My colleague John also directed me to Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth by John Garth and sent me this review from "Publishers Weekly".It is true that Tolkien did not want you to think of his writing in terms of the one-to-one substitution of direct allegory. So the One Ring is not the Atomic Bomb.
But I don’t think that Tolkien would necessarily object to people drawing experiences/lessons from the books that can be applied to current situations as long as you did not confuse the two as being separate things.
Certainly WWI had a major influence on the writer’s of that generation. Raynor Unwin commented on one of the extended DVDs for the movies that he could not see how it could not have and that the proliferation of Fantasy writing after the war might be explained as an attempt to reconcile the horrors of that reality. The first versions of the Simarillion were written in 1917, just after Tolkien’s experiences in the Trenches. These I would not consider children’s stories. The Hobbit came about later (published 1937) and probably did start as a story for his children, John Francis (1917), Michael Hilary (1920), Christopher Reuel (1924), Priscilla Anne (1929) based loosely on the Myth Cycle that he had been developing previously.
Tolkien felt that England (as a result of the Norman Conquest) lacked a national mythology. This is what he sought initially to invent and some of his early writings set out in The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 5) show this influence.
He was, however, greatly influenced by the Icelandic/Nordic Sagas (in particular the Volsunga Saga, the Icelandic version of the Nibelungen cycle which influenced Wagner), the Finnish Epic, Kalevala and, probably, the Mabinogin.
Read into LotR whatever you want, but it was not Tolkien's intention to draw parallels to modern events.This dense but informative study addresses the long-standing controversy over how J.R.R. Tolkien's WWI experience influenced his literary creations. A London journalist, Garth is a student of both Tolkien and the Great War. He writes that when war broke out, Tolkien was active in an Oxford literary society known as the Tea Club and Barrovian Society (TCBS), along with three of his closest friends. Finishing his degree before joining up, Tolkien served as a signal officer in the nightmarish Battle of the Somme in 1916, where two of those friends were killed. The ordeal on the Somme led to trench fever, which sent him home for the rest of the war and probably saved his life. It also influenced a body of Northern European-flavored mythology he had been inventing and exploring in both prose and verse before the war, toward its evolution into The Book of Lost Tales and in due course Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. This book could not pretend to be aimed at other than the serious student of Tolkien, and readers will benefit from a broad knowledge of his work (as well as a more than casual knowledge of WWI). But it also argues persuasively that Tolkien did not create his mythos to escape from or romanticize the war. Rather, the war gave dimensions to a mythos he was already industriously exploring. [my italics] Garth's fine study should have a major audience among serious students of Tolkien, modern fantasy and the influence of war on literary creation.
:)Originally posted by Shapley:
No, Mick Jagger isn't dead, he just looks that way....
I have seen the Stones many times, last time it cost me $700.00 for two tickets. I am not going this time as I would have to take out a loan... what are you paying for your tickets TM?Originally posted by TrumpetMaster:
:)Originally posted by Shapley:
[b] No, Mick Jagger isn't dead, he just looks that way....
Going to see Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones in Concert next Tuesday Night. A first.....
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