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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Forge of Tolkien


How many of you read Tolkien’s stories and wish you could find yourself in the tale? Professor Rachel Fulton Brown, Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago, introduces her new Unauthorized series, The Forge of Tolkien, with a meditation on Tolkien’s wordsmithing as an invitation to enter into the Greatest Fairy Story Ever Told.

For Unauthorized subscribers only. This will be a weekly series and we will introduce a subscription to it next month.

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28 Comments:

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz July 29, 2020 8:33 AM  

Just in time:
https://www.reddit.com/r/lotrmemes/comments/hy4xeu/cancel_culture_at_its_finest/

Blogger John Bradley July 29, 2020 8:40 AM  

Excellent! I was just staring at that empty channel on UATV last night, wondering if the good doctor had abandoned the project.

Blogger Subversive Saint July 29, 2020 8:45 AM  

This will be a reason to join

Blogger Matthew Hopkins (MHN) / Sam Smith July 29, 2020 9:01 AM  

Okay it's like this. I * never * wanted to be in the tale.

Tolkien's stories are great works of literature. I enjoy them to read and recommend to others. However, they are fundamentally about a series of genocidal wars in which humans in medieval living conditions themselves against hordes of horrific monstrosities led by a deranged and malevolent fallen angel. No one would wish to participate in such events.

I like the idea of the Professor's series though and I might subscribe to Unauthorised.

Blogger Section 8A July 29, 2020 9:14 AM  

My full subscription to UATV keeps paying dividends. It's made my online viewing / browsing life exponentially better. I saw the link a few days ago - I'll be checking this out for sure.

Blogger FUBARwest July 29, 2020 9:17 AM  

Great! The first episode in her medieval series was a nice introduction, looking forward to listening to both.

Blogger The Masked Menace July 29, 2020 9:24 AM  

Awesome.

Blogger Krymneth July 29, 2020 10:24 AM  

Matthew Hopkins (MHN) / Sam Smith wrote:However, they are fundamentally about a series of genocidal wars in which humans in medieval living conditions themselves against hordes of horrific monstrosities led by a deranged and malevolent fallen angel. No one would wish to participate in such events.

You're probably just tapped out on the fictional desire to live through such a thing by the fact that you're nearly living through such a thing in non-fiction.

Blogger Shane Bradman July 29, 2020 10:26 AM  

Is this series aimed at people who have read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, people who are familiar with Tolkien and haven't read him, or people who have dug too deep into Tolkien and own collections?

Blogger Archella July 29, 2020 11:31 AM  

It feels great to be supporting content like this. Thank you Vox, Rachel Fulton Brown, and the Unauthorized team! I've been a fan of Tolkien's work since I could read, so seeing this, this morning, just made my day.

Blogger VD July 29, 2020 11:45 AM  

Is this series aimed at people who have read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, people who are familiar with Tolkien and haven't read him, or people who have dug too deep into Tolkien and own collections?

I'm told the answer is "all of the above".

Blogger Valar Addemmis July 29, 2020 11:53 AM  

"or people who have dug too deep"

Mind the balrog, mate.

Blogger Silly but True July 29, 2020 12:06 PM  

Vox, at the UofC Obama Presidential Library grand opening faculty-alumni mixer, maybe Brown can bring the Days along as guests?

Blogger Critias July 29, 2020 1:08 PM  

Fantastic!

Blogger sammibandit July 29, 2020 1:27 PM  

Definitely. Used to marathon the extended version movies. Such a great daydreaming world. This is excellent news.

Blogger Cheryl July 29, 2020 1:41 PM  

If you are a LOTR fan, you will love this! The professor points out that LOTR arrived with its own history & mythology, so that when Sam realizes they are a part of a larger story, it rings true. She wonders whether we will rejoice in the stories in which we find ourselves, or try to break free of them, like some of Terry Pratchett's characters did. She cites Tolkien's comments on fairy stories, which commonly feature a moment of grace at that point when all seems lost. The joy comes when characters realize they've been given a glimpse of something beyond. She focuses on a passage in which the stones around Frodo and Sam at first seem menacing, but later seem to be "singing," after Frodo laughs. You can also hear a kind of "singing" around forges, as smiths beat out a rhythm on the things they make. Great video!

Blogger Canadian Warlord July 29, 2020 1:54 PM  

Have only read "The Hobbit" so this is mostly based on hearsay. I've heard that Tolkien's great war part one experience (Verdun) influenced his vision of Mordor; I wonder if the mortal wounds against the West (debt, the draft, universal sufferage), plus the destruction of so much accumulated 19th century wealth and faith in civilization, are the reasons it resonates so strongly today?

Blogger Zaklog the Great July 29, 2020 2:20 PM  

Fans of Rachel Fulton Brown might also check out her appearances with me. She's spared the time to discuss three poems with us so far: John Donne's "I am a little world", C.S. Lewis's "Wormwood", and C.S. Lewis's "Re-adjustment". She is always a fascinating guest, so if you have any interest in RFB or in these poems, check them out.

Blogger Michele July 29, 2020 2:23 PM  

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

Blogger Archella July 29, 2020 3:33 PM  

Awesome Zaklog, thanks for the links!

Blogger Bezzle July 29, 2020 10:03 PM  

And the notorious fraud Chomsky is to this day applauded over linguistics.

Blogger Macs July 29, 2020 10:37 PM  

Nice. Rachel was my favorite! I unsubbed because the site was hard to use on my phone but Ill definitely check out the new app.

Blogger OvergrownHobbit July 29, 2020 10:54 PM  

Cool beans.

Blogger mrpinks July 30, 2020 1:39 AM  

Thank you for arranging this framework.

Blogger Cheryl Butler-Drake July 30, 2020 8:59 PM  

love the theme of subcreating especially when that subcreating is liturgical. The idea of the stones singing out even in the midst of the gloom: Joy will triumph over despair.
How can we not wish to be caught up into a story that promises that? As the Professor notes, it is not a mere childish ideal but a grace, moreover a grace that became true in the Creation and finally, the Incarnation.

Blogger Cheryl Butler-Drake July 30, 2020 8:59 PM  

I love the theme of subcreating especially when that subcreating is liturgical. The idea of the stones singing out even in the midst of the gloom: Joy will triumph over despair.
How can we not wish to be caught up into a story that promises that? As the Professor notes, it is not a mere childish ideal but a grace, moreover a grace that became true in the Creation and finally, the Incarnation.

Blogger Cheryl Butler-Drake July 30, 2020 9:30 PM  

I am drawn to the theme of subcreation particularly it's highest form:Praising God\Liturgy, which the Professor explains beautifully. In the tale of Sam and Frodo, I was especially struck by the idea of the stones "listening" to the laughter of the Hobbits in the midst of the gloom that surrounded them, for the stones themselves could be said to represent that all-encompassing gloom.
She spoke also about how true fairy stories are not mere childish idealism but filled with as it were, a Divine grace; a grace that became ultimately manifest in Creation and the Incarnation.
Like Frodo and Sam who knew that they were apart of a larger tale,
who wouldn't want to be caught up in God's story?

Blogger Jad July 31, 2020 10:04 AM  

An odd view... Some like a struggle for life and death. Some like the idea of an honourable death. Some like the idea of triumph over great evil. Is there not at least some relationship of Middle Earth to our world?

To see the great narrative in Tolkien's work transposed onto our world, though subjective, there is truth there also.

You are a 'participant in such events' whether you realise it or not.

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