarils that have captured the very essence of myth and fantasy and cannot be remade again
The foundation of modern fantasy, and the master craftsman of his world.
A bad-ass grandpa, and a wonderful stoner (I know he didn't get stoned but the Hobbits do) Also a fellow christian who enjoys fantasy.
I agree with what many others have said before me. He is a genius, the master storyteller, linguist, the man and his works are undeniably influential. He is all that and more. He is so superior it is near impossible for me to boil down Professor Tolkien to one word, even if I hyphenate. But if I must choose then for me Tolkien is a mentor.
His writings encourage me to dream of a world filled with elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, holy men, good and brave men and women, and vile, evil megalomaniacs. There are visions of fantastical places of beauty and grandeur as well as fiendish and dangerous forests, strongholds, towers and fortresses.
He has challenged millions to walk with him into his world, experience its lands, its peoples, its languages and its glorious history. There are many who know the history of ME better than the history of their own homelands. What an influencer is Tolkien! He challenges and inspires me to bravery, to engage my own creative talents be it in writing, drawing, painting, poetry, music. He inspires all of us. He is an impacter, a change agent. Roll that all into one word, the word for me is mentor.
And I have immense appreciation for the effect it had on his fabulous story telling.
Even though there are some things that are difficult to explain, he was very careful choosing words, with time lines, consistency and linking disparate scenes.
For instance, a cock crowing when the Nazgul are up to no good, Crickhollow, Bree, the Gates of Minis Tirith.
There are other instances of things like that.
That's one of the things that so gripped me about the movies, Tolkien's attention to detail (which contributed greatly to the tale) that was thrown out the window. Kind of like TV shows where the character drives from one side of LA to the other in 30 min at rush hour.
He was also Beren
Separate names with a comma.