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Vague or Vivid?: Descriptions in The Lord of the Rings

Vague or Vivid?: Descriptions in The Lord of the Rings Nils Ivar Agøy o some extent, this presentation is a follow-up of something I said at the Ring Goes Ever On conference in Birmingham in 2005: The Lord of the Rings is a book to make one's own. It is automatically personalized, so to speak. It invites participation, in many subtle ways. Then, too, we simply have to contribute something of our own if we are to visualize what happens in it. Tolkien's descriptions are rarely very detailed. People, buildings and objects are usually described more or less as the scenery or weather is described, quite vaguely, that is; as seen from a distance. We are told that a main character like Aragorn is long-legged and weather-beaten, but not if he has a beard or buttons in his clothes. The chair he sits on is low and comfortable, but what is it actually made of? The book encourages, almost forces the reader to make her own, more detailed pictures of people and settings--which many do so thoroughly as to become quite annoyed when they discover, in illustrations or films, for instance, that others see things differently. There are not many books about which you can have decade-long discussions http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tolkien Studies West Virginia University Press

Vague or Vivid?: Descriptions in The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien Studies , Volume 10 (1) – Jul 18, 2013

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 West Virginia University Press.
ISSN
1547-3163
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Abstract

Nils Ivar Agøy o some extent, this presentation is a follow-up of something I said at the Ring Goes Ever On conference in Birmingham in 2005: The Lord of the Rings is a book to make one's own. It is automatically personalized, so to speak. It invites participation, in many subtle ways. Then, too, we simply have to contribute something of our own if we are to visualize what happens in it. Tolkien's descriptions are rarely very detailed. People, buildings and objects are usually described more or less as the scenery or weather is described, quite vaguely, that is; as seen from a distance. We are told that a main character like Aragorn is long-legged and weather-beaten, but not if he has a beard or buttons in his clothes. The chair he sits on is low and comfortable, but what is it actually made of? The book encourages, almost forces the reader to make her own, more detailed pictures of people and settings--which many do so thoroughly as to become quite annoyed when they discover, in illustrations or films, for instance, that others see things differently. There are not many books about which you can have decade-long discussions

Journal

Tolkien StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jul 18, 2013

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