Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

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42
Posts: 507

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#1 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Maybe it was a height thing, you get to a certain point and get a capital letter or something....

How tall was Tolkien?

;)

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rednell
Posts: 1798

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#2 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I'm not sure 42, but from the photos that I have seen, he looks fairly tall.
Besides not all Orcs were tall so why do they get a capital "O"? Interesting theory, however. :funnylaugh:

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TomBombadillo
Posts: 2746

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#3 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

:grin:
While re-re-re-reading LOTR, I did spot some inconsistencies yeah... I for my part always tend to write the whole lot with a capital letter. It's easier. :D
Denial is not a river in Africa.

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Allyssa
Posts: 1657

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#4 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Capitalisation (an editing point of view):

"Sentances should always start with a capital letter. Initial capitals should also be used for proper nouns and for proper names (the names of specific people, places and organisations)....Initial capitals should always be given to names that identify nationalities, races, tribes, clans, the inhabitants of a particular region, the adherents of a particular religion, and the speakers of a particular language....In contrast, common words derived from geographical names of regions are often presented without an initial capital." - The Australian Style Manual


Tolkien - or rather his editor - was probably adhering to a style. Dwarf needs a capital at the start of a sentance, or when speaking about a particular Dwarf or group of Dwarves, but if he said a sword was "dwarf-make" that would probably be acceptable.


But that aside, Tolkien and racism is an intersting debate. LOTRs was actually banned at one stage, because it was thought to be sympathetic to Nazism. Ever notice that the "good" races of ME are always white? and the bad guys ie: orcs, haradrim, easterlings, are of other races?

Elves, who T. considered to be the ultimate beings, were also white.

I dont think there was any intentional rascism from Tolkien, it merely reflected an Englishman's perspective and attitude of the times.
"May the Angels Guide"

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#5 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I only meant between Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Hobbits; and not in real life situations. And even if he was, he lived in different times when such things were the norm in many societies. We can no longer afford that luxury(?) as we have found it breeds hate and discontent.

Tolkien never capitalized Hobbit or Hobbits, but someone said recently that he considered them to be just a side branch of diminutive men, so that may be his reasoning. Today I did find more examples of Men than men, but also more dwarves than Dwarves. So I guess it depends on whether it is a dwarf, the Dwarf, that dwarf (inferiority implied), some dwarves, Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, or all Dwarves. It is always Elf and Elves just because they were the superior race (in their eyes anyway because they are longer lasting). Orc and Orcs just because they started out as Elves, or more probably, so as to be in compliance with the editor's style book. :wink:

As Rednell said, not a whole lot of consistency here. :grin: Sure glad it doesn't add up to a hill of beans: meaning it doesn't matter in the least and I only mentioned it because I found it odd when I was trying to quote verbatim from Tolkien's text and I had to double check my capitalization because I often typed it according to the rules, rather than what he actually wrote, requiring me go back and do it Tolkien's way.
'Share and enjoy'

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TomBombadillo
Posts: 2746

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#6 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

That's probably it, yeah... :grin:
Denial is not a river in Africa.

Ungoliant
Posts: 993

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#7 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Sounds more like a speciest than a racist to me, Grondy.

As for Tolkien & racism, well, most whites - especially Englishmen (is JRRT an Englishman or SAfrican?) - back in the colonial days were racists anyway. But there's nothing sensitive or offensive in LotR, unless your dermal & epidermal layer is particularly thin.nn[Edited on 15/8/2002 by Ungoliant]

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#8 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I certainly didn't want to bend the conversation by playing "the race card", which on this side of the pond (Atlantic Ocean) almost always results in a lose-lose situation. :blues:
Sounds more like a speciest than a racist to me, Grondy.
Yes, speciest is the word I would have used, had I been a better linguist. (Is that a coined word added since Star Trek?) I think Tolkien was a speciest and only as applies to his writing. His esteem for the Elves led him to figuratively, place them on a pedestal or in an ivory tower; thus, he decided to always capitalize all non-adjective forms of the word 'Elf'. That I can understand; I think Allyssa also shares Tolkien's healthy sentiment about the Elves. :grin:
'Share and enjoy'

Ungoliant
Posts: 993

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#9 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

No, I know you didn't mean to play the race card G - I was responding to Allyssa's post about Tolkien & racism.

And I didn't mean anything offensive by my previous post either - it's just from my point of view, as a brown-ish person, most of our ex-colonial masters were racists & bigots. Even the ones with 'good' intentions - missionaries & the like, hell-bent on converting the 'savages', when we savages were perfectly content living naked on trees and the like. :wink: Patronising sods, they were. But they're much better now, and we've both come a long way since then.

So surrounded with that kind of mentality, it's only natural that Tolkien had certain views or prejudices which may piss off today's thought police. But as I said, there's nothing particularly sensitive or offensive in LotR.

As for speciest - didn't know that Star Trek coined that one up. Eeek! Thought I got it from a Star Wars novel...maybe.

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rednell
Posts: 1798

Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What?

Post#10 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Whoops, found the word elves with a small e. In FOTR, Book II, Chapter6, Lothlorien.
He could dimly see the grey forms of two elves sitting motionlesswith their arms about their knees, speaking in whispers.

I have no doubt this was unintentional and I am surprised the editor never picked up on it.
BTW, it is just kismit that I came across this. I really have not been scouring the books looking for a lowercase elf.
Speciest...I like that! :funnylaugh:

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