Glorfindel(s), I miss you!

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Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 3, 2012, 4:52:08 AM8/3/12
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Under this title Shaun Gunner (a Tolkien Society trustee) makes a
charming appeal in the latest issue of /Amon Hen/ (the bulletin of the
Tolkien Society - the original British / world society).

Shaun wonders what happened to the 'great debates' -- not just the
question of Balrog Wings (we're all pretty much fed up with that), but
also the question of one or two Glorfindels, Elven ears, the colour of
Legolas' hair or the irredeemability of Orcs.

He acknowledges that Tolkien Studies has become more 'mature' or
'mainstream' and that as a result of this issues such as source
criticism and biographical history dominate the discussions.

A few of the debates have been definitely closed (there is not much
point in discussing the number of Glorfindels after the publication of
/The Peoples of Middle-earth/, is there), while others, perhaps
particularly the infamous Balrog wings, have reached a state where just
about everyone is fed up with them.

However, despite all this, I still think Shaun raises a good question --
not so much about the specific debates he mentions (and I might be able
to add a question or two to his list), but about the eagerness to
discuss the story-internal issues. This may be geeky, but I also think
that these debates have a very legitimate place also in the more mature
world of Tolkien studies.

One of the points that Jason Fisher makes forcibly in his own
contribution to /Tolkien and the Study of His Sources/ is that the
desire to understand /how/ Tolkien worked is an important aspect for
motivating source studies -- he goes as far as to suggest that good
source studies should, at least in some measure, attempt to uncover some
corner of this. Well, I will argue that identifying the probable
sources also requires a good understanding of how Tolkien's world works
-- it's inner reality. I have seen too many poorly thought-out attempts
to justify a claimed source that have been based on a dubious
interpretation of the inner reality of Tolkien's work.

This is also an important part of understanding the man himself, the
biographical studies: in Tolkien's works, his personal world-view is
built into the structure of the world he described. Frodo receives grace
simply because Tolkien believed that grace works also in the real,
primary, world. In may ways we can trace the evolution of Tolkien's
fascinations, ideas and philosophical/ethical views through the
evolution of his sub-creation.

Tolkien studies and Tolkien scholarship has been blessed with a good
relationship between the academic scholars such as Shippey, Flieger,
Drout etc. and the community of Tolkien geeks, and I honestly believe
that both parts have benefited from this relationship, and I am
convinced that either side would suffer from the weakening of the other.

Fortunately I am not quite as pessimistic as Shaun Gunner. There are a
lot of discussions about the story-internal aspects of Tolkien's world,
but there are not many that would qualify as 'great debates'.

We still see occasional earnest discussion of the Master Ring. Both the
question of the actual agency of the Ring (its capacity for thought and
free will) and the related question of how it corrupted its bearer and
others (Saruman is apparently corrupted merely by the /idea/ of the One
Ring). These questions are also important for understanding Tolkien's
ponerology -- his metaphysical portrayal of the nature of evil: a
question that is very relevant in Tolkien studies. That question is, in
and of itself, actually a story-internal debate: what is the nature of
evil and how does it work in Tolkien's world?

The same could be said about the nature and workings of free will in
Tolkien's world -- a question that is related to discussions about the
Master Ring, about the nature and redeemability of Orcs and the role of
the Music as fate.

Other story-internal discussions that are being taken up in the more
academic discussions are the metafictional layers of Tolkien's stories:
what is the exact transmission history of the many stories from the
/Ainulindalė/ to Findegil's additions to the Red Book? Does it make
sense to claim a long series of copies of copies between Findegil and
the book that Tolkien-the-translator had as the basis for his translation?

I could mention many other story-internal discussions that bear on, or
are actually themselves, current issues in Tolkien scholarship, but the
thing is that they exist.

This leaves the question of why these do not emerge as 'great debates'
such as we saw earlier. Here I think that Steuard's comments (see the
thread 'What killed alt.fan.tolkien' in AFT) have some bearing on this
as well (by the way -- thank you for those comments, Steuard: I think
you're right). The dilution, or dispersion, of the geek discussions has
created a multitude of fora where discussions arise and die out. Though
many of us are active in more than one forum, only a few of these
discussions manage to be ported from one forum to another -- possibly
because many fora have their own profile that seems to dictate what
discussions will be taken up eagerly.

One other problem might be that many of these discussions are more
complex -- it their origin the discussions of Balrog wings and Elven
ears are quite easy to relate to (though they, too, got into fairly
complex levels of textual analysis).

The only great debate in Tolkien fandom these years seems to be the
'faithfulness' of the various Jackson films, and I admit to being more
than a little tired of discussing these -- in the end we're trying to
rationalize the gut feeling we had that first day in the theatre, and
too often it ends in pointless reiterations of positions and ad Hominem
attacks.

Therefore I would much rather see us try to find the next great debate:
what would you like to discuss, my friends?

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you
haven't understood it yet.
- Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

Stan Brown

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Aug 3, 2012, 6:21:57 PM8/3/12
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On Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:52:08 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> Shaun wonders what happened to the 'great debates' -- not just the
> question of Balrog Wings (we're all pretty much fed up with that), but
> also the question of one or two Glorfindels, Elven ears, the colour of
> Legolas' hair or the irredeemability of Orcs.
>

/Letters/ is what happened to several of those controversies, and
HoME is what happened to the rest. :-)

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://mysite.verizon.net/aznirb/mtr/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 4, 2012, 2:27:07 AM8/4/12
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In message <news:MPG.2a861913...@news.individual.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>
> On Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:52:08 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>> Shaun wonders what happened to the 'great debates' -- not just
>> the question of Balrog Wings (we're all pretty much fed up with
>> that), but also the question of one or two Glorfindels, Elven
>> ears, the colour of Legolas' hair or the irredeemability of Orcs.
>
> /Letters/ is what happened to several of those controversies, and
> HoME is what happened to the rest. :-)

Yes . . . well, I guess there's one or two on the list that didn't fall
into these, but in general, I think you're right. Not necessarily
because the question was definitely decided in either /Letters/ or
/HoMe/ -- the redeemability of Orcs, for instance, is never answered
satisfyingly, but /Morgoth's Ring/ made that question so much more
complex that you had to keep quite a lot of information straight in
order to discuss it :-)

If you're saying that these particular controversies are dead, I'd
agree -- I don't think that any of these will ever become a 'great
debate' again (though a real 'great debate' of coruse never dies
completely: from time to time each of these will pop up in a weakened
version as new readers pick up speed). This is why I ended with a call
for the next great debate -- for there are lots of topics that can
still be discussed and which are worthy of a great debate.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- /Hogfather/ (Terry Pratchett)

Sandman

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Aug 5, 2012, 3:25:57 AM8/5/12
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In article <MPG.2a861913...@news.individual.net>,
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> On Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:52:08 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> > Shaun wonders what happened to the 'great debates' -- not just the
> > question of Balrog Wings (we're all pretty much fed up with that), but
> > also the question of one or two Glorfindels, Elven ears, the colour of
> > Legolas' hair or the irredeemability of Orcs.
> >
>
> /Letters/ is what happened to several of those controversies, and
> HoME is what happened to the rest. :-)

Apart from, of course, Balrog wings :-D


--
Sandman[.net]

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 5, 2012, 5:02:19 PM8/5/12
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In message <news:mr-D759FE.09...@News.Individual.NET>
Sandman <m...@sandman.net> spoke these staves:
>
> In article <MPG.2a861913...@news.individual.net>,
> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>>
>> On Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:52:08 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>>
>>> Shaun wonders what happened to the 'great debates'
[...]
>>
>> /Letters/ is what happened to several of those controversies, and
>> HoME is what happened to the rest. :-)
>
> Apart from, of course, Balrog wings :-D

And seemingly English professors happened to that most infamous of
debates ;-) (I've seen a few professors of English argue that the
passage in question cannot, in proper English, imply any kind of actual
wings -- whether of flesh and blood or some immaterial shadow-stuff.)

Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
until much later).

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

The idea that time may vary from place to place is a
difficult one, but it is the idea Einstein used, and it is
correct - believe it or not.
- Richard Feynman

Stan Brown

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Aug 5, 2012, 5:30:54 PM8/5/12
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On Sun, 05 Aug 2012 23:02:19 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>
[Balrog wings]
>
> Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
> with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
> since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
> until much later).

There was Usenet in the 1980s, though I can't recall whether I joined
r.a.b.t that early, or whether it even existed.

Sandman

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Aug 6, 2012, 6:18:10 AM8/6/12
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In article <XnsA0A6EA5D...@130.133.4.11>,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> >> /Letters/ is what happened to several of those controversies, and
> >> HoME is what happened to the rest. :-)
> >
> > Apart from, of course, Balrog wings :-D
>
> And seemingly English professors happened to that most infamous of
> debates ;-) (I've seen a few professors of English argue that the
> passage in question cannot, in proper English, imply any kind of actual
> wings -- whether of flesh and blood or some immaterial shadow-stuff.)
>
> Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
> with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
> since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
> until much later).

Myself, I subscribe to the conclusion that Balrogs had wings and could
fly after 1940. Mostly because I think a winged Balrog is cooler, and
it requires less "interpretation" of the source material :)


--
Sandman[.net]
Message has been deleted

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 7, 2012, 3:53:33 AM8/7/12
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On 2012-08-07 08:19, Lewis wrote:
>
> In message <mr-40FAB3.12...@News.Individual.NET>
> Sandman <m...@sandman.net> wrote:
>>

<snip>

The 'great debates'

> It was a discussion online in the 80's.
[...]
> Some of this was on b-forum, but I think most of it was on a USENET
> group as well.

In the eighties there was e-mail, ftp and usenet -- and that was
essentially what you could do with the internet, which was also pretty
much limited to universities and military institutions.

RABT was created at some point in the early nineties (according to the
charter, the announcement that the group 'passed its vote for creation'
was reported on 26 March 1993). AFT is a bit older than that, and the
earliest archived conversations (from November 1992) show evidence of a
group that had existed for some time (say, a couple of years, perhaps
more), but which wasn't terribly active. Of course Tolkien's work may
have been discussed in other groups prior to the creation of AFT --
actually it is reasonable to presume that such was the case as there
would have had to be a reasonable justification of the creation of the
group.

However, the main fora at that point were the fanzines, of which there
were a much larger number before 1990, and the physical meetings e.g. in
the Tolkien Society (which is where I know that the Balrog wings were
being discussed in the early eighties).

There have been some quite interesting articles on the history of
Tolkien fandom in general and the Tolkien Society in particular in some
of the various journals in recent years.

>> Myself, I subscribe to the conclusion that Balrogs had wings and could
>> fly after 1940. Mostly because I think a winged Balrog is cooler, and
>> it requires less "interpretation" of the source material :)

Well, you (Sandman) are Swedish, and I suppose we have to forgive those
who have grown up with the Ohlmarks 'translation' for all kinds of
misunderstandings of the text ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

If no thought
your mind does visit,
make your speech
not too explicit.
- Piet Hein, /The Case for Obscurity/

Sandman

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Aug 7, 2012, 4:07:53 AM8/7/12
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In article <a8bvs6...@mid.individual.net>,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> >> Myself, I subscribe to the conclusion that Balrogs had wings and could
> >> fly after 1940. Mostly because I think a winged Balrog is cooler, and
> >> it requires less "interpretation" of the source material :)
>
> Well, you (Sandman) are Swedish, and I suppose we have to forgive those
> who have grown up with the Ohlmarks 'translation' for all kinds of
> misunderstandings of the text

I never read it in Swedish. I only read books in English.


--
Sandman[.net]
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Sandman

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Aug 7, 2012, 7:19:32 AM8/7/12
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In article <slrnk21r7v....@mbp55.local>,
Lewis <g.k...@gmail.com.dontsendmecopies> wrote:

> >> >> Myself, I subscribe to the conclusion that Balrogs had wings and could
> >> >> fly after 1940. Mostly because I think a winged Balrog is cooler, and
> >> >> it requires less "interpretation" of the source material :)
> >>
> >> Well, you (Sandman) are Swedish, and I suppose we have to forgive those
> >> who have grown up with the Ohlmarks 'translation' for all kinds of
> >> misunderstandings of the text
>
> > I never read it in Swedish. I only read books in English.
>
> You never read books in Swedish?

Nope. :P

I don't know of any good swedish authors, and I always want to read
books in the language they were written. And well, that sort of limits
my choices to english books, since I don't know any other language. :)

--
Sandman[.net]

Stan Brown

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Aug 7, 2012, 8:07:34 AM8/7/12
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On Tue, 07 Aug 2012 13:19:32 +0200, Sandman wrote:
>
> I don't know of any good swedish authors,

I hear that fellow who wrote books based on "The Girl with" films is
pretty popular. :-)

Sandman

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Aug 7, 2012, 9:16:51 AM8/7/12
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In article <MPG.2a8acf163...@news.individual.net>,
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> > I don't know of any good swedish authors,
>
> I hear that fellow who wrote books based on "The Girl with" films is
> pretty popular. :-)

Yeah, well, there are some swedish authors that are popular in
different genres. I have tried to read the millenium trilogy, but I
can't. It's just not good enough. Maybe it's the swedish language
that's just plain odd (for me) in writing.



--
Sandman[.net]

de...@pointerstop.ca

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Aug 7, 2012, 9:55:52 AM8/7/12
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In article <MPG.2a8acf163...@news.individual.net>,
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> > I don't know of any good swedish authors,
>
> I hear that fellow who wrote books based on "The Girl with" films is
> pretty popular. :-)

and Henning Mankell. I could probably come up with half a dozen Swedish mystery writers I enjoy - but maybe they're all better in translation :-)

Paul S. Person

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Aug 7, 2012, 1:09:03 PM8/7/12
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And Sjowall & Wahloo. Whose books came out again, all ten of them, in
English a while back.

Needless to say, the display that alerted me to this featured /The
Laughing Policeman/. Well, why not? It became a very exciting and
popular film, and that film became a TV series ("The Streets of San
Francisco", IIRC). In English, it is the most well-known of the set.
--
"Nature must be explained in
her own terms through
the experience of our senses."

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 7, 2012, 3:26:09 PM8/7/12
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In message <news:mr-4128A3.13...@News.Individual.NET>
Sandman <m...@sandman.net> spoke these staves:
>

<snip>

> I don't know of any good swedish authors, and I always want to
> read books in the language they were written.

I can certainly sympathize with the latter -- I also prefer to read
books in the original language, though I'd rather read a good book in
translation than not read it at all.

I prefer to read Astrid Lindgren in Swedish (actually I'd say that
Lindgren is a better children's author than Tolkien, and I can still,
at 45, enjoy some of her books, though I wouldn't put her above
Tolkien as an author for adults). Also I rather like Jan Guillaume's
books . . .

And of course there are some Danish authors that I find worthwhile --
perhaps not on an international scale, but because they express
something (for me) essentially Danish (though there's very few of
Hans Christian Andersen's so-called 'fairy-tales' that I really
like).

> And well, that sort of limits my choices to english books, since I
> don't know any other language. :)

Couldn't you also read the folk-tales of Asbj�rnsen and Moe (in
Norwegian)?

I keep wanting to improve my German enough to be able to read some
books in German (again) -- but I never seem to have the time ;)
(perhaps once I stop working . . .)

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

Love while you've got
love to give.
Live while you've got
life to live.
- Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 7, 2012, 3:29:49 PM8/7/12
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In message <news:slrnk21r69....@mbp55.local>
Lewis <g.k...@gmail.com.dontsendmecopies> spoke these staves:
>

<snippo>

> Yes, none of my posts from 87-91 ever existed in DejaNews of
> GoogleGroups.

Aye - the same fate befell all of my posts (I think '86 through '89 or
so), though I must admit that I should probably be thankful of that as
I was young and foolish at the time ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

The errors hardest
to condone
in other people
are one's own.
- Piet Hein, /Our Own Motes/

Stan Brown

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Aug 7, 2012, 7:21:45 PM8/7/12
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It's those funny letters. Everybody knows that the O is supposed to
have a slash through it, not two dots on top. :-)
Message has been deleted

Sandman

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Aug 8, 2012, 4:20:59 AM8/8/12
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In article <MPG.2a8b6d13...@news.individual.net>,
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> > > > I don't know of any good swedish authors,
> > >
> > > I hear that fellow who wrote books based on "The Girl with" films is
> > > pretty popular. :-)
> >
> > Yeah, well, there are some swedish authors that are popular in
> > different genres. I have tried to read the millenium trilogy, but I
> > can't. It's just not good enough. Maybe it's the swedish language
> > that's just plain odd (for me) in writing.
>
> It's those funny letters. Everybody knows that the O is supposed to
> have a slash through it, not two dots on top. :-)

*rolleye* :-D


--
Sandman[.net]

Weland

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Aug 8, 2012, 4:22:43 AM8/8/12
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On 8/5/2012 4:30 PM, Stan Brown wrote:
> On Sun, 05 Aug 2012 23:02:19 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
> [Balrog wings]
>>
>> Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
>> with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
>> since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
>> until much later).
>
> There was Usenet in the 1980s, though I can't recall whether I joined
> r.a.b.t that early, or whether it even existed.
>
I may be misremembering, but I don't think rabt started until 1993.

Sandman

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Aug 8, 2012, 4:24:47 AM8/8/12
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In article <XnsA0A8DA0E...@130.133.4.11>,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> > I don't know of any good swedish authors, and I always want to
> > read books in the language they were written.
>
> I can certainly sympathize with the latter -- I also prefer to read
> books in the original language, though I'd rather read a good book in
> translation than not read it at all.
>
> I prefer to read Astrid Lindgren in Swedish (actually I'd say that
> Lindgren is a better children's author than Tolkien, and I can still,
> at 45, enjoy some of her books, though I wouldn't put her above
> Tolkien as an author for adults).

Well, I don't really *read* Lindgren books. At one time I read it to
the kids, but not silently to myself. She is indeed a good author, but
I've outgrown here so to speak.

> Also I rather like Jan Guillaume's books . . .

Jan Guillou. I think he is a wretchedly bad writer. It's all about
weapon-masturbation and less about characters and story. I've read
some three or four books from him and I've hated them all.

> And of course there are some Danish authors that I find worthwhile --
> perhaps not on an international scale, but because they express
> something (for me) essentially Danish (though there's very few of
> Hans Christian Andersen's so-called 'fairy-tales' that I really
> like).

Indeed. Which fall into the same bin as Lindgren.

> > And well, that sort of limits my choices to english books, since I
> > don't know any other language. :)
>
> Couldn't you also read the folk-tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe (in
> Norwegian)?

Maybe, but if I think Swedish looks weird in written form, what do you
think I would regard norwegian? :-D

> I keep wanting to improve my German enough to be able to read some
> books in German (again) -- but I never seem to have the time ;)
> (perhaps once I stop working . . .)

Yes, well, Never-Ending Story is german, no? I suppose I would like to
read it in original form. But I don't know german in any capacity :)


--
Sandman[.net]

Sandman

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Aug 8, 2012, 4:26:00 AM8/8/12
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In article <slrnk23u9p....@mbp55.local>,
Lewis <g.k...@gmail.com.dontsendmecopies> wrote:

> > I don't know of any good swedish authors, and I always want to read
> > books in the language they were written. And well, that sort of limits
> > my choices to english books, since I don't know any other language. :)
>
> Not even the Steig Larsson trilogy? I've heard it's quite good.

Stieg Larsson. And the Millenium Trilogy. No, I've tried to read them
but I couldn't stand them. Again, it may be the language. I just don't
think swedish is a good language in written form :)


--
Sandman[.net]

Paul S. Person

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Aug 8, 2012, 12:38:35 PM8/8/12
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On Sun, 5 Aug 2012 17:30:54 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

>On Sun, 05 Aug 2012 23:02:19 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>[Balrog wings]
>>
>> Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
>> with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
>> since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
>> until much later).
>
>There was Usenet in the 1980s, though I can't recall whether I joined
>r.a.b.t that early, or whether it even existed.

There was also, at some point, something called (IIRC) FidoNet, which
was propagated on BBS systems (not the Internet or any precursor to
the Internet).

My /specific/ recollection is a group/forum/whatever devoted to OS/2
2.0, so this was probably the early 90's.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 8, 2012, 12:42:41 PM8/8/12
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They were quite readable in English (Kindle editions, if that
matters).

Although the failure to translate "tunnelbana" (which I may have
misspelled) was confusing. Since they used "cheque" instead of
"check", I would have expected "Underground" rather than "subway", but
leaving it in Swedish was ... strange. Note that I figured out what it
was in context and from having seen the films.

Steve Hayes

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Aug 8, 2012, 2:02:33 PM8/8/12
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On Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:38:35 -0700, Paul S. Person
<pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

>On Sun, 5 Aug 2012 17:30:54 -0400, Stan Brown
><the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>>There was Usenet in the 1980s, though I can't recall whether I joined
>>r.a.b.t that early, or whether it even existed.
>
>There was also, at some point, something called (IIRC) FidoNet, which
>was propagated on BBS systems (not the Internet or any precursor to
>the Internet).

Yes, several Usenet newsgroups were gated to Fidonet.


--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/LITMAIN.HTM
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius

Steve Hayes

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Aug 8, 2012, 2:07:17 PM8/8/12
to
I too found them quite readable ion paper editions. I thought the films were
pretty faithful to the books, and thought I might learn as bit of Swedish from
them, but found I couldn't recognise the words that were spoken, other than
the names.

Sandman

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Aug 9, 2012, 4:50:42 AM8/9/12
to
In article <ij5528lcf0h2ngt2l...@4ax.com>,
Paul S. Person <pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

> >Stieg Larsson. And the Millenium Trilogy. No, I've tried to read them
> >but I couldn't stand them. Again, it may be the language. I just don't
> >think swedish is a good language in written form :)
>
> They were quite readable in English (Kindle editions, if that
> matters).

Hehe, that would be something - reading swedish books translated to
English just because I dislike the language in written form. I may try
that sometime :)

> Although the failure to translate "tunnelbana" (which I may have
> misspelled) was confusing. Since they used "cheque" instead of
> "check", I would have expected "Underground" rather than "subway", but
> leaving it in Swedish was ... strange. Note that I figured out what it
> was in context and from having seen the films.

Haha, yeah that's weird.


--
Sandman[.net]

Paul S. Person

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Aug 9, 2012, 12:49:01 PM8/9/12
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On Wed, 08 Aug 2012 20:07:17 +0200, Steve Hayes
<haye...@telkomsa.net> wrote:

>On Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:42:41 -0700, Paul S. Person
><pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
>
>>On Wed, 08 Aug 2012 10:26:00 +0200, Sandman <m...@sandman.net> wrote:
>
>>>Stieg Larsson. And the Millenium Trilogy. No, I've tried to read them
>>>but I couldn't stand them. Again, it may be the language. I just don't
>>>think swedish is a good language in written form :)
>>
>>They were quite readable in English (Kindle editions, if that
>>matters).
>>
>>Although the failure to translate "tunnelbana" (which I may have
>>misspelled) was confusing. Since they used "cheque" instead of
>>"check", I would have expected "Underground" rather than "subway", but
>>leaving it in Swedish was ... strange. Note that I figured out what it
>>was in context and from having seen the films.
>
>I too found them quite readable ion paper editions. I thought the films were
>pretty faithful to the books, and thought I might learn as bit of Swedish from
>them, but found I couldn't recognise the words that were spoken, other than
>the names.

I read them after seeing the English-language version of the first
one, to see which one was closer to the book.

Actually, they were about equally close to the book, just picking
different details to use. The English-language version did, however,
IMHO, tend to pull its punches. Of course, I saw the Swedish version
first (with subtitles), so I may have been a little biased.

In a way, it's a pity that they didn't do, in the English version,
what was done with the movie of /The Laughing Policeman/: adapt the
story to British or American culture instead of (IMHO) trying to
pretend that they understood Swedish culture well enough to do a film
set in it.
Message has been deleted

Steve Hayes

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Aug 9, 2012, 10:55:32 PM8/9/12
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 00:54:31 +0000 (UTC), Lewis
<g.k...@gmail.com.dontsendmecopies> wrote:

>In message <9c5528t39jncn5ika...@4ax.com>
> Paul S Person <pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
>> On Sun, 5 Aug 2012 17:30:54 -0400, Stan Brown
>> <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
>>>On Sun, 05 Aug 2012 23:02:19 +0200, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>>>
>>>[Balrog wings]
>>>>
>>>> Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
>>>> with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
>>>> since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
>>>> until much later).
>>>
>>>There was Usenet in the 1980s, though I can't recall whether I joined
>>>r.a.b.t that early, or whether it even existed.
>
>> There was also, at some point, something called (IIRC) FidoNet, which
>> was propagated on BBS systems (not the Internet or any precursor to
>> the Internet).
>
>Yes, FidoNet was rather odd. I was on an early FidoNet system in 1986-88
>back when it ran specifically on the Fido BBS software for PCs long
>before it started to be ported to other software. I gave up on BBSes in
>the early 90s when I got a netcom account, which allowed me to get back
>on the Internet consistently. (Before that I was placing occasional late
>night calls to a NeXT cube in Santa Cruz with 4 lines to get a bash
>prompt).
>
>> My /specific/ recollection is a group/forum/whatever devoted to OS/2
>> 2.0, so this was probably the early 90's.
>
>I think FidoNet is still around, though I can't imagine it gets much use.

Since the software was developed later than uucp and nntp it was actually more
versatile as a messaging system and had several improvements.

It was killed by Windows 95 and Y2K, the former because it hid its dial-up
modem software where the average user could not find it, and the latter
because much of the FTN (Fido Technology Network) software was not Y2K
compatible, and most of the software authors couldn't be bothered to update
it.

Ermanna

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Aug 14, 2012, 11:24:20 PM8/14/12
to
On Monday, August 6, 2012 6:18:10 AM UTC-4, Sandman wrote:
> In article <XnsA0A6EA5D...@130.133.4.11>,
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>
>
> > >> /Letters/ is what happened to several of those controversies, and
>
> > >> HoME is what happened to the rest. :-)
>
> > >
>
> > > Apart from, of course, Balrog wings :-D
>
> >
>
> > And seemingly English professors happened to that most infamous of
>
> > debates ;-) (I've seen a few professors of English argue that the
>
> > passage in question cannot, in proper English, imply any kind of actual
>
> > wings -- whether of flesh and blood or some immaterial shadow-stuff.)
>
> >
>
> > Seriuosly, though, it seems that everybody eventually just got fed up
>
> > with that discussion (I've been told that it had been going on at least
>
> > since the eighties, though it obviously didn't hit the on-line fora
>
> > until much later).
>
>
>
> Myself, I subscribe to the conclusion that Balrogs had wings and could
>
> fly after 1940. Mostly because I think a winged Balrog is cooler, and
>
> it requires less "interpretation" of the source material :)

The other day my little brother, who loves Legos, drew a picture of Lego Gandalf confronting Lego Balrog, and I stunned him by asking where the Balrog's wings were. I guess he only remembers the live-action movies, not the cartoons. After asking me what I was talking about, he was sweet enough to add the beginnings of shadowy wings to the Balrog's back (the Balrog is at the side of the page).

Ermanna the Lady of Imladris

You can never become whole unless you embrace the weirdness in yourself. Celaeno

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 15, 2012, 5:06:13 PM8/15/12
to
In message <a81hq0...@mid.individual.net>, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Shaun wonders what happened to the 'great debates'
[...]
> He acknowledges that Tolkien Studies has become more 'mature' or
> 'mainstream' and that as a result of this issues such as source
> criticism and biographical history dominate the discussions.

I don't have time right now to really do this reply justice, but it
boggles my mind that he'd have to ask. The Great Debates have
stagnated because casual fans don't have the patience for them and
serious scholars are told quite emphatically that they aren't worth
discussing.

I agree that the splintering of the online community has had something
to do with it, too, as the Great Debates were the bread and butter of
these groups for many years. Those debates require a *lot* of
concentrated expertise for productive discussion these days: there
were probably a dozen people here at the height of those discussions
who today would simply *end* the conversation on most Tolkien forums
by posting a quick summary of what's known on the topic (whether they
were trying to shut everyone else up or not).

But the real issue, I think, is that the "mature" side of Tolkien
Studies has made a significant effort to separate itself from
story-internal discussions. That has value in the academic world, of
course: it helps to emphasize that you're doing real scholarship
rather than just engaging in fannish games. But it does mean that
anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a Tolkien scholar is
strongly discouraged from story-internal study.

Troels, weren't you the one who commented somewhere (not too long ago)
that you couldn't think of any journal today that might be interested
in publishing my Bombadil essay? Not that it's perfect (I have a grand
revision I'd love to make if I had time), but I'd still claim that it
was a pretty substantial piece of story-internal scholarship (and it
even gets occasional academic citations). I completely agree with you
that understanding Middle-earth *can* make a real contribution to
understanding Tolkien in more academic ways, but name me the journal
that would agree. (I saw papers in "Chaucer Studies" that were
substantially story-internal in focus, back when I was in a related
college course, but I don't think that there's currently a place for
that in Tolkien scholarship.)

I agree that it would be nice to see that change.

Steuard Jensen
Message has been deleted

JJ

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Aug 17, 2012, 5:13:08 AM8/17/12
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On Wednesday, August 15, 2012 4:24:20 AM UTC+1, Ermanna wrote:
The other day my little brother, who loves Legos, drew a picture of Lego Gandalf confronting Lego Balrog, and I stunned him by asking where the Balrog's wings were. I guess he only remembers the live-action movies, not the cartoons. After asking me what I was talking about, he was sweet enough to add the beginnings of shadowy wings to the Balrog's back (the Balrog is at the side of the page). Ermanna the Lady of Imladris

The film had it both ways: the Balrog HAD wings, but they were vestigial, and it couldn't fly.

Ermanna

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Aug 17, 2012, 9:20:31 AM8/17/12
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Yes, I am satisfied with that. Tolkien never said the wings could be used to fly, after all.


Ermanna the Lady of Imladris

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 26, 2012, 5:36:47 AM8/26/12
to
On 2012-08-16 16:14, Raven wrote:
>
> "Steuard Jensen" <ste...@slimy.com> skrev i meddelelsen
> news:slrnk2o3pr....@steuard.local...
>>
>> I don't have time right now to really do this reply justice, but
>> it boggles my mind that he'd have to ask. The Great Debates have
>> stagnated because casual fans don't have the patience for them
>> and serious scholars are told quite emphatically that they aren't
>> worth discussing.

With the whole of HoMe as well as tons of other stuff to get through,
it is no surprise that the more casual fans tend to give up more
quickly -- when they meet quotations from all these books at every
turn, it must seem to many a hopeless task to be able to catch up. And
of course it doesn't even stop there -- we also quote from Shippey,
Flieger, Hammond & Scull and others, and in a year we'll be quoting
also from Tolkien _The Fall of Arthur_ . . .

As for serious scholars, I think that you are exaggerating the
situation -- and in some ways downplaying it ;-)

Serious scholars are probably told that they shouldn't do Tolkien
research at all (it is still not a really good career move), but when
they do so anyway, I don't think there's anyone telling them to stay
out of story-internal discussions -- once they put their effort into
Tolkien studies, it doesn't really matter much what kind of studies
they undertake ;-)

>> I agree that the splintering of the online community has had
>> something to do with it, too, as the Great Debates were the bread
>> and butter of these groups for many years. Those debates require a
>> *lot* of concentrated expertise for productive discussion these
>> days: there were probably a dozen people here at the height of
>> those discussions who today would simply *end* the conversation on
>> most Tolkien forums by posting a quick summary of what's known on
>> the topic (whether they were trying to shut everyone else up or
>> not).

Yes, good Tolkien lorists are now spread rather more thinly, which
makes it much more difficult to sustain a debate at a high level.

>> But the real issue, I think, is that the "mature" side of Tolkien
>> Studies has made a significant effort to separate itself from
>> story-internal discussions.

I cannot say that this is my impression -- instead I have experienced
academic Tolkienists involving themselves precisely in the story-
internal discussions. Not, of course, every discussion -- I think most
of them would prefer not to be involved in discussing the colour of
Legolas' hair (though in general they tend to treat that discussion
with mere silence rather than the disdain it, IMO, so richly deserves),
but if you read Verlyn Flieger's recent collection of essays, you'll
find that a number of them have an almost purely story-internal
perspective, just as you can find articles in _Tolkien Studies_ that
have clear story-internal lines of argumentation. It is true that the
story-internal discussion is rarely undiluted by story-external
arguments, but I would argue that this is necessary in most (actually
in very nearly all) cases if there is a discussion at all.

>> That has value in the academic world, of course: it helps to
>> emphasize that you're doing real scholarship rather than just
>> engaging in fannish games.

There is, I would say, a class of 'fannish games' that are so immature
that they are really uninteresting for most people above 20 regardless
of academic achievements -- discussing whether Gandalf or Dumbledore is
the 'greatest wizard' is perhaps the clearest example. Other types of
questions can be uninteresting for other reasons, but it is not my
impression that any academic doing Tolkien studies professionally would
discard a discussion simply because it is story-internal.

>> But it does mean that anyone who wants to be taken seriously
>> as a Tolkien scholar is strongly discouraged from story-internal
>> study.
>
> Wait, what? Am I misunderstanding something again, or is this
> the equivalent of being taken seriously as a theoretical physicist
> by studying scientists like Bohr and Einstein, including quantum
> mechanics and relativity mainly inasmuch as these may illuminate
> the main interest?

I am not sure that the comparison holds -- the work of Bohr and
Einstein have a historical interest for many physicists, but their
ideas and theories have today been superceded, so that studying it is
mainly interesting from a historical perspective and out of respect for
their huge contribution (in the context of the time in which they
worked).

The purpose of (many? most?) academic studies is to understand the mind
of the artist -- the mental landscape in which his or her art grew.
This is fundamentally different from science in which the focus is on
the product of the mind, the theory, in its current shape (the other
perspective is history of science, which, though often carried out by
trained scientists, is not in itself really a topic of academic
scholarship in the natural sciences).


But the point I would like to make is that, in _my_ experience,
academics doing Tolkien studies _do_ engage in story-internal
discussions, if nothing else, then because this is one aspect of
uncovering his 'mental landscape' (you can tell that I do like that
metaphor, can't you :-D). Of course this means that they engage in the
story-internal discussions that they feel are relevant to their
interests -- so do I, for that matter.


>> Troels, weren't you the one who commented somewhere (not too long
>> ago) that you couldn't think of any journal today that might be
>> interested in publishing my Bombadil essay? Not that it's perfect
>> (I have a grand revision I'd love to make if I had time), but I'd
>> still claim that it was a pretty substantial piece of story-
>> internal scholarship (and it even gets occasional academic
>> citations).

I may have, though I am not now sure that it would be correct -- at
least I don't think the topic and manner of discussion would prevent
publication in journals such as _Mythlore_, _Mallorn_, _Beyond Bree_
etc. and I think that, with a little added stuff to connect it to the
understanding of Tolkien's mind and artistic process, the argument
might have a place also in _Tolkien Studies_.

That is, the specific essay may not have much chance -- it has been
published on-line for quite a time and is, as you also indicate, quite
well-known, and thus will probably not be published (how many physics
journals would publish work that has been available on-line for several
years and is quite well known in the community?) This, however, has
nothing to do with the story-internal nature of the essay, but is a
result of all journals generally wanting to publish new arguments --
even a story-internal Bombadil paper could, I believe, be published if
it contributed something new to the discussion.

>> I completely agree with you that understanding Middle-earth
>> *can* make a real contribution to understanding Tolkien in
>> more academic ways, but name me the journal that would agree.

In _Tolkien Studies VII_, Vladimir Brljak had an article titled 'The
Book of Lost Tales: Tolkien as a Metafictionist' in which the main part
of the discussion centred on the story-internal tranmission history of
the Red Book from the Thain's Book to Tolkien the translator. Yes,
there was _also_ a number of story-external considerations and
arguments, but that is besides the point. In _Tolkien Studies VI_
Verlyn Flieger wrote on how free will operates _within_ Tolkien's
world, and in vol. VII Thomas Fornet-Ponse answered her (in my opinion
he misreads the _Ainulindal隷, but that's a different matter).

_Mallorn_ has recently (with two issues per year, 'recently' means
within the last 2 - 3 years) published several story-internal
discussions -- including discussions of Orcs and Balrogs (though it
carefully avoided the issue of Balrog wings).

Dmitra Fimi has an account on the Tolkien Gateway, which is very
particular about taking the story-internal view on all story-internal
things -- how cool is that? ;-)

The other side of this is, of course, that the story-external arguments
are just as necessary for the understanding of Tolkien's Secondary
World -- if we wish to discover what Middle-earth was like, then we
cannot disregard the question of trying to understand how Tolkien
thought about his world, and that is, in my understanding, precisely
aim of the story-external view (even trying to understand what it was
like to be a Catholic undergraduate in Oxford before the Great War can
be a part of our quest to find out about Tolkien's Secondary World).
What we need to keep in mind is that Arda _is_ a sub-created world --
there is an artist and a sub-creating mind that is important to the
sub-creation. Thinking that we can discuss e.g. the nature of the
agency of the Master Ring without trying also to understand Tolkien's
ideas and beliefs and mode of working is, in my honest opinion, silly.

>> (I saw papers in "Chaucer Studies" that were substantially story-
>> internal in focus, back when I was in a related college course,
>> but I don't think that there's currently a place for that in
>> Tolkien scholarship.)

My impression, as you can clearly see from the above, is quite
different. I cannot say why our experiences differ as they do -- could
it possibly be a matter of timing? (I'm thinking that Tolkien academics
may, some years ago, have found it necessary to distance themselves a
bit to some of the 'great fan-debates' which were, to be blunt about
it, fairly silly and immature [the colour of Legolas' hair? the shape
of Hobbit or Elven ears?].)

>> I agree that it would be nice to see that change.

One of the stated purposes of The Return of the Ring conference held by
the Tolkien Society earlier this month was to get fandom, entertainment
and academia to meet and to 'break down perceived barriers'. Being at
the conference, I can honestly say that I never experienced any such
barriers, and engaged in lively both story-internal and story-external
discussions with lots of people from all backgrounds.

I don't think that it is conductive for any discussion to stay
exclusively story-internal or story-external -- even an academic
source-study needs to sort its story-internal arguments also, or else
it will fail to convince the readers. The weight tends to shift a bit
-- there is, admittedly, less focus on story-internal arguments in
_Tolkien Studies_ than in _Mallorn_ and still more here in our
newsgroups (and here we are not even at the end of that scale), but
that doesn't mean that we disregard story-external arguments, nor that
academic discussions doesn't engage in story-internal arguments (and
discussions). We need the whole range -- we even need those silly and
immature discussions to get new youngsters engaged in Tolkien
discussions (I'm happy to have them as long as I don't have to be
engaged in them).

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.
- Aragorn "Strider", /Two Towers/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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