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Old 06-25-2007, 03:06 PM   #279
Thenamir
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Forgive me for stamping my foot so loudly, I believe I broke a bone or two. I suppose that one of my points was that the story is a great story, even if you don’t get all the English class references when you read it in German or Chinese. I would propound a new question for discussion here, directly related to the original thread topic.

Assume for a moment that gifted writers would be allowed with the blessing of the Tolkien Estate to write books or collections of short stories as additions to “canon”. Assume further that the overarching LOTR story can be understood and appreciated as genius in other languages, despite the lack of nuance that, presumably, only English readers will “get.” Can new stories be written within the inviolable boundaries of races, lands, and the rich history of the original works, and yet be written in French, Russian, or even the ghastly American dialect, and still be good stories, perhaps even great stories, in themselves?

I maintain that they can. I don’t find anything particularly wrong with a snorting elf, because within my inferior USian experience a “snort” is not the haughty, rude, and disdainful thing that it seems to be to proper English gentry. If I was writing it, I perhaps would revise it to “(insert elf character name here) lifted an eyebrow in disdain,” but that essentially expresses the same thing to me.

It could even be said that if the story was rewritten to use different phrasing or perhaps different cultural settings when translated into a new language, it might have equally deep and nuanced meaning as the English version does for the English. I shudder to think what a US-inner-city version of LOTR would look like (the mind recoils in horror at the thought of Bilbo “rappin’” his poetry), but it would perhaps “reach” people that the original does not.

I’m sure the divine Miss Bb could speak better to those issues of words and communication, but to drag this wordy post back on topic, dialect and cultural trappings are not what makes LOTR special – it is the inner consistency and the universality of the themes. If someone, and it certainly won’t be me, can propound such themes within the bounds of the existing Tolkienesque sub-universe and make a good story out of it, I don’t find that invalid, even if someone writes pop-guns and pickles into a story supposedly set before such things existed…oops, that was Tolkien himself.
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