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Old 12-18-2015, 02:10 AM   #8
Shade of Carn Dm
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Wow what hostility – and how unnecessary was the attempt at character assassination. Especially – when there is an article available that all can freely judge.
Cannot people still freely judge? My post is not stopping them. I only commented honestly, in my opinion, on the article. You are angry because I didn't appreciate what I honestly see as crank pseudo-scholarship. Should I lie because I don't agree with your opinion. I won't do that. Why should I?

I see you didn't bother heeding the author's request, nor my echo, and refrain from criticism until the article is complete. A touch rude – in my opinion. A little apology would not go amiss.
It was not a matter of bother. I purposely chose not to heed the author's request or your request.

If there were specific issues or points you did not understand – then you could simply have E-mailed the author and asked for clarification. That would have been a sensible choice. As to your critique, it is both disjointed and incoherent in parts. Clearly you have not digested the article carefully – though it could be beyond your comprehension.
I could have e-mailed the author but chose not to. I believe and still believe that the scholarship was crank and thought that my opinions might have had some interest to at least some of the other forum members. I believe that my critique was neither disjointed or incoherent and that I had digested the article carefully. I gather that any disagreement with Priya Seth you would wish to consider out-of-bounds. But your wishes on that matter are not part of the regulations of this forum. In theory parts of the article might be beyond my comprehension. Also in theory you, not seeing the flaws in Priya Seth's research, may be the one who does not comprehend what she is trying to do.

One issue that I want to touch on right now – is that my association to Priya Seth is really none of your business.
I quite agree. Your quarrel on that point is with Nerwen, not with me, if you wish to quarrel.

I have no wish to know who you are – but I will tell you Priya Seth is a female and I am a male – so I most definitely am not the author of the Web Blog or Breaking The Tolkien Code.
Fair enough. I never posted otherwise.

For your future benefit, when someone points out that a new Tolkien related article is available – it is often a courtesy for the benefit of the community. No one, who is sensible, would regard one post out of 139 as being a sales push.
I don't regard it so and never said I did. For your future benefit try reading what the poster you are commenting on actually posted.
The only person that said Tolkien was “lying” is you.
I never said that Tolkien was “lying”. Try reading what the poster you are commenting on actually posted.
It certainly wasn't Priya Seth. Her essay seems to revolve around the the word 'enigma' being possibly related no. 3 of the various definitions provided in your link - i.e. a 'riddle'. In what context the Professor used it, no one can say for sure – not even you.
I don't see Priya's article revolving at all. Do you even know what revolve means? I think you ought to have posted something like "be concerned with the word enigma". One may certainly give the context of any word by any author by printing out the surrounding material. That often does not reveal the exact meaning intended but does show the context in which the word is found.
What do you mean by unsolved enigma? Unsolved in Tolkien's mind or unsolvable by the reader?
I might mean either or both.
And please provide some substantiation for your last comment.
I meant that when referring to an enigma, unmodified, that it is understood to mean unsolved enigma. A solved enigma could he said to no longer be an enigma.

I will provide two cases which seem to me to be pertinent here. Tolkien wrote to Naomi Mitchison on 25 April 1954:
And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally).
The second, which uses the word mystery instead of enigma, is found on page 154 of Ted G. Hammond and Christine Scull's The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion:
In an unpublished draft letter in 1968 Tolkien wrote: I do not know his [Tom Bombadil's] origin though I might make guesses. He is best left as he is, a mystery. There are many mysteries in any closed/organized system of history/mythology'.
Priya Seth knew of this letter and was in correspondence with Ted G. Hammond and Christine Scull over it at https://wayneandchristina.wordpress....da-corrigenda/. Priya attempts to explain this letter at https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...-of-the-rings/. Maybe Tolkien changed his mind and did not actually send the letter. Or maybe the reference to Tom's origin concerned the unknown question in the letter Tolkien was answering and had to do with Tom's origin before The Lord of the Rings was ever thought of.

I find these explanations weak as everything else I am aware of that Priya Seth has written.
Because that's what her theory revolves around. As an 'enigma' she believes Tom is an intentional riddle – that is the reason Tolkien was (as she says) “evasive”. However if you read the last section – her claim is that he got nervous about using allegory – and decided to instead keep him a permanent mystery.
I'm very dubious about any theory in which there is no backup evidence. That Tom was an intentional riddle is only a personal belief of Priya's and she presents no evidence that her belief is true. Her claim that Tolkien got nervous about using allegory doesn't sound like Tolkien to me.
Please provide substantiation and sources for your assertion. And while your at it – you might want to investigate the root and origin of the word 'enigma'. To a Professor whose hobby and profession were based on philology – perhaps you can explain how Tolkien could never have employed its usage in Letter No. 144 to mean 'a riddle'. I suspect you may fall flat on your back.
I don't know what you are talking about at all. I did not find anything in Letter 144 that at all surprised me.

Again you are stretching matters. Priya is simply stating that the best explanation is one that entirely explains Tom from both the novel standpoint and Tolkien's private letters. By using “let’s see how far I can go” she has invited the reader at the end to be a judge.
As a reader I judge she fails miserably.

No she didn't claim Tolkien did that.
Priya claims:
At some historically unknown point, after Treebeard’s ‘awakening’, Tolkien further integrated Tom into the drama by an incarnation into physical Middle-earth. There he could enjoy ‘the play’ more closely and fulfill a small role ‘on-stage’. This embodiment (birth through union of spirit and flesh) neatly solves the paradox of the Ent being “the oldest living thing … in Middle-earth” and Tom being “Eldest”.
So Priya does claim it. You are wrong. And Priya is also wrong. The Ents, including Treebeard, are prophesied in The Silmarillion, chapter 2 to first awaken while the Firstborn are in their Power. There is no paradox. Tolkien is not making Gandalf claim that Treebeard is older than Manw or Varda or Eru himself, or any of the various divine beings who still dwell in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age, including himself or the nameless things. That would be like a fundamentalist Christian claiming that Methuselah was older than the angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael or Satan, or even God himself.
It is you that have brought in the Istari, nameless things, etc. That is a whole different discussion.
Doesn't matter. That such beings are not included among the category of living things but are older than Ents is data provided by Tolkien and has also been long discussed on the web. You don't like it perhaps because it provides a far simpler solution.
The premise of the article is that Tom's secret role was to represent the 'audience' in the cosmogonic 'play'. The 'pledge' or 'vow' is a silent subconscious one. As she pointed out – it is one that we all unknowingly make when visiting a 'theatre'.
And Tolkien presents Tom with a home, wife, honeycomb, dairy products, vegetables, and a pony. Tom is shown by Tolkien to have possessions in the same way as mortals.
Look at this more carefully. The cosmogonical drama is that part of the cosmogony played out in the physical Universe. The Ainulindale is part of the overall cosmogony and indirectly referenced in the article (through using the terms Music, Vision). It is equated per the thesis as analogous to a 'pre-play' taking place outside of the Theatre. You are also using the term “legendarium” incorrectly.
And where do we find correct usage defined. See Must one now use the term legendarium only where it agrees with the unproved assumptions of a crank author? I think not.
Read this again carefully. The writer is just communicating that in her opinion Tom was not in physical Arda at the time these primeval happenings took place. He was watching the drama from his own plane of reality as part of his function as the 'audience'. Indeed - what are the chances of someone in physical Arda amidst the rain, with certainty witnessing the first raindrop? By Tolkien not stating directly that Tom 'held' the acorn or 'felt' the raindrop lends credence to Priya's theory of his secret role and him watching the on stage 'drama' in a different plane of reality in ancient times.
Again it is only one person's theory, which I reject. I don't see any evidence that Tom must be in a separate plane from Middle-earth to make the passage credible.
Here the author is just saying that at some point Tom entered onto the stage (the physical world) but little did he know that his fate would be to meet Goldberry – who would leave her watery home to become his companion. I am at a complete loss as to how you arrived at your interpretation.

Nowhere does the author say Tom forcibly seizes Goldberry. You are exaggerating.
I arrived at it from the poem "The Adventures of Tom Bombdil":
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter,
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water songs to birds upon the bushes.

He caught her, held her fast. Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil: 'Here's my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
in her deep weedy pool: there you'll find no lover!'
If I were you, I would take some time and read the essay again – very carefully. Moreover take some time to chew on what has been written. And if you still have questions why don't you send her an E-mail and perhaps she will address your concerns. If she doesn't – by all means list them on the forum and perhaps I or others can happily enlighten you.
But I am not you, and you are not me. I don't feel any need of enlightening. You have accused me of things of which I am not guilty. You don't understand why I find a crank writer offensive. You don't even understand that she is a crank writer. I do not need permission from you to post as I wish, any more than you need permission from me to post as you wish. Imagine being badgered in argument by a flat-earther who desires to enlighten me. What the flat-earther calls enlightenment I see as brainwashing. That said, this is an open forum and any member has a very wide latitude on what he or she posts. The poster may even push flat-earth in the present day, if the poster can relate it to Tolkien.

I have freely judged Priya Seth, and you. You have the same privilege of judging me. I don't accept Priya's explanations for Tolkien's evasiveness or coyness or that Tolkien was even trying to be evasive. Your attempts here to enlighten me, as you define it, have failed horribly.

Last edited by jallanite; 12-21-2015 at 12:28 PM.
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