I have a friend who likes to argue that it's basically impossible for another Tolkien to emerge, due to the fact that JRR was shaped by the specific circumstances of his culture, his times (which included fighting in WWI and seeing the effects of Nazism during the WWII era), and his education. Modern writers, like myself, are shaped by the modern culture, with its emphasis on speed, digital media, fairly shallow education, disposable culture, etc. We can't escape who we are when we write, whether we want to or not.
Tolkien brought the richness of who he was to his written page and, while we (and Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, etc) might strive mightily, we do not have as much to bring to our own written pages. Thus, the output is quite different.
Anyway, that's the argument. It's somewhat depressing. I'm not saying I buy it, but, the more I consider it, the more it rings true. What do you all think? Are we doomed, and have the last elves already set sail for fairer lands?
I agree, Lindsay, but then again I'm not a religious person either.
As for the Proverbs quote, someone once said that to me during a discussion of religion, so I quoted Matthew 5:22 to them. It seemed to work. :)
Definitely a hell of a lot shorter if that was the case.
As to the issue of the religious discussion, I feel it is not so much a matter of which belief system or myths are used as a backdrop or basis for any given story, but more in terms of the human relation to those beliefs and the way they are brought about. After all any religious belief, whether still practiced today or not is really irrelevant, for in the end what come through are the passions, virtues and values behind the story.
Sometimes people are just too fixated by everything he did..cos in the end yes I love his world, the languages and history. But do i love his books? Eh, I prefer Jordan.
New Tolkiens, yes.
*hides under a stone so no one will hit her*
As Zohar Laor said earlier, we will never get another Tolkien, for that precise blend of factors that led to his work, will never be repeated, and no matter how much we move forward, his work will undoubtedly be a basis for others to come, just as all those before Tolkien were a basis for him. Will we have a story with as much depth and richness and attention to detail? I think that question is moot unless we first answer another question: do we need/want another work like that?
You need to remember that when Tolkien was working on LOTR, there was a fierce debate on the importance of languages as national identifiers, with the case of Esperanto being the most widely discussed among scholars such as Tolkien himself, as well as the Yidish language spoken by the Jewish community of the diaspora, and after the war the reconstruction of Hebrew in order to bring it back to life after being a language used only in religious services, much as Latin is for Christianity. This was a perfect backdrop for a work on the scope of Tolkien's, but in today's world, are we really prepared for something like this? do we even really care? I believe that there are other concerns which could be exploited to the same level of detail and profundity as linguistics was for LOTR, therefore we could have something similar in scope and importance to Tolkien, but never again the same.
And sorry if this feels a little bit like ranting
This is a very interesting point. I think it would depend on what criteria you go on when it comes to 'another Tolkien'.
Amusingly, if it's originality, J.R.R. only goes so far. I was quite disappointed to realise that quite a few symbols he includes in his epics are actually taken majorly from Medieval prose such as Piers Plowman and the like. (Two Towers? Middle Earth? Hrm...sounds familiar...)
~Sara, from Inspired-Quill