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

Margaret Ball margaret at
Wed Aug 25 11:15:30 EDT 2004

>I think
>the Scouring of the Shire is a sort of wish-fulfilment dream for Tolkien:
>what the returning hobbits do is *put everything back the way it was
>before*, don't they?  and that is what his generation and class probably
>wanted most of anything.  Since their experience between the wars hadn't
>included living five to a room in a slum with no lavatory in the house, or
>being unemployed and on means-tested 'welfare', or having no access to
>medical help of any kind for a seriously-ill child, or any of the other
>real horrors suffered by the poor in England during the 20s and 30s, they
>found the levelling process that was going on to be a great disimprovement
>in everything, and longed to have things back *for themselves* the way they
>had been before all the upheaval.  

Exactly! I don't think it's a direct satire on the Government, but the 
*feeling* evoked by that part of the book is so very similar to the 
feelings expressed in contemporary novels - I'm thinking of Angela 
Thirkell, whose postwar novels are forever going on about how grey and 
drab life had become for the upper middle classes.  

Some time ago my husband quoted a comment he'd read somewhere, by 
somebody who hadn't been in the privileged classes before the war, to 
the effect that rationing wasn't so bad; it was the first time he'd ever 
had enough to eat.

Margaret Ball

To say what you want to say you must create another language and nourish it for years and years with what you have loved, with what you have lost, with what you will never find again.

-George Seferis

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