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

minnow at minnow at
Wed Aug 25 16:48:27 EDT 2004

Margaret answered my

>>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.

I was not mentioning her because I thought no-one would know who I was
talking about, but I was obviously wrong!  :-)

>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.

Someone somewhere once remarked that members of the middle classes wrote
ghastly accounts of the horror of the trenches in WWI, but the Oxfordshire
agricultural labourers who came back from that war said that although they
had had a nasty time, they had never eaten so well in their lives as they
did in the trenches!


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list