Sunday, January 22, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
It may give you some satisfaction to know that grading the exams took an absurd amount of time. That's what I get, I suppose . . .
For this blog post, I'd like you to consider The Fellowship of the Ring as a sequel to The Hobbit. This was, in fact, Tolkien's original purpose, as his letters to his publisher repeatedly demonstrate. Yet, as he pointed out on numerous occasions, the story somehow got away from him. What I’d like to ask is: where do you see the more Hobbit-like moments in the story? In what sense is The Fellowship of the Ring a sequel to The Hobbit, and how does it deviate from that intention? Is there a particular moment when the story takes a turn away from the tone and purpose of The Hobbit, and starts developing a sense of its own story-ness? Are there changes in familiar characters or landscapes that let us know we are in a different sort of story, even if it is set in the same world?
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
- Fairy stories depend on belief. If the author of a fairy story is not taking his material seriously, the audience will detect his lack of belief and the story will cease to work as a true fairy story.
- Fairy stories must be presented as real and true. They can't be illusions, or dreams.
- Fairy stories are about humanity. There may be elves and dwarves and wizards and dragons. But fairy stories are grounded in their attention to humanity, and human concerns give them their depth and meaning.
- Fairy stories can be jovial and less than serious about almost anything. But one aspect must always be taken seriously: magic. If the magic of a fairy story is treated with anything less than respect, the fairy story will not function as a fairy story.
- Finally, Tolkien tells us that fairy stories have two main purposes. First, they respond to a human desire to "survey the depths of time and space." Second, they respond to a human desire to "hold communion with other living things."
- Your comments should be written in complete sentences, using, to the best of your ability, correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
- Your first comment on any post should clearly respond to the post as it is written. If the blog comment conversation drifts in interesting directions, feel free to post in response to your classmates' thoughts. But your first post should clearly and specifically respond to the original post.
- Your comment should be at least one paragraph in length. This means that you can't just toss off one exceptionally clever thought and have it count for your blog comment. If you choose to continue posting in response to your classmates' comments, you can be pithy and witty. But for your original comment, for credit, you need to write (and think) a bit more.
- For now, you should sign your posts in a way that makes it clear who you are. This will guarantee you receive proper credit for participating in the blog post assignment.
- While the blog is a somewhat informal venue for class participation, your comments should be respectful to your fellow classmates, and should avoid any speech that might be considered offensive. I reserve the right to remove any commentary I feel is inappropriate or disrespectful.