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Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World

por Verlyn Flieger

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234289,772 (4.3)7
J. R. R. Tolkien is perhaps best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but it is in The Silmarillion that the true depth of Tolkien's Middle-earth can be understood. The Silmarillion was written before, during, and after Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. A collection of stories, it provides information alluded to in Tolkien's better known works and, in doing so, turns The Lord of the Rings into much more than a sequel to The Hobbit, making it instead a continuation of the mythology of Middle-earth.Verlyn Flieger's expanded and updated edition of Splintered Light, a classic study of Tolkien's fiction first published in 1983, examines The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings in light of Owen Barfield's linguistic theory of the fragmentation of meaning. Flieger demonstrates Tolkien's use of Barfield's concept throughout the fiction, showing how his central image of primary light splintered and refracted acts as a metaphor for the languages, peoples, and history of Middle-earth.… (mais)
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Scholarly. Deals mainly with the contents of the Silmarillion. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2494949.html

Flieger's Tolkien analysis was recommended to me last year, and this is her most popular book (also seems to be the only one available in ebook format). I found it very interesting. I was less convinced by her strong thesis, that Tolkien's core message is to do with splintered light v darkness, but rather more so by her incidental detail, that when choosing words Tolkien was very aware of their Indo-European roots and some of his choices of phrase particularly need to be understood in that light. She does have some good evidence, notably the Silmarils and the undoubted intellectual and personal links between Tolkien and Owen Barfield who had ideas along the lines, but I think there is so much going on in Tolkien's work taht it can't really be reduced to just this theme (and I thought her treatment of Tolkien's own personality was a bit awkward).

It's rather dated - the first edition is from 1983, and perhaps is an attempt to explain the Silmarillion; the second edition, from 2003, draws rather less on the History of Middle-Earth, which had all been published by then, than I would have expected. Also absent is any mention of how the light/dark good/evil dichotomies might be read in terms of Tolkien's attitudes to race, which feels like a big omission. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 12, 2015 |
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Preface to the Second Edition
Since Splintered Light was first published, Owen Barfield has died.
Preface to the First Edition
In this uneasy century whose people are no more divided from one another than from themselves, when the likelihood of annihilation is the only constant in an age of change, what relevance is to be found in a reactionary English professor's anachronistic flight of fancy about elves and dragons and hobbits and magic jewels?
Introduction
The Silmarillion is without doubt the most difficult and problematic of Tolkien's major works.
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There are two different editions of Splintered Light. The first version was published in 1983, is 167 pages long, and bears the isbn 0802819559.
The second, much revised and expanded edition was published almost 20 years later, in 2002, is 208 pages long, and bears the isbn 0873387449 (or isbn13 9780873387446).
They should probably be separated but I don't have the energy just now...
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J. R. R. Tolkien is perhaps best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but it is in The Silmarillion that the true depth of Tolkien's Middle-earth can be understood. The Silmarillion was written before, during, and after Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. A collection of stories, it provides information alluded to in Tolkien's better known works and, in doing so, turns The Lord of the Rings into much more than a sequel to The Hobbit, making it instead a continuation of the mythology of Middle-earth.Verlyn Flieger's expanded and updated edition of Splintered Light, a classic study of Tolkien's fiction first published in 1983, examines The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings in light of Owen Barfield's linguistic theory of the fragmentation of meaning. Flieger demonstrates Tolkien's use of Barfield's concept throughout the fiction, showing how his central image of primary light splintered and refracted acts as a metaphor for the languages, peoples, and history of Middle-earth.

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