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Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 17 March, 2021 05:38PM
Tremendous detective work, Dale!

This is the sort of background research that I have little talent or aptitude for, and yet adds value to any discussion such as we have here on ED.

Thanks for sharing this!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 17 March, 2021 05:42PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There is no reason
> whatever to think Tolkien read anything by Smith
> but "The Testament of Athammaus," and what put off
> Tolkien was the style and the disgustingness of
> the monster, from anything I can tell. I doubt
> Lewis ever heard of Smith.

If he didn't like that story, I imagine he wouldn't have liked most of Smith's fiction. But still, what a story to start with! I wouldn't suggest "Athammaus" as anyone's first Smith reading. Not that it's bad, but it's one of the most intensely grotesque things he's written, and one of the most violent. "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" or "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan" would have been better, but based on the title of this collection they probably wanted something with a bit more manly action.

> 2.Dunsany fans will like this -- 31 March 1954 he
> writes to an admirer, "Ld. Dunsany is a glorious
> writer in prose: try The Charwoman's Shadow."
> Long before I ever read Lewis's comment on it,
> that was a favorite Dunsany of mine too.
>
> I think there might be something I'm forgetting.
> At any rate I thought ED folk might be interested.

I'm certainly interested. I haven't read anything of Lewis' since childhood, but do you suppose he might have been just a bit closer in style to Dunsanian fantasy (without mimicking of course) than Tolkien was? I recall Narnia feeling a bit less down-to-earth than Tolkien's Middle-earth.

> Tolkien and Lewis certainly had read Dunsany,
> like REH, CAS, & HPL. (I assume the former two
> had -- I actually don't know if I have seen proof
> that they had read Dunsany.)

REH and CAS had both read him, as I learned from a few letters. Even if they hadn't read him previously, anyone who was pen pals with Lovecraft would have received a few paragraphs' worth of praise of his books, and insistent recommendations. I don't recall REH having much to say about Dunsany, other than admiration for his poetry (in a long list of other poets). CAS enthused more than once for A Dreamer's Tales and The Book of Wonder, and mentioned how his land of Yondo physically existed somewhere beyond Dunsany's realms, but he didn't care as much for the rest of his work, including Pegana. At least that was his opinion in the '30s.

Lovecraft occasionally complimented CAS on the Dunsanian quality of his work, and made favorable comparisons between Dunsany's tales of thieves meeting bizarre entities with "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros." But I'm ambling away from Tolkien here!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 17 Mar 21 | 05:45PM by Hespire.

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 17 March, 2021 08:47PM
Quote:
H:
If he didn't like that story, I imagine he wouldn't have liked most of Smith's fiction. But still, what a story to start with! I wouldn't suggest "Athammaus" as anyone's first Smith reading. Not that it's bad, but it's one of the most intensely grotesque things he's written, and one of the most violent. "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" or "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan" would have been better, but based on the title of this collection they probably wanted something with a bit more manly action.

It's not one of my favorites, either, but the central irony is that no matter what authority attempts to do to resolve a problem, it only gets worse when they address it.

A very modern message, huh? :^)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2021 12:52AM
Who of the Weird Tales authors had read Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros?

Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Lewis got together with Eddison and Tolkien. Yes, that really happened.

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2021 02:11AM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Who of the Weird Tales authors had read
> Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros?

HPL was a colossal admirer of Ouroboros. He couldn't praise that book enough in his letters, and he spread that enthusiasm among many of his friends. Clark Ashton Smith was among them, and he became a huge fan of the book too, at least according to HPL. It doesn't look like CAS' letters about the novel are available though.

As for myself, I have yet to read it, but I've always been eager to. Fantasy before fantasy became a genre has always appealed to me, with its folkloric ties or its totally unique pioneering ideas.

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2021 09:14AM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Who of the Weird Tales authors had read
> Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros?
>
> Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Lewis got
> together with Eddison and Tolkien. Yes, that
> really happened.


Seems like I read somewhere that they all got drunk and went out and got tattoos.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2021 10:14AM
Hilarious!

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 19 March, 2021 11:32AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tremendous detective work, Dale!
>
> This is the sort of background research that I
> have little talent or aptitude for, and yet adds
> value to any discussion such as we have here on
> ED.
>
> Thanks for sharing this!


It's fun to find out these things. Another example I like is this: the role of William Morris in a couple of other great fantasists' activities. (1) Guess who lived in Morris's Hammersmith, London, house after Morris? George MacDonald. (2) Rider Haggard wanted to go to Iceland, and did so, writing Eric Brighteyes during his period of greatest achievement in the writing of romances. Haggard wanted to take letter(s) of introduction to expedite his travels on the remote island. Morris was the writer! He'd been there before. (By the way, Morris's Icelandic Journals are worth looking up.)

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 19 March, 2021 04:23PM
Hespire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Dale Nelson Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Who of the Weird Tales authors had read
> > Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros?
>
> HPL was a colossal admirer of Ouroboros. He
> couldn't praise that book enough in his letters,
> and he spread that enthusiasm among many of his
> friends. Clark Ashton Smith was among them, and he
> became a huge fan of the book too, at least
> according to HPL. It doesn't look like CAS'
> letters about the novel are available though.
>
> As for myself, I have yet to read it, but I've
> always been eager to. Fantasy before fantasy
> became a genre has always appealed to me, with its
> folkloric ties or its totally unique pioneering
> ideas.

I'm going to post on the Golden Age of Fantasy a list of classics, including The Worm Ouroboros, I mean to read or reread in the next couple of years or so.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19 Mar 21 | 04:24PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 19 March, 2021 07:51PM
I'll look forward to the list, Dale.

Thanks!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: Tolkien's comments on Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 19 March, 2021 11:49PM
I’ve posted it, and Knygatin has suggested a Merritt or two as I requested!

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