November 20, 2013

THERE'S A THERE THERE:

A world for children: J. R. R. Tolkien, : a review of The Hobbit: or There and Back Again (CS Lewis, 10/02/37, Times L:iterary Supplement)

[T]here are dwarfs and dwarfs, and no common recipe for children's stories will give you creatures so rooted in their own soil and history as those of Professor Tolkien--who obviously knows much more about them than he needs for this tale. Still less will the common recipe prepare us for the curious shift from the matter-of-fact beginnings of his story ("hobbits are small people, smaller than dwarfs--and they have no beards--but very much larger than Lilliputians") [2] to the saga-like tone of the later chapters ("It is in my mind to ask what share of their inheritance you would have paid to our kindred had you found the hoard unguarded and us slain"). [3] You must read for yourself to find out how inevitable the change is and how it keeps pace with the hero's journey. Though all is marvellous, nothing is arbitrary: all the inhabitants of Wilderland seem to have the same unquestionable right to their existence as those of our own world, though the fortunate child who meets them will have no notion--and his unlearned elders not much more--of the deep sources in our blood and tradition from which they spring.

Posted by at November 20, 2013 5:20 PM
  

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