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Old 07-06-2014, 01:42 PM   #44
The Squatter of Amon Rdh
Spectre of Decay
 
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Pipe Only Tolkien owns Tolkien

Tolkien himself addressed the issue of shared experience between the author and reader, albeit on a different subject.
Quote:
It is also false , though naturally attractive, when the lives of an author and critic have overlapped, to suppose that the movements of thought or the events of times common to both were necessarily the most powerful influences.
Now, I realise that for Tolkien his religious beliefs genuinely were an important part of his life, and someone who shares them might find a deeper connection to those elements in his work that were inspired by or related to his Catholicism. It is after all one thing to understand a belief system and quite a different thing to accept it as truth and live by its tenets; but that would only be like a soldier finding a deeper resonance in those parts of Tolkien's writings that arose from his military service, or a linguist responding to his philological jokes. The only person who has ever understood Tolkien's work the way he did was J.R.R. Tolkien, and even he changed his mind a number of times, as his letters demonstrate. Any attempt to suggest that our own experiences somehow give us a greater insight than other readers will only look like an attempt to possess Tolkien and his work and make them a part of our own agendas, which is unhelpful for criticism and tiresome to see.
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