Re Tam Lin

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise jenne at
Mon Dec 13 10:12:05 EST 2004

> It is a fantasy of course but it also captures
> the feeling at university that learning fills
> your life, that you have this vast field of
> knowledge to explore, to frolic in even  -- or as
> Mary Gentle put it back in the days of full
> grants "you get paid to to read books" but there
> is also the feeling that goes along with it, as
> the terms go on and the end of the course gets
> nearer, that there is never enough time and there
> are all these other things crowding in, trying to
> get your  attention. There's other people of
> course, in my case there was sex and drugs and
> rock and roll, the desire to "make a difference",
> there's the need, at the end of it all to earn a
> living. Tam Lin is a story of university life as
> sacrifice of youth, and the need to make that
> sacrifice count for something worthwhile.   This
> isn't unique to academia of course, the feeling
> that life is spread out before you, simultaneous
> with a feeling that time is running out and you
> cannot, actually have it all. 

Yes, that pretty much sums it up. I don't know whether those who 
attended large public universities would find Tam Lin as interesting, 
but I do know that a number of people who attended a mediumsized private 
engineering school recognized it as interesting.

> Youth is a currency that must be spent one way or
> another -- all youth is doomed to age, to grow
> stale or cynical, to die, to die the thousand
> litle deaths of responsibility, work, houses, 
> babies, pets  and so on and yet, not to do these
> things -- like Medeous (sp) and her Shakespearean
> hangers on is also to lose, to lose life,
> maturity, growth, fertility........ and, yes, to
> lose the peace that is death. In fact to not go
> on, not to grow old and die is just another kind
> of death it's the death of humanity and
> creativity. And they may appear forever young but
> they have lost the essence of their youth, as
> everybody must.

Wow. Yes. That pretty much sums it up.

> So, getting back on topic, I think that despite
> it's faults as a novel Pamela Dean's Tam Lin uses
> the essence of the folk tale as an enormously
> successful evocation of the fabulous fragility of
> doomed youth. 

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at 
"I don't get the facts wrong.  It's everything else I screw up."
    -- _The Librarian: Quest for the Spear_
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