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Old 04-17-2021, 05:51 PM   #41
Formendacil
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Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
Also I'm afraid I've got burned out discussing Middle-earth over the years, or at least I'm not interested in discussing the world-building rather than the actual literary works, which is a direction many recent threads seem to be taking (i.e. I couldn't care less which kind of units were in Sauron's or Gondor's army in the War of the Ring, stuff like that); but I'll always be up for close reading and dissecting Tolkien's prose, so... time to revisit Chapter by Chapter, I guess?
This is a good distinction and thinking about it, I think I'm almost the complete opposite: I love to talk lore--the worldbuilding and the factoids and the gap-filling, but I have always been protective of things around literary worth and meaning where Middle-earth is concerned, but this topic has been on my mind since I re-encountered the What Breaks the Enchantment thread while looking for a link to the great Canonicity thread, and setting aside the self-analysis of why I resist talking about the MEANING of Tolkien's literature (to me or anyone else), I think it is very much accurate to distinguish between the two.

And I think you're right: in my early days (let's define that as 2005-2010), there was a lot of literary discussion--some of it quite heated, but in a generally thrilling and usually no hurt feelings way. Since then, the Books discussion that has least been impacted by the general slowdown of the forum is the "lore" stuff.

While, obviously, I enjoy that, I do associate the former sort of discussion with the halcyon days of yore and agree it would be nice to see something of that sort return.

EDIT: X-posted with Inziladun and we both used the word "protective" with reference to our attitudes toward Tolkien. There might be a topic here...
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Last edited by Formendacil; 04-17-2021 at 05:52 PM. Reason: x-post
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Old 04-17-2021, 06:24 PM   #42
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I am fearful of not heeding Gandalf's advice to Saruman, about not breaking something to discover its workings. I really have no interest now in how the books were constructed. I don't care about real or imagined symbolism. I know what I feel when I read of Tuor seeing the Great Sea for the first time, and spreading his arms as if to embrace it; or picturing Galadriel standing with Frodo in front of her Mirror, struggling with her own longing and temptation to use the Ring.
You know, I think this is an important distinction between two approaches to literature I've encountered in my studies back at the university: one that starts with a theory, or a predetermined mode of reading, and tries to prove it on the text; and the other, which starts from the text and how it affects us, and how it does that (one of my best teachers told us not to ask 'What does this poem mean?' but 'What does this poem do?'). In the latter case, symbolism and what have you got may all come to bear, but the starting point is always the text and how it makes us feel.


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I don't think I've ever read that, but the title leapt at me out of the screen and yelled "Bookmark and read me!" Thanks for the hint.
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Old 04-18-2021, 11:00 AM   #43
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Did we ever do organised discussions of the minor works such as Farmer Giles, Smith, and Leaf? Maybe we could read them together as a short-term project...
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:18 PM   #44
Rune Son of Bjarne
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Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar View Post
Did we ever do organised discussions of the minor works such as Farmer Giles, Smith, and Leaf? Maybe we could read them together as a short-term project...
That would be fun, and manageable not the least!

I actually only got around to reading most of the minor works recently. Roverandom I read a while back, but that was the exception to the rule.
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Old 04-19-2021, 02:35 AM   #45
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I'd absolutely be up for a minor works chapter-by-chapter project, sounds great!
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Old 04-23-2021, 07:34 AM   #46
Faramir Jones
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White-Hand Welcome!

Welcome to the Downs, Soriman! You started a very good and relevant thread indeed. Asking where the site was at was a good question; and I enjoyed seeing some other Downers reappear, whom I haven't seen here for a while! That's the same for me, who, until today, hadn't posted here since last September!

I enjoyed the responses very much; because I only (compared to others) joined the forum in October 2008, after lurking for a long time, finally encouraged to do so after meeting some Downers in person at that year's Oxonmoot. I still, however, lurked, and didn't start posting until August 2011.

I agree with Formendacil, that we have grown 'treeish' over the years, including since I joined, with social media being a factor, as it has been for so many other online fora, in all subjects, not just about Tolkien and his works.

Like you, Rune, although I'm a latecomer compared to you and others, I long for when there was more activity.

I also agree with Huinesoron, that a new thread will accumulate some replies. This can be seen with the new one on Farmer Giles of Ham. I would certainly encourage you to either join an existing thread, post a new one, or link to an old one!
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