Tolkien (was Re: Who invented the modern fantasy genre?)

Emma Comerford emmaco at tpg.com.au
Mon Aug 23 19:37:24 EDT 2004


Quoting Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com>:

> I'm starting to feel like a whiny outcast Donaldson character.  Didn't
> ANYONE here love Tolkien, ever?  I swear I read that trilogy about fifty
> times when I was a kid (except the poetry and the Tom Bombadil part) and
> just felt so swept up in it.  (My friend swears we read it in second grade,
> which could be possible, but I can't believe I was quite *that* precocious.)
> As an adult I have to be pretty amazed at what he accomplished, considering
> that everyone and his well-educated dog borrowed from him to create their
> knock-off fantasy universes.  It's been about three years since I read it
> last, and in my memory I had come to equate his world with all those others.
> But by comparison, his expression of the idyllic past and the idealization
> of the nonhuman races (and I include the evil races in this) is so totally
> fresh that I wonder how I missed it before.  This is true even if you don't
> like the original--you don't have to like Lord of the Rings to notice the
> differences.  Terry Brooks should have been shot out of hand.
> 
> Melissa Proffitt
> 

I was wondering the same thing - I loved Lord of the Rings when I was a child! I found it enthralling and 
moving. But this gives me the same problem someone else (sorry, I'm not on my usual computer so don't 
have my downloaded messages!) mentioned - I can't assess the books subjectively because my original 
impressions are so strong. Although I have to agree with Melissa in still appreciating what he achieved - it's 
been such an influential piece of work. It would be interesting to hear from someone who read it when it 
first came out, who doesn't have horrible rip-offs in the front of their minds when they read it.

Emma :)
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