Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Verlyn Flieger online lecture

So, thanks to Janice for letting me know about this one: an online lecture for the TED channel (which aims to present short, thought-provoking talks on a range of subjects) with Verlyn Flieger talking about THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Her piece is called "Imaginary Creatures -- Real Experience"; here's the link.

Having just watched this myself, I found it very good (as I wd expect from a piece by Verlyn), bringing into sharp focus an aspect of the book (and Tolkien's writing in general) that tends to get overlooked, or at least underappreciated. And, in the way the brain connects things with other things, I was struck with how well Verlyn's insights fit with a point is made by Ursula K. LeGuin in her classic essay on Frodo as Mrs Brown.*

I hope we get more pieces like this: I could watch Verlyn talking Tolkien all day long, and learn things with each new lecture.

--John R.

*"Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown" [1976], in THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT [1979]; le Guin's point being that in Frodo Baggins fantasy literature had found a compelling portrayal of a small, humble, but indomitable figure of the type Virginia Woolf had lamented was not to be found in the mainstream fiction of her day.

P.S.: For those who like this sort of thing, here's a short piece by John McWhorter on constructed languages, which includes a good deal of focus on JRRT, including some amusing brief animations based on Tolkien and/or his work. Apparently it's part of a longer piece, which I have not yet seen.

Second Postscript:
I shd add that Janice's source was a post by Andrew Higgins; many thanks to A.H. for letting us know about his piece, which I'd have been sorry to have missed. -- JDR

1 comment:

Marcel R. Aubron-Bülles said...

There actually quite a few little gems on Youtube - unfortunately, it's rather difficult to find them if you can't find your way past the LEGO, MOVIETRAILERS, HONESTTRAILERS etc ... ;)