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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
"Mythopoeia" poem by Tolkien

Leviathan's Bane

Jun 1 2011, 5:26pm

Post #1 of 4 (378 views)
"Mythopoeia" poem by Tolkien Can't Post

I haven't been on TORn in a while so y'all might have recently discussed this recently, but I just read Tolkien's poem "Mythopoeia" and was simply blown away! I had read the section of this poem which Tolkien included in his essay "On Fairy-Stories" which begins "Though now long estranged / man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed..." and thought that it was the entirety of the poem. So after reading "Mythopoeia" and coming upon that stanza, I was slightly confused and did some research as to the history of the poem. When I found out that it was a poetic response to C.S. Lewis's antagonism towards Myth-making, it all made sense! Smile

Having read the whole poem "Mythopoeia," however, I now have several questions about some of its more difficult sections (interpretation-wise) including Tolkien's use of numerous esoteric words! But, I wanted to save myself from typing out all those questions in case y'all have already discussed this poem in detail. Thanks!

"So knights are mythical!" said the younger and less experienced dragons. "We always thought so."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Farmer Giles of Ham"


Jun 2 2011, 12:11am

Post #2 of 4 (219 views)
As far as I can tell, we have not discussed the long version in detail.// [In reply to] Can't Post


(This post was edited by Curious on Jun 2 2011, 12:11am)

N.E. Brigand

Jun 2 2011, 9:39pm

Post #3 of 4 (216 views)
I know only of a short discussion of a few stanzas on Main in 2003. [In reply to] Can't Post

In this thread by Amatire. Even if the entire poem had been discussed at length before, it is customary in the Reading Room for there to be new threads on old subjects (apart from the topic of the current regular discussion, which just now is Books IV and V of LOTR, so as not to overlap the work of the discussion leaders). So post away!

There is no such thing as "judder and blur".

Discuss Tolkien´┐Żs life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Jun 3 2011, 12:09pm

Post #4 of 4 (289 views)
It has come up from time to time, but that was then and this is now [In reply to] Can't Post

There was a non-discussion in 2007 on roughly the same question you are asking now.

That was in turn non-discussed in 2009.

The poem was briefly debated in 2008 as part of the question of whether some meters in English poetry are soporific.

Since Tolkien quotes part of his poem in his essay "On Fairy-stories", inevitably we discussed that passage when we discussed the essay in 2008.

Long-time but recently absent Reading Room member a.s. is a big fan of the poem. She has often cited it in other discussions:
  • In 2007 in a debate about Tolkien's understanding of the essential nature of Evil.
  • She responded at length in the "On Fairy-stories" thread referred to above.
  • In a 2009 discussion of Tolkien's poem "The Cat".
In 2010 evermind posted his/her paper on "Mythopoeia" and asked for comments. A discussion ensued.

Earlier this year FarFromHome used the poem to illustrate Tolkien's belief that progress was a problematic virtue.

I would conclude that although we have never discussed the poem in a dedicated thread, there is plenty of awareness of it here (or there has been, at least). If you would like to post a discussion or discussion series reflecting your own questions, thoughts and responses, and asking for others', go right ahead!

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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