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Scholarship of the entire Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

 
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Mr.Land
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:05 pm    Post subject: Scholarship of the entire Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Reply with quote

Nothing takes the place of the 10 books that make up Donaldson's Chronicles, but I would be interested in reading scholarly examinations of the series as well. I'm aware of W.A. Senior's Variations on the Fantasy Tradition and Christine Barkley's Stephen R Donaldson and the Modern Epic Vision. Both of these critical analyses were published before the conclusion of The Last Chronicles (1995 and 2007 respectively). The Last Dark came out in 2014.

Does anyone know of works in the last 5 years that have looked at the whole series? It's strange and a little disappointing that a fantasy series of such significance and depth doesn't have greater interest from the scholarly community.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Scholarship of the entire Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Mr.Land wrote:
[...]

... It's strange and a little disappointing that a fantasy series of such significance and depth doesn't have greater interest from the scholarly community.


Tru dat.

IMO, SRD scholarship is somewhat hindered by his reticence to take a stand upon a settled worldview. He is still in via, so to speak.

For example, even if scholars in Tolkien's day had decided to take an interest in his work, they would've -- at least -- had his Catholicity to provide them with certain interpretive parameters.

Sad to say, but I think that -- until SRD completes his earthly transit and the course of his thought is given closure in the lineaments of his most-mature rumination -- scholars won't have as firm a ground as they might prefer for doing serious work.

That being said, I do think that SRD's youthful formation in Calvinistic Christianity and his subsequent rejection of it does provide some interpretive keys which the motivated scholar can use. In this repudiatory sense, at least, I think that his work has largely taken shape as a negative project (an opposition or a contra) rather than as a more positive, affirmative one (at least, one the outlines of which are easily traced). Of course, such an appraisal is still subject to modification by his mature work. But until SRD decides to reveal more -- whether extant in new writings or postmortem in the closure of his corpus -- then this may be only substantially significant thread with which scholars might begin their weave.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hasn't SRD revealed more than enough in his Gradual Interview to answer any questions?
What's missing that you're looking for?

Sounds like the author needs to be dead so he/she can't refute the "scholarly" interpretations of his/her work.

Like people calling Tolkien's work an allegory to christianity after his death despite the author saying twice in letters that it isn't.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to HLT's excellent suggestion of the Gradual Interview, I would recommend perusal of some of the topics created by Wayfriend in the SRD fora, particularly the "Epic Vision" and "Redemption Of" topics. WF has done some impressive scholarly analysis, well worth reading.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I must agree that there has been no scholarly work covering the Chronicles since their completion.

If you look at the totality of the works out there, and this amounts to a handful at best, they either deal with the First Chronicles solely, or deal with the First Chronicles primarily, and refer to the Second Chronicles only as something that confirms their notions about the First. There's really nothing that attempts a serious analysis of the Second Chronicles, never mind the Last ones.

One could easily ascribe this to the popularity of the works at the time they were published. Well, perhaps "popularity" isn't the right word, since it suggests merely numbers. Maybe "faddishness" is a better word. By the time White Gold Weilder was published, it's grip on fantasy fandom had waned.

However, I also think that the First Chronicles are the most accessible to analysis.

Quote:
It seems to me that the first Chronicles is contructed in a way that readily lends itself to analyis and deconstruction, while the Second Chronicles is a much more difficult subject matter to address. It is as if the first is an artifact built with Erector Set pieces, and by looking closely you can see how it is put together, while the second is a more advanced creation, such that close examination reveals an organic mass of strange organs and connective tissue that balks mechanical explanation. The first can be explained with an instruction guide containing diagrams and arrows, while the second requires something approaching a Grey's Anatomy just to begin.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:

Like people calling Tolkien's work an allegory to christianity after his death despite the author saying twice in letters that it isn't.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
Hasn't SRD revealed more than enough in his Gradual Interview to answer any questions?
What's missing that you're looking for?

Sounds like the author needs to be dead so he/she can't refute the "scholarly" interpretations of his/her work.

Like people calling Tolkien's work an allegory to christianity after his death despite the author saying twice in letters that it isn't.
Laughing


Wow Shocked I did not know that Tolkien himself denied the LOTRs was a Christian allegory.
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