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Re: Blogpost - The Tolkien Industry by Jack Ross

Subject: Re: Blogpost - The Tolkien Industry by Jack Ross
by Stu on 2009/6/22 17:57:50

I wholly agree with Jason. In fact, my response to another book of Tolkien criticism showing up on Amazon is the complete opposite of Ross. I guess the only time I despair is when the book seems to me overpriced--which has happened more than once.

Or we could simply let Tolkien's wonderful works stand for themselves (!), rather than subjecting them (and him) to endless (and generally completely subjective) scrutiny. Don't get me wrong, I think that there are numerous analytical works that I think are fantastic (but I'm thinking of a very small number of Authors, such as Humphrey Carpenter, Hammond/ Scull etc). The vast majority of books on or about Tolkien are completely unnecessary and either re-hash existing material or promote the authors' own agendas ("The Gospel according to Tolkien" springs to mind). The reality is that Tolkien's legacy has become a trough with a lot of greedy snouts dipping in to get what they can (sometimes just reflected glory). The success of those authors with integrity (such as, but not limited to, those mentioned above) has spawned a whole industry.

On the other hand, people are still writing Shakespeare criticism some four hundred years after his death, aren't they? Not to mention Chaucer, Gawain, and Beowulf criticism, all even longer in the tooth.

Yes, they are. Any generation can - perhaps - usefully revisit older works and re-evaluate them in the current social context. This probably has some value, but most re-evaluations will simply be more of the same re-hashed. The biggest thing I learned from English Literature at School was that it told me more about the critics than the material being critiqued....
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