They went in single file along hedgerows and the borders of coppices, and night fell dark about them. In their dark cloaks they were as invisible as if they all had magic rings.
|Frodo Sam and Pippin Set Out | Cor Blok|
Actually it's Matthew Sullivans fault this time. He started a "read along with Lord of the Rings" on his blog, under the premise that it might shed light on the origins of some gaming things. But I expect that's just an excuse. Matthew is an erudite host - anyone who name checks Umberto Eco whilst reviewing the classic 1980s Robert Harris / Gary Chalk fantasy board game Talisman is doing something right.
So I find myself once again re-reading The Lord of The Rings, something I seem to end up doing do every few years since the age of 10 when I first read it, and much like the work of Mark Rothko, who I saw probably at the age of 16, also seem to return to. The work changes every time. Not that the work really changes of course, discounting Vladimir Umanets and Peter Jacksons contributions - it's really just the viewer's life experiences.
I'd already convinced myself that Tolkiens biography has far more influence on his text than he'd ever admit to and while I'm fully committed to la mort de l'auteur I'm also open to an intertextual reading of biography and fiction, and I think in this case with good reason, keeping in mind that both Tolkien and his wife have his fictional characters names on their gravestones - these stories held meaning to these people beyond what we as readers, standing on the outside of their lives can know.
Adding comments to Matthews blog as we go - on Tolkien as a proto-postmodernist, complete with metanarrative diversions around the folkloric figures of Black Riders (who will be transformed into Ring-Wraiths and Nazgûl at some point) and The Shire as politically progressing towards an Arts and Crafts Romantic Socialist Utopia - his faux historic framework and deconstruction of mythological themes being rather a rejection of modernity and movement towards increasing fragmentation, particularly of history and place, almost to an account of a ruralised psychogeography. And we're only on Chapter 4.
Grab a copy, jump in.