Sunday, March 17, 2013

20th Century Audiences

In the introduction to "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", Christopher Tolkien mentions that it was probably written around 1920.  This normally wouldn't have stood out to me if it wasn't for the specific mention of the Oxford English Dictionary.  The specific story was rewritten "probably in 1919-20, when my father was in Oxford on the staff of the then still uncompleted Dictionary," (Unfinished Tales 5).  This really struck me because I can't imagine a world without the Oxford English Dictionary.  It is so iconic, even in American culture.  I think it is so amazing that Tolkien helped put it together.  I had to stop and think about how different life was back then when Tolkien was writing.  1919 is almost a hundred years ago.  Can you think of any reasons why audiences back then would have reacted or interpreted his works differently than audiences today?  Or are they so universal that they will never be "outdated"?

1 comment:

S. M. said...

I think that audiences back then would have enjoyed Tolkien’s descriptions of nature more than modern audiences because their idea of entertainment did not depend so heavily on technology. However, many people of today (and of the future) will pause to admire the beauty of landscapes and wildlife, so the appreciation of natural wonders will likely never become “outdated.”