Thursday, August 11, 2011

Taum Santoski II

'Aphorisms Towards a Poetics of Fantasy'

2. The events in Tolkien's mythos are located in a world related to but not identical with the present physical world. Nor is Middle-earth a mirror-image world reflecting back the common [>ordinary], but contains its own reality, its own flow of events, its own languages, customs and patterns of behavior, which impinge very efectively, but with a newness and nowness, upon our world.

--Taum Santoski, circa 1984


David Bratman said...

The first question I'd like to ask Taum is what does "related to but not identical with" mean? Is it different only in the sense that you can't step into the same river twice? Or does it mean that while the history of Arda purportedly belongs to the backstory of our world, it doesn't actually fit? Or was Taum one of those who believes it's a different, parallel world?

Ian & Anke Collier said...

I find David's comment interesting (I must admit that I'd read this one through a few times to make sense of it), but my understanding is that by 'related but not identical with' Taum is saying that Middle-earth springs from Tolkien's experience and knowledge of the primary world. So that it's not a copy or clone but a descendent in that it has similarities and differences.

If indeed that makes sense to anyone beyond me.

Ian Collier

Troels said...

It does make sense to me, but I think that there is more to it. That a Secondary World springs from the author's ‘experience and knowledge of the primary world’ is, I think, a general truth (possibly even a truism), but I think that Tolkien's world has an en stronger relation with the Primary World.

By placing the scene in our normal world, but in an imaginary historical period, Tolkien creates a situation where his world, in external fact, does derive from the Primary World (as does all sub-created secondary worlds), but where also our present world, in ‘internal’ fact, derives from Tolkien's Secondary World. This double relation is, I think, rather special to Tolkien's world.