I do not agree that Tolkien's attitude towards sex was typical for the period in which
he published LOTR. After all, this were the fifties!!!!
If I am not wrong, the books of J. Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, E. Hemingway ("Farewell to Arms.."
were published already!!!
And even if we limit ourselves to Fantasy, do not forget Howard and his Conan
books:- they are full of half-naked women and lovemaking among bleeding headless
corpses with their brains spread on the decks of corsair ships. Conan is older than
Aragorn or gentle Faramir!
In my humble opinion Tolkien was highly untypical for his times. I could not
understand why until I learned that he started to create the Silmarillion already during
the First World War. He was "the last dinosaur" (or perhaps "the last Unicorn" of
Heroic Romance. Compare his world with the Never-Never lands of William Morris!
And Morris was even more daring than Tolkien in depicting physical love
(see his delightful romance "Birdalone").
I totally agree with Ungoliant that these half-naked fantasy heroines we see so often on
covers of fantasy books are just poor pitoyable dolls, sexual objects. No question of
respect fora woman here! - they are not women, they are even not humans!
And I love, Ungoliant, what you wrote about the proper equipment for hunting
the monsters in woods! Girls, if ever you'll have to go a-hunting monsters, follow her
sound advice and do not run in bikinis!
Anyway, to return to the principal question - are Tolkien's books a good source to learn
something about men's minds?
Now a quote I like a lot (from "Unfinished Tales"):
Hurin was brought before Morgoth [...] Morgoth [...] offered him his choice to
go free whither he would, or to receive power and rank as the greatest of Morgoth's
captains if he would but reveal where Turgon has his stronghold [...]But Hurin
the Steadfast mocked him saying "Blind you are, Morgoth Bauglir, and blind
shall ever be, seeing only the dark. You know not what rules the hearts of men
I think that in contrast to Morgoth Tolkien knew well (from introspection) "what rules
the hearts of men". What do we need, what do we miss in this modern world, what do
we yearn to.
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis kept telling that they must write books because they cannot get
enough of books they would like to read. In the Foreword to the famous Ballantine edition
of the LOTR Tolkien wrote that when writing LOTR
As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving
And I also think that Tolkien knows a great deal about the anguish of a desperate fight
with an addiction (in the broad sense of that term - encompassing such addictions as
workaholism, Internet addiction, or loving obsessively a wrong person).