We'll begin with the personal transformation of an author. Nancy Bunting, in "Tolkien in Love," makes a case for examining Tolkien's work as an amateur visual artist as a key to understanding the important stresses and changes in his life over the winter months of 1912-1913, as he anticipated reuniting with Edith Bratt after their forced separation.
Next, the personal transformation of a literary character: Erin K. Wagner studies the metamorphosis of Orual, the main character of C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, under the "divine surgery" of the dream-visions sent by the gods.
While we'll turn next to ideas and concepts transformed, we'll continue to consider dream-visions in my own dissection of Tolkien's concept of "Faerian Drama." I attempt to define its characteristics through the way it changes the lives of dreamers such as Scrooge, the Pearl poet, and Smith of Wootton Major.
Grzegorz Trebicki introduces us to Miyuki Miyabe, who deliberately rings changes on Tolkien's concept of sub-creation in his thought-provoking The Book of Heroes, a story that turns the virtues of storytelling itself on their heads.
In "'They Have Quarrelled with the Trees,'" Deborah Klein uses the tools of eco-criticism to read Lewis's attitudes towards nature, hierarchy, and the changes wrought by technological progress in the Narnia books and the Cosmic Trilogy.
Joseph Young, building on his paper in Mythlore #117/118, calls for a change in critical attitudes towards E.R. Eddison, revealing a deep philosophical and spiritual foundation at the base of the lush, glittering surface of the Zimiamvia trilogy. A careful unraveling of mythological references and evidence from previously unpublished Eddison letters at the Bodleian back up his conclusion.
Film adaptation can be one of the trickier manifestations of literary mutabilitie, and the Peter Jackson adaptations of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are particularly controversial. The team of Frank P. Riga, Maureen Thum, and Judith Kollmann makes the case that Jackson's screenwriting decisions actually echo Tolkien's own abortive attempt to revise and change The Hobbit to bring it into line with the mood and milieu of The Lord of the Rings.
And further pursuing this thread--the author revising his own writing--Josh B. Long examines the fraught concept of "self-plagiarism" in Tolkien's works. Self-plagiarism or self-borrowing is something more than just repeating themes and motifs throughout one's literary career, and Long details examples of scenes, dialogue, character traits, and so on echoing from one work to another, with particular attention to The Lord of the Rings and Smith of Wootton Major.
We end with Charles A. Huttar's reflections on mutabilitie in the Narnian tale which Michael Ward suggests is most ruled by the ever-changing moon, The Silver Chair. Huttar weaves together an examination of the characteristics of the classic detective tale, Spenser's Two Cantos of Mutabilitie, and the plot and style of Lewis's novel into a satisfying whole.
Items reviewed in this issue include: George MacDonald: Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity by Daniel Gabelman; The Gender Dance: Ironic Subversion in C.S. Lewis's Cosmic Trilogy by Monika B. Hilder; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as translated by John Gardner; Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal by Joseph Campbell; The Riddles of the Hobbit by Adam Roberts; The Modern Literary Werewolf by Brent Stypczynski; Fairy Tales Reimagined: Essays on New Retellings, edited by Susan Redington Bobby; C.S. Lewis's Perelandra: Reshaping the Image of the Cosmos, edited by Judith Wolfe and Brendan Wolfe; The Ideal of Kingship in the Writings of Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien by Christopher Scarf; The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary by Peter Gilliver et al; J.R.R. Tolkien: The Forest and the City, edited by Helen Conrad O'Briain and Gerard Hynes; and two journal issues, Tolkien Studies X and Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review 30.
In addition to the members of the Mythlore Advisory Board, I would also like to thank John Rateliff, Carol Liebiger, Larry Swain, Jason Fisher, Jared Lobdell, Bill Gray, Mike Foster, and Andrew Lazo.
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|Author:||Croft, Janet Brennan|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2014|
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