Thread: Thuringwethil
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:29 AM   #11
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A contemplation of bones

Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I also find that Tolkien had a very good awareness of the Gothic form, evident in his depictions of Moria, the Nazgul and the high, dark adventures and perils of Beren and Luthien in Angband.
There's Goths and then there's Goths.

Tolkien certainly was aware of the Germanic/Swedish traditions of Goths, those barbarians at the gate. It is in fact interesting that for a profoundly devout Catholic he had such a fascination for the northern barbarian cultures and mythology.

Then there's the 19C version of Gothic, which has led to the 20C goth cults, that mix of horror and romanticism. I think we'd be hard put to find camp menace and the predatory femme fatale (well, Eowyn is pale but ... ) in Tolkien--unless we think Shelob. Nor is there much theatricality or self-dramatisation in Tolkien. However, it is fascinating to see what other features of Gothic romanticism Tolkien exudes. Graveyards, ruins, curses and cursed peoples, nightmares and dark visions, a brooding preoccupation with eternity and loneliness, a direct encounter with horror, morbidity, death and the macabre. Tolkien is even apolitical, as much of goth culture is. Would this arise from his familiarity with Catholic aesthetics?

The only thing which Tolkien has which post 19C gothic romanticism does not have is hope.

But you've got my rpg sense tingling, Lal.
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
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