Monday, June 14, 2004

Now this...
is one of the more perceptive articles on the Professor's works that I've found.
Here's a little sample:
"In reading LOTR one must keep in mind several things relating to character. One important one is that the folk we encounter are, with only a few exceptions, quite extraordinary personages even by the standards of Middle-earth. There is nothing unreasonable or exceptionable about extraordinary characters having, well--extraordinary characters. The noted literary critic (yeah, one of them) Edmund Wilson, in his now-notorious rant against LOTR, complained that Aragorn (who? be patient) had the personality of a well-trained horse, had no "taste for sin." Hmmmm . . . .
Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. "Elendil!" he cried. "I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!"
Our credibility is supposedly strained by finding that this is not a guy given to putting slugs in parking meters? Such ineffable tomfoolery says a great deal more about critics and the society that supports them than it does about their nominal subjects. In essence, we are being told by Wilson and his sort that nobility of character is a childish fiction--that characters supposedly possessed of it are perforce ill-drawn nonsenses. Even in our mingey everyday reality, we know that that is not so. Why need it be a requirement of fiction?"

This is from a website found courtesy of Mixolydian Mode.


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