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strangefate

Tower of Iron Will

All who enter the Tower regain 100 sanity points.

Currently reading

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die
Randall Munroe, James Foreman, K. Sekelsky, Camron Miller, John Chernega, David Michael Wharton, K.M. Lawrence, Jeffrey C. Wells, Vera Brosgol, Kit Yona, J. Jack Unrau, Jeff Stautz, Aaron Diaz, Matthew Bennardo, Yahtzee Croshaw, Douglas J. Lane, Brian Quinlan, Kate Beaton

Tolkien and the Critics

The Modern Scholar: Tolkien and the West: Recovering the Lost Tradition of Europe - Michael D.C. Drout

Drout has clearly spent a lot of time defending his scholarly interest in the works of Tolkien.  As Drout discusses Tolkien a portrait of Drout begins to emerge as well.  Drout was deeply affected by reading Tolkien at a young age, but unlike many Tolkien devotees who went onto to become Fantasy writers themselves, Drout followed Tolkien's scholarly path and became a professor of Anglo-Saxon and Old English literature.

 

Drout's knowledge of the old languages of northern Europe gives him a unique insight into Tolkien's material.  He points out Anglo-Saxon words and terms that Tolkien worked into names in his Middle Earth stories; references that would be lost on all but a handful of specialist scholars.  This is one of the grounds that Drout uses to justify serious study of Tolkien.  

 

Most literary critics dismiss Tolkien's novels as popular escapist fiction, or else openly denigrate his style and subject matter.  Drout argues that Tolkien is giving readers a glimpse of a literary tradition that might have been if English writers had persisted in the tradition of Beowulf and Siegfried rather than adopting the styles and subject matter of southern Europe during the Renaissance.  It is an interesting argument.  Personally I do not believe any justification is required to study a work of fiction that has has such an impact as Tolkien's, in spite of the biases of the critics.