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Old 09-18-2019, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,144 posts, read 22,081,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker99 View Post
Well, regardless of subsequent debates or dissertations on any allegory in LOTR's, I will take Tolkien's (the author himself) word on it.

People tend to deconstruct and reinvent what they *think* (or want to see) in a work after an author's death. But it doesn't make it 'right' -especially when the author has many many many times said to the contrary.
“And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.” (G.K. Chesterton)
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:49 AM
 
1,415 posts, read 421,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
“And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.” (G.K. Chesterton)
Didn't recognize the quote, but the name jumped out - Father Brown!
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:00 PM
 
5,231 posts, read 3,994,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker99 View Post
Well, regardless of subsequent debates or dissertations on any allegory in LOTR's, I will take Tolkien's (the author himself) word on it.

People tend to deconstruct and reinvent what they *think* (or want to see) in a work after an author's death. But it doesn't make it 'right' -especially when the author has many many many times said to the contrary.

If someone wants a good peek behind the curtain as to Tolkien's mindset, comments, and beliefs - go read his Letters.
Except you are missing where Tolkien himself *does* himself refer to LOTR as an allegory. I already quoted it for you. That's why the said books and articles exist. Perhaps the issue is not that cut and dried.

Here is an example:

"The mystery deepens when we realize that Tolkien, on another occasion, refers specifically and unequivocally to The Lord of the Rings as being an allegory, thereby contradicting what he says in the foreword. Replying to a letter in which he was asked whether The Lord of the Rings was an allegory of atomic power, he replied that it was “not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for Domination).” Having confessed the allegory of power, he asserted that this was not the most important allegory in the story: “I do not think that even Power or Domination is the real centre of my story…. The real theme for me is about something much more permanent and difficult: Death and Immortality.”[3]"

https://theimaginativeconservative.o...-allegory.html

Tolkien also wrote, "The only perfectly consistent allegory is a real life; and the only fully intelligible story is an allegory. And one finds, even in imperfect human 'literature', that the better and more consistent an allegory is the more easily it can be read 'just as a story'; and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it." (letter #109)

So which are the words from the author that you want to believe over which others?

Last edited by calgirlinnc; 09-18-2019 at 12:13 PM..
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:20 PM
 
1,415 posts, read 421,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calgirlinnc View Post
Except you are missing where Tolkien himself *does* himself refer to LOTR as an allegory. I already quoted it for you. That's why the said books and articles exist. Perhaps the issue is not that cut and dried.

Here is an example:

"The mystery deepens when we realize that Tolkien, on another occasion, refers specifically and unequivocally to The Lord of the Rings as being an allegory, thereby contradicting what he says in the foreword. Replying to a letter in which he was asked whether The Lord of the Rings was an allegory of atomic power, he replied that it was “not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for Domination).” Having confessed the allegory of power, he asserted that this was not the most important allegory in the story: “I do not think that even Power or Domination is the real centre of my story…. The real theme for me is about something much more permanent and difficult: Death and Immortality.”[3]"

https://theimaginativeconservative.o...-allegory.html

Tolkien also wrote, "The only perfectly consistent allegory is a real life; and the only fully intelligible story is an allegory. And one finds, even in imperfect human 'literature', that the better and more consistent an allegory is the more easily it can be read 'just as a story'; and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it." (letter #109)

So which are the words from the author that you want to believe over which others?
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Things to ponder.

In fact, I went back to my copy of Tolkien's Letters to re-familiarize myself with any letters he had on the subject of "allegory".

Of the 17 Letters where Tolkien mentions allegory in regards LoTR, none of them make mention of Tolkien admitting to purposely writing LoTR as an allegory.

After re-reading his explanations, what Tolkien is 'copping' to is that, as written, LoTR can be interpreted or have applicability as allegory (per your quoted example for Power).

For example, in Letter #131:
Quote:
I dislike Allegory - the conscious or intentional allegory - yet any attempt to *explain* the purport of myth or fairytale must use allegorical language(And, of course, the more life a story has the more readily it will be susceptible of allegorical interpretation)...
So, what Tolkien is saying is that after the fact, LoTR has applicability/allegorical interpretations - but not that he **purposely** equated his story to be an allegory about Power (or as he later says 'really about Death and Immortality').

Every other Letter reinforces Tolkien's denial of conscious/intentional allegory.

We, the readers, are finding allegorical applicability/interpretation.

Which was my original intent; not to deny that there may be allegorical applicability, but that Tolkien never used allegory intentionally to bang the reader on the head "this xxxxx=yyyy".
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:17 PM
 
5,231 posts, read 3,994,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker99 View Post


So, what Tolkien is saying is that after the fact, LoTR has applicability/allegorical interpretations - but not that he **purposely** equated his story to be an allegory about Power (or as he later says 'really about Death and Immortality').

Every other Letter reinforces Tolkien's denial of conscious/intentional allegory.

We, the readers, are finding allegorical applicability/interpretation.

Which was my original intent; not to deny that there may be allegorical applicability, but that Tolkien never used allegory intentionally to bang the reader on the head "this xxxxx=yyyy".
I understand your point; however, I am sure you are aware that an author's "intentionality" is another topic altogether.

It's like me saying "I didn't mean for this chocolate cheesecake to make you gain 5 pounds, but I am going to force you to eat the whole thing."
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:26 AM
 
1,456 posts, read 289,677 times
Reputation: 1470
I cannot for the life of me get into Harry Porter (books or movies). At first I thought it was because I may have dismissed them as children's literature but then I have no such reservations when it comes to some juvenile comic fantasy for instance. Maybe it was just that chronic over-saturation that put me off it (I had similar trouble with A Song of Ice and Fire series, though I did get won over by it in the end). I strongly suspect that I simply don't like the idea of magicky solutions to real life problems, if it makes sense. This is likely to be the reason because one of the things I love about the Discworld novels, as a comparison, is the way in which magic takes the back seat in the universe run by it.

Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, was one of the few books that I shed a tear for when I got to the last chapter. It was like letting go of a part of myself, or saying goodbye to an old friend, knowing full well I would never be able to experience anything like this again. I had terrible trouble getting into the book to begin with. Took me months, and constant nagging of the person who gifted the books to me, to get through the Birthday celebration pages. The names, the descriptions, all felt too remote, too alien. But the moment the Black Riders became a feature of the story it was as if I finally managed to tune into the book's frequency and got transported into a parallel universe. To date, I have such strong visual memories of the story that I may have lived through it myself. I'm not good with expressing my emotions and such like so it's difficult to put into words just how those books made me feel. But perhaps the strength of that experience is yet another thing that put me off committing to Harry Porter.
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:37 PM
 
11,119 posts, read 10,250,862 times
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I haven't read Harry Potter, but I can answer your question by saying:

At some point early on, I picked up a volume of HP in a bookstore leafed though it, and found that it seemed to be to be derivative, with juvenile-ish writing. (After all, it is a children's book.) So I decided I wasn't going to bother LotR, on the other hand, is beautifully written, far more complex, original, and not aimed at children.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Siena,Tuscany,Italy
146 posts, read 33,166 times
Reputation: 131
Very hard to choose,both are my favorites.
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