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Thread: Tolkien

  1. #41
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    Unfortunately, I have to disagree with most people and assert that Tolkien was an S.
    Stop being so NF about it. I can tell you secretly love it


    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    The most interesting story I head was that Tolkien was a brilliant man, but a horrible lecturer (not related to him being an S). Tolkien was scribble stuff on the board and sometimes even mumble his lecture under his breath. Lewis was apparently a fantastic teacher.

    Incidentally, that says a lot for my case for Lewis being an INFJ as opposed to Tolkien. I believe INFJ's tend to actually enjoy being diadactic; certainly to feel that they are helping people in some way and imparting useful knowledge to them. But you would maybe be better placed to answer this one, being that type and all.

    I'm going to focus on LoTR because I don't have all day to analyze his literature and he described it as his best work. I assume someone's best work is one that is most representative of them.
    That line of reasoning doesn't work for me, I'm afraid. I can see why he said it was his best work, as it undoubtably was the best that was published during his lifetime, and the Silmarillion was never brought to a completed form that Tolkien was happy enough with to publish. But this does not mean it was the work that was most important to Tolkien. He appears to have spent his entire adult life working on and thinking about the universe contained in the Silmarillion. The Lord of the Rings was a product of that universe, fleshed out into novelistic form. I think he would have been fairly happy to continue immersed in his own fantasy world without ever having written or published the Lord of the Rings, but I can't see the reverse applying.

    Tolkien is described as "hard minded" (preferring hard facts to abstract ideas; I can search for the source if you need it),
    INFP's in classical MBTI use their inferior Te process for dealing with facts, logic, and abstract reasoning, so that wouldn't surprise me. I would expect an INFP who was able to hold down a high level academic post to self-select as one who had developed his inferior process to a good level of maturity. An INFP without it might still be a good writer but would struggle to maintain the necessary level of intellectual rigour.

    and his attention to detail can be seen in his novels. Tolkien would frequently go on nature walks with C.S. Lewis and Lewis' brother. They were often annoyed because Tolkien would stop and gaze at one specific flower or tree for several minutes while they preferred to keep walking and taking in the "big picture." His descriptions of the different forests throughout Middle-earth are very rich with sensory detail. Lothlorien, Mirkword, etc. are each distinct forests with distinct features. He even depicted specific swords with precise sensory details. Objects and places in the novel were simply distinct, yet still realistic. I can walk into a forest and be reminded of one from his novel; it's as if his novels evoke the very (Platonic) Idea of "forest."
    So he liked to pay attention to detail. INFP's (who use a tertiary Si process) are often extreme perfectionists when doing creative work, and are highly unlikely to skimp on details, sensory or otherwise, that will make their creation more complete. A bigger problem is knowing when to stop. You might want to read what I said about this in post 15 since you are basing these comments on your reading of LOTR only.

    but romance or emotions were never a central focus.
    O RLY? that one could do with some justification. I suppose it depends whether you choose to use your own definition of what is romatic and what are emotions. In which case I would be interested to see what that definition is.

  2. #42
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    As least we seem to agree on the functions he used. Now it's just a matter of which order they are in.

    Like you said, judging his writing style is not the best way to determine his type. I think I need to go back and read through his letters to see if anything pops out at me.

    Don't get me wrong, Tolkien was indeed a romantic. Lewis referred to him as the "most married man he knew." When Tolkien's wife died, he had the name "L˙thien" (The most beautiful of all the Children of Il˙vatar) engraved on her tombstone. When Tolkien died, his children engraved "Beren" on his stone. It doesn't get much more romantic than that! In fact, I think reading LoTR can help one realize that romance is more thrilling than sex. I believe LoTR was ranked the best book of the century because it teaches us about our own life and reality.

    I would definitely see Lewis as an INFJ, btw.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    I would definitely see Lewis as an INFJ, btw.
    I've heard he was INTJ.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Schnitzel View Post
    There is very little emotion in his works. There's some implied emotion, but he never expresses it head on.
    I find his works brimming with strong emotion...all the moreso for being tightly reigned in and boiling just beneath the surface. One of the joys in reading his work is the mannered restraint. Given in the context of his time and culture, careful reading can reveal a significant emotional component. Though couched in what could be described as "high romantic" terms that may prove a bit difficult to translate into current cultural "standards".
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  5. #45
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    Like you said, judging his writing style is not the best way to determine his type. I think I need to go back and read through his letters to see if anything pops out at me.
    That sounds like a good plan. That can give you a whole new perspective on the personality of those whose creative output was primarily a controlled act of conscious intent. Having got into this it would be nice to have some primary sources myself - I don't even have any Tolkien books at present :sad:

    Originally Posted by Hirsch63
    I find his works brimming with strong emotion...all the moreso for being tightly reigned in and boiling just beneath the surface. One of the joys in reading his work is the mannered restraint. Given in the context of his time and culture, careful reading can reveal a significant emotional component. Though couched in what could be described as "high romantic" terms that may prove a bit difficult to translate into current cultural "standards".
    Quite. I was more than a little puzzled that anyone would argue the contrary, though I can see why they might not pick up on it so well if they have been primarily exposed to more direct (or to my way of thinking, superficial) modern literary techniques.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Llewellyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    Well, I think it would depend more on the person, but I don't see why an ISTJ wouldn't extend on details. His early interest in botany and language (inspired by his mother) also point my gut feeling to S.
    I have much interest in botany and language...
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  7. #47
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Without not knowing what has been written in this thread

    I say INFP.

  8. #48
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    If he is INFP, probably one of the rare ones who has developed all the four functions well, considering his academia, this would make sense. As mentioned, he spent all of his life contemplating the Middle Earth world and his details seemed extremely perfectionist. Thats the case for INFP, the other type most likely is INTP, which makes sense with the amount of factual precision he brought into his works and plenty of small, refined details. Definantly INP.

  9. #49
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    1. Gollum is his tragic hero.
    2. He was close to C.S. Lewis until Mister Lewis became involved with Joy Gresham, a woman I understand Tolkien was offended by. So he distanced himself from the relationship, but never told Lewis why, not wanting to hurt his feelings.
    3. He was a romantic fantasist seeking a unified explanation/framework to explain/understand life.
    4. He sided with the underdog and understood human failing as inevitable and dangerous, yet still idealized, seeking an example of pure motives (hobbits)

    INFP.

  10. #50
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    I also nominate Ian McEwan, John Steinbeck, Pat Conroy and Kazuo Ishiguro as INFPs, the first and last the more positive examples, in my opinion.

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