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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
''Edelsinn''...

Paulo Gabriel
Fantastic Four

Feb 23, 9:34am

Post #1 of 9 (1035 views)
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''Edelsinn''... Can't Post

Again from an online ranter:

''But this problem of tone is endemic. And gets worse. It is embodied in the casting of the film, written out in the script treatment, and played through in the acting of the scenes. The failure is one of that quality which in German is called edel, which comes from the same root as the AS word aetheling and means both noble in the sense of aristocratic heritage, and in the greater sense from which that nobility derives: Edelsinn, generosity of thought - all that is, to use the words JRRT himself used talking of the aims of his writing, high, lofty, not base nor coarse, ennobling - a contrast of noble not so much to common as to crude, though also indicating a rising above the mundane and drab and especially petty and foolish and cruel.

It is this edel quality which characterizes and distinguishes LOTR from all other sword-and-sorcery tales, primarily, beyond any details of setting or plot. The ones which rip off the most from LOTR are the ones which fail the worst to emulate it, generally: the Generic Fantasy land of decades' worth of RPGs and series novels may have Elves and Halflings and Dwarves and Rangers, but there is no high-mindedness which infuses their realms (the ethos, which spirit is linguistically related to ethics) is simply missing''.

This comment is about the film version of Two Towers. But again I want to ask: is the word Edelsinn mentioned anywhere in the corpus of Tokkien's writings?


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Feb 23, 9:36am)


Paulo Gabriel
Fantastic Four

Feb 23, 12:17pm

Post #2 of 9 (990 views)
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Or maybe I'm just misreading the comment? [In reply to] Can't Post

Also...

*Tolkien


N.E. Brigand
Asgardian


Feb 24, 8:17pm

Post #3 of 9 (951 views)
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What sent you to that 2003 essay? [In reply to] Can't Post

Google led me to the archived 2000s forums at TheOneRing.com (aka Tolkien Online) --wouldn't it be great if TORN's forums were likewise accessible in a read-only format like that?-- and from there I found the original essay from the now-defunct Odd Lots blog saved at the Internet Archive.

To answer your question: it doesn't appear to me that the author is saying that Tolkien himself used the German word edel to describe his work. Rather she's saying that the word fits the literary qualities that Tolkien did identify as important to him. Based just on these paragraphs, I agree with her that this is one aspect that differentiates Tolkien's work from that of many of his imitators.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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squire
Asgardian


Feb 24, 10:31pm

Post #4 of 9 (948 views)
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"It should be 'high', purged of the gross, and fit for the more adult mind..." [In reply to] Can't Post

That is the quote that most quickly came to my mind thanks to your post. It's from Tolkien's famous letter #131 where he explains the origins and purpose of The Silmarillion (and by extension, The Lord of the Rings) to a potential new publisher.

Ironically, his plea here that his work is meant to be high-class rather than common or crude (or gross) occurs within a sentence or two of his most famously-misapplied wish that other hands might bring his tales to life in the form of paintings, music, or dramatic productions. This has been cited in support of innumerable essays in fan-fiction for popular consumption and circulation, most of whose authors might well take offense were they required to stick to a kind of neoclassic nobility and 'Edelsinn' treatment of life in Middle-earth.

Like NEB, I would tend to agree with your 2003 critic of the films that in many ways the producers chose to 'lower' the tone of the film adaptations.

But I would say in the films' defense that not all the casting is off-tone to the book; the score by Howard Shore is one of the elements that preserves the nobility of Tolkien's world, sometimes in distinct contrast to the acting or staging; the physical designs and settings are also, most of the time, quite in keeping with Tolkien's written conceptions of Middle-earth and its peoples. The issues are largely with the script adaptation, and the acting and directing.



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'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Paulo Gabriel
Fantastic Four

Feb 25, 8:13pm

Post #5 of 9 (905 views)
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I know about it for a long time. [In reply to] Can't Post

I found it on Wikipedia in 2007, I think.


Paulo Gabriel
Fantastic Four

Feb 25, 8:17pm

Post #6 of 9 (903 views)
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Edelsinn is mentioned in one more paragraph, actually... [In reply to] Can't Post

''(Do I have much hope in regards to ROTK-M? No. They've already admitted that the Scouring of the Shire has been sacrificed to more battle stuff, and thus one of the most chilling themes of the story, that of the warning that there is no guaranteed safety anywhere, that no place is naturally immune to the lure of power and control of others, is lost -- along with the theme of Mercy. And a recent poll at TheOneRing.net, asking readers "Who do you think will be responsible for the most laughs in RotK?" was answered by a total of 6376 respondents in favor of Gimli -- and who doubts that the perception of so many fans in this case is going to be proven correct? Given the bodge of the Elrond theme from the beginning, I don't expect that J/B/W will be up to dealing with the subtle nuances of Denethor's tormented character, given the clumsiness in their handling of all the characters so far -- and the fact that they wouldn't recognize Edelsinn if (or rather when) they tripped over it. Their attitude towards viewers is insulting: that everything must be drawn in such broad, cartoonish strokes because we would not get subtlety and nuance)''.

But yeah, I agree that I just misread the quotes in question. I thought that Edelsinn was a concept that TOLKIEN HIMSELF invented.


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Feb 25, 8:20pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Fantastic Four

Feb 25, 8:24pm

Post #7 of 9 (900 views)
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I agree with you. [In reply to] Can't Post

Ironically, this writer also dislikes Shore's score, for a number of reasons which I actually don't agree with. I think HS's score for LOTR is about as good as you could possibly ask for, or at least it should be more worthy of praise than simply an ''it has its moments'', as she puts it.


Hamfast Gamgee
X-men

Mar 3, 12:18am

Post #8 of 9 (719 views)
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PJ always did say [In reply to] Can't Post

That the lotr movies was the Lotr tale at a certain level. And I think that we can believe him on that. If what you want is decent movies with lots of movie moments and drama and special effects, than the movies are your thing. However if you are looking for a deeper understanding of Tolkien's works then you might well be disappointed!


Paulo Gabriel
Fantastic Four

Mar 6, 10:52pm

Post #9 of 9 (573 views)
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I agree completely. [In reply to] Can't Post

That's why I don't dislike the Hobbit movies, as movies.

 
 

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