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Meditations on Middle Earth

af Karen Haber (Redaktør)

Andre forfattere: Douglas A. Anderson (Bidragyder), Poul Anderson (Bidragyder), Orson Scott Card (Bidragyder), Charles De Lint (Bidragyder), Diane Duane (Bidragyder)11 mere, Raymond E. Feist (Bidragyder), Esther M. Friesner (Bidragyder), Lisa Goldstein (Bidragyder), Robin Hobb (Bidragyder), Glenn Hurdling (Bidragyder), Ursula K. Le Guin (Bidragyder), George R. R. Martin (Bidragyder), Terry Pratchett (Bidragyder), Michael Swanwick (Bidragyder), Harry Turtledove (Bidragyder), Terri Windling (Bidragyder)

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NOMINATED FOR THE 2002 HUGO AND LOCUS AWARD When J.R.R. Tolkien created the extraordinary world of Middle-earth and populated it with fantastic, archetypal denizens, reinventing the heroic quest, the world hardly noticed. Sales of The Lord of the Rings languished for the better part of two decades, until the Ballantine editions were published here in America. By late 1950s, however, the books were selling well and beginning to change the face of fantasy. . . . forever. A generation of students and aspiring writers had their hearts and imaginations captured by the rich tapestry of the Middle-earth mythos, the larger-than-life heroic characters, the extraordinary and exquisite nature of Tolkien's prose, and the unending quest to balance evil with good. These young readers grew up to become the successful writers of modern fantasy. They created their own worlds and universes, in some cases their own languages, and their own epic heroic quests. And all of them owe a debt of gratitude to the works and the author who first set them on the path. In Meditations on Middle-earth, sixteen bestselling fantasy authors share details of their personal relationships with Tolkien's mythos, for it inspired them all. Had there been no Lord of the Rings, there would also have been no Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin; no Song of Ice and Fire saga from George R. R. Martin; no Tales of Discworld from Terry Pratchett; no Legends of Alvin Maker from Orson Scott Card. Each of them was influenced by the master mythmaker, and now each reveals the nature of that influence and their personal relationships with the greatest fantasy novels ever written in the English language. If you've never read the Tolkien books, read these essays and discover the depthy and beauty of his work. If you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings, the candid comments of these modern mythmakers will give you new insight into the subtlety, power, and majesty of Tolkien's tales and how he told them.   Meditations on Middle-Earth is a 2002 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Related Work.… (mere)

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At the beginning of the 21st century, someone had the idea to cash in on the forthcoming Peter Jackson movies by inviting a bunch of popular fantasy authors to contribute essays on What Tolkien Means to Me. Almost all the respondents tell us how old they were when they first got hold of a copy of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, how they stayed up all night reading it, and how it led them to write their own books when they grew up. All the authors seem like nice intelligent people (except for Orson Scott Card who is evidently a big jerk), but this gets old quickly. There are many many thousands of us who have similar stories, except that we never got to the writing books part.

Only two contributors offer anything like analysis, which is what I was looking for. One is a fellow named Michael Swanwick, whom I had frankly never heard of, but who has some useful things to say; I need to find his stuff and read it. The other is the late Ursula K. Le Guin. Her piece on How I Discovered Tolkien ("The Staring Eye") was published decades ago, in the collection The Language of the Night, so her essay here is an analysis of the narrative patterns of a single chapter, "Fog on the Barrow-downs," and it is the best piece of Tolkien criticism I have ever read, even better than T.A. Shippey at his peak. Evidently being a literary artist of genius is a great help in understanding the work of another such.
1 stem sonofcarc | Jan 3, 2021 |
This is a varied and sometimes fascinating collection of essays by writers about their encounters with J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle Earth. Numerous writers credit Tolkien with opening the market for modern fantasy novels. Many, including Robin Hobb and Lisa Goldstein, report that their first reacton upon completing LOTR was to look around for more of the same. Others say that they immediately sat down to write something like LOTR. Many remembered the circumstances of their first encounter with Tolkien. Esther Friesman describes LOTR as a "gateway drug" on her path to reading and writing fantasy. Diane Duane says that it started her on her path to writing.

Raymond Feist calls JRRT the grandfather of current fantasy writers; his primary influences were Fritz Leiber and older writers of adventure stories. Poul Anderson notes that LOTR deals with "questions fundamental and timeless: the nature of good and evil, of man, and of God." Anderson was published by Ace when LOTR appeared, and he swore that he would no longer work with them because of their copyright violations regarding the US publication of LOTR. Ace eventually ceded the rights to Ballantine, which brought out LOTR and many other fantasies. Anderson points out that fantasy was the mainstream of literature from Homer until the onset of realistic fiction in the nineteenth century. He notes that JRRT drew heavily from northern myths, although significantly his elves are more like seraphim.

Michael Swanwick points out the overriding theme of loss that pervades LOTR: the elves are preparing to leave, the Ents are becoming more tree-like, and many other signs including the rise of industry. Swanwick lists two responses to the loss that attends the ending of an age: one can try to seize the power to ward off change, as do Saruman and Denethor, or one can accept the changes that come, as do Frodo and Elrond. Swanwick notes the many coincidences that help Frodo and his fellows as they begin their journey, with both Elves and Bombadil appearing in the nick of time twice. His theory about Frodo's journey with the ring is that it tests those he encounters: Gandalf, Galadriel, Boromir, Faramir, Sam, Gollum. He sees Sam and Gollum as aspects of Frodo (as did UKL, many years ago); as they become themselves, Frodo fades. His path is essentially mystic, beginning with the wound that he received on Weathertop. Frodo actually fails in his mission--who could expect otherwise?--and receives mercy rather than victory.

Terry Pratchett claims that the landscape, rather than the characters, is the hero of the book. LeGuin contributes an interesting look at the rhythmic patterns of Tolkien's prose, which I had seen before in her [The Wave in the Mind]. Douglas Anderson points out that LOTR is merely the final installment in Tolkien's much longer history. Lisa Goldstein praises JRRT's style, saying that his hint of archaism echoes other examples and alerts us that we are reading about a heroic age, with people who are somehow more than we are.

Orson Scott Card draws a distinction between serious writing, which he calls domesticated, and writing for escapism, which he considers wild. Serious writing requires experts to extract meaning. He makes fun of those Smart People who read and analyze [Ulysses]. His distinction between reading for analysis and reading for pure pleasure is simplistic and overdone, but he does have a point: LOTR is the sort of book that people inhabit. He also claims that Sam is the real hero of the book, because he is the only person who givers up the Ring willingly. ( )
  Jim53 | Mar 25, 2017 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (2 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Haber, KarenRedaktørprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Anderson, Douglas A.Bidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Anderson, PoulBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Card, Orson ScottBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
De Lint, CharlesBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Duane, DianeBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Feist, Raymond E.Bidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Friesner, Esther M.Bidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Goldstein, LisaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Hobb, RobinBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Hurdling, GlennBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Le Guin, Ursula K.Bidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Martin, George R. R.Bidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Pratchett, TerryBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Swanwick, MichaelBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Turtledove, HarryBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Windling, TerriBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Howe, JohnIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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George R. R. Martin
Fantasy existed long before J. R. R. Tolkien.
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NOMINATED FOR THE 2002 HUGO AND LOCUS AWARD When J.R.R. Tolkien created the extraordinary world of Middle-earth and populated it with fantastic, archetypal denizens, reinventing the heroic quest, the world hardly noticed. Sales of The Lord of the Rings languished for the better part of two decades, until the Ballantine editions were published here in America. By late 1950s, however, the books were selling well and beginning to change the face of fantasy. . . . forever. A generation of students and aspiring writers had their hearts and imaginations captured by the rich tapestry of the Middle-earth mythos, the larger-than-life heroic characters, the extraordinary and exquisite nature of Tolkien's prose, and the unending quest to balance evil with good. These young readers grew up to become the successful writers of modern fantasy. They created their own worlds and universes, in some cases their own languages, and their own epic heroic quests. And all of them owe a debt of gratitude to the works and the author who first set them on the path. In Meditations on Middle-earth, sixteen bestselling fantasy authors share details of their personal relationships with Tolkien's mythos, for it inspired them all. Had there been no Lord of the Rings, there would also have been no Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin; no Song of Ice and Fire saga from George R. R. Martin; no Tales of Discworld from Terry Pratchett; no Legends of Alvin Maker from Orson Scott Card. Each of them was influenced by the master mythmaker, and now each reveals the nature of that influence and their personal relationships with the greatest fantasy novels ever written in the English language. If you've never read the Tolkien books, read these essays and discover the depthy and beauty of his work. If you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings, the candid comments of these modern mythmakers will give you new insight into the subtlety, power, and majesty of Tolkien's tales and how he told them.   Meditations on Middle-Earth is a 2002 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Related Work.

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