Here Be Dragons!

I’m spending this evening with rereading Tolkien’s essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”. I really like his style of essay writing — you can just imagine him sitting at his desk with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. E.g., when he argues that BEOWULF should be read as a poem and not as a historical document, he writes: “. . . it is of their nature that the jabberwocks of historical and antiquarian research burble in the tulgy wood of conjecture, flitting from one tum-tum tree to another. Noble animals, whose burbling is on occasion good to hear; but though their eyes of flame may sometimes prove searchlights, their range is short.”

Ahh, yes, “[beware] the Jabberwock, my son! / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” But, oh, “[t]he Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, /Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, /And burbled as it came!”

Let’s just hope that the Jabberwocks of historical and antiquarian research don’t get bitten by the vorpal sword! :O)

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