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Thread: Tolkien

  1. #71
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    May 2007


    ESTJ. It's my dog's type.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    — Mark Twain

  2. #72
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Mar 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    ESTJ. It's my dog's type.
    This is as good as any of the posts in this thread. Thanks for the synosis.

  3. #73
    Gone Aesthete's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    1w2 sp/sx


    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    I"What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good on this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"
    Gandalf says this; must all of one's characters have the same type? (Gandalf - INTJ, methinks.)

    "I wish life was not so short, he thought. languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about.�
    So, INFPs can't have serious interests other than ethics, it seems.

    "It needs but one foe to breed a war, and those who have not swords can still die upon them." (seems more rational like an INTP, as opposed to INFPs who seem to think that everything will be ok if they stick to their values)
    Haha! It seems INFPs also have no ability to reason behind their values. If I'm not mistaken, any type could reach this conclusion.

    "It's wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope." (ditto)
    There's a difference between "clinging to false hope" and being INFP.

    "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
    Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.


  4. #74
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Aug 2012


    I found a blog where a gal talks about Tolkien's personality based on an analysis of his handwriting. Perhaps it would be interestning to some of you. The part where she says he annoyed C.S. Lewis by wanting to stop and examine every flower, tree and bush reminds me a lot of how it is when do things with my INFP friend. She annoys the crap out of me by taking forever and dilly-dallying over every itty bitty thing! Still, if I need someone to edit a manuscript, she's my girl. She may not notice that the house is falling in around her or that her clothes are twenty years out of date or that her glasses belong in a museum, but she can find every missed comma on a page and can smell a misspelled word like a shark smells a drop of blood in the ocean. I'm not saying he was an INFP but only that he reminds me of my friend who is one [althought she thinks she is everything BUT an INFP...but she is doubt about it.] in that way. Anyhow, this gal also lists some links to learn more about Tolkien's personality.
    A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?" The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war." - unknown/Chinese

  5. #75
    morose bourgeoisie
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Well, despite the nonsense in this thread, I still think that JRR Tolkien was a great stylist in the English language. His style is simple, direct and elegant, which is a pretty remarkable feat.

  6. #76
    Member GreatBigCranberries's Avatar
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    May 2013


    Someone mentioned Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" so I thought I would add an excerpt from it where he discusses the nature of escapism in fantasy:

    "I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside of literary criticism give no warrant at all. In what the misusers of Escape are fond of calling Real Life, Escape is evidently as a rule very practical, and may even be heroic. In real life it is difficult to blame it, unless it fails; in criticism it would seem to be the worse the better it succeeds. Evidently we are faced by a misuse of words, and also by a confusion of thought. Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Just so a Party-spokesman might have labelled departure from the misery of the Führer's or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery. In the same way these critics, to make confusion worse, and so to bring into contempt their opponents, stick their label of scorn not only on to Desertion, but on to real Escape, and what are often its companions, Disgust, Anger, Condemnation, and Revolt. Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the 'quisling' to the resistance of the patriot. To such thinking you have only to say 'the land you loved is doomed' to excuse any treachery, indeed to glorify it.
    For a trifling instance: not to mention (indeed not to parade) electric street-lamps of mass-produced pattern in your tale is Escape (in that sense). But it may, almost certainly does, proceed from a considered disgust for so typical a product of the Robot Age, that combines elaboration and ingenuity of means with ugliness, and (often) with inferiority of result. These lamps may be excluded from the tale simply because they are bad lamps; and it is possible that one of the lessons to be learnt from the story is the realization of this fact. But out comes the big stick: 'Electric lamps have come to stay', they say. Long ago Chesterton truly remarked that, as soon as he heard that anything 'had come to stay', he knew that it would be very soon replaced – indeed regarded as pitiably obsolete and shabby. 'The march of Science, its tempo quickened by the needs of war, goes inexorably on... making some things obsolete, and foreshadowing new developments in the utilization of electricity': an advertisement. This says the same thing only more menacingly. The electric street-lamps may indeed be ignored, simply because it is so insignificant and transient. Fairy-stories, at any rate, have many more permanent and fundamental things to talk about. Lightning, for example. The escapist is not so subservient to the whims of evanescent fashion as these opponents. He does not make things (which it may be quite rational to regard as bad) his masters or his gods by worshipping them as inevitable, even 'inexorable'. And his opponents, so easily contemptuous, have no guarantee that he will stop there: he might rouse men to pull down the street-lamps. Escapism has another and even wickeder face: Reaction.
    Not long ago – incredible though it may seem – I heard a clerk of Oxenford declare that he 'welcomed' the proximity of mass-production robot factories, and the roar of self-obstructive mechanical traffic, because it brought his university into 'contact with real life'. He may have meant that the way men were living and working in the twentieth century was increasing in barbarity at an alarming rate, and that the loud demonstration of this in the streets of Oxford might serve as a warning that it is not possible to preserve for long an oasis of sanity in a desert of unreason by mere fences, without actual offensive action (practical and intellectual). I fear he did not. In any case the expression 'real life' in this context seems to fall short of academic standards. The notion that motor-cars are more 'alive' than, say, centaurs or dragons is curious; that they are more 'real' than, say, horses is pathetically absurd. How real, how startlingly alive is a factory chimney compared with an elm tree: poor obsolete thing, insubstantial dream of an escapist!
    For my part, I cannot convince myself that the roof of Bletchley station is more 'real' than the clouds. And as an artefact I find it less inspiring than the legendary dome of heaven. The bridge to platform 4 is to me less interesting than Bifröst guarded by Heimdall with the Gjallarhorn. From the wildness of my heart I cannot exclude the question whether railway-engineers, if they had been brought up on more fantasy, might not have done better with all their abundant means than they commonly do. Fairy-stories might be, I guess, better Masters of Arts than the academic person I have referred to.
    Much that he (I must suppose) and others (certainly) would call 'serious' literature is no more than play under a glass roof by the side of a municipal swimming-bath. Fairy-stories may invent monsters that fly in the air or dwell in the deep, but at least they do not try to escape from heaven or the sea.
    And if we leave aside for a moment 'fantasy', I do not think that the reader or the maker of fairy-stories need even be ashamed of the 'escape' of archaism: of preferring not dragons but horses, castles, sailing-ships, bows and arrows; not only elves, but knights and priests. For it is after all possible for a rational man, after reflection (quite unconnected with fairy-stories or romance), to arrive at the condemnation, implicit at least in the mere silence of 'escapist' literature, of progressive things like factories, or the machine-guns and bombs that appear the be their most natural and inevitable, dare we say 'inexorable', products.
    'The rawness and ugliness of modern European life' – that real life whose contact we should welcome – 'is the sign of a biological inferiority, of an insufficient or false reaction to environment.' The maddest castle that ever came out of a giant's bag in a wild Gaelic story is not only very much less ugly than a robot-factory, it is also (to use a very modern phrase) 'in a very real sense' a great deal more real. Why should we not escape from or condemn the 'grim Assyrian' absurdity of top-hats, or the Morlockian horror of factories? They are condemned even by the writers of that most escapist form of all literature, stories of Science fiction... It is indeed an age of 'improved means to deteriorated ends'. It is part of the essential malady of such days – producing the desire to escape, not indeed from life, but from our present time and self-made misery – that we are acutely conscious both of the ugliness of our works, and of their evil. So that to us evil and ugliness seem indissolubly allied. We find it difficult to conceive of evil and beauty together. The fear of the beautiful fay that ran through the elder ages almost eludes our grasp. Even more alarming: goodness is itself bereft of its proper beauty. In Faërie one can indeed conceive of an ogre who possesses a castle hideous as a nightmare (for the evil of the ogre wills it so), but one cannot conceive of a house built with a good purpose – an inn, a hostel for travellers, the hall of a virtuous and noble king – that is yet sickeningly ugly. At the present day it would be rash to hope to see one that was not – unless it was built before our time.
    This, however, is the modern and special (or accidental) 'escapist' aspect of fairy-stories, which they share with many romances, and other stories of or about the past. Many stories out of the past have only become 'escapist' in their appeal through surviving from a time when men were as a rule delighted with the work of their hands into our time when many men feel disgust with man-made things.
    But there are also more profound 'escapisms' that have always appeared in fairy-tale and legend. There are other things more grim and terrible to fly from than the noise, stench, ruthlessness, and extravagance of the internal-combustion engine. There are hunger, thirst, poverty, pain, sorrow, injustice, death. And even when men are not facing hard things such as these, there are ancient limitations from which fairy-stories offer a sort of escape, and old ambitions and desires (touching the very roots of fantasy) to which they offer a kind of satisfaction and consolation. Some are pardonable weaknesses or curiosities: such as the desire to visit, free as a fish, the deep sea; or the longing for the noiseless, gracious, economical flight of a bird, that longing which the aeroplane cheats, except in rare moments, seen high and by wind and distance noiseless, turning in the sun: that is, precisely when imagined and not used. There are profounder wishes: such as the desire to converse with other living things. On this desire, as ancient as the Fall, is largely founded the talking beasts and creatures in fairy-tales, and especially the magical understanding of their proper speech. This is the root, and not the 'confusion' attributed to the minds of of men of the unrecorded past, an alleged 'absence of the separation of ourselves from beasts'. A vivid sense of that separation is very ancient; but also a sense that it was a severance: a strange fate and a guilt lies on us. Other creatures are like other realms with which Man has broken off relations, and sees now only from the outside at a distance, being at war with them, or on the terms of an uneasy armistice. There are a few men who are privileged to travel abroad a little; others must be content with travellers' tales. Even about frogs. In speaking of that rather odd but widespread fairy-story The Frog-King Max Müller asked in his prim way: 'How came such a story to ever be invented? Human beings were, we may hope, at all times sufficiently enlightened to know that a marriage between a frog and the daughter of a queen was absurd.' Indeed we may hope so! For if not, there would be no point in this story at all, depending as it does essentially on the sense of the absurdity. Folk-lore origins (or guesses about them) are here quite beside the point. It is of little avail to consider totemism. For certainly, whatever customs or beliefs about frogs and wells lie behind this story, the frog-shape was and is preserved in the fairy-story precisely because it was so queer and the marriage absurd, indeed abominable. Though, of course, in the versions which concern us, Gaelic, German, English, there is in fact no wedding between a princess and a frog: the frog was an enchanted prince. And the point of the story lies not in thinking frogs possible mates, but in the necessity of keeping promises (even those with intolerable consequences) that, together with observing prohibitions, runs through all Fairyland. This is one of the notes of the horns of Elfland, and not a dim note.
    And lastly there is the oldest and deepest desire, the Great Escape: the Escape from Death. Fairy-stories provide many examples and modes of this – which might be called the genuine escapist, or (I would say) fugitive spirit. But so do other stories (notably those of scientific inspiration), and so do other studies. Fairy-stories are made by men not by fairies. The Human-stories of the elves are doubtless full of the Escape from Deathlessness. But our stories cannot be expected to always rise above our common level. They often do. Few lessons are taught more clearly in them than the burden of that kind of immortality, or rather endless serial living, to which the 'fugitive' would fly. For the fairy-story is specially apt to teach such things, of old and still today. Death is the theme that most inspired George MacDonald.
    But the 'consolation' of fairy-stories has another aspect than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far more important is the Consolation of the Happy Ending. Almost I would venture to assert that all complete fairy-stories must have it. At least I would say that Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function; but the opposite is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite – I will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale, and its highest function.
    The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous 'turn' (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially 'escapist', nor 'fugitive'. In its fairy-tale – or otherworld – setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
    It is a mark of a good fairy-story, of that higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the 'turn' comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.
    Even modern fairy-stories can produce this effect sometimes. It is not an easy thing to do... Far more powerful and poignant is the effect in a serious tale of Faërie. In such stories when the sudden 'turn' comes we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart's desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through.

    Seven long years I served for thee,
    The glassy hill I clamb for thee,
    The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee,
    And wilt thou not wauken and turn to me?

    He heard and turned to her."

    If there is anyone still wondering what personality type Tolkien had, I say 'he who has eyes to see, let him see'.
    Last edited by GreatBigCranberries; 07-07-2013 at 08:35 AM.

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