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Thread: Are you a literature snob?

  1. #166
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mortalterror View Post
    I don't think so. In medieval literature violence has consequences. Everyone dies in The Song of Roland, Beowulf, The Niebelungenlied, and Njals Saga. In the Lord of the Rings Boromir is conspicuous as the only major character who dies despite numerous engagements. When the heroes are defeated, they get tied up and escape again and again. If I were Saruman, I'd have put two beans in the back of Gandalfs grey skull and dumped him in a ditch. Merry and Pippin get captured by orcs. Frodo gets captured by other orcs. Giant spiders, cave trolls, a balrog, and several small to large armies of malevolent beings attack the party and nobody dies. Give me a break! Nobody's even maimed, hamstrung, or crippled in like a hundred violent clashes. Half of these characters are three feet tall and never held a weapon in their life.
    It was engrained into my brain by my professor German literature that most of those sagas end in death. Sure, Charlemaigne does not, but that's a later kind. The really really early ones are mere heroes fighting monsters and such like the Niebelungenlied. All ends in death, not because of the violence, because that is a good thing in Germanic culture, but because life ends in death. That is all. The wheel of fortune sends you to a high the one moment and then the gods decide it is your time to die. Enjoy it when it lasts and then prepare for death. Violence has nothing to do with the hero's death or not, it is just his lot. He may well have his head cleft and still survive or something. If it is his lot to do so. It is only later you get real heroes who can only win because God is with them. or something and you also get the idea that evil must be eradicated by the knight who fights with God behind him. In Germanic literature, as far as it has been explained to me, you do not have evil that has to be eradicated, but evil that is there, and will stay there, forever, to be fought and re-fought, and re-fought until eternity. It cannot be conquered because there are essentially only gods that make things happen. As such, you are fighting the gods, and that is a battle that cannot be won.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Fear of the Dark is not a character. When Darkness appears as a being, it can be faced, as it was faced.
    Fer can become so much part of the story that it can become a character. A personalisation so to say.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  2. #167
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    A catterpillar is not a moth, it must became one. The whole point is that Sauron is not the uncertain fear of dark that you cannt fight phisically as claimed. He is an actual being, which was faced and defeated by direct confrotation. (In fact, he is a terrible loser, he is always defeated). His rings are not something universal that all fear, just a very good mobile service.

    There is certainly myths, legends, etc where certain feelings became a character. From Maya in Budhist stories to Neil Gaiman's Sandman family, but the point which I was replied was an attent to equate Sauron inaction as if he is an absent psychological enemy, which you cannt defeat and not a monster, a powerful wizard, etc which in usual sagas a hero faces. I LoTR Sauron is kind off lonely, he got hobitts to play. That was not worth all his power, he cann't even reckonize them as a threat until the end. You could write a play Waiting Gandalf for him...
    Last edited by JCamilo; 03-26-2011 at 07:41 AM.

  3. #168
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    The ring is as much a part of Sauron as Sauron is a part of the ring, though. He helped to forge the rings of power and then in secret made his own in order to gain power over all the others, so the ring is a realisation of his own evil nature. In that, wherever the ring goes, goes Sauron, and as it is destroyed Sauron is destroyed as well. It is not because he loses the ring at some point for a period of time that he loses the total battle. Not at least until the ring is destroyed. If anything, it could possibly be argued that the ring is Sauron and that his evil nature transforms people into evil if they hold onto the ring too much. Why otherwise do Frodo and Gollum start to fight ver it so that Frodo also loses a finger?
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  4. #169
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    Yes, but so? Sauron is not a concept which cann't be fought. He is a individual who made evil - and he is in fact, corrupted by evil, he was not evil at begining. He is a evil warlord-witch, so something as "fear of dark" and even, he often uses the evil he finds in the person.
    Sauron can and was faced physically at first and in LoTR he is not, because Tolkien changes the heroes (Gandalf and Aragorn) places for unusual heroes (Frodo and Sam). The reason why there is not a battle final was not that Sauron could not be fought, more like because it was a destiny of Frodo (Bilbo, but given away) and exactly because he expected one like Gandalf, and his net was too big to get smaller fishes.

  5. #170
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    There's actually an evil character named Grima Wormtongue in TLOTR. Tolkein ought to get kicked in the balls just for how pathetic that name is. He could have taken another second or two and called him Badman Imavillain and it would have been better. "How did Jerry Regicide get to be chief advisor to the king?"
    Last edited by mortalterror; 03-26-2011 at 10:13 PM.
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  6. #171
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    Yeah, I can understand using names that are after a guy's trait, not unusual in medieval narratives... But really, as soon as ready that guy name I was "Uh, please tell me he just have odd pets"... and this is funny, considering Tolkien was carefull enough with all namings, I can only suppose that was something that made his kids laugh a lot.

  7. #172
    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, I can understand using names that are after a guy's trait, not unusual in medieval narratives... But really, as soon as ready that guy name I was "Uh, please tell me he just have odd pets"... and this is funny, considering Tolkien was carefull enough with all namings, I can only suppose that was something that made his kids laugh a lot.
    Grím (from which I'm sure we can derive Gríma) is a common Old Norse male given name. Gríma itself is an Old English and Old Norse word meaning (amongst other things) 'mask' and 'ghost', which seems rather fitting. Quite a few Old Norse poets are described as having an ormstunga - literally a worm's tongue. Probably the most famous in Gunnlaugr Illugason, who even adopts it as his nickname, thus becoming Gunnlaugr Ormstunga. As a nickname, it is supposed to represent their eloquence and linguistic cunning.

    I fear we are going rather off-topic. Much as I enjoy discussing the literary merits of Tolkien, this is a debate about snobbery.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

  8. #173
    spiritus ubi vult spirat weltanschauung's Avatar
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    well, yes i am.

  9. #174
    Clinging to Douvres rocks Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razeus View Post
    I was called snobbish today, because I haven't read Harry Potter nor Twilight...
    Are you a literary snob?
    No. I long to be, but I doubt it will come to pass.
    For example, I am nearly finished with Ian Flemming's "Goldfinger"

    My son had read all of Harry Potter. As a family we looked forward to seeing each of the movies with him. I enjoyed the movies, but I haven't read the books.

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  10. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
    Grím (from which I'm sure we can derive Gríma) is a common Old Norse male given name. Gríma itself is an Old English and Old Norse word meaning (amongst other things) 'mask' and 'ghost', which seems rather fitting. Quite a few Old Norse poets are described as having an ormstunga - literally a worm's tongue. Probably the most famous in Gunnlaugr Illugason, who even adopts it as his nickname, thus becoming Gunnlaugr Ormstunga. As a nickname, it is supposed to represent their eloquence and linguistic cunning.

    I fear we are going rather off-topic. Much as I enjoy discussing the literary merits of Tolkien, this is a debate about snobbery.
    It is irrelevant if the name if fitting or not. It is. But it is like Adolf Hittler changed his name in 1933 to Adolf Iwannaruletheworld, or Adolf Ikilljews. Fitting, but rather not cunning, for a character who was supposed to be sneaking in and manipulating things. Seems like a name that works with young kids, maybe a left over of when Tolkien started to write and it was targeting his sons and kids and latter he was was found of the name and didnt change it. But still a bad name, specially coming from someone who crafted so many names.

  11. #176
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I was called snobbish today by my hubby. He thinks, and he has mentioned that a few times actually, that I do not read for enjoyment but to impress. If I was reading solely to impress, my friend, I would never finish a book. For the people ho kno hat I am rederring to: I would be like Father Ted Crilly trying to look smart by getting books, not reading them... He said, 'Oh, but I never hear you laugh or see you smile.' I said, 'But if there isn't anything to laugh about or nothing to smile about, what do I have to do then?'

    Really, I just think he's jealous and is a bit sad that he cannot pluck up the courage to start on a classic or something, but it may be that I read too much into it because I read too much
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  12. #177
    Subconcious Explorer oshima's Avatar
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    While I make a conscious choice to generally only read works that are of a higher caliber, I'm not above enjoying a Steven King or JKR novel. I also understand that while I read literature (or rather, read, period) because I am interested in expanding my understanding of language, narrative, history, and human cognition, it would be silly to expect most people to be interested in and/or have the time to pursue those works that often require considerable extra mental effort and time to grasp.
    "Post-historic man will be allergic to science for AT LEAST a hundred years!" -Dominic Matei

  13. #178
    audaces fortuna iuvat Scoggy's Avatar
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    Please define "Literary Snob." It seems that the only requirement here is that one choose not to read Twilight or Harry Potter. That can't be right...
    "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." - V, V for Vendetta

  14. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    If I was reading solely to impress, my friend, I would never finish a book.
    I know someone who reads to impress and she does finish the books she reads but she never seems to understand what she just read (kiki, you seem to understand what you read though). It's as if she reads just so people can see her reading. She would read Twilight and Dumas but to her, they are both as well written as each other (and I suspect she prefers Twilight). When I first knew her I didn't know yet how pretentious she was and I gave her a good reading list - now I regret it because she's probably going through the list and reading them for the sole reason to impress.

    When I say impress, this is not necessarily to impress 'others'. I think deep down she hates herself and so she's created an image of herself of who she would prefer to be. This ideal of herself is well-read and cultured, so she reads to impress her ideal self.

  15. #180
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmy Castrol View Post
    I know someone who reads to impress and she does finish the books she reads but she never seems to understand what she just read (kiki, you seem to understand what you read though). It's as if she reads just so people can see her reading. She would read Twilight and Dumas but to her, they are both as well written as each other (and I suspect she prefers Twilight). When I first knew her I didn't know yet how pretentious she was and I gave her a good reading list - now I regret it because she's probably going through the list and reading them for the sole reason to impress.

    When I say impress, this is not necessarily to impress 'others'. I think deep down she hates herself and so she's created an image of herself of who she would prefer to be. This ideal of herself is well-read and cultured, so she reads to impress her ideal self.
    Sounds like Mr Bast from Howard's End.
    "You understand well enough what slavery is, but freedom you have never experienced, so you do not know if it tastes sweet or bitter. If you ever did come to experience it, you would advise us to fight for it not with spears only, but with axes too." - Herodotus

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