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Old 07-25-2021, 10:04 AM   #17
Banshee of Camelot
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Join Date: May 2002
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Originally posted by Littlemanpoet
I have read an article somewhere (Mythlore magazine, or a book?) in which it was speculated that the Great Kitchen and its Master Cook stood in for the Church and its Priest. I don't think I agree, because many villages and towns in real life, like Wootton Major in this story, have some aspect that is expanded and elaborated.
As I have a copy of the extended edition of Smith of Wooton Major(edited by Verlyn Flieger) I can tell you that it was Tolkien himself who suggested this, in a note to Clyde Kilby, 1967. ("Genesis of the story")
...There is no allegory in the Faery, which is conceived as having a real extramental existence. (There is some trace of allegory in the Human part, which seems to me obvious though no reader or critic has yet adverted to it. As usual there is no "religion" in the story; but plainly enough the Master Cook and the Great Hall etc are a ( somewhat satirical) allegory of the village-church, and village parson: its functions steadily decaying and losing all touch with the "arts", into mere eating and drinking-the last6 traces of anything "other" being left to children)
In the extended edition, there is a lengthy essay with notes to the story, by Tolkien himself. I am going to read that again and see if I find something more noteworthy...

originally posted by Formendacil
it is fairly clear what Tolkien is getting at: experiencing faerie is a gift, not something that people have by right or effort: either they have it or not and gratitude is the best attitude toward it.
I agree very much!
Yes! "wish-fulfilment dreams" we spin to cheat
our timid hearts, and ugly Fact defeat!
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