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Tolkien Anniversary: A Tribute to the Father of Fantasy It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.

JR Leach

Today – 3rd of January 2023 – marks Professor JRR Tolkien’s one-hundred and thirty-first birthday.

This is strangely significant as ‘131’ is the same age that Bilbo Baggins was when he was gifted passage aboard one of the last ships to Valinor, when he, Frodo and Gandalf sailed west to the Undying Lands.

I wanted to celebrate the Professor’s birthday by sharing one of his very few interviews hosted by Denys Gueroult from 1964.

I adore listening to this conversation. To hear Tolkien himself talking so matter-of-factly about his languages and histories, describing his process of creating names and words and places; answering every one of the interviewer’s questions with both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as befits a man well-versed in Elven lore.

“And it is also said,” answered Frodo: “Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.”

He speaks with a humble, yet self-assured authority on the subject of Middle-Earth. He holds himself as quite separate from his creation And as a result, he speaks with seemingly little ego on the matter.

More historian than storyteller. More curator than creator.

I believe this interview will chime with fantasy writers, or any creative in fact, as Tolkien describes very eloquently the idea that one ‘has’ ideas; one does not ‘make’ them. It is as though they’re gifted to you. From somewhere.

But this is coupled with his unbridled dedication to accuracy. Or rather ‘authenticity’.

For example, in the interview, he describes the lengths he went to to ensure that the ‘moons’ he depicts in his books were consistent with the moon’s actual phases.

Very few readers would ever notice such a thing. But the fact it’s there creates a very tangible sense of depth. And that is felt in all aspects of his work. His languages, most of all.

I particularly enjoyed this exchange; when the interviewer asks if Frodo was written to be purposefully christlike. As he ‘carries the cross’, so to speak; faces the most appalling danger, struggles on and wins through.

Tolkien responds:

But that seems, well I suppose, more like an allegory to the human race. I’ve always been impressed that we’re here, surviving because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds.”

Which is arguably the heart and soul of most of Tolkien’s works, particularly The Lord of the Rings.

It is a subtle, poignant and incredibly insightful observation.

One that nourishes the soul with a feeling of gratitude and courage.

I wish you all a happy New Year.

And a very Happy Birthday to the Professor.

Alasse merendenna i Carmo

JR Leach is a fantasy author and graphic designer whose debut novel The Farmer and the Fald was published earlier this year. You can follow him on Twitter or Substack and see more of his work on his website

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bleak
bleak
Jan 7, 2023 2:49 AM

Have “fun,” pagans. Isn’t that what’s most important? Seek answers from spirits in “the astral world,” not Jesus Christ. Idol worship and magick has been the ticket since I was born. Oh wait, now look around. This is what we got. So pack your bags for Mordor. Bring shorts.

SuperbuggG
SuperbuggG
Jan 7, 2023 2:31 AM

Tolkein’s son and namesake was a nonce! Christopher Carey’s books ‘Klone It’ exposes the lot, ‘cept Harpers & Collins suppressed the information ’till after the perpetrator’s death! https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/7564/view/opening-case-study-into-archdiocese-birmingham.pdf

Chris Graal
Chris Graal
Jan 5, 2023 3:17 PM

They are amazing books. I read them multiple times, in my youth. They were just that good. I recently re-read The Hobbit which is also really good. Magical. They may not be your cup of tea, but you should really give them a go.

futurist
futurist
Jan 5, 2023 3:11 PM

Loved the films.

moneycircus
moneycircus
Jan 5, 2023 10:11 AM

Being an entitled individual, I fell asleep to LOTR, which our house master read to us each night at boarding school. I was too dense to catch on, I suspect.

I don’t know the word for hovering closer to the mud with one’s head in the stars – except a brazen neck – for grounded has the air of told-you-so. Archaelology and Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud was more my thing: presumptuous enough to seek sense out of science.

How true that has become in my declining years: science never was as told.

Andrew O'Gorman
Andrew O'Gorman
Jan 5, 2023 10:01 AM

Born in my ‘hometown’!

Cara C.
Cara C.
Jan 4, 2023 9:50 PM

ANy way you could post this without GooTube? As you know they track you and are evil.

jim
jim
Jan 4, 2023 7:56 PM

“You have a fondness for intelligent lizards” killed me

Russian Hank
Russian Hank
Jan 4, 2023 6:29 PM

LOTR is great because it gives us lessons about personal integrity in the face of overwhelming odds. Gandalf and Galadriel had integrity in refusing the ring despite a temptation no other can fathom. Aragorn showed his when facing his own death, refusing to abandon the hobbits, running to Rohan and then to Isengard and many other times during the story because it’s integrity that makes the hero. Frodo and Sam entered the dark lands knowing they faced almost certain death, but they had already promised, so turning back was never an option. On the other hand, Boromir died almost immediately after giving his integrity up. Saruman the same. Denethor only survived temporarily because he had built a state similar to the one we are currently living, just like the late dark lord himself. It’s one of the greatest morality tales of our time, and insulting the author or his society is besides the point.

Paul Vonharnish
Paul Vonharnish
Jan 4, 2023 2:55 PM

Earlier in the story: “We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!” Much later: “It is mine, I tell you. My own. My precious. Yes, my precious.”

Any questions?

dom irritant
dom irritant
Jan 6, 2023 8:15 AM

that’s what happens when you confiscate the most absorbing, essential accessory of our times, the dumbone, we will all turn into gollums

Ananda
Ananda
Jan 4, 2023 11:50 AM

There seem’s to be this delusional fantasy sold mainly the fake Christian alt media that in Tolkiens times, things where different.
It is Bullshit.
the oppressed where still just as oppressed.

Paul Vonharnish
Paul Vonharnish
Jan 4, 2023 2:23 PM
Reply to  Ananda

I agree. I read Tolkien’s work in the early 70’s. Then I took a long look at the “up-coming” generation which recommended I read the fantasy… The sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach never resolved…

Pilgrim Shadow
Pilgrim Shadow
Jan 4, 2023 5:58 PM
Reply to  Ananda

You know what’s really oppressive? This whole “oppressed” narrative.

Ananda
Ananda
Jan 4, 2023 11:45 AM

Nurses strikes in a couple of weeks and the channeling of death on a full moon on the last day of Saturnalia at Epiphany (6 January) (what ritual did they perform last year.>?

Katie Hopkins on The Death of The UK
The creature Sandhurst kate reappeared out of her special branch hole and promoted by none other than Gareth icky and co.
Sandhurst kate is now a comedian. (notice how many all seem to now think along these s lines) George Carlin they aint.
In her latest tour of the dogshit pub crawl of internet idiots (she is supposedly banned still manages to get on shows with millions of suppose viewership).
She is channelling the death of mantra. (notice the pattern) the death theme.
She sold you things would get better if Donald got in.
She told you things would get better if you left the e.u
She sold you build back better Boris would makes things better and get things done.
She told you the Christians conservatives where the best choice ever.
She got everything she has wanted and still screaming DEATH.

entitled2
entitled2
Jan 4, 2023 2:29 PM
Reply to  Ananda

Trumps twitter repeater, Tommy 10 names little fanboy.
LBhill radio hired her.
Wont be long before oligarchy owned GBnews has her on board.

WillianHill
WillianHill
Jan 4, 2023 4:28 PM
Reply to  Ananda

I regard these pitiful animals of the far right fake opposition like Katie Hopkins, as the political wing of our security services, not only because they share their extreme right wing beliefs, but also because they do appear to have their protection and support in all they do.

Straight Talk
Straight Talk
Jan 4, 2023 10:36 AM

An essential quotient of humanity that the technocrats cannot factor in is our need for pure fantasy, not to teach any lessons, just to let our imaginations run wild and take flight. I recently watched the beautiful film, Hugo, by Martin Scorsese. It’s based on the films of Georges Méliès, a pioneer of special effects. His films are a feast for the eyes.

RealityChic
RealityChic
Jan 4, 2023 10:24 AM

What is it with Azov sympathisers that they invoke Tolkien notions of Orks etc.. Tolkienism has become problematic.

Woo
Woo
Jan 4, 2023 2:13 PM
Reply to  RealityChic

Oh blow it out your ass you wokist shit stain

Xavier Delacroix
Xavier Delacroix
Jan 4, 2023 10:04 AM

I recently came across the revelation that Khazad-dûm (aka Moria) was Tolkien’s allegorical equivalent to Moriah, aka Temple Mount, aka Solomon’s Temple*, aka The Great Pyramid.

* This ‘Temple’ gives us ‘Knights Templar’, and the Templar Cross, etc.

See http://www.darkstar1.co.uk/ring.html

banana
banana
Jan 4, 2023 2:25 PM

is like everyone on here a crypto-occultist? did I miss a meeting?

entitled2
entitled2
Jan 4, 2023 3:36 PM
Reply to  banana

did I miss a meeting?

Most still firm believers in government and the political system and the idiotic rituals still played out today, under the guise of Christendom.
What idiot wishes someone a Happy New Year in the dead of winter.?
We’ve got a long way to do before they reach occult level.

Howard
Howard
Jan 5, 2023 3:57 PM
Reply to  entitled2

The dead of winter (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is) is when most people need a cheerful wish or two.

Paul Vonharnish
Paul Vonharnish
Jan 4, 2023 2:27 PM

Yes. Quite. To me, the connection to Knights Templar was clear as day. Few ever paid attention.

Howard
Howard
Jan 5, 2023 3:51 PM

Fantasy generally satirizes elements of the real world, if only superficially. The trick – the thing which separates good from mediocre fantasy – is the ability to transcend those real world elements rather than get bogged down in something which cannot hope to stand the test of time.

Xavier Delacroix
Xavier Delacroix
Jan 5, 2023 10:31 PM
Reply to  Howard

Satirize – from satire – from satyr – from saetr (as in Saetr-day viz Saturday) – ultimately from Set – Sirius/Satan (qv Pan).

See Hamlet’s Mill.

Tolkien’s aim was to produce a ‘missing’ English mythology.

Hence his book titles:
Fellowship of the Ring = The Zodiac
The Two Towers = Father & Son = Boaz & Jachin = Sol & Set
The Return of The King = Return of Christ (post-apoastron)

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 4, 2023 6:10 AM

Sorry, off topic (again):
Can’t say we weren’t warned. Thirteen years ago: https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-pharmaceutical-industrial-complex-a-deadly-fairy-tale/15758

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 4, 2023 5:47 AM

Sorry, off topic.
The ‘New American Century’ began here:
https://dissidentvoice.org/2023/01/the-first-us-onslaught-to-weaken-post-cold-war-russia/

ThinkTwice
ThinkTwice
Jan 4, 2023 3:28 AM

comment image

Postbank crisis propaganda
Surviving winter, cheerfully, in isolation bags, doing nothing anymore…
seen on Postbank (german bank) website

Sean Veeda
Sean Veeda
Jan 4, 2023 7:22 AM
Reply to  ThinkTwice

At least their adverts haven’t all gone multi-culti yet.

Clive Williams
Clive Williams
Jan 4, 2023 8:55 AM
Reply to  Sean Veeda

I’ll be amazed if it isn’t staged. Those two old Huns can go fuck each other for what’s it’s worth.

Violet
Violet
Jan 4, 2023 1:14 PM
Reply to  Clive Williams

Was there any need for that filth? I’m not adverse to a bit of swearing but that was below the belt 👎

Russian Hank
Russian Hank
Jan 4, 2023 6:15 PM
Reply to  Violet

Those afraid of words are also afraid of ideas, so stop pretending. If you are truly a censor you need to provide a comprehensive list of everything we are not allowed to write or say, but that would be too honest I think.

entitled2
entitled2
Jan 4, 2023 2:34 PM
Reply to  Sean Veeda

There grey from being frozen!
If you’ve ever seen someone dead.? they do lose colour.
Nice green climate friendly Euthanasia bag.

Clive Williams
Clive Williams
Jan 4, 2023 8:34 AM
Reply to  ThinkTwice

Looks like heaven. Today in the US I go back to sleeping in my car.

MattC
MattC
Jan 4, 2023 8:52 AM
Reply to  ThinkTwice

They are smiling to hide their embarrassment at being so easily manipulated into believing that the world was burning up.

entitled2
entitled2
Jan 4, 2023 2:32 PM
Reply to  ThinkTwice

Euthanasia bags. Compostable, Eco friendly and Saves on funeral costs.

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 4, 2023 10:45 PM
Reply to  entitled2

That breathtakingly feasible suggestion really made me laugh.
Thank you 🙂

Ravensara
Ravensara
Jan 4, 2023 12:37 AM

The idea that power corrupts is the mainstay of Tolkien’s works. The beauty is in the fight between good and evil. I agree that the smallest courage has a place.

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 3, 2023 11:28 PM

A remarkably dull interviewer in that recording. He asked pretty much unanswerable questions, considering we’re talking about the fruits of a highly developed imagination.
There’s really no point it pressing an artistic creator to explain how he fits into the world, since in so many cases he just doesn’t fit into it at all.

But this was a great opportunity to hear Tolkien speak of his ideas, despite his clear frustration with the dogged emphasis of the interviewer.

Perhaps this programme was a product of its time, but I did find it conspicuous that an interesting and concise answer from Tolkien was often followed by an abrupt change of topic – as if the interviewer simply hadn’t heard his response . . . Judicious editing…?

Great to hear the odd aside from the old man, referring to the government and politics of his day. It would have been marvellous to ask him more about that, since I suspect, as with many writers, that he had an inner compulsion to write, based upon the battles for survival experienced by all genuine artists in the face of establishment ignorance.

But then he spoils it all by saying that he is a devout Catholic.
Thank heaven he isn’t a modern politician . . . He’d be in Tony Blair’s camp.
Then again, however, I have to admit that being a Catholic at the time of this interview was not the laughable thing it has become today.

When I was a youngster, my best friend was from the Catholic family next door, and I thought the world of them all. Hardly anybody, whatever their religion in those days, was aware of things like child abuse, even if us non-Catholics could easily see the dangers inherent in the ritual of Confession and priestly ‘forgiveness of sins’ . . .

Tolkien also notes how different the world of his childhood was from the world of 1964.
Another 59 years on, and it has become unrecognizable, except in literature.

Jenner
Jenner
Jan 4, 2023 1:57 AM
Reply to  wardropper

“Laughable, unrecognizable”? Nothing as risible as a mentally-challenged atheist (or is it an English Protestant, one of those who regularly fall silent behind their Guardians and scuffle their anti-racist footsies whenever Islam or Judaism are mentioned?)

………..because FYI, two US women doing astounding (patent and legal) work in our Movement, Karen Kingston and Katherine Watts, are both at least Christian and likely Catholic to boot.
Then we have Drs. Carrie Madej and Ana Maria Mihalcea, Christian again.

Funny, except for Dr Zelenko I cannot recall any Jewish or Muslim activist among the Awake who has cited religion as motive.

Btw, you naturally have copious evidence that (homosexual) abuse of boys by priests was enabled by the sacrament of confession and not by proximity to boys in sports events or dormitories, etc.? I thought not.

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 4, 2023 10:13 PM
Reply to  Jenner

Understandably, you completely miss my point, misinterpret the details of my comment and make arbitrary assumptions about me because, after all, you don’t know me. No problem.
Still, I would suggest that a more profitable course for us all would be for you to leave me entirely out of the equation, and focus on the matter at hand.

Nobody is saying that Catholic people don’t do good works.
I’m talking about the wobbly structure of that institutionalized-to-the-hilt ‘faith’, not about the good people who happen to have been born into that structure.
I wouldn’t dream of holding that against them.

My point about the Confession was not aimed particularly at child abuse either, but simply at the notion of a priest being able to ‘forgive sins’.
Sin, for those of faith, must always be a matter between God and an individual, whether they trust their human instincts, or instead feel so insecure that they need a worldly priest to put the whole subject into language which a six-year-old could understand.
In that sense, sin and conscience are part of the same thing.

But as far as I can see, many priests are just not developed enough spiritually to be entrusted with the responsibility of forgiving sins.
Just as with politics, a ‘career’ in the priesthood is so materially attractive to the less enlightened candidates that they fail to research the core values of what should be an inwardly-motivated calling.

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 4, 2023 10:43 PM
Reply to  wardropper

By the way, I managed to find something for you which is “as risible as a mentally-challenged atheist”:

That would be a mentally-challenged Ultra-Conservative, who believes the country residence of their 1920s childhood can, in 2023, be their world forever, because God has long-since forgiven all their sins in advance.

This is not a God you will find in the Bible.

Placental_Mammal
Placental_Mammal
Jan 5, 2023 8:15 AM
Reply to  Jenner

Irrelevant Nonsense

Christianity and Islam are offshoots of the root religion, developed and promulgated to further bankster monotheism. Bergoglio is the seniormost Catholic and is among the most ardent pusher of the fake virus and the clot shots. The Anglican church permits female clerics. Gender Role Reversal is a bankster funded initiative that is an affront to nature.

On my last flight the other day we had a female first officer and two male flight attendants. Among the passengers were a couple that wore matching ear rings. The husband sported a pony tail, the wife (“partner”) had short hair.

Howard
Howard
Jan 4, 2023 3:41 AM
Reply to  wardropper

I’m puzzled by the three downvotes. Apparently, there are three Catholics here. However, it’s not at all unusual for Catholicism to be dissed in this forum – as opposed to Christianity itself.

I too am Catholic but not devout – since I’m essentially an atheist. In fact, I think you’ll find more Catholic atheists than other denominations.

I certainly agree with you about the interviewer. But then, there are no good interviewers (Edward R Murrow was about as close to it as it gets). Mr. Tolkien does seem a bit slow and prodding in his speech; and most interviewers get a bit nervous if the interviewee isn’t sprightly and charismatic.

Hele
Hele
Jan 4, 2023 6:26 AM
Reply to  Howard

Puzzled?By downvotes towards a judgemental comment riddled with stereotypes and assumptions?

YourPointBeing
YourPointBeing
Jan 4, 2023 8:21 AM
Reply to  Howard

A catholic atheist.
Super.

Mr Y
Mr Y
Jan 4, 2023 9:53 AM
Reply to  Howard

> I too am Catholic but not devout – since I’m essentially an atheist.

Sigh …

Clive Williams
Clive Williams
Jan 4, 2023 10:00 AM
Reply to  Howard

A Religious apologist lives to appeal to wider audience..

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 4, 2023 10:25 PM
Reply to  Howard

I know I’m not allowed to say this anywhere else, but there is another well-known faith which is well-stocked with adherents who are ‘not devout’. And a heck of a lot of trouble ensues from those sources . . .

At any rate, if I were a Christian who is not devout, I would probably keep quiet about it or perhaps just satisfy myself with atheism.

I like these words of Jesus:

“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

Howard
Howard
Jan 5, 2023 1:29 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Here’s the thing though about being two things at once (in this case Catholic and atheistic): we exist in compartmentalized reality, where many different conditions of our lives co-exist.

Being raised Catholic – and attending Catholic school for eight years – gave me a better “education” than Public school would have. And being exposed to religious teachings for these same eight years allowed me to evaluate a much wider range of religion than Public school would have. That wasn’t the purpose of the teaching of course; but it was the consequence.

Most children have almost no exposure to religious doctrine; so they are far more likely to accept it as a default position.

Placental_Mammal
Placental_Mammal
Jan 5, 2023 8:26 AM
Reply to  Howard

Atheism

Corporate Religion versus Atheism. A fake binary. There are many videos of the neocon “atheist” Christopher Hitchens (Rot In Purgatory) debating clerics about the existence of God. Corporate religion has nothing whatsoever to do with the creator of the Redwood and the pademelon and the coral reef. It is a control mechanism like big sport, Hollyweird, alcohol and so on.

Howard
Howard
Jan 5, 2023 1:32 PM

The universe is the creator of the redwood and the coral reef. It went to a lot of trouble, took its time, and after billions of years got it just right.

But then it went a step too far, created humans, and now these things are being destroyed.

judith
judith
Jan 5, 2023 11:45 AM
Reply to  Howard

Brian Lamb of Cspan. Excellent interviewer.

Paul Watson
Paul Watson
Jan 4, 2023 9:49 AM
Reply to  wardropper

Nothing quite like smearing all Catholics because of the sins of a few.
We are in spiritual warfare times and end days.
Not sure if atheism is the wisest choice in the present circumstances!

Ananda
Ananda
Jan 4, 2023 11:17 AM
Reply to  Paul Watson

Nothing quite like smearing all Catholics because of the sins of a few  😂 

Watson that is a big lie.

Paul Watson
Paul Watson
Jan 4, 2023 3:30 PM
Reply to  Ananda

Unhinged doesn’t do it justice…

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 4, 2023 10:15 PM
Reply to  Paul Watson

I’m actually smearing all institutionalized religions, but because the Catholic version makes such bloated claims for itself, it makes an easy target.

TheBurningHouse
TheBurningHouse
Jan 3, 2023 10:37 PM

The single greatest creator of fantastic fiction the world has ever known, an inexpressible talent and the perfect example of an ethical visionary. I cannot express how profoundly Tolkien, but more specifically his writings, have touched me, informed my decisions and inspired my own works through the years.
The world is a more beautiful place for his contributions, and he will live forever in the hearts of we who wish we had been born in Middle-Earth.
God bless John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.

WillianHill
WillianHill
Jan 3, 2023 10:31 PM

To NOT understand the complexity of power, to not understand the many faces of human nature or life, then read Tolkien. Unlike Shakespeare who exposes the motives, the greed and evil of power, Tolkien is our dumb-downed overlords dream, it dresses up as wisdom, it parades like insight, but offers nothing, just random linked events. So the slave is even more ignorant of how his rulers think then before he reads this endless drivel.
You will learn nothing of life here. It has spawned a whole genre of vacuum fantasy, to uneducate the population.

Jenner
Jenner
Jan 3, 2023 11:03 PM
Reply to  WillianHill

“Tolkien is our dumbed-down overlords dream” (absent apostrophe of possession): I imagine you wanted to say it is we who are supposed to be dumbed-down by Tolkien and not our overlords or our dream, copy edit what you wrote.

As an Edwardian Tory in some ways, JRRT exorcised a gramophone when he first saw it, proclaimng it to be unnatural JRRT wrote a still-unpublished book attacking the motorisation of Oxford in the 30s, he was as averse to the Machine Age as Prof Bakhdi now is to the entire vacination industry, calling it a “swindle” in a recent interview.

The entire LOTR trilogy is suffused with love of Nature and Place and In-group preference (“White supremacy alert! calling Trudeau and Macron! Tolkien was an anti-vaxxer!”) is the baseline on which the unlikely friendship of a Dwarf and an Elf develops.

Nature and Place and non-vaxxed tribalism are key to what is to come, which is why Ed Dowd on Maui said to Mike Adams in the recent interview on Brighteon that he is forming his own group, including a carpenter and a car mechanic.

,

Russian Hank
Russian Hank
Jan 4, 2023 6:19 PM
Reply to  Jenner

You mis-typed a few words yourself. I suggest typing in a text editor before copying it to the comments section. This is especially apt when referencing someone else’s errors if only to save your own ego.

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 3, 2023 11:23 PM
Reply to  WillianHill

‘Uneducation’ started with religions.
‘The opiate of the masses’
(Ditto democracy and socialism).
Truth is rarer than justice.

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 3, 2023 11:28 PM
Reply to  WillianHill

The clue in the interview is his support for the handing down of power through kings, through blood, or through some other hierarchical structure, but he is from a different time.
In 1964, I wouldn’t have been reading OffG either.

NixonScraypes
NixonScraypes
Jan 4, 2023 11:35 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Got a better way? Are you gona leave your possessions to the cat’s home? There’s the way living things, born from a mother, behave and then there’s words with their freakish deadly way of turning into ideologies, the most destructive creations of man. In my chaotic way, I’ve been butterflying about in Burke’s French Revolution and discovered his opinion about English Common Law. It’s an inheritance. Not ideas, not an utopian ideal, not the Rights of Man which any tyrant can change, not Human Rights subject to suspension by the UN. The physical inheritance of the Englishman, male or female. It’s a living thing, utterly imperfect, but then a whole lot healthier than abstract artifices like the perfection of that which God left unfinished and suchlike flipertygibbet confections. New year felicitations to the land of ice and fire from the white isle.

Fugazi Shoe-gazy
Fugazi Shoe-gazy
Jan 4, 2023 1:00 AM
Reply to  WillianHill

And your favorite fantasy/Sci-Fi series? Don’t have a dog in this race LOTR is fine – don’t think it’s like making ppl dumber though lol.

Albert Anderson
Albert Anderson
Jan 4, 2023 3:24 AM
Reply to  WillianHill

Ya, was Tolkien with the CIA too there WillianHill? Put there to “uneducate” the population?

WillianHill
WillianHill
Jan 5, 2023 1:55 PM

No, you are here to uneducate the population.

Howard
Howard
Jan 4, 2023 3:49 AM
Reply to  WillianHill

An interesting take on the Tolkien phenomenon vis-a-vis Shakespeare. But then, fantasy is more black and white than tragedy. It’s strictly good vs evil; there’s no in-between. Motivation is right there, out in the open; very little subtlety.

The thing we have to avoid, though, is judging works from the past – even the recent past – from the perspective of today. And it does seem that’s what you’re doing.

NickM
NickM
Jan 4, 2023 8:11 AM
Reply to  Howard

“fantasy is more black and white than tragedy. It’s strictly good vs evil; there’s no in-between. Motivation is right there, out in the open; very little subtlety.”

You have formulated my own unconscious feeling of repulsion against Tolkien’s fantasy world: it does not lack seriousness but the seriousness lacks subtlety. I do not think it is right to inject so much barely concealed Christian symbolism into a child’s fantasy world of Goodies vs Baddies: Yanks vs Japs, Yanks vs Commies, Cowboys vs Indians, French vs English.

In fact, talking of that favourite game of my childhood “French and English” I now realize that I have the same objection to Shakespeare’s Henry 5 & 6. It is OK to write a straight male adventure story where the French are patsy pushovers and Joan of Arc is a lusty whore; but it is not OK to mix that fantasy world with serious history. Dumas got the mixture right when he restricted the four Musketeers to The Adventure of the Queen’s Diamonds.

NickM
NickM
Jan 4, 2023 7:29 AM
Reply to  WillianHill

Glad to find a fellow Tolkien basher amidst so much love. Actually, I have nothing against Tolkien except resentment that I cannot enter his enchanted world.

“It was a Hobbit hole, and that spells Comfort”. — Tolkien

“Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo is in danger!” — a young reader.

rubberheid
rubberheid
Jan 4, 2023 4:15 PM
Reply to  NickM

i get that, but a still a rich realm to rove, even as a spectator,

reckon I was Dunlending ; )

Edwige
Edwige
Jan 4, 2023 9:06 AM
Reply to  WillianHill

“Unlike Shakespeare who exposes the motives, the greed and evil of power”.

Pull the other one – “Shakespeare” and his history plays are nothing but apologies for that bunch of murderous psychopaths, the Plantagenets. There are no individualised commoners in “Shakespeare”, they are all types and usually objects of mockery. It’s why Charlie Chaplin thought “Shakespeare” could not have been Shakspere of Stratford and had to have been a toff hiding behind a pseudonym.

As for the tragedies: King Lear shows dividing power is a disaster and Macbeth that Scots ruling themselves without the English ends up in a bloodbath. If “Shakespeare” had a polutical goal, it wasn’t the abolition or taming of power but some sort of philosopher-king as embodied by Prospero in The Tempest who just happens to be an Occultist and probably in an incestuous relationship with his daughter.

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 4, 2023 12:39 PM
Reply to  Edwige

There is a mass of evidences which indicate that the person who actually wrote the ‘Shakespeare’ stuff was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604). He was a very high-up courtier in Elizabeth I’s Court, and she and he may have been lovers… there exist some evidences to suggest that they had a child together [she was not ‘the Virgin Queen’ in reality’… that was merely ‘propaganda’].

Many of the things written about in many of the ‘Shakespeare’ plays were actual events in the life of de Vere.
As you say, it’s 99.9% certainty that the author of the plays was a ‘toff’ (in this case, Edward de Vere) hiding behind a pseudonym.

I’ve read more than 15 books on the above topic. There exists a veritable wealth of evidences to support the “Edward de Vere = ‘Shakespeare'” claim [there are Societies in existence which support the De Vere case; many people around the world are ‘Oxfordians’], and no evidences to support the ‘official narrative’ of ‘William Shaksper of Stratford’ having been the author.

Howard
Howard
Jan 4, 2023 2:43 PM

Christine, amid all the speculation concerning the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, let me add a measure of my own speculation. Specifically, is it possible that the man we call William Shakespeare actually did write his plays?

Possibly as a collaborative effort with an aristocrat, who fed him ideas which he then worked into plays.

My point is that it may be possible for an ordinary person to have talent, even genius. I would hate to think only members of an aristocracy are ever gifted with talent.

But I tend to believe that most of the speculation concerning Shakespeare’s plays rests upon just such an assumption. How could a nobody create such masterpieces? Surely only an aristocrat could have.

Sorry, but I don’t buy that.

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 4, 2023 4:02 PM
Reply to  Howard

Howard, what you’ve just said is one of the major claims which sceptics of the “the Stratford bloke did not write ‘Shakespeare'” narrative put forward.
Ie, it’s a claim (unwarranted…) that all we sceptics of the “William Shaksper of Stratford wrote ‘Shakespeare'” must be ‘snobs’.

Well, I for one am most definitely not a snob! In fact, I’m what’s called an ‘inverted snob’!! So that is not why I say that the very high odds are that ‘the Stratford bloke’ was not the author.

There’s a whole lot of multi-faceted evidence that the Stratford bloke was not the author of the writings; his will demonstrated that he owned no items whatsoever that would have been amongst his possessions had he truly been a writer.
The few examples of his signature indicate that he was, more or less, illiterate…
He made no bequests to any ‘charitable organisation’, school, etc etc… when it’s a demonstrable fact that even minor writers did leave bequests in their will to local schools, organisations, etc.
Also, William Shaksper’s children were illiterate… don’t you think that if their father had been the author of the ‘Shakespeare’ writings, that he’d have taught his children to read and write??

It’s also known that he, Shaksper, stockpiled grain and then sold it at an increased price to the locals. And that he was involved in some lawsuits.
Now I’m not saying, by that, that people who do such things would not be capable of writing high-level literature… but, all things considered, there are many facts about Shaksper’s life which strongly go against his having been any sort of a writer, let alone the author of the ‘Shakespeare’ writings!

NickM
NickM
Jan 4, 2023 4:18 PM

“It’s also known that he, Shaksper, stockpiled grain and then sold it at an increased price to the locals. And that he was involved in some lawsuits.”

No wonder James Joyce said of Shakespeare:
“He drew Shylock out of his own long pocket”

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 4, 2023 7:35 PM
Reply to  NickM

Actually, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (see my post earlier today, above) had invested £3000 with a [seeming] con-man called Michael Lok: he, de Vere, wanted to try to make money from an explorer who at the time wanted to try to find the North-West Passage. And so he invested the money with Lok. But the money was lost, when the expedition failed to succeed in its objective.
Michael Lok was demonstrated to have conned money out of people.

Apparently, at the time, the word ‘shy’ was a reference to a con-man… thus Shylock (Shy + Lo[c]k).

Howard
Howard
Jan 4, 2023 10:41 PM

One of the overarching questions is why him? Why would anyone have chosen such an individual as surrogate? Couldn’t whoever authored these plays have come up with someone more appropriate to a literary undertaking?

You mention that there were “minor writers” who better fit the role of writers – why not choose one of them?

Of course, if this Shakespeare had a certain charisma and panache and was willing to become someone’s dupe, that could explain it.

One does have to ask the question whether it was known (by the writer or anyone attending the plays) that these were works of genius at the time they were performed.

The one thing I hope everyone can agree on is how much simpler the entire matter would be if the “Stratford bloke” really were the author.

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 5, 2023 12:14 AM
Reply to  Howard

I haven’t got much time to reply here right now (it’s 00.02am on the 5th as I type these words), will say a little more later today, but will say this now: that when William Shaksper of Stratford [did what’s wrongly termed] ‘died’ in 1616, there was no ‘celebration’ of his passing… nothing took place that would have told anyone that a ‘famous, high-quality writer’ had just ‘died’. If he, ‘the Stratford bloke’, had been the author of the plays, and the people of the time had known that, you’d expect there to have been some awareness of the event. In today’s day and age, when a famous person ‘dies’, then it’s literally headline news. But nothing of that equivalence took place in 1616 when Shaksper ‘died’. Indicating that he was most definitely not known as a famous writer.

I’d add to that that his son-in-law (can’t recall his name, without looking it up; the name Hall rings a bell, but not sure) was a quite well-to-do doctor at the time, and he made notes (of course) in his papers re. the people he treated. One of whom was his father-in-law, William Shaksper. But there was nothing in his son-in-law’s medical notes re. his father-in-law to even suggest an inkling that the latter was a famous author of the time.

But it’s not a question of “how much simpler the entire matter would be if…”, the point (and this applies to every subject, of course!) is what the actual facts are!

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 5, 2023 10:35 AM
Reply to  Howard

Just to conclude my post to you of earlier today (see below – or above! – this post).

Elizabeth I did not allow courtiers to be involved openly in such things as acting, writing, etc. And so, if members of her Court wished to be writers, they had to do so under a pseudonym. One of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford’s coats of arms had an image of someone shaking a speare. And one of his colleagues at the time once said to him, “Thy countenance shakes a speare“.
So it makes perfect sense that he, de Vere, chose as his authorship pseudonym the name ‘Shake-Speare’ (N.B., it was, more often than not, written with a hyphen, back in those days in the 16th century).

Also, there is absolutely no evidence at all that William Shaksper of Stratford travelled anywhere outside England. And, as I said in one of my posts on this yesterday, his will showed that he possessed no items that anyone who was a writer [of any degree] would most definitely have owned. The few extant examples of his signature indicate that he was very probably illiterate…

The content of the so-called ‘Shakespeare’ works demonstrate that their actual author possessed an immense amount of knowledge… of many disparate subjects. There is no evidence that Shaksper of Stratford possessed even a mere fraction of the knowledge required to be the author of the ‘Shakespeare’ plays.
However, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, has been demonstrated to possess a huge amount of knowledge. He was tutored by a scholar of renown (can’t recall his name, now, without looking it up. Ah, Edward Smith rings a bell… but don’t quote me on that!); he, de Vere, had access to many well-stocked, scholarly libraries, and had his own library that showed how highly educated a man he was. One of his uncles was also a renowned scholar, and provided his nephew with many books.

He, de Vere, travelled quite substantially in Europe… including in many of the specific places written about in the ‘Shakespeare’ plays. He thus had personal knowledge of the places [and himself met some of the specific people] written about in the plays.
To mention one of these: in The Winter’s Tale is mentioned ‘the coast of Bohemia’. Many writers about the ‘Shakespeare’ plays have criticised this, claiming that “the author of ‘Shakespeare’ cannot have had much geographical knowledge, for there is no ‘Bohemian coastline'”. However, anyone who claims the foregoing is themself in the wrong: for in the 16th century there was a Bohemian coastline… it stretched a few miles. And not only that, but in a journey round Europe which he, Edward de Vere, made between 1574-1576, he himself travelled (in a boat) down that very Bohemian coastline. Thus he had personal knowledge of its very real existence. Which thus explains why he included that in that play. An item of personal knowledge which Shaksper of Stratford would have had no idea of.

There is indeed a wealth of evidences which very strongly support the claim that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was the actual author of the ‘Shakespeare’ works! And absolutely NO evidences to support the claim that ‘Shaksper of Stratford’ was their author.

Howard
Howard
Jan 5, 2023 4:45 PM

I normally wouldn’t reach out to Wikipedia as a credible source of information. However, where some things are fairly well known, its mere repetition of these things is acceptable.

de Vere was one of Elizabeth’s courtier poets, whose writings were well known and generally well appreciated in his lifetime. So he had no need of a pseudonym. He was also heavily into the theater, and had his own troupes – Oxford’s Men and later Oxford’s Boys.

One thing we can’t know with any degree of certainty is Word of Mouth 400 years ago. We have no way of knowing how much geographical and historical knowledge passed between various persons connected with the arts in Elizabethan England. It is possible that Shakespeare learned of places he could not have ever visited through others who knew of such places.

If Shakespeare was something of a dolt, then no, he could never have absorbed sufficient knowledge to allow for the creation of so many works. But if he was extremely intelligent, he could easily have picked it up.

It is telling, I think, that during his lifetime, Shakespeare was criticized for his lack of a University education (Robert Greene, e.g., in his Groats-Worth of Wit).

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 5, 2023 7:46 PM
Reply to  Howard

But the available evidence indicates that he, Shaksper of Stratford, was ‘something of a dolt’!

Yes, I know that de Vere had written some poetry and stuff, and re. his own troupes of actors, as you mentioned.
However, the preponderance of the data/evidences still is strongly indicative that he was the actual author of the ‘Shakespeare’ works.

As I said in one of my posts yesterday, Shaksper’s will in 1616 contained literally nothing supportive of his having been any sort of a writer, let alone a high-class one!!

Howard
Howard
Jan 6, 2023 3:15 AM

I continue being puzzled by your emphasis on Shakespeare’s will. I assume your references are to his (supposed) literary works.

However, absent a copyright system, what would have been the point in bequeathing the rights to his works to someone (presumably his daughter Susanna)?

And it’s pretty much acknowledged that many of his plays were collaborations with other writers. So he couldn’t very well have bequeathed them anyway.

As you may have noticed, I’m a bit leery of academic scholarship. Each scholar has a favorite in the race, be it de Vere, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, or Shakespeare himself.

At any rate, this has been an enlightening comment thread and I thank you.

Christine Thompson
Christine Thompson
Jan 6, 2023 11:58 AM
Reply to  Howard

Howard, you’ve made a wrong assumption as regards what I’ve been referring to when I made reference to Shaksper’s will. See below.

When I (and all other researchers around the world who are thus informed on the actual contents of that will…) refer to Shaksper of Stratford’s will, we’re referring to its total lack of any possessions that would indicate that he’d been a writer of any kind. I spelt that out quite clearly in each of my earlier posts on this, above. So NO, when I’ve referred to his will, I’ve of course not been referring to what you claim as “his (supposed) literary works”.
To reiterate: when I’ve referred to Shaksper’s will, it’s a reference to the fact that in its listings of his possessions, not even one of those possessions supports the claim that he’d been any sort of a writer!
Ie, there were no pens, no writing paper, no bookcases/storage items, no letters he’d ever written, etc etc etc. (there exist no letters in his hand, none).
Nothing that would support the claim that he’d been any sort of a writer.

(In most instances, the man from Stratford was known as ‘Shaksper’ [and not ‘Shakespeare’]. That, Shaksper, is how his family’s entries in the local parish register were all spelt, on every occasion. And not ‘Shakespeare’.)

rob2
rob2
Jan 5, 2023 6:10 PM

Fascinating, Christine – Thanks so much for sharing your findings!

Howard
Howard
Jan 4, 2023 1:44 PM
Reply to  Edwige

Mr. Freud’s dictum, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” comes to mind. Sometimes a play is just a play and can be enjoyed on that level alone.

Both King Lear and The Tempest, in my view, are, along with As You Like It, far and away Shakespeare’s finest works (whoever he actually was). As such, they can be enjoyed and relished on their literal merit as superb plays. The dialogue says it all.

NickM
NickM
Jan 4, 2023 2:57 PM
Reply to  Howard

As You Like It, so do I.

“1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare” suggests that As You Like It was written after the death of his son Hamnet, and before he wrote Hamlet. A sort of therapy before coming to terms with tragedy.

Producing and acting a Shakespeare play has been recommended as psychiatric therapy. Apparently. being given the opportunity be physical, to go over the top with violent emotions — and then to get applause instead of being prescribed another tranquillizer — does wonders for the injured psyche.

Placental_Mammal
Placental_Mammal
Jan 6, 2023 1:05 AM
Reply to  Edwige

World Power

The banksters planned to turn England into a world power by the 17th century. The problem was that this country had a rather embarrassing lack of literature at that point of time. It appears that teams of ghost writers were pressed into action to create a body of work that was attributed to an individual. This person may have had literary achievements of his own. There was a fair amount of plagiarism involved. The Merchant of Venice was included for reasons that are unclear to me.

Chris Graal
Chris Graal
Jan 5, 2023 3:27 PM
Reply to  WillianHill

It’s a work of fiction written by a linguist. By all means don’t read it.