LotR (was Re: reviews (but not of MC))

deborah deborah at suberic.net
Fri Dec 12 13:14:23 EST 2003

On Fri, 12 Dec 2003, Robyn Starkey wrote:

|>He wasn't making a point at all, just telling the story he had in him to
|>tell, is the way I read it: that it happens to include such things as
|>trying to behave well rather than badly (if you are a hobbit, trying to be
|>brave and do the job you have been landed with, for instance) may if one
|>chooses be taken as a Moral Message, but Tolkien was pretty firmly
|>determined that he Had Not Written An Allegory, and I'm prepared to take
|>his word for it that such was not his intent.
|Not to harp, but why is authorial intention a conclusive argument-ender to
|this discussion? I know Tolkien said the book wasn't an allegory, but it is
|damn easy to read as one. There seems to be some space here for debate:
|just because Tolkien made these pronouncements doesn't mean he's *right*.

And, in fact, the list guidelines I sent out not that long ago say:

  Moreover, nobody has the last word of authority.  It's fine to
  adjucate questions of fact ("No, the cover art for the Mammoth edition
  of Charmed Life is by Sarah Govia, not Jos Smith."  "In a speech given
  in a convention in 1996, DWJ's exact words were..."), but nobody here
  has the last word on a question of opinion.  Whether DWJ herself, or
  your high school librarian, or Jacques Derrida tattooed the idea on
  your skin with blessed ink, your opinion is still just as interesting
  and valid as everybody else's, and no more.

But I assume Minnow interpreted the question to mean authorial intent
(it's hard to tell when someone says "making a point", because many
people don't talk about the text "making a point" out of the context of
the author).  In this case we should assume there was a language
problem, and not a question of authority and correctness, and move on.

Unless people want to have the author's intent discussion, which is fine
if we're all nice about it.  But Robyn and I aren't going to be
convinced that the author must be right, and Minnow isn't going to be
convinced that the author isn't, and Charlie isn't going to be convinced
not to waffle.  ;)   So it would mostly be for our own amusement.

"Tai Chi works wonders when I feel like killing things.
Of course, so does actually killing things."
					-- Kita's Angel

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