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The Books/Reading Thread

Discussion in 'GMD Social Forum' started by Matt, May 16, 2007.

  1. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    I don't really think we can study Tolkien as a novelist, because I don't think he wrote novels. He identified his task as mythopoeia, and I think he was writing myths; his work specifically draws on source material that is pre-novelistic (i.e. Nibelunglied, Icelandic Sagas, Poetic Eddas, etc.). Even if The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion were all marketed as novels, they are anachronistic as far as the history of the novel form goes. His style is in debt to the epic tradition as well, even though prose dominates more than poetry; if you compare Tolkien's work with that of later fantasy authors, it's so different.
     
  2. Master_Yoda77

    Master_Yoda77 Juggalo

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    I really fucking need to read those classic Nordic works. I totally agree though about Tolkien wanting to write myths. But myths are certainly worthy of studying.

    Tolkien wasn't a writer anyways (as I'm sure you know) and his main interests were in languages. I think it's impressive that he's most famous for his contributions to literature opposed to his linguistic work. He helped create the greatest dictionary around.
     
  3. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Myths are certainly worth studying. I was just commenting on Tolkien's work being "dry"; his style isn't novelistic, it's epic. In The Silmarillion, particularly, he's really striving for that pre-novelistic tone, the sense of high, refined narrative that one finds in the Norse myth cycles. His works are actually more interesting when studied in the context of what he was doing: mythopoeia. In that light, I actually find The Silmarillion more entertaining and intellectually stimulating than any of his other works. The linguistic components of his work also contribute to their worth, you're right.
     
  4. skeptik

    skeptik Member

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    The Silmarillion was incomplete and not fit for publishing, so I wouldn't speculate too much on its structural nature. However, I am fully comfortable in viewing his other major Middle-Earth works from the point of view of the novel proper.
     
  5. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    yeah, yeah, i totally get that "Tolkien's work wasn't novels"
    i really do, but, at the end of the day,
    i actually prefer fantasy works that really are novels
    look, i have probably read more "fantasy" type works than anyone here
    and i can very clearly see and apreciate the differences in writing style from one author to another
    now
    having said all that
    Tolkien is fucking annoying
    i don't mean to say that i'm annoyed with the worlds that he created
    i just mean to say that his writing style was as annoying as hell
    seriously, there's a really huge-ass number of hardcore fans of the movies who have never actually read Tolkien's books, and the reason for this is not the illeterate people that go to the movies
    but really much more so just the people that hate Tolkien's writing style
    there are a lot of people who read dozens of fantasy books a year, who saw the LOTR movie just because it was a book that they felt that they "should have read already"
    the people who think LOTR book series is awesome partially (if not mostly) just because of previous people saying how awesome it was
    it's exactly like how a movie's opening day at the box office will be huge or tiny just based on whether the movie critics loved it or hated it
    because of Tolkien's weird-ass writting style, there's actually a huge-ass-amount of people that actually try to read LOTR and just can't get past the first fucking chapter
     
  6. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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  7. SomeGuyDude

    SomeGuyDude My name is sorrow.

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    Snagged Kenneth Branagh narrating Heart of Darkness on Audible. Probably my favorite book of all time, can't wait to hear it read by a pro.
     
  8. Manic Ferocity

    Manic Ferocity Active Member

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    The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy follow the format of novels. What are you guys talking about?
     
  9. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    In light of novelistic theory by the likes of Bakhtin or Frye, Tolkien's work appears highly reactionary and anachronistic. That's not to say that the novel cannot be reactionary, but Tolkien's obsession with romantic archetypes and allegory hearkens back to the late epic, proto-novelistic work of someone like John Bunyan. However, his work as "mythopoeia" carries more critical firepower because it exposes some of the cultural anxiety of early 20-century England; rather than create subversive prose works (which were the intellectual tradition of the early 20th century: Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, etc.), Tolkien chose to write in the "high style" of the epic. His work doesn't fit into the chronology of the "novel proper," and so we have to consider some other context.

    Tolkien manipulated a certain "novelistic" form in order to better market his work. They can't be read simply as novels because their function (substantiated by Tolkien’s nonfiction epistolary exchanges) draws heavily from pre-novelistic forms.

    EDIT: got a belated birthday present. Holy shit, this tome is a fucking beast:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Zephyrus

    Zephyrus Tyrants and Slaves

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    Opinions on Steven Pinker?
     
  11. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    I haven't read any of his work; but one of the professors in the English department at BU, who teaches cognitive approaches to literary studies, said that his books The Blank Slate and The Language Instinct are both very good. He recommended a bunch of cognitive science/philosophy of mind texts to me, none of which I've been able to check out yet.
     
  12. Summerian

    Summerian Internetdamaged

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  13. Dak

    Dak mentat

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    Corporate libertarianism? :rolleyes:

    Those excerpts have some good points and then completely trash them by drawing absurd conclusions from the information available.
     
  14. Summerian

    Summerian Internetdamaged

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    :err: You didn't read those 3 links in 15 min!
    :rolleyes: pleazzzze...

    The book was writen 15 years ago.
    And the same corporate crap is still going on.
    :cry:
    Learn about the world bank, imf and wto. And the shit they come up with.
    The richest 10000 people has turned the world to fuck all.

    FIGHT THE POWER!
     
  15. Dak

    Dak mentat

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    And yet I did. It's only 3 pages.

    I'm familiar with the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, the TLC, the CFR, the Bilderberg Group, and all the other organizations.

    Blaming economics and business for the problem is absurd. It's corporatism/fascism to be sure, but that requires a melding of government and business, it's not a corporate "rape". It's mutual masturbation. It's the actions of people using whatever means available to achieve more power. In all cases, control of the currency is key. Controlling the currency requires governmental decree and authority. Just like trade agreements etc.

    The author is experiencing cognitive dissonance. Democracy is working exactly as intended. Also, when someone can define a "living wage", and how it's a "right", and where it's going to come from, then maybe I might take the people who use that term seriously.
     
  16. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Forward by... Danny Glover? As in, "I'm too old for this shit" Danny Glover? Is he an expert on global market economics?
     
  17. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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  18. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    So freakin' excited; for my seminar "Ordinary Language and Contemporary Literature" we're plunging deep into discussions on Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. This text has long been on my list. I'm forty pages in and already I'm riveted.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Jimmy... Dead.

    Jimmy... Dead. contemplative curmudgeon

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    I've been slowly working my way through the Philosophical Investigations, and it is my first real encounter with Wittgenstein. I'm not really grasping the full implications of his problem with following rules on the private language. I seem to be confusing the philosophical problem with the psychoanalytical technique of measuring "how the meaning of words (and their next association to memories) influences the biological organism"

    Good read but I have to put it down once in awhile and breathe deeply.

    I also think I'm reading way too many books at once. Anyone ever do this? I'll be reading 2-3 books day by day (mostly philosophy) and kind of lose it. I can't help doing this though, I always feel like I'm missing out on something I haven't read yet.
     
  20. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    I've only been reading it for a few days, and there are several things I find interesting. What really strikes me now is how Wittgenstein is relentless in subverting normative theories/approaches to language. He's trying to identify a kind of "set of all sets," which in itself is logically impossible (since, if it is a set of all sets, then it must include itself). He continually notes how there must always be a higher-level "meta-rule" to govern lower grammatical rules, and we can complicate these rules, change them, manipulate them, but they still prove effective or useful. Thus, any constant or universal set of "meta-rules" seems to be constantly placed out of reach or thought.

    One of his most distinctive claims has been that a purely logical, "ideal" language would actually be less useful than an illogical, continually evolving and rule-breaking language, which is what we actually speak.
     

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