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From: Jerry Friedman <jerry_friedman@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) New Wolfe essay
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 15:52:15 -0800 (PST)

--- Matthew Davis <matthew@michaelscycles.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> There's an essay by Wolfe about Tolkien in December's "Interzone": "The
> Best
> Introduction to the Mountains". It's mostly autobiographical: how he
> discovered LOTR in 1956, the experience of reading it, poetic
> inscriptions
> he made in the individual volumes, and the transcript of a letter from
> Tolkien to Wolfe.
> In particular Wolfe praises the books because their medieval setting
> embodies a system of social order and responsibilities, of defined
> duties
> and freedoms - the Christian order itself, even if there is no sight of
> God
> himself in the books.

"No sight of God" is literally true, but God is busily arranging
coincidences, prophetic dreams, and stuff like that.  Sort of like TBotNS,
as a matter of fact.  I wonder whether Tolkien was Wolfe's model in that

> Curiously, the ultra-Catholic Lafferty despised LOTR because he thought
> it
> was a diminished fantasy world of second-hand people and concepts with a
> big
> fence set up around it and a flashing sign that proclaimed "God Keep
> Out!".

It's also interesting, at least to me, that as a child I felt a bit
betrayed when I realized that _The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_ was
Christian propaganda, and I'm glad LotR didn't do that to me.  Obviously
I've gotten over this, since I like Wolfe.

Jerry Friedman

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