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Interesting...

Morthoron
Gondor


Oct 2 2012, 10:07pm


Views: 513
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Interesting... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
"...It reads like a distillation of all the elements of The Lord of the Rings that people forget to copy: the centrality of language to the characterization of individuals as well as society; the genuine, folkloric Englishness that drips from every line of dialogue, whether it is the rustic speech of a servant or the decorative rhetoric of a nobleman; the periodic digression into verse and song, usually with the complicity of a pint of ale."


Having read and loved both books, I never once got a Tolkienic vibe rising from Sir Walter Scott. When the blogger states "the centrality of language to the characterization of individuals as well as society", I get that from Dickens as well. Do we not know who is who status-wise in Oliver Twist or David Copperfield based almost soley on figures of speech and the colloquial jargon or clipped upperclass bluster they employ?

Actually, I get more of Sir Walter Scott in T.H. White than Tolkien. White channeled both Malory and Scott in making The Once and Future King (even borrowing Robin and Marian for a tale several centuries before King Richard and Prince John).

As for "the genuine, folkloric Englishness that drips from every line of dialogue, whether it is the rustic speech of a servant or the decorative rhetoric of a nobleman", aren't there any number of British authors who drip...ummm...Englishness? One of course gets the most Englishness from Hobbits, who Tolkien specifically wanted identified as English, right down to Sam being Frodo's loyal WWI batsman.

But the Elves, the dwarves, Gondorions and Rohirrim? They do not strike me as anglicized, although a case could made that Rohan is peopled with prototypical Beowulfian Anglo-Saxons, but the Anglo-Saxon warriors of Beowulf bare more resemblance to their Germanic forefathers and not at all to the Normanized Saxon lords of Ivanhoe (Tolkien, after all, was no francophile).

Finally, regarding "the periodic digression into verse and song, usually with the complicity of a pint of ale", this is not a motif exclusive to Sir Walter Scott. It is as much present in Chaucer and Shakespeare as it was to the unknown author of Beowulf as it was to writers on the continent such as Chretien de Troyes or Boccaccio. Medieval and Renaissance works of Romances and Chansons are filled with such poetic digressions, melancholy moonings and ribald balladry.

In ages dependent on the spoken word, even the greatest knights were expected to be able to dash off a bit of poesy to prove their chivalric mettle. William IX the Duke of Aquitaine, Bertrand de Born, Eustache Deschamps, Philippe de Mézières, etc., were all warrior poets. Tolkien takes his cue from Beowulf, and there is much singing, as in a Danish bard singing Beowulf's story, or the Danish warriors returning to Hrothgar's hall singing songs in praise of Beowulf.

I do not see the same pattern the author does, or at least I feel the points he hits on are coincidental. Also, Tolkien refers to other writers in his letters (Chaucer, Plutarch, Malory, Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Anderson, Enid Blyton, Isaac Asimov, George MacDonald, Steinbeck, Shakespeare, etc.), but never once Sir Walter Scott nor Ivanhoe. One would think if Tolkien had even an inkling of debt to Scott, he might have mentioned it.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.


Subject User Time
Ivanhoe and Tolkien? weaver Send a private message to weaver Oct 2 2012, 5:13pm
    ivanhoe and Tolkien Elenorflower Send a private message to Elenorflower Oct 2 2012, 9:47pm
        thank you for that link! weaver Send a private message to weaver Oct 10 2012, 2:29am
    Interesting... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Oct 2 2012, 10:07pm
        Scott wrote "historical novels", not fantasy. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Oct 3 2012, 1:16am
            I'm halfway through the book right now... weaver Send a private message to weaver Oct 10 2012, 2:39am
        Agreed... weaver Send a private message to weaver Oct 10 2012, 2:36am
    Scott was so popular FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Oct 3 2012, 8:53pm
        that makes sense... weaver Send a private message to weaver Oct 10 2012, 2:49am
            I found reference to this interesting exhibition book Elenorflower Send a private message to Elenorflower Oct 10 2012, 11:46am
                thanks again! weaver Send a private message to weaver Oct 11 2012, 3:09am

 
 
 

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