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*WISE Passage of the Day* No. 1

Advising Elf
Rohan


Mar 14 2007, 7:26pm

Post #1 of 12 (380 views)
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*WISE Passage of the Day* No. 1 Can't Post

Hey ho TORnadoes!

I finally embark on a new series that I have considered doing for a long time, indeed, while still doing the HUMOROUS Passage of the Day series. I've put it off because I wanted to do a more thorough job than I did with HPotD, which I did mostly out of memory (not the quotations, just the location of humourous stuff) and with a little scanning of the text.

This time I am going to read through LotR, something that I haven't done since before the films came out - yes, I know, I'm ashamed. In addition to doing a more thorough job, it will allow me to check my MS Word file of LotR for typos (see link below for a Yahoo!Group where you may download this). For those that choose to get the Word file, the page numbers I refer to are from there. I may also throw out a few more HPotDs, if I feel the need.

Well, to the subject at hand:

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"Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer."

Forward, p. 6

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This is not exactly a "bit of wisdom", but the comment of someone who is wise. It could also double as a humorous passage, because there is a bit of sarcasm in it: he jabs at reviewers that he suspects did not even read the book.

The main point is that he was not daunted by the negative opinions that others held of his work, and definitely did not personalize the criticism. Very wise, indeed.

I guess "Consider the source" would be the bit of wisdom that we might gather from this passage.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTRgoodies/



Yahoo!Group with good stuff to download:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTRgoodies/


(This post was edited by Advising Elf on Mar 14 2007, 7:32pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 14 2007, 11:17pm

Post #2 of 12 (232 views)
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I love that guy [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien is so down-to-earth and straightforward. He wanted to write the kind of story he liked, and he did it!

Moral: don't listen to the naysayers. Their opinions don't matter, yours does; go for it!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!"


Penthe
Gondor


Mar 15 2007, 12:18am

Post #3 of 12 (221 views)
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Honest [In reply to] Can't Post

I always find the honesty of this quite charming. There's no doubt he's having a bit of a snark at the same time (not unlike Bilbo's comment at the Party), but it's also completely, bluntly true.


linkin-artelf
Lorien


Mar 15 2007, 5:24am

Post #4 of 12 (222 views)
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Humorous and wise yes, [In reply to] Can't Post

but a little defensive too. Surely not all those who read and didn't take a great liking to his book were writers or admirers of boring and contemptible literature? I don't think Tolkien's skin was as thick as he would like. Then again, none of us have.

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Advising Elf
Rohan


Mar 15 2007, 12:48pm

Post #5 of 12 (217 views)
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I think he was familiar with some of the reviewers. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never read his letters, and they probably have some more elaborate comments in them, but i get the feeling that he knew some of the "nay-sayers" well.

Of course, he may have just been familiar with their reviews of other literature, and knew what they liked and disliked because of that.

As to being defensive, I think it's possible to defend your work without being "defensive". I read think of "defensive" as an insecure reaction, and i don't read insecurity in his statement. Of course, how much can you really tell from one sentence?

Yahoo!Group with good stuff to download:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTRgoodies/


Advising Elf
Rohan


Mar 15 2007, 12:51pm

Post #6 of 12 (223 views)
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Maybe that's true of all good writers. [In reply to] Can't Post

They write stories they like, and others happen to like them, too. I'm sure there are those that just "give the people what they want", but their success is short-lived, and their work fades away soon.

Yahoo!Group with good stuff to download:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTRgoodies/


Advising Elf
Rohan


Mar 15 2007, 12:53pm

Post #7 of 12 (193 views)
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He is a bit like Bilbo, isn't he? [In reply to] Can't Post

Didn't The Prof say somewhere that he was a hobbit? Clothes, pipe, etc.? Or did someone say that about him?

Yahoo!Group with good stuff to download:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTRgoodies/


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Mar 15 2007, 4:14pm

Post #8 of 12 (249 views)
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*Bows to Master Tolkien!* [In reply to] Can't Post

He is SO a blend of Gandalf/Bilbo/Aragorn and Frodo to me! Sensitive and gentle, but don't mess with him! I think the critics/reviewers he had to deal with began with the publishers!

Bless 'im, Mr. Frodo. He's Bombadil, too!


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linkin-artelf
Lorien


Mar 15 2007, 6:00pm

Post #9 of 12 (197 views)
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Certainly it's hard to tell from one sentence [In reply to] Can't Post

As to being defensive, I think it's possible to defend your work without being "defensive". I read think of "defensive" as an insecure reaction, and i don't read insecurity in his statement. Of course, how much can you really tell from one sentence?



but the fact that Tolkien chooses to defend his book by disparaging the reviewers who disliked it makes the sentence read as a litle prickly to me, despite the humour and the probable truth in the statement. I think also the fact that he would comment on any negative criticism in his introduction would indicate that he received enough of it to address. So to have a certain degree of irritation come out in his writing is understandable, considering how much time and effort he put into this work.
The sentence also shows that this is a man of strong will and firm convictions who would not take criticism he perceived as unjust lying down.

I have read some of Tolkien's letters and participated, mostly lurking, in the discussions of them on TORn, and from what I've read Tolkien seemed to have great patience with and take great care in his letters to readers of his book who had questions about it. I think he also had a good deal of 'comments' to deal with from publishers and critics as well. This was an unusual book, both in style and content, and so it received a lot of attention, not all positive. I'm guessing that is what he is responding to in the sentence we are discussing.

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"I walk along the shore and I gaze
At the light that radiates down
Will it travel forth to you
Far across this shimmering sea?"
formerly linkinparkelf


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 16 2007, 1:43am

Post #10 of 12 (224 views)
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*pulls out Letters* [In reply to] Can't Post

From #213, 25 October 1958:

"I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much."

One does wonder why Tolkien specifically mentioned "French cooking"...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!"


Patty
Immortal


Mar 16 2007, 3:53am

Post #11 of 12 (198 views)
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I don't have a comment on this particular passage... [In reply to] Can't Post

except to say that I do read it as wise, and defensive as opposed to a comment by someone who was "on" the defensive.

But I do want to say, AE, that I think this is a good idea for a topic, and I look forward to more bits of"wisdom" in this thread.

Welcome to Rivendell, Patty Baggins


Eventides
Tol Eressea

Mar 16 2007, 5:48pm

Post #12 of 12 (215 views)
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Agreed. /nt [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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