Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wagner and Tolkien or Tolkien and Wagner?

So, I've been meaning to pick up one of the two books on connections between Wagner's RING cycle and Tolkien's LotR and been at something of a loss, since two books came out on this topic from the same publisher at about the same time: WAGNER & TOLKIEN by Renee Vink (Walking Tree, 2012) and TOLKIEN & WAGNER by Christopher MacLachlan (Walking Tree, 2012).

Any recommendation much appreciated, esp re. which of these would be better for someone who's familiar with his Tolkien but only knows Wagner second-hand through retellings and summaries.

--John R.

1 comment:

Jason Fisher said...

They each refer to the other, and there are qualities to recommend your reading both; they don't actually repeat each other as much as you might expect. For me, Vink's is better. Much more systematic, very well organized, excellent on the source questions and the secondary literature, and more about a close comparison of language and style. MacLachlan is more about hitting the high points of common themes and motifs and about reading each in light of the other for what mutual light they can shed. Another way of putting this is to say MacLachlan takes a higher-elevation view, while Vink is a bit more down in the weeds. I like the weeds more myself, but the high-level view is also quite important. :) You might also refer to Marjorie Burns's capsule review/comparison in The Year's Work in Tolkien Studies 2012 (in Tolkien Studies 12 [2015]).