COREY OLSEN n An Experiment in Criticism, C. S. Lewis defines a myth as "a particular kind of story which has a value in itself--a value independent of its embodiment in any literary work" (41). Seeking to illustrate this principle, he points to several examples in modern literature, including two from The Lord of the Rings: Lothlórien and the Ents (42-43). Lewis here bestows rather extraordinary praise on Tolkien's depiction of the Ents and their "long sorrow" (TT, III, v, 102). By placing them in the same category as the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, and of Cupid and Psyche, Lewis attributes to the Ents a sublimity that greatly transcends their role in the Lord of the Rings. Although Lewis's compliment to his friend's achievement is profound, it is equally tantalizing; Lewis immediately moves on from his Tolkienian examples without analysis or explanation. He alludes to Treebeard and the Ents again briefly in his essay "The Dethronement of Power," remarking that "Treebeard would have served any other author (if any other could have conceived him) for a whole book" (13), but he never does elucidate exactly what it was that he saw in Tolkien's Ents that he believed
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jul 9, 2008
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