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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Moor Gnidaer: Underland: Edit Log


Jan 16, 4:03pm

Views: 391

Thanks for all the additional underground bits, for the interpretation and for the cacking pun about a geocentric journey...

It's all beginning to remind me of Underland, a book by Robert Macfarlane, describing journeys he made into various underground places, and a lot of thinking about the symbollism of those places. Underland is, by the way, one of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking books I've read. There is some overlap for me between the pleasures of reading Macfarlane and the pleasures fo reading Tolkien. For one thing, I find both their prose styles very satisfying.

The following quotes give some of Macfarlane's ideas that seem relevant to our current discussion. These versions come from a newspaper article Macfarlae wrote about his book. But as it happens, these particular paragraphs also appear in the book in slightly altered form. (So, if you've read the book , that is why they might seem familiar):

We know so little of the worlds beneath our feet. Look up on a cloudless night and you might see the light from a star trillions of miles away, or pick out the craters left by asteroid strikes on the moon’s face. Look down and your sight stops at topsoil, tarmac, toe. I have rarely felt as far from the human realm as when only 10 metres below it, held in the shining jaws of a limestone bedding plane first formed on the floor of a warm Cretaceous sea.

...The underland’s impenetrability to vision and its obstructiveness to entry have long made it a means, across world cultures, of alluding to what cannot easily be seen or said: trauma, memory, grief, death, suffering, the afterlife – and what Elaine Scarry calls the “deep subterranean fact” of pain. Deliberately to place something in the underland is often a strategy to shield it from view. Actively to retrieve something from the underland often requires effortful work, physical or psychoanalytical.

...Yes, journeys into darkness have long been made to recover or to store what is precious (minerals, information, memories, the lost, the loved) and to dispose of what is harmful (waste, ghosts, poison, enemies, trauma).


Maybe it is all this sort of thing that makes the underground passages of Tolkien so memorble and significant, so that we end up with "Dungeons & Dragons", not (say) "Hikes & Heroes"

The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 16, 4:04pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by noWizardme (Nevle-flah) on Jan 16, 4:04pm: can't spell (well, I am a NOWizard)

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