September 12, 2018 at 1:35 pm #47433
@kate no darling, not you. The other best friend.
And yes, @northerner. Books are for entertaining, sure. But they are so much more than that. Some books not so much, but some of them have themes that I end up, consciously or unconsciously, applying to everyday life. Which is part of the reason I like Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive so much because there were so many things I could draw out of it for myself. Granted, I look for theme more consciously than an average reader. But it’s still there regardless.
@karthmin I wondered. I just hadn’t bothered to go look it up yet. 😛 But yes, plausible explanations. And then if they end up wrong, one can go rewrite the textbooks because the ‘real’ explanation doesn’t make as much sense.
But troublemakers? Us? *skeptical stare* What would ever give you that impression? Someday, maybe, we’ll live closer together. Seeing each other once or twice a year is not nearly enough.
Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.September 27, 2018 at 1:51 pm #49678
@Karthmin, Monsters and Critics, in its very shortest form, is against people reading too much into works or trying too hard to interpret them or saying what the authour must really have meant — so things like turning Beowulf into a political or religious allegory, or valuing it as an historical document mainly, forgetting in all cases that it’s a good story and that alone is justification for its worth.
This is probably the most well-known part of that essay, and you might have seen it quoted somewhere before:
“Nearly all the censure, and most of the praise, that has been bestowed on The Beowulf has been
due either to the belief that it was something that it was not—for example, primitive, pagan,
Teutonic, an allegory (political or mythical), or most often, an epic; or to disappointment at the
discovery that it was itself and not something that the scholar would have liked better—for
example, a heathen heroic lay, a history of Sweden, a manual of Germanic antiquities, or a Nordic
I would express the whole industry in yet another allegory. A man inherited a field in which was
an accumulation of old stone, part of an older hall. Of the old stone some had already been used in
building the house in which he actually lived, not far from the old house of his fathers. Of the rest
he took some and built a tower. But his friends coming perceived at once (without troubling to
climb the steps) that these stones had formerly belonged to a more ancient building. So they pushed
the tower over, with no little labour, in order to look for hidden carvings and inscriptions, or to
discover whence the man’s distant forefathers had obtained their building material. Some suspecting
a deposit of coal under the soil began to dig for it, and forgot even the stones. They all said: ‘This
tower is most interesting.’ But they also said (after pushing it over): ‘What a muddle it is in!’ And
even the man’s own descendants, who might have been expected to consider what he had been
about, were heard to murmur: ‘He is such an odd fellow! Imagine his using these old stones just to
build a nonsensical tower! Why did not he restore the old house? He had no sense of proportion.’
But from the top of that tower the man had been able to look out upon the sea.”September 28, 2018 at 11:12 am #49831Martin Detwiler@karthmin
@northerner Thank you for explaining. And that excerpt was excellent. I love how both he and Lewis were able to write both academically and yet artistically at the same time.
From the above, then, it seems to me that C. S. Lewis had a similar approach to critical analysis. His short book “The Personal Heresy” goes into that in quite a lot of depth, and in roughly similar terms comes to the same point, I think.
Their contention is, I think, at heart a desire to admire and interact with art as art, without imposing our system of meaning and interpretation upon it. Let the Truth in the art speak for itself.
Correct me if I’m not quite getting it right. 🙂
myths don't dieSeptember 29, 2018 at 1:16 pm #49959
@Karthmin yep. Tolkien is great. I’ve got a classmate, also a Creative Writing major, who says he’s only about average, but then he doesn’t think very highly of Lewis either, so I don’t think his opinion counts for very much. But it’s not just his technical skill at writing that makes him great (though having such a thorough grasp of the English language, he is good at picking just the right word for a given context), it’s the themes of his stories. Anyone, now that he’s done it, can build a world with four or five main races and an evil antagonistic force. But hardly anyone’s copycatted his themes. And his Christian worldview is essential to his skill at working things out with poetic justice and all — like Saruman and Denethor and even Boromir (though he died redeemed) contrasted with Frodo (though he fell) and Sam and Faramir and Gandalf.
How familiar are you with Chesterton? This is kind of a tangent but he had good things to say. And a large part of his writing was for money, because he was a journalist for many years, but he was also good at saying unpopular things (and, when it came to poetry, in unpopular forms — he kept to rhyme and metre when it was very out of fashion) about writing and stories.September 29, 2018 at 1:21 pm #49960Buddy J.@wordsmith
Does that classmate realize the immense work of Tolkien’s world and that very few, if any, writers have captured the depth of world building, history development, and character weaving that he has? Besides that fact that he practically created two new languages just for that massive world. Also, lets forget that the most popular novel of his is just over 1000 words, and paved the way for every fantasy author we have now.
Sorry if my butting in bothered you… but I really wanted to say that.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Buddy J..
Published author, student in writing, works with HazelGracePress.comSeptember 29, 2018 at 3:07 pm #49973
@Wordsmith I very much doubt it. And I notice his writing isn’t that great either, which kind of tends to happen when you throw out all the proper standards and deliberately write contrary to them. I mean, if you’re such a great writer that your work can overshadow Tolkien’s — cos he had his influences and things, and I don’t think he’d say “Oh yes I’m definitely better than. . . Dante Alighieri or something” — then you get to pick holes in his style. But you have to be in the rare position where you have the authourity to do that, and I don’t think any of us (while acknowledging that, as human, he wasn’t a perfect sub-creator) are in that position.October 12, 2018 at 1:36 am #52590Martin Detwiler@karthmin
I agree. Many people have copied the incidentals of fantasy from Tolkien, but few indeed have gleaned from his themes and the heart of it all. Which is unfortunate.
I know virtually nothing about Chesterton except for the fact that I ought to know far more. XD This also is unfortunate.
myths don't dieOctober 29, 2018 at 11:12 am #56090
@karthmin, then I will engage in a very characteristic behaviour and recommend you a few of his works. These are far from being his only good ones — I pick them because they’re good places to start.
Long fiction: Manalive or the Napoleon of Notting Hill or The Ball and the Cross
Short fiction: The Blue Cross (of course all the Father Brown stories are good, but if I had to pick just one of the best, it would be that one. At least until the next time I read another one. I believe Hope’s favourite is The Honour of Israel Gow, because creationism :).)
Poetry: if you like long poetry, The Ballad of the White Horse; I don’t know where to start with the short ones.
Essays: You could start pretty much anywhere here, read nothing else for about ten years, and still have more to go.
Bonus: his love letter to his fiancee, which if nothing else should endear you as well to him
The recommendation stands for anyone else who might be interested, of course. @The-inkspiller, if you ever get time, you might like a look at this list.October 29, 2018 at 11:20 am #56096October 29, 2018 at 11:52 am #56125October 29, 2018 at 12:11 pm #56132October 29, 2018 at 12:41 pm #56142
@Kate Finished the Napoleon of Notting Hill yet?
One of my favorites is The Ball and the Cross though.
And I ought to go read The Honour of Israel Gow again, @northerner. If it had creationism in it, then I probably loved it. It’s just been while since I read any Father Brown.
Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.October 29, 2018 at 12:42 pm #56145October 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm #56146
@kate Read ittttttttt. Yes, it starts slow. But the ideas, once you get into it. And the symbolism of the end. It’s awesome.
Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.October 29, 2018 at 12:45 pm #56148
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