Friday, October 23, 2015
Tolkien in Faery
In class on Tuesday we discussed the possibility of “Smith of Wootton Major” being autobiographical. After recovering from the mind-blowing revelation that Tolkien may have believed he travelled to Faery, I began to contemplate the autobiographical nature of the story. I read “Leaf by Niggle” in conjunction with “Smith of Wootton Major” before coming to class. It was interesting to compare the two, as “Leaf by Niggle” is almost certainly autobiographical. When you look at the two together, it is much easier to see Smith as being autobiographical. In Leaf, Niggle struggles with balancing his creative life with his social life. He ends up taking a long journey and ending up in a place that it is essentially purgatory. Obviously, Tolkien hadn’t died and gone to purgatory when he wrote Leaf. Nevertheless, it is still autobiographical in the sense that he is communicating his fears and struggles. Smith does the same thing. He is expressing his desire to maintain the childishness that allows him to experience Faery.