Comments: Beyond The Lord of the Rings

It is a slog. I received the trilogy as a birthday present... way back in what was probably 2nd or 3rd grade. I was exceptionally bright, but still found it incredibly daunting. I remember the copies were paperback, and printed with the smallest type I think I've ever seen. All I can remembeer now is the beginning part, where a weary traveler stops at someone's house and asks to spend the night. I could be way off.

I put them down, and my mother bought me a box set of the Chronicles of Narnia, which I still have, and which was drastically easier reading. I've read all seven books about five times, and each time has caused me to question things and to examine my life.

I haven't picked up Out of the Silent Planet since I stopped reading it (again, way back in the middle of grade school), and I'm still not sure I could take it on now. Oh, I've read plenty of dense text -- Plutarch's Lives, for instance, when I was a Classic Politics major at UD -- but a few years ago I resolved to fight my way through Infinite Jest (1100 pages, tiny print, thousands of footnotes, Dictionary required), and unfortunately have had it hand me my ass multiple times since...

Posted by Kevin White at January 21, 2004 09:32 AM

"One thousand years ago, even the poorest peasant -- while deprived of even the most rudimentary education -- gave thought to the spiritual. "

I think you can make the case that this was a cause and effect relationship (deprivation causes the spritual/religion) and that this does not obtain any more, at least in the West, because there is no longer such deprivation...

Posted by jon ravin at January 21, 2004 10:53 AM

Nasty liberalses!

Posted by Gollum at January 21, 2004 10:27 PM

Jon but deprivation can take many forms. There are many people who feel deprived of something these days who seek solace in religion and spirituality. It is a security blanket for many as they deal with life's foibles (not a bad thing) and tribulations.

Posted by Andrew Ian Dodge at January 22, 2004 08:54 AM

The Planet Trilogy is about my least favorite of C.S. Lewis' work. I reread Narnia every few years, and I also really enjoyed "The Screwtape Letters" and "The Great Divorce."

I find Tolkein's language to be dense, sort of like Gene Wolf, though in Wolf's case, I'm distracted by how lovely his phrases can be.

Hey, a few more random observations: I find I can reread "Dracula" every few years and enjoy it, but find "Frankenstein" unbearable. I expect it's due to the Stoker having written for serials.

Wow, I'm all over the place tonight. At least my spelling isn't too bad.


Posted by Leo at January 25, 2004 01:54 AM