The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-12-2016, 07:12 AM   #41
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 658
Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe Sam and poems in 'The Adventures of Tom Bombadil'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
I note that the Tolkien strongly implied on several occasions that the tale didn't contain conscious allegory. Yet nevertheless he was quite happy to bring in the poem of Fastitocalon into Middle-earth lore in the 1962 Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It is supposed to have been attributed to Sam Gamgee with its ultimate source unknown but from earlier times.

With the character Fastitocalon allegorized as Satan (maybe effectively Morgoth) per Letter #255 – without a shadow of doubt, his myth touched upon allegorical ideas.
I think you made a mistake here with Fastitocalon, Balfrog. Sam is nowhere mentioned in connection with that poem; but he is in relation to Perry-the-Winkle and Cat. According to Tolkien in his role as 'editor':

No. 8 [Perry-the-Winkle] is marked SG, and the ascription may be accepted. No. 12 [Cat] is also marked SG, though at most Sam can only have touched up an older piece of the comic bestiary lore of which Hobbits appear to have been fond.
Faramir Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2016, 06:58 AM   #42
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
I note that the Tolkien strongly implied on several occasions that the tale didn't contain conscious allegory. Yet nevertheless he was quite happy to bring in the poem of Fastitocalon into Middle-earth lore in the 1962 Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It is supposed to have been attributed to Sam Gamgee with its ultimate source unknown but from earlier times.

With the character Fastitocalon allegorized as Satan (maybe effectively Morgoth) per Letter #255 – without a shadow of doubt, his myth touched upon allegorical ideas.
But it's not Tolkien's allegory:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRRT
The poem on Fastitocalon is not like Cat and Oliphaunt my own invention entirely but a reduced and rewritten form, to suit hobbit fancy, of an item in old 'bestiaries'. I think it was remarkable that you perceived the Greekness of the name through its corruptions. This I took in fact from a fragment of an Anglo-Saxon bestiary that has survived, thinking that it sounded comic and absurd enough to serve as a hobbit alteration of something more learned and elvish

(...)


The notion of the treacherous island that is really a monster seems to derive from the East: the marine turtles enlarged by myth-making fancy; and I left it at that. But in Europe the monster becomes mixed up with whales, and already in the Anglo-Saxon? version he is given whale characteristics, such as feeding by trawling with an open mouth. In moralized bestiaries he is, of course, an allegory of the Devil, and is so used by Milton.
He's talking about how he borrowed the monster from Anglo-Saxon lore, where it apparently has that meaning. But, unless I am much mistaken, the poem "Fastitocalon" in "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" describes a creature of Hobbit folklore- not one supposed to really exist in Middle-earth. That is, it's a fiction within a fiction. Now, in context "Fastitocalon" could in fact be allegorical without having any bearing on whether "The Lord of the Rings" or any actual characters therein are. In saying his story is not allegorical Tolkien does not logically rule out some Middle-earth cultures having the practice of creating allegorical works, since these would exist on a different level of (un)reality.

Hope I'm making sense here!
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2016, 06:44 PM   #43
Marwhini
Wight
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 144
Marwhini has just left Hobbiton.
Has no one read Tom Shippey's account of Tom Bombadil in The Road to Middle-earth?

His account is one that I thought of in the 1980s when I was studying the works Joseph Campbell (briefly with Joseph Campbell):

That Tom Bombadil is a Spirit of Ëa that is a manifestation of Middle-earth wishing to know itself (as is Goldberry, but she is only a local manifestation of this sort: That of the Withywhindle's daughter).

Spirits of the sort that Tom Shippey attributes to Tom Bombadil occur in nearly every mythology on Earth, no less those of European, Germanic, and Nordic Myths (although it has been a long while since I went that far back into Northern European Mythology).

But this accounts for why the Ruling Ring does not affect him, as it would any Ainur (ruling out Tom, or Goldberry, being a Maiar or Valar), as he is not exactly the sort that seeks power over things, but instead only to know himself (and thus Arda/Middle-earth). This accounts for his ability to "name" things, and have those names stick to them, and have the "Naming" affect the thing so named, rather than the thing named having any effect over Tom. Basically, the Ruling Ring would not affect Tom unless Tom named it as affecting Tom. But since Tom only names What Is, and thew Ruling Ring has no effect on Tom, Tom can't name the ring as affecting him....

I wish that I could remember the name of the types of Spirits and/or Archetypes that Tom represents from Campbell's The Masks of God, vol 1: Primitive Mythology. But it has been over five years since I last read it, and not having a digital version of it, I can't as easily search the physical copy as I would a digital... But I know that the Archetype in question is detailed in that volume...

And.... This explanation fits with what we see of Tom Bombadil in Tolkien's other works dealing with him as well (and depending upon the Metaphysical and Ontological assumptions that are given for a consistent and unified Physics within Middle-earth/Arda/Ëa, that can fit these as well).

MB
Marwhini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2016, 09:17 PM   #44
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Faramir Jones

Unfortunately when the The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was published in 1962, there was a mix-up in the order of the poems. In the preface when Tolkien discusses No. 12 (as partially ascribed to Sam Gamgee) he really means 'Fastitocalon'.

The scholar John Rateliff discusses the publishing error in his blog:

http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2014/10...-bombadil.html

Hope that helps.



Nerwen


I like the way you used the phrase: 'fiction within a fiction'.

Nevertheless its' all fiction and its all the work of Tolkien – however we gloss his application of allegory!

In re-reading Priya Seth's essay– she is obviously very aware of the sensitive nature of linking allegory to Tom. She appears to have purposely split the subject up into the various sections presumably not to overwhelm the reader. Clearly she has discussed the matter in some depth; and on top she has searched for a possible reason why Tolkien wasn't forthright.

Her link to Fastitocalon, for me, projects a good practical example of what Tolkien possibly meant by calling Tom a “particular embodying” of allegory.

“I do not mean him to be an allegory – or I should not have given him so particular, individual, and ridiculous a name – but 'allegory' is the only mode of exhibiting certain functions: he is then an 'allegory', or an exemplar, a particular embodying …”.
Letter #144




Marwhini


I must say I am not familiar with Joseph Campbell's work – though I intend to look into it. Thanks for the pointer.

However I am aware of Shippey's comments on Tom both in his 'Author....' and 'Road....' books. The Gaia or Spirit of Arda/Ea theories have some shortcomings. One obvious one is that such propositions don't really explain how Tom made the Ring disappear. Nor do they really explain why he confines himself to such a small part of Middle-earth – leaving the rest of the planet alone.

Tom appears to have a strong connection with nature – but in a way not so. He appears to me, to be more of a watcher or bystander. Someone aloof yet interested in nature, evolution and history. But not someone who has any significant influence upon these things. In other words - not the way I would expect a spirit of Arda to be or act.

Priya Seth's new theory accounts for a letter that has only relatively recently come to light and that pre-existing theories (and new ones since) need to satisfactorily address – yet don't. The letter to Mroczkowski in 1964 discusses Tom using an analogy of 'a play'.

If Tolkien viewed it that way, she has asked herself – well if that's the case:

Is there a stage?
And then is there a theater?
And if so, is there an auditorium to the theater?
And if so what was outside?
Who are the players on the stage?
What was the stage meant to represent?
What was the theater meant to represent?
Why does Tolkien state that there were different planes of reality touching each other simultaneously? Why was this concept so important to him – as he admits?
And why did the chinks in the scenery show a world outside contained off-stage characters of a dramatic production?
Did Tom really belong on stage or was he a discordant entity?
Where did he really belong – on-stage or off it?
What could he have represented if he truly belonged off it?

With her new theory – she has been able to explain the above and answer some of the most difficult questions to many of the puzzling remarks in Tolkien's letters.

Unfortunately the logic she has employed has led to the conclusion Tolkien employed allegory.
A concept which is abhorrent to many.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2016, 10:08 PM   #45
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,239
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Balfrog, I think you and your alter-ego, Dan Brown code-deciphering authoress should just take Tolkien at his word when he says:

"I don't think Tom needs philosophizing about."

And in that regard, use the advice Tolkien gave to an over-eager correspondent:

"As for Tom Bombadil, I really do think you are being far too serious."
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2016, 12:10 AM   #46
Marwhini
Wight
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 144
Marwhini has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Balfrog, I think you and your alter-ego, Dan Brown code-deciphering authoress should just take Tolkien at his word when he says:

"I don't think Tom needs philosophizing about."

And in that regard, use the advice Tolkien gave to an over-eager correspondent:

"As for Tom Bombadil, I really do think you are being far too serious."
I tend to think in this case it is over thinking Bombadil as well.

And... As for the ring disappearing???

Really?

Would no one in Middle-earth be capable of simple slight-of-hand?

And that isn't the only explanation for the person who literally commands the Ontological Identification (What things Are) of Middle-earth.

I still think Shippey's explanation fits the best.

It even applies when dealing with why he is confined to such a small area (Goldberry is the primarily answer).

Shippey skirts around the issue of Archetypes here as well, as what he is describing of Tom Bombadil is an Archetype (First Man, The Namer, . . . ).

As for Tolkien using Allegory. Tolkien addressed that in several places, indicating that there is a difference between Allegory and Significance.


Quote:
Letter 203:

That there is no allegory does not, of course, say there is no applicability.
Or.

Quote:
From Letter 215:

I do not like allegory (properly so called: most readers appear to confuse it with significance or applicability
And he deals specifically with Allegory with respect to Tom Bombadil in Letter 153, he says of Tom Bombadil.:

Quote:
He is then ... a particular embodying of pure (real) natural science: the spirit that desires knowledge of other things, their history and nature, because they are 'other' and wholly independent of the enquiring mind, a spirit coeval with the rational mind, and entirely unconcerned with 'doing' anything with the knowledge: Zoology and Botany not Cattle-breeding or Agriculture .
It was from this, and from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil that Tom Shippey got the idea of Bombadil as "First Man" (Do not confuse "Man" here with Human - First Man is an Archetype, or a form of Mythic Personification, and not a human being, or any other form of Child of Ilúvatar, in the terms of Middle-earth).

Tom Shippey was not well educated in Campbell's work (not wholly ignorant of it, I understand, but not deeply studied).

I am.

And when I read Shippey's account (Echoed elsewhere by other Tolkien Scholars), I immediately recalled from Campbell's The Masks of God, vol. 1: Primitive Mythology the various accounts of the First Man and other such spirits whose job it is is to simply know "What is." (The Ontology of the World).

So it is not that people are "allergic" to Allegory WRT Tolkien's works.

It is that Tolkien himself utterly rejected it as a conscious application.

And what this girl is describing in her attempts to force an allegorical explanation onto Tom Bombadil (one that Tolkien has already held-forth upon) is to claim that Tolkien consciously and intentionally wrote an Allegory, where Tolkien has utterly rejected that.

This makes Tolkien a liar, at worst, and deluded, at best.

Why would there be an INTENTIONAL allegory in Tolkien's works where he has explicitly rejected it?

MB

Last edited by Marwhini; 07-10-2016 at 12:34 AM.
Marwhini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 09:10 PM   #47
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Morthoron

Digging deep is something I enjoy. And Tom Bombadil as I have said before is a particularly interesting character. Though I am quite aware that not everyone think's the same way.

I know a lot of us who have studied Tolkien' works, correspondences, biography's etc in depth – think that we know the professor quite well. But do we really? I prefer to have an open mind on the 'Dan Brown' connection. Those that knew Tolkien best were certainly his own family and I take particular heed of their words. From Priya Seth's essay:

“I had a lot of fun times with my grandfather … We played endless word games and I asked him innumerable questions about Middle Earth…”
– J.R.R. Tolkien’s Grandson (Simon Tolkien): In my Grandfather’s Footsteps, Huffington Post, 26 April 2010
“He loved riddles, posing puzzles and finding surprising solutions.”
– The Life and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien as experienced by a grandson (Michael Tolkien), Leicester College Lecture, October 19th 1995
Also from one that worked closely with him on his mythology; again from Priya Seth's essay:
“… if I would hold it confidential, he would “put more under my hat” than he had ever told anyone.”
– Tolkien and The Silmarillion, Clyde Kilby, Summer with Tolkien
Tolkien was seemingly a fairly private person and was reluctant to tell too much; once more from Priya Seth's essay:

"I feel diffident, reluctant as it were to expose my world of imagination to possibly contemptuous eyes and ears.”
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #Letter 282

I don't think there's anything wrong pursuing an academic look at Bombadil from a puzzle standpoint. There seems to more there than anything Dan Brown could factually lay his hands on in the Da Vinci Code.




Marwhini

Tom has immense power. That is quite clear. There was no 'sleight of hand' in putting the Ring on his little finger – at least I have never heard that suggested before. Nor does there appear to have been one in warding off the rain.

You are quite right to point out that Tom could have used 'sleight of hand' in the Ring toss. But to me it doesn't make much sense to mix 'street tricks' in with other exhibitions of 'raw power'. The hypothesis of using 'a different plane of reality' to make the Ring disappear makes more sense. Particularly as Tolkien (when discussing TB in his 1964 letter to Professor Mroczkowski - as Priya Seth points out) alludes to such a solution through:

“… the simultaneity of different planes of reality touching one another … part of the deeply felt idea that I had …”.

I have never seen any decent discussion on what he really meant by these words – apart from Priya Seth's theory. Have you?

On the matter of Tolkien calling Tom an 'allegory' – it is there in black and white. Is it the truth or is it not?

What would an independent party (unbiased and who had no knowledge of TLotR) conclude?

On one side we have a bunch of statements that talk about the tale in general which deny allegorical content. And on the other we have a letter that specifically tells us Tom is 'allegory'. And furthermore another later that basically tells us that Tom is an exception to the rules.

Hmm … I know which way I would judge. But there again I am probably biased!

To me – there is every reason why its academically right to investigate the possibility of some sort of 'cover-up'. Of course there also exists the possibility there were just some honest moments of forgetfulness when Tolkien denied 'allegory'. I think it's a step too far to call him 'a liar' or 'deluded'. But undeniably there are conflicting statements – on what I believe is a crucial matter.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2016, 08:10 AM   #48
Barrel-rider
Pile O'Bones
 
Barrel-rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: End of the Bag, yet no bag went over me.
Posts: 13
Barrel-rider has just left Hobbiton.
White Tree In reply

I don't think he was lying in denying allegory, like you said, but I also think that his works are fantasy stories with "real" figures in them. The reason I put "real" in quotation marks is because, Eru Illuvatar was to him another name for the Biblical God. If Eru Illuvatar was just another name for the Biblical God, then can't Tom be just another name for himself, or in the very least a kindred spirit?
__________________
Three rings for the Elven-kings munchin' on rye, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their nightly drinks alone, nine for Mortal "Men" doomed to cry, one for the Barrel lord on his barrel-y throne in the land of hoarders where the fellows cry.
Barrel-rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2016, 10:14 AM   #49
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,433
William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
"Balfrog" just never gives up.

I can't wait to see how Opus Dei and the Illuminati figure into this.
__________________
“It is good to be both loved and feared; but if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved" --Machiavelli
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2016, 11:35 AM   #50
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,239
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Morthoron

Digging deep is something I enjoy. And Tom Bombadil as I have said before is a particularly interesting character. Though I am quite aware that not everyone think's the same way.

I know a lot of us who have studied Tolkien' works, correspondences, biography's etc in depth – think that we know the professor quite well. But do we really? I prefer to have an open mind on the 'Dan Brown' connection. Those that knew Tolkien best were certainly his own family and I take particular heed of their words. From Priya Seth's essay:

“I had a lot of fun times with my grandfather … We played endless word games and I asked him innumerable questions about Middle Earth…”
– J.R.R. Tolkien’s Grandson (Simon Tolkien): In my Grandfather’s Footsteps, Huffington Post, 26 April 2010
“He loved riddles, posing puzzles and finding surprising solutions.”
– The Life and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien as experienced by a grandson (Michael Tolkien), Leicester College Lecture, October 19th 1995
Also from one that worked closely with him on his mythology; again from Priya Seth's essay:
“… if I would hold it confidential, he would “put more under my hat” than he had ever told anyone.”
– Tolkien and The Silmarillion, Clyde Kilby, Summer with Tolkien
Tolkien was seemingly a fairly private person and was reluctant to tell too much; once more from Priya Seth's essay:

"I feel diffident, reluctant as it were to expose my world of imagination to possibly contemptuous eyes and ears.”
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #Letter 282

I don't think there's anything wrong pursuing an academic look at Bombadil from a puzzle standpoint. There seems to more there than anything Dan Brown could factually lay his hands on in the Da Vinci Code.




Marwhini

Tom has immense power. That is quite clear. There was no 'sleight of hand' in putting the Ring on his little finger – at least I have never heard that suggested before. Nor does there appear to have been one in warding off the rain.

You are quite right to point out that Tom could have used 'sleight of hand' in the Ring toss. But to me it doesn't make much sense to mix 'street tricks' in with other exhibitions of 'raw power'. The hypothesis of using 'a different plane of reality' to make the Ring disappear makes more sense. Particularly as Tolkien (when discussing TB in his 1964 letter to Professor Mroczkowski - as Priya Seth points out) alludes to such a solution through:

“… the simultaneity of different planes of reality touching one another … part of the deeply felt idea that I had …”.

I have never seen any decent discussion on what he really meant by these words – apart from Priya Seth's theory. Have you?

On the matter of Tolkien calling Tom an 'allegory' – it is there in black and white. Is it the truth or is it not?

What would an independent party (unbiased and who had no knowledge of TLotR) conclude?

On one side we have a bunch of statements that talk about the tale in general which deny allegorical content. And on the other we have a letter that specifically tells us Tom is 'allegory'. And furthermore another later that basically tells us that Tom is an exception to the rules.

Hmm … I know which way I would judge. But there again I am probably biased!

To me – there is every reason why its academically right to investigate the possibility of some sort of 'cover-up'. Of course there also exists the possibility there were just some honest moments of forgetfulness when Tolkien denied 'allegory'. I think it's a step too far to call him 'a liar' or 'deluded'. But undeniably there are conflicting statements – on what I believe is a crucial matter.
Occam's Razor would in this case incise the incredulity of Ms. Priya's postulation down to laughable bits of hocus-pocus with less prestidigtation than Bombadil's parlor trick.

The simple, elegant solutions are either, as Marwhini reiterated from Shippey and suffused with Campbell, that Tolkien intended Tom to be a representation of the "First Man", with the attendant naming capabilities and mythological motifs inherent in real-world folklore, or as I stated in more than one instance, that we take Tolkien at his word that Bombadil is an external manifestation, a character Tolkien simply wanted to add to Middle-earth because of his significance to things the writer felt important and which were not reflected in the story otherwise.

In either case, there is no jumping through hoops and contorting in all manner of tortured mental gymnastics to define Bombadil. There are ample direct references to who and what Tolkien believed Bombadil to be that do not require a Templar conspiracy or elaborate coded messages to make an informed conclusion about the character.

Tolkien's son, Christopher, has never made mention of any hidden ciphers in his father's work. Why wouldn't he, given that he compiled a mammoth 12 volume recapitulation of Middle-earth writings? Why would no one, like Shippey, who actually worked with the Tolkien Family, publish a book about such a secretive literary phenomenon that would set Tolkien's work on its ear and alter the very concepts we once thought were clear (and sell several million copies in the process)?

To make these mental leaps (and in the process, as others have inferred, calling Tolkien either a blatant liar or hopelessly deluded), one must ignore what Tolkien said about Bombadil and instead rely on quotes that do not refer to Tom directly, and in turn ignore everything Tolkien stated about allegory, applicability and significance, while fashioning an alternate universe in which Tolkien has by design sought to directly mislead everyone about his intentions.

But back to Occam's razor and simplicity of design. The assertions of Ms. Seth requires an abandonment of reason that I am unwilling to make. And in regards to your continued and incessant disemboguing of Priya Seth's daft theory, Balfrog, I can only quote Shakepeare: "I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.

Last edited by Morthoron; 08-13-2016 at 11:56 AM.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2016, 11:53 AM   #51
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Morthoron

I'm surprised and to be honest a little perturbed as to why you unable to acknowledge Tolkien's statement that Tom is an 'allegory'. I am even more surprised that you are unable to entertain that Tom was an exception – and to Ms Seth's inference - fell outside the general use of no allegory.

Either Tolkien said/implied these things or he didn't. But because he did, we have to live with them.

We can try pushing Tom as 'allegory' under the carpet (as so many scholars have done). Or we can try to come up with some rational explanation as to what he meant or why he said it.

Ms Seth has asked the reader to look at the issue dispassionately and objectively. Many of us think we know Tolkien well, but the bottom line is – we really don't. And so, a logical person would say - okay let's entertain the possibility and see where it leads.

I am so glad you brought up 'Occam's Razor' because guess what – we find more than any other theory out there, with Ms Seth's - a lot of things automatically fall into place. These include:

(a) Remarks in the novel about Tom or his own very words.
(b) Tolkien's own somewhat enigmatic remarks about Tom in his letters.
(c) The 'tricks' Tom plays in front of the hobbits
(d) The issue of 'eldest' between Treebeard and Tom.

Shippey, Jensen, Hargrove, Ranger from the North, etc. are only able to partially explain these many matters. Ms Seth is able to explain them all within the confines of her theory. That is the big difference.

That is why her simple and straightforward theory, which fits the known facts is so alluring. In short it aligns perfectly with Occam's principle. For very importantly and once again – a lot of what fits is what Ms Seth terms as 'automatic' and in itself elegant. Per Part IV of her essay, repeating what she said:


…. an ideal audience member is always automatically:

(1)*“First”*and*“last”*to actually see the ‘play’
(2) A*“natural pacifist”
(3)*“Eldest in Time”*– Time being counted from when the performance officially begins (curtains open)
(4)*“watching”*and*“observing”
(5)*“unconcerned with ‘doing’ anything with the knowledge”*gained from the ‘play’
(6) One that*“desires knowledge of other things”
(7)*“Not important to the narrative”
(8) One that*“hardly interferes”
(9) One who has*“renounced control”
(10) One who has unknowingly*“taken a vow of poverty”*(non-ownership of anything inside the theater)
(11) A being that is*“other”*(to those on stage)
(12) There to take*“delight”*in the performance
(13) One that can never be an*“owner”*of anything on the stage
(14) One who understands*“the question of the rights and wrongs of power and control”*is not for them to decide
(15) Aware that*“night will come”*when the ‘play’ is over.

I really think you should have another read, and ponder on it with an 'open-mind'.

As to Christopher Tolkien's lack of disclosure – I cannot answer you. One would have to ask him personally. If you read Priya Seth's thesis carefully – she provides a perfectly acceptable answer for me. It appears that Tolkien has hidden things in TLotR for researchers to discover. This is undoubtedly true. I suggest you read the quote from Clyde Kilby and chew on it:

“…*if I would hold it confidential, he would “put more under my hat” than he had ever told anyone.”
– Tolkien and The Silmarillion, Clyde Kilby, Summer with Tolkien*
Note my underlined emphasis on “anyone” (which would include CT). According to Ms. Seth, the statement was made many years after TLotR was published.

I have no reason to believe Kilby was a liar.
Have you?
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2016, 10:36 AM   #52
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,239
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Morthoron

I'm surprised and to be honest a little perturbed as to why you unable to acknowledge Tolkien's statement that Tom is an 'allegory'. I am even more surprised that you are unable to entertain that Tom was an exception – and to Ms Seth's inference - fell outside the general use of no allegory.
Oh, gosh, I have perturbed you. Whatever shall I do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Either Tolkien said/implied these things or he didn't. But because he did, we have to live with them.

We can try pushing Tom as 'allegory' under the carpet (as so many scholars have done). Or we can try to come up with some rational explanation as to what he meant or why he said it.

Ms Seth has asked the reader to look at the issue dispassionately and objectively. Many of us think we know Tolkien well, but the bottom line is – we really don't. And so, a logical person would say - okay let's entertain the possibility and see where it leads.
Simply put, it is not an allegory because Tolkien defined "allegory" with the caveat: " I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." This is the crux of the entire conversation and why Ms. Priya's theory falls like a deck of cards in a wind storm.

The refusal of Tolkien to define him directly and with any specificity, and the multiplicity of definitions by every commentator who has ever considered Bombadil, leads me to believe it is not an allegory. If one is to strictly read the story (whether that reader is a Professor of Literature or a high school student) and then is asked to define Bombadil, how many would choose to believe he is an allegory? An allegory of...what? There is no basis to specifically infer Bombadil is allegorical to anything by reading the book.

This is not like Plato's Allegory of the Cave or even C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles in which one can draw a direct line or parallel to what is being implied. The reader has the "freedom", as Tolkien put it, to infer just about anything regarding Bombadil. Hence, adroit readers at all reading levels will insist he is a Maia, he is Eru, He is Adam, he is Tolkien himself, etc. Tolkien does not in any way force the reader to allegorize Bombadil. He neither imputes nor infers a status on Bombadil. He simply "is". Even the other characters in the book, whether it is one of the Hobbits or lore masters like Gandalf and Elrond, cannot define him with any assurance, and offer only bemused guesses as to what Bombadil is.

For Ms. Priya (and you in your sycophantic insistence on precluding all else from your lap-dogged adherence to her theory) to conclude that Bombadil is an allegory based on selected quotes from Tolkien after the fact, precludes all other quotes that contradict the assumption. "The play" that Priya provides is just another theory in the long line of theories that lacks authorial authority to surmise it is the correct assumption. Tolkien refers to him on more than one occasion as an "enigma" which, in itself, would preclude an allegory, because allegorizations require an imputed goal, an artifice, to draw the reader to a conclusion the author wishes the reader to make. That is not the case with Bombadil.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.

Last edited by Morthoron; 09-11-2016 at 10:41 AM.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2016, 06:16 AM   #53
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog
Nerwen

I like the way you used the phrase: 'fiction within a fiction'.

Nevertheless its' all fiction and its all the work of Tolkien – however we gloss his application of allegory!
I'm not quite sure how to reply to this. Perhaps I didn't make the point clear enough. Basically, I am contending that no, they are not "all the same".

Quote:
Her link to Fastitocalon, for me, projects a good practical example of what Tolkien possibly meant by calling Tom a “particular embodying” of allegory.
How so?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Morthoron

I'm surprised and to be honest a little perturbed as to why you unable to acknowledge Tolkien's statement that Tom is an 'allegory'. I am even more surprised that you are unable to entertain that Tom was an exception – and to Ms Seth's inference - fell outside the general use of no allegory.

Either Tolkien said/implied these things or he didn't. But because he did, we have to live with them.

We can try pushing Tom as 'allegory' under the carpet (as so many scholars have done). Or we can try to come up with some rational explanation as to what he meant or why he said it.
That's rather a tall order, I think, given that in the very post you quote- the very sentence, in fact- he also states that Tom is not an allegory.

Quote:
I do not mean him to be an allegory – or I should not have given him so particular, individual, and ridiculous a name – but 'allegory' is the only mode of exhibiting certain functions: he is then an 'allegory', or an exemplar, a particular embodying …”.
Letter #144
Really, what are we to make of this?
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2016, 05:14 PM   #54
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Morthoron

Fortunately the 'perturbation' lasted about the time I took to write the sentence.

I agree with the following partially:

"There is no basis to specifically infer Bombadil is allegorical to anything by reading the book."

There is more evidence to come in future posts, and I request your patience.

Clearly – you are far from convinced. I suspect that Ms. Seth knew the problems she was going to face
- hence the large amount of effort she has devoted to discussing the matter. It's persuasive to me and I'm interested in the subject - so quite happy to spend some time on it. I'm not sure why you would have a problem with that or even make mention for that matter – because it really doesn't add anything to the debate. I certainly don't believe Tom is a case of 'applicability' – specifically because Tolkien said he was 'allegory'. He certainly didn't state the reverse.

Yes, you are quite right that Ms. Seth's theory is one in a long line – but I feel we are finally homing in on the truth. It seems you chose not to comment on the 'circumstantial evidence'. On its own – isn't it a good fit?



Nerwen

"I'm not quite sure how to reply to this. Perhaps I didn't make the point clear enough. Basically, I am contending that no, they are not "all the same"."

I don't understand you're blanket 'no'. It isn't really helpful without some explanation.

"How so?"

This was explained by Ms. Seth quite reasonably (I think). Both the 'turtle-fish' and 'Bombadil' are 'creatures'. Yes maybe fictional ones, but nevertheless within the mythology they exist. If one can represent a concept allegorically (the turtle-fish as embodiment of the 'Devil') there is no reason why Bombadil can't represent a different embodied allegorical concept.


"That's rather a tall order, I think, given that in the very post you quote- the very sentence, in fact- he*alsostates that Tom is*not*an allegory."

Ms. Seth also addressed that within her essay (you might want to take another look). She viewed the statement:

“I do not mean him to be an allegory ...”
Letter #153

as a kind of humbling apology – again quite reasonably in my opinion. In any case – if we were to intepret this statement as directly contradicting the: “he is then an 'allegory' ” statement – then it's just as damning. In other words - we can't really trust anything Tolkien said about allegory.

Indeed:

"Really, what*are*we to make of this?"

In my opinion, Shippey called Tolkien out on this (most diplomatically of course) in Author of the 20th Century. It's worth having a read and digesting what exactly was said about the professor and allegory.



Nerwen, Morthoron & All Others

I really think it's time for the community to actively doubt Tolkien on the matter of allegory and indeed bring the edifice built on 'a pack of cards' tumbling down – namely finally remove the sand-foundation built around a premise of no allegory in the story.

The professor was human just like the rest of us. Yes subject to emotions, in possession of weaknesses and vices, and sometimes not altogether truthful.

Here is another example of a contradiction. In that very same letter where he said there was 'no conscious allegory' guess what - he also said (with an emphasis on 'no') there was:

“There is no 'symbolism' … in my story.
Letter # 203


Oh really Professor Tolkien – then why do you state:

For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.
Letter #142


Really Professor – which one is it?

Nerwen, Morthoron or anyone else – can you give me an explanation?

Sorry – I simply don't believe everything Tolkien wrote was entirely truthful. And I certainly have good reason to doubt him.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2016, 09:21 PM   #55
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Nerwen

"I'm not quite sure how to reply to this. Perhaps I didn't make the point clear enough. Basically, I am contending that no, they are not "all the same"."

I don't understand you're blanket 'no'. It isn't really helpful without some explanation.

"How so?"

This was explained by Ms. Seth quite reasonably (I think). Both the 'turtle-fish' and 'Bombadil' are 'creatures'. Yes maybe fictional ones, but nevertheless within the mythology they exist. If one can represent a concept allegorically (the turtle-fish as embodiment of the 'Devil') there is no reason why Bombadil can't represent a different embodied allegorical concept.
Balfrog, I've already given you my reasoning on this, but here it is again:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
He's talking about how he borrowed the monster from Anglo-Saxon lore, where it apparently has that meaning. But, unless I am much mistaken, the poem "Fastitocalon" in "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" describes a creature of Hobbit folklore- not one supposed to really exist in Middle-earth. That is, it's a fiction within a fiction. Now, in context "Fastitocalon" could in fact be allegorical without having any bearing on whether "The Lord of the Rings" or any actual characters therein are. In saying his story is not allegorical Tolkien does not logically rule out some Middle-earth cultures having the practice of creating allegorical works, since these would exist on a different level of (un)reality.
I will break this down further. I'm actually making two points here:
1. Tolkien was explaining that the monster is borrowed from Anglo-Saxon folklore, and that it was an allegory *in its orginal context*.

2. Even if he did intend the Hobbits to have a similar tradition of ascribing symbolic meaning to various animals, that doesn't imply any of the actual characters in the book are "allegories". As I said, we are talking about fiction within fiction.

Now, last time you just sort of waved your hand and said, "Nope, nope, it's all the same". I am still not sure whether you have understood my point and rejected it, or just haven't grasped it in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog
"That's rather a tall order, I think, given that in the very post you quote- the very sentence, in fact- he*alsostates that Tom is*not*an allegory."

Ms. Seth also addressed that within her essay (you might want to take another look). She viewed the statement:

“I do not mean him to be an allegory ...”
Letter #153

as a kind of humbling apology – again quite reasonably in my opinion.
Well, here's the passage:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Priya Seth
All the same Tom’s secret role was most definitely allegorical, both consciously and intentionally. Just a few months later, Tolkien just about confessed to hidden allegory outright:

“I do not mean him to be an allegory … but ‘allegory’ is the only mode of exhibiting certain functions: …”,
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #Letter 153 (Tolkien’s emphasis)

and even more forcefully:

“… he is then an ‘allegory’ …”.
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #Letter 153 (Tolkien’s emphasis)

One might view a remarkable admission, somewhat camouflaged and couched as a half-hearted apology, as a touch humiliating. Because Tolkien had in a way betrayed one of his own strong convictions. He clearly wasn’t entirely happy about Tom representing an abstract idea:

“I mean, I do not really write like that: …”,
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #144

but it circumvented an equally abstract craving: the ‘lack of an audience’. Unfortunately allegory was the most conveniently available method to exhibit a very unusual function, and in the end – Tolkien capitulated.
Look, is this really "addressing" the problem? Seems to me it's just begging the question.

Also, to what does the phrase "Tolkien's emphasis" refer? His putting "allegory" in quotation marks? That is certainly not a standard way of showing emphasis- in fact, in that context, it should be an example of what are known as "scare quotes" . Like if I say, "I was served 'Chinese' food", I'm saying "It wasn't real Chinese food".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog
In any case – if we were to intepret this statement as directly contradicting the: “he is then an 'allegory' ” statement – then it's just as damning. In other words - we can't really trust anything Tolkien said about allegory.
No, I wouldn't say it's "just" as damning. Tolkien, with his scare quotes, seems to me to be making a distinction between a true allegory and an 'allegory', i.e. something that looks like or has some features of an allegory without actually qualifying as one.

What the state of being a not-quite-allegory consists of is murky indeed. Nonetheless, to me it implies something far short of the elaborate construction of Priya Seth's theory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog
Nerwen, Morthoron & All Others

I really think it's time for the community to actively doubt Tolkien on the matter of allegory and indeed bring the edifice built on 'a pack of cards' tumbling down – namely finally remove the sand-foundation built around a premise of no allegory in the story.

The professor was human just like the rest of us. Yes subject to emotions, in possession of weaknesses and vices, and sometimes not altogether truthful.

Here is another example of a contradiction. In that very same letter where he said there was 'no conscious allegory' guess what - he also said (with an emphasis on 'no') there was:

“There is no 'symbolism' … in my story.
Letter # 203


Oh really Professor Tolkien – then why do you state:

For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.
Letter #142


Really Professor – which one is it?

Nerwen, Morthoron or anyone else – can you give me an explanation?
Well, there's your scare quotes again...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog
Sorry – I simply don't believe everything Tolkien wrote was entirely truthful. And I certainly have good reason to doubt him.
I certainly believe Tolkien contradicted himself at times, and sometimes forgot what he had written. But you are reversing the burden of proof here. It is not up to us to show that Tolkien didn't use "conscious allegory" in his work, it's up to you/Priya to show that he did.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.

Last edited by Nerwen; 10-15-2016 at 10:16 PM. Reason: typo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2016, 10:01 PM   #56
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,239
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Oh, the horror! And to think, I used to like Bombadil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog
I agree with the following partially:

"There is no basis to specifically infer Bombadil is allegorical to anything by reading the book."

There is more evidence to come in future posts, and I request your patience.
If you "partially" agree (is that like being half-dead?), what possible new "evidence" could you possibly supply that everyone here already hasn't gone over with a fine-toothed hairy hobbit toes comb? What, is there a secret file marked "TB" in the Marquette Papers? Did a wadded up paper fall out of a book in the Bodleian Library that has the scrawl of an anguished Tolkien admitting, "I DID IT! I MADE AN ALLEGORY! GARN!"

I am too tired to do anything but belabor the points I've already reiterated:

-- Tolkien made the statement, " I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

-- The reader has the "freedom", as Tolkien put it, to infer just about anything regarding Bombadil.

-- To conclude that Bombadil is an allegory based on selected quotes from Tolkien after the fact, precludes all other quotes that contradict the assumption.

-- Tolkien refers to him on more than one occasion as an "enigma" which, in itself, would preclude an allegory, because allegorizations require an imputed goal, an artifice, to draw the reader to a conclusion the author wishes the reader to make.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2016, 09:58 PM   #57
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Nerwen

In response to:
I am still not sure whether you have understood my point and rejected it, or just haven't grasped it in the first place.
I did get your point. But I believe it is only of minor significance – thus the mildest of rejections on my part. Sam as a co-author of the Red Book employed allegory in his poem. And this was I believe just a way of connecting Tolkien's mythology to ours. There is nothing to suggest that other authors of the Red Book could not employ allegory. In other words allegory was as alive and well in Tolkien's mythical age as it is today.

The take-away from Ms. Seth's essay on this issue – I think was to give the reader a ready-made example of embodied allegory. Moreover one in the tale. In which case Bombadil as embodied allegory himself, might be more acceptable to a skeptical reader and not an outlier.

Also, to what does the phrase "Tolkien's emphasis" refer? His putting "allegory" in quotation marks? That is certainly not a standard way of showing emphasis- in fact, in that context, it should be an example of what are known as "scare quotes" . Like if I say, "I was served 'Chinese' food", I'm saying "It wasn't*real*Chinese food".*
Maybe in today's day and age it might be less usual to use quotes to provide emphasis – but I wonder if it is as true in Tolkien's time. In those days word processor's were unavailable. Letters were mostly written or typed. The use of italics to convey emphasis was perhaps a tad more difficult using such means.

From The Letters of JRRT – I have pulled out a several usages of the word allegory that are in quotes.
Though it is not an 'allegory'. - Letter #34
For 'romance' has grown out of 'allegory' - Letter #71
But in spite of this, do not let Rayner suspect 'Allegory'. - Letter #109
There is no 'allegory', moral, political, or contemporary in the work at all. - Letter #181
The Hobbits are no more an 'allegory' than are (say) the pygmies of the African forest. - Letter #181
But it is true. An enquirer (among many) asked what the L.R. was all about, and whether it was an 'allegory'. - Letter #205
It is not really or properly an 'allegory' so much as 'mythical' - Letter #241
Clearly Tolkien is trying to highlight/bring attention to/emphasize the quoted words. That appears to be his style and is actually consistent with what I was taught being brought up in England in the 60's and 70's.

Ms. Seth has not told us whether the emphasis is mild or strong – indeed can we really know?
I am quite all right with her succinct: “Tolkien's emphasis”.


What the state of being a not-quite-allegory consists of is murky indeed.

Yes indeed what exactly is a “murky” “not-quite-allegory”? If you could provide me what you think the Professor's intentions were as regards Bombadil – then I would be happy to consider them.


I certainly believe Tolkien contradicted himself at times, and sometimes forgot what he had written.

Maybe, but once again the above appears to be an excuse for the Professor – when indeed there may be no need for one. In itself such a judgement instantly dismisses the need for further scholarship.

As I said before the default position in trying to establish interpretations is to firstly believe the words at face-value. From there context may be taken into consideration to establish 'truth'.


But you are reversing the burden of proof here. It is not up to us to show that Tolkien didn't use "conscious allegory" in his work, it's up to you/Priya to show that he did.

Ms. Seth right up-front said her position is a theory. She therefore has declined to proclaim the essay as absolute proof. But what she has implied is that all the pieces of the puzzle snap together to make her theory very strong.

This is rather like an unsolved murder case whereupon the death of a suspect – a confession is found. Despite numerous denials during all the years in which the suspect was alive, a written note is finally found that admits to the dreadful deed. Upon a re-hash of the old evidence and some new stuff that has come to light after death - the case detective realizes that everything now fits.

What should he do, ask to re-open the case or not?
Morally of course he should.
And what do you think the Judge and Jury's verdict will be with this written confession along with a trail of evidence that leads to a motive and directly points to the likely murderer?

All Detective Seth has done – is pull out Tolkien's straightforward 'hidden' confession which was made under no pressure while alive. The 'confession' which came to light after Tolkien's death is of course at odds with many public statements made while alive. Upon looking at all the evidence – Detective Seth has arrived at a coherent and simple theory, along with a motive, which seemingly matches the facts very well.

I'm afraid, If I were to judge Tolkien – I would find him guilty as charged.
Others may not do so and try to come up with alibi's.
I think that's a shame – but I am still respectful of such a view.

But one thing I want to convey – is that not at all the facts are in yet. Though to me, Ms. Seth has already provided information that is beyond reasonable doubt, some matters have been missed. Undoubtedly there is more evidence to come.

In the mean-time, I am happy to continue discussing the theory on its own merits.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2016, 11:34 PM   #58
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Morthoron

In response to:
If you "partially" agree (is that like being half-dead?)
Quite rightly I only gave partial agreement with your assessment that:
"There is no basis to specifically infer Bombadil is allegorical to anything by reading the book."*
(my underlining)

Please take another more careful read of Ms. Seth's essay – which has been our discussion focus all along. Certainly TLotR text impresses “last” and “first” with Tom. Also documented is “night will come”. These are all aspects of Tom's allegorical role as representing the 'audience' and signifying the end of the 'show' if he is removed. Many other's have noted Tom behaves like a bystander or watcher – only interfering when called upon. Which again would be typical of an audience member and his relationship to the cast.

So the evidence is scant within the text – but nevertheless within the confines of Ms. Seth's theory, it is there. From what I have digested, Ms. Seth has also realized the text is not rich with clues. The Letters provide far more information. I believe that is why she has alluded to Bombadil being Tolkien's personal joke. For the reader, he was meant to be unsolvable.


I also do not concur with:
Tolkien refers to him on more than one occasion as an "enigma"
I only recall one occasion.


Nor do I concur with:
… an "enigma" … would preclude an allegory ...
Available dictionary definitions of an 'enigma' provide no such assertion. One typical definition is that an enigma can simply be a 'puzzle' or 'riddle'. Dictionaries do not categorically exclude the answer to the 'puzzle' or 'riddle' being allegorical based.


Additionally I do not agree with:
To conclude that Bombadil is an allegory based on selected quotes from Tolkien after the fact, precludes all other quotes that contradict the assumption.
I can only remember one definitive quote that Tolkien made denying the presence of allegory entirely in the tale. Most of his statements that touch on this subject are geared more towards a dislike of it – thus intrinsically allowing some use.


As for the:
fine-toothed hairy hobbit toes comb
I liked the way you put that. but I can only say – not fine enough. Things have been missed – and one is jaw-dropping. At least that's what I experienced. I do not think that there is any case for 'applicability' versus 'allegory' upon exposure.


By now – I had hoped you would have realized that Ms. Seth has already provided some interesting new insights – beyond what has ever been previously discussed. For example - out of the 100 million plus people who have read TLotR – how many have interpreted “fatherless” the way she has? How many have thought that Tolkien might have employed an archaism?

Or, as another example, how many articles are there in publications or out there on the Web which interprets Tom's “vow of poverty” in the way Ms. Seth has linked it to the Catholic Church?
Respected scholars – such as the late Halfir on the Plaza and Michael Martinez have completely different viewpoints. Who is right then? In comparing them, Ms. Seth's article makes more sense to me.
Take another look in the link below – hopefully your cynicism of potential 'new information' will start to evaporate.

https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...15/10/22/test/


The problem, I see, is that the 'ostrich' and the 'head in the sand' syndrome appears to be kicking in. By now – I would at the very least have expected you to say something like:

'Yes 'I understand how a lot of the evidence per Ms. Seth's theory fits. I can perfectly understand that – but I'm stuck on the principle of Tolkien and his dislike of 'allegory'. That's too big a hurdle for me.'

Unfortunately – the concessions have been meagre to non-existent. I don't blame Ms. Seth for not wanting to get involved in this debate as I have requested her to. Fortunately there is likely a lot more to come on Bombadil – but from what I can gather, several articles are to be released on Goldberry first.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2016, 05:28 AM   #59
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Clearly Tolkien is trying to highlight/bring attention to/emphasize the quoted words. That appears to be his style and is actually consistent with what I was taught being brought up in England in the 60's and 70's.

Ms. Seth has not told us whether the emphasis is mild or strong – indeed can we really know?
I am quite all right with her succinct: “Tolkien's emphasis”.
"Clearly" to you, but to me nothing in the examples you cite suggests the quotes are being used for emphasis in the way the theory requires there either. It's just an assumption you're making.

The only reference to the older practice of using quotes in place of italics I can find refers to their use in "separating" a word from the rest of the sentence, as I just did and am about to do again with the word "separating". Could you have been thinking of this?
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.

Last edited by Nerwen; 11-08-2016 at 05:37 AM. Reason: changed wording
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2016, 06:06 AM   #60
Zigûr
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Zigûr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 666
Zigûr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Zigûr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
For some reason I always get this inexplicable feeling of dread whenever I see this thread's title in bold on the main page.

Is it possible that Tom's just Tom?
__________________
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
Zigûr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2016, 06:37 AM   #61
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigûr View Post
For some reason I always get this inexplicable feeling of dread whenever I see this thread's title in bold on the main page.

Is it possible that Tom's just Tom?
This thread gives you a feeling of dread? Why, because it never stops? Plain to see you weren't around for the Great Lalaith Debate, Zig.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2016, 09:41 AM   #62
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,433
William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Great Lalaith Debate?
__________________
“It is good to be both loved and feared; but if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved" --Machiavelli
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2016, 04:40 PM   #63
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Pipe

The debate on whether Maedhros killed Lalaith.

You would have thought that would be a very short debate, but somehow, mainly because the OP was Lalaith's No 1 fan, it went on for a very long time and also branched out into such important side questions as, "Would Lalaith have married Beleg?", "Would Lalaith have killed Glaurung?", "Would Lalaith have defeated Morgoth?" not to mention (you'll like this, Balfrog) "Was Lalaith Goldberry?"
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2016, 06:20 PM   #64
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,681
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Nurse! Nurse! They're out of bed again.....

I am still claiming first dibs on the popcorn concession if the Lalaith fanatic ever crosses swords with the bod who was over-invested in Arwen. However I would concede that Arwen would almost certainly take Lalaith in a fight but things might be a bit more equal between their champions...
__________________
I see dead people.
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 09:22 AM   #65
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,433
William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Balfrogs: wings or no wings? Discuss.

__________________
“It is good to be both loved and feared; but if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved" --Machiavelli
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 09:38 AM   #66
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,681
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Easy, Winged but flightless.... shadow not being effective as an airfoil. Next!
__________________
I see dead people.
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 04:04 PM   #67
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,433
William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
Easy, Winged but flightless.... shadow not being effective as an airfoil. Next!
And even less effective as a hydrofoil. Not to mention what marshwater does to flame.
__________________
“It is good to be both loved and feared; but if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved" --Machiavelli
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 04:17 PM   #68
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 896
Galin has been trapped in the Barrow!
Goldberry? I thought the name was Goldboru?

But yes, no wings on Goldberry.

Hmm, I may have got my threads confused. Is Morris' Havelok canon?
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 04:59 PM   #69
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,239
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Please take another more careful read of Ms. Seth's essay – which has been our discussion focus all along. Certainly TLotR text impresses “last” and “first” with Tom. Also documented is “night will come”. These are all aspects of Tom's allegorical role as representing the 'audience' and signifying the end of the 'show' if he is removed. Many other's have noted Tom behaves like a bystander or watcher – only interfering when called upon. Which again would be typical of an audience member and his relationship to the cast.
*Sighs*

If Tolkien had written in an allegorical sense, and had, as Ms. Seth makes the incomprehensible leap, used Tom as a stage prop to represent the audience, then why did Tolkien not ever refer to him as such? An allegory is a literary conveyance by the author to draw the reader to an inference. Tolkien never does. He does not refer to such a staged conveyance in his letters, and the reader is not drawn to make such an assumption; ergo, Ms. Seth's hypothesis fails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
For the reader, he was meant to be unsolvable.
Hence, he is not an allegory, because the very definition of "allegory" requires a manipulation by the author so that the reader may draw a conclusion. If, as you admit directly, Tom is "unsolvable" to the reader, then he is not allegorical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
I also do not concur with:
Tolkien refers to him on more than one occasion as an "enigma"
I only recall one occasion.

Nor do I concur with:
… an "enigma" … would preclude an allegory ...
Available dictionary definitions of an 'enigma' provide no such assertion. One typical definition is that an enigma can simply be a 'puzzle' or 'riddle'. Dictionaries do not categorically exclude the answer to the 'puzzle' or 'riddle' being allegorical based.
If Tom is enigmatic, and, as you stated, unsolvable, he is not allegorical. Because, by any measure of the definition, an allegory requires the author to manipulate the reader. Again, Tolkien conveys this as succinctly as an Oxonian professor and philologist can, "I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

The reader is allowed to make any number of assertions about Bombadil and yet come no closer to solving the enigma. We, as readers, are left to a multiplicity of guesses but no conclusions, and if I may paraphrase Baron Orczy's poem:

They seek him here,
They seek him there -
The readers seek him everywhere.
Is he o'er the stream
Or is he under hill,
That damned elusive Bombadil.

P.S. I don't believe Tolkien ever gave much consideration for his private letters one day being published. It certainly was not a concern of his while he lived. In any case, whatever inconsistencies you manage to pick through (and you are certainly digging for needles in a needle stack) should certainly not reflect Tolkien's final view on anything, since he made no effort to edit his personal letters for consistency, let alone publication. Who edits a letter after posting it? Therefore, to jump through hoops to conclude finality from Tolkien's letters, particularly when you parse and piece a pile of gobbledy-gook from one letter to another spaced years apart, is a failed exercise in divination.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.

Last edited by Morthoron; 11-27-2016 at 02:48 PM.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2016, 06:05 PM   #70
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
William Cloud Hicklin

Balfrogs definitely have fwings! Isn't it flaming obvious?


Nerwen

I'll try and take a look at the famed debate. Who knows - It might be more amusing than this one!

As to your later post :

And the purpose of the separator?

To make distinctive, to highlight, to provide emphasis, perhaps?

Yes, you are quite right – it is clear to me, given my English grammar school education. However I would be happy to understand how you might think Tolkien grammatically used (what the English term) inverted commas!



Morthoron

I think you are getting a bit off-track. We were discussing Ms. Seth's thesis and her theory.

In no instance, to my knowledge, did she use the words: “Tom was unsolvable to the reader”.

It was I that used them. And I'm not sure she would agree with me.

Despite that – I am happy to stick to my assertion – though I emphasize they do not reflect in any way on Ms. Seth's position. Yes, with a 150 million plus readers having been left wondering, Tom was to all intents and purposes - unsolvable. From what I can gather, it took the 1964 Mroczkowski letter for Ms. Seth to unravel it. Though now I believe she has further undisclosed information that adds weightily to her hypothesis.

In terms of Tolkien's thoughts on 'allegory', unfortunately, I think you have totally misconstrued or misunderstood what Tolkien wrote. Here is the entire sentence of debate again:
“I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory', but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.”
FotR, Foreword to the second edition

In no instance does Tolkien state that an 'allegory' has to be solvable by the reader. As far as as I am concerned an 'allegory' - can range from the impossible to solve, to the practically overt. It is entirely dependent on the writer, and on how much he/she wants to disclose. Indeed an allegory can be included for no purpose other than self-amusing the author. Perhaps only a select few might be in the know.

In the case of Tom, the author is most definitely dominant. After all readers have been wondering and arguing over him for over 60 years. If you can prove Tom is a case of 'applicability' – I would be prepared to reconsider. Somehow I doubt it given that dozens of theories have been put forward – and are all unsatisfactory (until Ms. Seth's popped up ).

" ... then why did Tolkien not ever refer to him as such?"
Well – maybe you've missed the point Ms. Seth made about Tom being not just allegory but also a puzzle. Maybe the author was reluctant to give away the answer to the puzzle? Who knows? But I could certainly be sympathetic with such a stance.

Well what's the upshot of this? Very succinctly: this means practically the entire argument of your last post is without merit.


As for the case of “incomprehensible leap” – I am surprised you a still spewing this line. The theory is simple, elegant and totally comprehensible on your part – at least from what I have seen of your previous posts. If I am mistaken, then please take another read of Ms. Seth's entire essay and take some time to ponder on it. If things still don't make sense, and I cannot help – perhaps it will be worthwhile firing off an E-mail to her?

As to the accuracy and veracity of the content of Tolkien's letters, what you said might be true. Nevertheless there is so much information in them that their use in understanding his works has been undeniably beneficial to us. Simply put - I am against selectively neglecting information without a solid reason.

If we ignore TB “he is then an allegory” in Letter #153, well we might as well ignore that there must be some enigmas and that “Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)” in Letter #144.

Or taking it further – go ahead and ignore any number of other statements we don't like. Now where would that leave us???? On a slippery slope perhaps??? To be honest, I really don't see Tolkien's letters littered with inaccuracies or contradictions. Indeed I see very few. The “symbolism” versus “no symbolism” one is a rarity.

It would be nice if you would point out a few examples where you have noted suchlike contradictions. Particularly in Letter #153 where he stated TB is “an allegory”.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2016, 09:19 PM   #71
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,239
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post

Despite that – I am happy to stick to my assertion – though I emphasize they do not reflect in any way on Ms. Seth's position. Yes, with a 150 million plus readers having been left wondering, Tom was to all intents and purposes - unsolvable. From what I can gather, it took the 1964 Mroczkowski letter for Ms. Seth to unravel it. Though now I believe she has further undisclosed information that adds weightily to her hypothesis.
Where exactly does this "undisclosed information" come from? What font of knowledge does Seth have access that is unavailable to any other scholar...or casual reader making assumptions from their living room couch? How enigmatic of you...and her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
In terms of Tolkien's thoughts on 'allegory', unfortunately, I think you have totally misconstrued or misunderstood what Tolkien wrote. Here is the entire sentence of debate again:
“I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory', but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.”
FotR, Foreword to the second edition

In no instance does Tolkien state that an 'allegory' has to be solvable by the reader. As far as as I am concerned an 'allegory' - can range from the impossible to solve, to the practically overt. It is entirely dependent on the writer, and on how much he/she wants to disclose. Indeed an allegory can be included for no purpose other than self-amusing the author. Perhaps only a select few might be in the know.
No, I have not misconstrued anything; rather, you haven't a clue what an "allegory" is.
More on that shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
" ... then why did Tolkien not ever refer to him as such?"
Well – maybe you've missed the point Ms. Seth made about Tom being not just allegory but also a puzzle. Maybe the author was reluctant to give away the answer to the puzzle? Who knows? But I could certainly be sympathetic with such a stance.

Well what's the upshot of this? Very succinctly: this means practically the entire argument of your last post is without merit.
And yet you assert Ms. Seth is correct on assumptions and conjecture, while you, yourself, devolve into "maybes" and "who knows". Laughable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Or taking it further – go ahead and ignore any number of other statements we don't like. Now where would that leave us???? On a slippery slope perhaps??? To be honest, I really don't see Tolkien's letters littered with inaccuracies or contradictions. Indeed I see very few. The “symbolism” versus “no symbolism” one is a rarity.
You are aware that in every doctoral thesis on the subject, "allegory" is not "symbolism". They are not the same and even the most cursory review of the subject (almost, but not as cursory as your light sprinkling on the matter) will show you they are not the same, and cannot be the same, due to the direct intention of the author. You do not comprehend what Tolkien meant when he said “I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory', but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.” He understood the definitions and the difference between "allegory" and "applicability". Again, he uses "symbolism" which is not "allegory". Here is a definition one can simply cut and paste from the internet:

"Although an allegory uses symbols, it is different from symbolism. An allegory is a complete narrative which involves characters, and events that stand for an abstract idea or an event. A symbol, on the other hand, is an object that stands for another object giving it a particular meaning."

Let that sink in. It is the simplest definition with the smallest words I could find for you. Now, relate that to Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is not a Christian allegory, like Lewis's Narnia, but there is Christian symbology subsumed in the story. The symbology is part of the story, but the author does not assert his domination to force the reader into a particular point of view (which is why atheists and agnostics read and enjoy the story without feeling 'preached to').

In the same way, Bombadil is symbolic, not allegorical. He is a personification or "exemplar" of something Tolkien wished to include, but Tom is not an allegory that leads the reader to a specific point of view. Here is another description of "allegory":

"Allegory is a story or poem which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. Abstract ideas and concepts, political or historical situations are represented through the characters, events and the setting of the story. Although the story in an allegory appears to be simple, it always has a more serious, deeper meaning; the characters and the events of the story may also stand for something larger than what they literally stand for. Therefore, the story and characters are multidimensional."

Bombadil may be a symbol, "representative" of the fading Oxfordshire of Tolkien's youth, but the plot and events of the story does not lead one to make that assumption.


Allegory is a narrative.

Symbolism is a literary device.



There is no direct evidence in any of Tolkien's voluminous writings or in his letters that Bombadil is the audience and "the play's the thing" (if I may use Hamlet for applicability's sake). None. Neither a hint nor whisper.


Allegory is a story or poem which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Symbolism is the method of representing things by symbols, or of imbuing things with a symbolic meaning or character.



Based on Tolkien's letters, he has imbued Bombadil with symbolism (and only mentions the fact long after publication, because it is in no way evident to the reader or scholar, thus maintaining an "enigma"), but he certainly did not in any way craft some allegorical parable around Bombadil; hence, he preferred not to use the word "allegory" in regards to the character, except in the sense that allegories use symbols, but symbols can be and are independent of narrative allegory. And Bombadil does not evoke a moral, political or any tangible allegorical trope. If anything he is benign and apolitical, as uninterested in aiding good as he is disinterested in destroying evil like the Old Man Willow.

I will not be posting further on the issue.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2016, 11:18 PM   #72
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Nerwen

I'll try and take a look at the famed debate. Who knows - It might be more amusing than this one!

As to your later post :

And the purpose of the separator?

To make distinctive, to highlight, to provide emphasis, perhaps?

Yes, you are quite right – it is clear to me, given my English grammar school education. However I would be happy to understand how you might think Tolkien grammatically used (what the English term) inverted commas!
To indicate that the term "allegory" was doubtful, and should be taken with a grain of salt. This seems to me quite possible.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2017, 07:19 PM   #73
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Morthoron

Unfortunately I only have time to respond to your first and last comments – but in due course I will reply to the rest.

Yes, I sense some frustration, impatience and doubt on your part – but please look back and try to realize that Ms. Seth has already brought much to the table. I provided you with the “fatherless' example, but there are certainly others - such as her explanation of what “a vow of poverty” is. To me that makes far more sense than what Halfir (on the Plaza) or Michael Martinez have proposed. Moreover there are neglected parts of the text such as “open doors” and the significance of the two standing stones Frodo passed between and the resulting time lapse – that nobody else seems to have put some coherent understanding to.

In our communication (and I'm pretty sure she would repeat the same to you if you E-mailed her), Ms. Seth has relayed that the upcoming promised revelations will not be a repeat of the infamous Teleporno incident. I have extracted an agenda from her but unfortunately not a time-table:

(a) Finish up the last essay of four on Goldberry (again there are some interesting matters here, never before discussed, which mesh into a theory at least as plausibile as any others I have seen – hopefully you have viewed these threads).

(b) Provide a five part set of essays on the significance of the colors of Tom & Goldberry – again approaching the subject from a different angle than anyone else. Out of this a highly significant matter which has been missed by all researchers will be exposed.

(c) Provide an essay that exposes the significance of the hill/standing stone encountered on the journey across the Downs as well as the cause of the phospheresence in the barrow.

(d) Provide an essay on the importance of the 'west' to the Bombadil chapters.

(e) Provide a two part essay that discusses the 'new information' I have alluded to on 'allegorical' Tom and further a discussion of other symbolism buried in the Bombadillian chapters.

I really do hope that you change your mind and continue to interact - because I have found the discourse quite stimulating. In any case, I hope you keep looking in – as I will try to keep the thread alive to report on the promised essays – and that which I feel is noteworthy within them.


Nerwen

“To indicate that the term "allegory" was doubtful, and should be taken with a grain of salt. This seems to me quite possible.”

Except that this doesn't always grammatically make sense. Take for example:

'romance' has grown out of 'allegory'.
Letter #71

If we take your proposed route, things don't jive if what's in single quotes is taken with “a grain of salt”!

I fully understand if you doubt my own English grammar education – but perhaps another English Professor's work might persuade you. Take a look at Author of the 20th Century by the well renowned Tolkien scholar and philologist – Tom Shippey. There are many examples within that text that similarly employ single quotes around a singular word where again the purpose appears to be to grammatically highlight or make the word distinct through separation. For instance on pg. 103:

The word that describes the structure is 'interlace'.
Nevertheless the diagram may illustrate the nature of the narrative threads and their 'interlacing'.


Again, the sentences above have no coherency if we adopt a “grain of salt” interpretation.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2017, 05:19 PM   #74
Fordim Hedgethistle
Gibbering Gibbet
 
Fordim Hedgethistle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Beyond cloud nine
Posts: 1,842
Fordim Hedgethistle is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
Easy, Winged but flightless.... shadow not being effective as an airfoil. Next!
Let's not get into this again.....
__________________
Scribbling scrabbling.
Fordim Hedgethistle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 06:53 PM   #75
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Balfrog, I at no time claimed that Tolkien always used inverted commas in one specific way (to express scepticism) and never in any other way (e.g. to single out or highlight text). Recall that the initial assumption, by yourself and Ms. Seth, was that he was, in the relevant passage, using them for emphasis. I'm simply arguing against that assumption.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.

Last edited by Nerwen; 01-16-2017 at 08:02 PM. Reason: typo
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2017, 05:18 AM   #76
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,190
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
1420!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I am still claiming first dibs on the popcorn concession if the Lalaith fanatic ever crosses swords with the bod who was over-invested in Arwen. However I would concede that Arwen would almost certainly take Lalaith in a fight but things might be a bit more equal between their champions...
Excuse me. Arwen take Lalaith? Can Arwen rip out a dragon's spine with her bare hands? Does Arwen have the aid of giant killer geese?

Thought not.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2017, 11:44 AM   #77
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
Morthoron


I promised a fuller response to your last post. Here goes:

"you haven't a clue what an "allegory" is"

Sigh! Sigh! And more sighs!

I expected better from you – this has been a fine discussion and debate so far. Shame to ruin it with a silly taunt. Especially as there is a lot more to be exposed about Tom. Just as interesting will be the unveiling of further allegory, symbolism* and many bewildering matters relating to the whole puzzling episode with Tom. Yes stuff that's been missed by us all!

*Yes, I am quite aware there's a difference between 'allegory' and 'symbolism' – and I am well aware that even Tolkien separated the two in Letter #203.



"And yet you assert Ms. Seth is correct on assumptions and conjecture, while you, yourself, devolve into "maybes" and "who knows". Laughable."


Sorry? What has this got to do with the price of bread?

Obviously you've missed Ms. Seth's disclaimer at the beginning of the essay:

“Please bear in mind that what follows is a hypothesis, and though sometimes a factual portrayal is presented – this is just literary style and for effect.”


Yep – if a writer puts forward a theory – it ought to have conviction behind it. Readers (including myself) needn't be so enthusiastic – even if we believe the fundamentals are correct.



Nerwen


"Balfrog, I at no time claimed that Tolkien always used inverted commas in one specific way (to express scepticism) and never in any other way (e.g. to single out or highlight text). Recall that the initial assumption, by yourself and Ms. Seth, was that he was, in the relevant passage, using them for emphasis. I'm simply arguing against that assumption".

Okay - then Ms. Seth's pronouncement of quote usage by Tolkien as an emphasis might not be far-fetched ! Could it not be a reasonable assumption for the 'relevant passage' ?
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2017, 08:53 PM   #78
Balfrog
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 42
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
In the third part of the series on Color Symbolism – Ms. Seth explores how the color red is a necessary part of the equation needed to 'solve' Tom. Red and green, as she points out are the two most significant colors associated to fairy beings. Both of them are subtly reflected by Tom.

https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...lorful-pair-3/

Ms. Seth's views on color symbolism and Tom are definitely interesting. To me, far more interesting are the 'buried' and 'deliberately' hidden Jack and the Beanstalk allusions in TLotR.
If one follows and agrees with her train of thought – then what we begin to realize are that there are aspects to the story that are still to be exposed. Even 60 years and 200 million plus readers later – there's still important matters able to be uncovered.

Being privy to some of her essays to come – I know her thoughts regarding one matter that has always intrigued readers. That being the out-of-mythology identity of the three trolls in both The Hobbit and TLotR. To be revealed is how the Jack in the Beanstalk theme links into them and her opinion of whom Tolkien modeled the names on. To me it's a very convincing theory. And I think it's likely to be revealed within the next essay or two.
Balfrog is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:27 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.