Monday, November 9, 2015

Tolkien and Contradiction

“Nobody believes me when I say that my long book is an attempt to create a world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real. But it is true.” 

In his letters, Tolkien often writes about The Lord of the Rings as his attempt at creating a world for his languages to live and seem believable, having a people and culture that make it real. However, in my research for the analytic paper I came across a couple letters in which Tolkien contradicts himself, claiming to have written The Lord of the Rings for England. He lamented the fact that England did not have its own mythology and wanted to gift his world to her. 

What do you guys think? It's possibly, really, that both of the reasons are equally true. Given what you know of Tolkien, however, would you say that one existed before the other?  Or that one stemmed from the other?


Tulkas said...

I think it is definitely possible that both reasons can exist in unison. It is very rare that I do something without multiple motivations or inspirations, particularly things of a creative nature. I would say that creating a space in which his languages could exist was probably his primary motivation. He certainly achieved this, given the number of languages that are present in his works. The idea of creating a mythology for England seems secondary to me. Aside from the Shire, there isn't much that directly connects to England alone. So in that aspect he is not as successful. He is, however, successful in the fact that his works have become a permanent part of English literature.

Ossë said...

I think that his love and study of languages came first, which led him to create his own languages. Since he began creating languages so early on, I think this was his main reason for creating his stories. I'm assuming the process snowballed; once he made his languages, he needed a world for them. After that, I think Middle-earth became an outlet for his love of mythology and language. I think that his desire to create a mythology for England probably came as a result of the process of subcreation.