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26 April
2024-4-26 3:02:36 PM UTC

Predictable Matt wrote:

I have a feeling there was at least one other review (from the 1950s) that I've read, which drew the comparison. But I can't quite place it right now. I'll post again if I can find it.

Having given this a little thought, I can offer a few examples which suggest that the allegorical view was not uncommon amongst early reviewers (some of this is more "second-hand" i.e. referring to the debate rather than taking a position):

- W. H. Auden noted in 1954 the danger of reading FOTR, for "those who draw too literal a parallel between it and our present historical situation," adding later that "it will go ill with us if...we regard all who live East of the Anduin as Orcs to be exterminated." ("A World Imaginary, but Real" in Encounter, November 1954 issue).

- Edwin Muir in his 1954 review of TTT said that "Sometimes in thinking of the mysterious ring one cannot help remembering our own preoccupations, such as the hydrogen bomb, dangerous in the hands of our friends, deadly in those of possible enemies. But the comparison fails..." (review on p. 9 of The Observer, 21 November 1954).

- Charles A. Brady in his 1956 review of ROTK said that "The mild controversy that has already broken out in the British literary columns over the allegorical relevancies and irrelevancies warns one not to press too closely such parallels as those of atomic power and the evils of bureaucracy." (review on p. 24 of The Buffalo Evening News, 21 January 1956).

- In a review of the Swedish translation of FOTR, published in 1959, a reviewer directly compared Sauron with Stalin, and also drew a parallel between Sauron's forces attacking weaker neighbours, and contemporary events in Tibet and Hungary (review on p. 3 of Aftonbladet, 2 October 1959).
1 May
2024-5-1 7:25:09 PM UTC
Dear Predictable Matt, many thanks for your thorough answers!
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