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Old 03-14-2020, 04:26 PM   #161
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
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Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Pullman's attitude reminds me very much of Moorcock's "epic Pooh" putdown, and I think both come from a similar place: they are didactic writers, polemicists as much as novelists, and they can't abide the fact that A) Tolkien was not one, and B) what Tolkien "takes as read" in his legendarium (a Deity fundamentally just, hereditary monarchies, a sense that the world doesn't absolutely suck everywhere all the time, and (for Moorcock) not a hint of Marxism) naturally gets their hackles up.

It's hard to understate the degree to which Tolkien's Edwardian Tory Catholicism simply rubs certain politicized literary quarters the wrong way, simply by existing. (Even though, especially if one reads Letters, one finds that his views were not as conventional as appear on the surface; Tolkien was rather Bilbo-ish in that regard).
There are a certain percentage of folks who just can't take things in context with the era in which a work is written and the background of the writer of that given era. This past generation seems to be one of revisionism and homogenization, rather than perception.

In a slightly different vein in the States, but revisionist nonetheless, there has been concerted efforts for over a century to get the novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer banned from classrooms and libraries for the alleged racism and racial slurs that were part of the idiom of the era, and a fundamental issue the writer wrestled with in the books themselves.

Humorously enough, Mark Twain was a devout abolitionist, anti-racist and supporter of the emancipation of slaves. But rather than taking things in context and using the book as a learning tool for racism that still remains an issue, bans periodically go into effect.

Twain, for his part, took it in stride, because even in his lifetime there were bannings. Twain wrote in 1885:

"The Committee of the Public Library of Concord, Mass., have given us a rattling tip-top puff which will go into every paper in the country. They have expelled Huck from their library as 'trash and suitable only for the slums.' That will sell 25,000 copies for us sure."

Twain, like Tolkien, remained relatively unrepentant throughout their lives for how their works may be construed. And bravo for that.
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