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The Loss and the Silence: Aspects of Modernism in the Works of C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Charles Williams by Margaret Hiley (review)

The Loss and the Silence: Aspects of Modernism in the Works of C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien &... Book Reviews his expertise as a fantasy author and critic. As it is, he chose medieval studies and philology as the core areas of his approach, though he obvi- ously lacks the necessary background and training in both disciplines. The result is a disappointing and incoherently argued book. My overall criticism aims at several levels. Next to a few (obviously unavoidable) typos, we find also simple factual mistakes and problematic use of termi- nology. Thus, the Anglo-Saxon culture is implied to be (near-) identical with Old Norse culture (e.g., 20), the Old Norse goddess Hel is believed to be a god (40), Beowulf the Geat from southern Sweden is referred to as “a Dane” (111), the metre used in Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun is believed to be an “imitated pastiche of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse” (139—Tolkien used an Old Norse meter, primarily fornyrðislag, but three verses in ljóðaháttr), and Snorri Sturluson is believed to have been a king (58). This lack of medievalist expertise is, unfortunately, not lim- ited to isolated instances but also affects the validity of his philological arguments. As a result, we find outright free association and borderline cases (e.g., his interpretation of the “teeth-riddle” as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tolkien Studies West Virginia University Press

The Loss and the Silence: Aspects of Modernism in the Works of C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Charles Williams by Margaret Hiley (review)

Tolkien Studies , Volume 11 – Nov 27, 2014

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University Press.
ISSN
1547-3163

Abstract

Book Reviews his expertise as a fantasy author and critic. As it is, he chose medieval studies and philology as the core areas of his approach, though he obvi- ously lacks the necessary background and training in both disciplines. The result is a disappointing and incoherently argued book. My overall criticism aims at several levels. Next to a few (obviously unavoidable) typos, we find also simple factual mistakes and problematic use of termi- nology. Thus, the Anglo-Saxon culture is implied to be (near-) identical with Old Norse culture (e.g., 20), the Old Norse goddess Hel is believed to be a god (40), Beowulf the Geat from southern Sweden is referred to as “a Dane” (111), the metre used in Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun is believed to be an “imitated pastiche of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse” (139—Tolkien used an Old Norse meter, primarily fornyrðislag, but three verses in ljóðaháttr), and Snorri Sturluson is believed to have been a king (58). This lack of medievalist expertise is, unfortunately, not lim- ited to isolated instances but also affects the validity of his philological arguments. As a result, we find outright free association and borderline cases (e.g., his interpretation of the “teeth-riddle” as

Journal

Tolkien StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Nov 27, 2014

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