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Old 05-18-2005, 09:21 PM   #48
Cryptic Aura
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Originally Posted by Fordim Hedgethistle

So it seems to me that with his stories, Tolkien was attempting to invite me to be enchanted by his art, and that without my active participation in the creation of that world by agreeing with his art, then it cannot exist. In the end, he gives the reader a measure of freedom; we are not being taken over by his world, but co-creators of it.

Originally Posted by davem
I think this has to be the case, otherwise it would be impossible for anything we do to break the spell - we would be 'ensorcelled' rather than 'enchanted'. I think this is what he meant by 'living shapes that move from mind to mind'. We could say that Frodo was 'enchanted' in Lorien because he was able to leave it at any time, but that he was 'ensorcelled' by the Ring, because he was unable to leave it willingly.

Originally Posted by Fordim Hedgethistle
He states that is it enchantment which produces the Secondary World, and not the other way around. This would seem to imply that the effect of the writer's art on the reader is what makes the world; in this case, he sees the reader as being enchanted as much by his own ability or willingness to recieve and reimagine the art, as he is by the art of the author.

Perhaps it is the enchantment experienced by the artist which enables him to create the secondary world, & which the reader experiences when he/she willingly enters into it?

Inevitably the reader 'co-creates' the secondary world with the artist - Tolkien speaks of the way references to 'hills, trees & rivers' will conjure in the mind of the reader images of all the trees, rivers & hills he has ever known & particularly of the first tree, river or hill the reader experienced, the one which will always mean tree, river or hill to him - or something along those lines.

But this is different from bringing with us into the secondary world our beliefs, values, facts we've amassed over the years, etc while we are there. Once we have left that world it will itself become part of that 'baggage' to be analysed & deconstructed. But if we are analysing & deconstructing it while we are in it how can it possibly enchant us? It won't be a 'living' co-creation between author & reader, but rather an experiment in literary analysis. It won't be what it was meant to be, & so won't have the effect it was intended to have. Isn't this exactly the approach Tolkien was criticising in the Beowulf lecture? Beowulf, as he pointed out, is not a quarry for 'facts' about the beliefs & cultural history of the Anglo-Saxons but a poem which should entertain & enchant us.

This gets back to something I asked, which Heren answered.

Originally Posted by HerenIstarion
Originally Posted by Bęthberry
Does it come down to a willingness to be enchanted? Heart's desire as a reading strategy?

If I remember correctly, davem stated that the author is responsible merely for the intend to enchant; it is the reader who is responsible for responding to allow this to happen. Everything is "conjured in the mind of the reader."

Now, I don't want to make enemies , but how do we know that there isn't baggage, maybe even unconscious baggage, in the mind of the reader?
How do we know if the reader's own psyche has unconciously dictated elements of that enchantment? Or even if the reader has fallen prey to some deep desire to be overwhelmed by this fantasy?

Other than the sense of continuous enchantment and satisfaction--that is, duration of sensation--what other evidence is there that guarantees the enchantment is the one the author intended? That it isn't, in fact, some kind of delusion which the reader's desire to be enchanted has created?

Is there a way to account for the possibility of the reader's 'willful sublimation', to expand upon the term littlemanpoet has coined for willful interpretation?
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
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