Tolkien Biographies and Biographers

All about J.R.R.Tolkien's life, his beliefs and philosophies, and his interests
marbretherese
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Postby marbretherese » Sun May 11, 2008 9:11 pm

Thanks for the link, Merry. I read a bit about this book in either Mallorn or Amon Hen (can't remember which, right now) and thought it looked intriguing. Definitely one for the wish list!!
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But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Tue May 13, 2008 4:41 pm

I read it too. What a remarkable women she was! I think this would be a very interesting book about an extraordinary lady, even without the Tolkien connection.
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:38 am

TOR.n has an interesting tidbit about JRRT's time at the Battle of the Somme:

http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=716&pageid=23&pagename=Arts
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:11 pm

How remarkable to have been able to talk to Tolkien directly about it!
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:03 pm

Here's another snip from TOR.n. I guess they are running a little bit from Tolkien's life once a week or so.

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2008/09/02/29656-35-years-ago-today-a-light-went-out-in-arda/#more-29656

I love the details. It looks like Tolkien remained himself until the very end.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
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Postby marbretherese » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:43 pm

Merry wrote:I love the details. It looks like Tolkien remained himself until the very end.


Merry, thanks for this. It's good to see, as you say, that Tolkien was enjoying life and making plans until just a few days before he died. And I love the idea of him declaiming the 'Our Father' in Gothic!!
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"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


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Merry
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Postby Merry » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:51 pm

Yes! I have no idea how to evaluate his claim that the Church would somehow have been stronger there if the language had not been lost, but it's an interesting one.
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:35 pm

That really is intriguing! What a pity we don't have any more of his thoughts on it. Thinking about it the use of Latin, only spoken by the educated, was a major factor in the Reformation. He must be supposing a strong Gothic language would have naturally resulted in a liturgy and a translation that would have been as extensively used as the Latin one and have been understood by all Northern Europe. It's supposing a lot but what a fascinating possibility!

Interesting to see his love of language and Catholicism combining here!
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:46 pm

So, if you're right, Iolanthe, I guess he's making an argument for the use of the vernacular in the liturgy similar to the arguments of Vatican II, if the vernacular had survived. Anybody know anything about Gothic?
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:07 pm

Nope! But this Wikipedia reference shows that there were Gothic Codices and fragments of a Bible translation so it seems he had good reason to think that.

Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from Codex Argenteus, a 6th century copy of a 4th century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizeable corpus.


There's a lot more if you follow the link.

I'm supposing these fragments, which I guess he must have studied, made him see the demise of Gothic as a major loss for the future of the Church as well as for Northern European culture which is fascinating.
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Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:16 pm

Well, now, that's interesting, too! A language which we know mainly through a translation of the Bible: I wonder how much of its character is from the Gothic and how much of it is from the original?

Thanks for the link, Iolanthe. I'm really curious now!
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Merry
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Postby Merry » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:54 pm

I've started reading another biography of JRRT called Tolkien: Man and Myth, by Joseph Pearce. It was published in 1998, so I'm not sure why I haven't noticed it before. He takes as his MO Tolkien's own statement that the most important aspects of his life, in terms of how they contributed to his writing, were that he was "born in 1892 and lived for my early years in 'the Shire' in a pre-mechanical age. Or more important, I am a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories), and in fact a Roman Catholic." Pearce contends that Tolkien as a person has largely been misunderstood, as have his works. The first chapter includes a great collection of those nasty reviews that came out after LOTR was published as well as shrill comments from the literati after LOTR was voted best book of the century in England at the end of the 20th.

I've just read a few chapters and they're interesting. Pearce has access to unpublished letters and the unedited versions that don't appear in Carpenter's collection, including those to and from Edith, so it's kind of a thrill to read more new words from the Professor. He also had the opportunity to interview extensively Owen Barfield, one of the Inklings, as well as Walter Hooper (CSL's private secretary), Fr. Murray, and other contemporaries.

The second chapter includes a letter that little Ronald wrote to his father, who was still in South Africa, when he was four years old. It begins, "My dear Daddy" and shows quite the lovely use of language we would expect, although some more punctuation might have been useful!

I'll probably tear through this book this weekend--more reports to come!
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:11 pm

Merry, this must be something new from Pearce. I have his Tolkien: A Celebration which is a collection of writings on the Tolkien legacy. Pearce writes the Intro.
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:27 pm

I wonder if it is newly marketed in the US, because it was published in 1998 in Great Britain. But I've never seen it before.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
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Postby marbretherese » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:11 pm

I read it a couple of years ago here in the UK. It's a really interesting book, although I remember thinking at the time that Pearce had been rather hard on Humphrey Carpenter; he's fairly critical of him while drawing a lot on his original biography. It's well worth reading!!
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"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


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