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September 23, 2011

In the kingdom of words

Having belatedly read Kirill Eskov's The Last Ringbearer - I desperately wish I had written it - it is now safe for me to read the reviews.

The first return is from Salon, Laura Miller calling it Middle-earth according to Mordor. Unfortunately, the whole point of Eskov's spirited, saturnine commentary on Tolkien's masterpiece is lost in Miller's summary. She tries to appropriate Russian cynicism but in doing so shows herself to be a paid up member of the class Eskov has in his sights.

As bad lots go, you can't get much worse than the hordes of Mordor from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings." Led by an utterly evil disembodied entity who manifests himself as a gigantic, flaming, pitiless eye, and composed of loathsome orcs (or goblins), trolls and foreigners, Mordor's armies are ultimately defeated and wiped out by the virtuous and noble elves, dwarfs, ents and human beings -- aka the "free peoples" -- of Middle-earth.

Human beings, she says. She means "Men" but can't bring herself to use the word. She goes on to parse "victors" as "history is written by the winners." Such is the pasteurization of English, an injustice both to Tolkien and to his clever Russian critic.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 23, 2011 07:08 AM