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Old 11-12-2015, 11:01 PM   #6
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 84
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
A more balanced summary (instead of pure criticism) about what Priya Seth's article is about is briefly provided below:

The essay hinges around a little discussed letter about Tom sent in 1964 by Tolkien to a Mr. P.M., of which only a portion is available for viewing.

It is focused on a few statements in discussing Tom, namely:

(a) This is like a 'play'
(b) Different planes of reality
(c) Chinks in the scenery. Glimpses of another different world outside that of the producer, stagehands, author.

Priya Seth has like a detective, connected the dots with both these statements along with the mention of allegory in Letter No. 153. She has put together a coherent, elegant and persuasive argument that Tom was Tolkien's much needed allegorical representation of 'the audience' for his book-form Faerian drama.

She provides reasoning for why Tom is an immortal, why Tolkien gave him such a secret role and provides a path to his integration into the mythology in terms of a theatrical analogy.

She explains why Tom left his own parallel world to enter the physical world and engage himself as a minor actor for this 'play' which is conducted in an allegorical sense on the stage of a theater (which in turn represents the physical Universe).

Priya then goes onto explain why Tom in the physical world has to secretly keep his assigned role. And goes on to behave like a typical audience member of this 'cosmogonical drama'. This supposedly explains why he can:

(a) only interact with the actors in a minor way
(b) spends most of his time watching and observing keeping interference to a minimum
(c) cannot take ownership of anything 'on stage'.

Also explained is some fairly logical conjecture as to why Tolkien declined to disclose Tom's role.

All of the above is contained within Part I of Priya's essay. I have found nothing that strikes me as poor scholarship. The author's use of quotes to back-up her theory are not employed whereby they are blatantly out of context.

Part II of the essay is now released.


My comments on this Part II are going to be even briefer:

For the first time in researching Tom anywhere (be it articles on the Internet or publications), I find a detailed, lengthy and engaging attempt to explain how Tom performed his seemingly magical tricks.

The pictures of the disappearing ring trick, and rain only touching Tom's boots - are particularly persuasive to her argument. This section considerably augments Priya's theory in Part I.
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