Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Favorite, Most Thought-Provoking, and Least Helpful Texts

If you had to pick one text from our syllabus this term as your favorite, what would it be and why did you pick that one? What does it mean to you? How will you carry that text with you beyond this course?

In a different vein, what text did you find the most thought-provoking and enlightening about our topic, whether or not it was your favorite? Why this text?

Conversely, which text did you find least helpful or interesting in thinking about Tolkien's work? What forms the basis for your reaction to this text? Personal analysis or bias, lack of time spent on it in class or in your own study, difficulty of text?


Radagast said...

It's hard to choose a favorite because I liked most of what we read. Probably LOTR in general :)

I think the most thought-provoking text for me was "On Faerie Stories" This is because I see what he's talking about here carried out throughout everthing else that we've read. How to make a good fairy story and make it seem life-like were some of his main points and I had never considered how hard that could be! I also saw it linked through the other texts (or maybe I was just looking for it in them). I would see in each one how they did a good or bad job based on Tolkien's standards of a good story. So, it was very interesting to me.

Probably my least favorite was the King Arthur stuff. Partly, I just couldn't really get into it and enjoy it much. But also, I didn't really see how it related. In class, I saw more of the relationships and similarities, but I think you can draw a lot of similarities between almost any two fictional texts, especially since they were both at least somewhat midevil times texts. But it just didn't do a lot for me. However, I think I liked pretty much everything else we read!

Haleth said...

So far, my favorite book has been The Hobbit. I love the whole LoTR series, but The Hobbit specifically is closer to me personally. It was my first introduction to LoTR and it's something that, if I ever have children, I will read it to them.

For me, the most thought-provoking and enlightening text was The Silmarillon. I still find it fascinating how dedicated and invested Tolkien was to creating a whole world.

The least helpful/interesting text for me was The Prose Edda. I found it hard to follow and though it might have influenced Tolkien, I found his way of writing legends much easier to follow.

Finwe said...

I think my favorite was Arthur and Smith of Wooten was my favorite. Many Arthurian legends have influenced other works and I think will recognize the future works I read.

Beowulf was the most thought provoking for me because it brought up ideas of Celtic mythologies and Anglo-Saxon mythologies that influenced Tolkien's works and others.

The Hobbit wasn't bad but I just didn't like it all that much. Perhaps it is my bias for Arthurian legend but I didn't find the analysis all that interesting.

Luthien said...

Well, I feel pretty certain that LOTR will always be a favorite book of mine, period, but from what I hadn't read before, I liked "Smith of Wootton Major" the best. I loved that it was a true representation of the land of Faery.

Reading from the Silmarillion was the most thought-provoking and enlightening. It really opened my eyes to the amount of work and thought that Tolkien put into Middle-earth, and made me appreciate all of his works soooo much more.

I personally thought that King Arthur and His Knights was the least helpful and least interesting. I think the Arthurian legends are good to be familiar with, but it seemed that there were other works that were more relevant to Tolkien's own work that we could've spent more time on. It was kind of difficult to read, too.

Thengel said...
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Idril said...

While the Lord of the Rings series will always hold a special place in my heart, this course has opened my eyes to a wider array of Tolkien literature and from it I've found a new personal favorite: "Leaf by Niggle."

The profound effect it had on my thoughts (and even my dreams) really spoke to me in a way that many other stories and novels haven't. I actually re-read it after our in class discussion and found that the stories meaning can change very easily with different perspective. "Leaf by Niggle" will be a story that I will carry with me now and suggest to any individual who requests new literature.

I found that the Malory was quite a drab piece of literature (even though I agree with the necessity of knowing the Arthurian legends as a context for a British writer). I found it difficult to read and almost too fantastic. The most difficult aspect of reading the Malory was trying to understand why certain characters made the ridiculous decisions that they do.