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Old 10-15-2014, 05:05 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
I'm no longer sure that either secondary belief or willing suspension of disbelief adequately explain the aesthetic situation of reading fiction/fantasy. Perhaps it is simply the ability to enter imaginatively into things that would normally be implausible, something akin to listening to arguments that violate our sense of reality/truth or considering perspectives from cultures different from our own.
To read Fiction basically inserts me into a waking dream. Reality fades to a background hum, and the book becomes reality. There is no difficulty with well-written fiction in accepting totally the world it contains.

I think one thing about Tolkien which aids me in acceptance of Middle-earth as 'real' is that in most substantial points, it is congruous with actual reality. The land has familiar patterns and forms: mountains, plains, forests, and deserts are described so that they fundamentally conform to what I have seen with my eyes. Plants, animals, and weather patterns are not those of some alien place.

The 'fantastic' alterations are still near enough to the familiar that I do not balk at the idea of talking trees, eagles, and angelic spirits embodied that act for both good and evil.
Elves and Dwarves, though having definite unique characteristics, to me manifest parts of the nature of Men in this world, so that the fantasy representations in Arda are once again not incomprehensible.

I think Tolkien understood well where the line stood with respect to 'believable' fantasy and the children's fairy-tale that adults simply smiled at. He stocked his works with alluring places, persons, and things that were recognizable enough to hold the interest of the realist, yet fantastic to the point that the dreamer was also enthralled.
Music alone proves the existence of God.
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