Bruce, I've always assumed most Lord of the Rings enthusiasts were mainly interested in the mythology of the books. For instance, studying in great detail the history, languages, and other particulars of Middle Earth. During my original obsession this is what interested me at least. Reading a Tolkien biography or literary criticism never even ever occurred to me. Though now I would just as likely to find myself more intrigued by biographical or critical writings than, say, a straightforward elucidation of "mythology." How did Tolkien invent the Ents? versus How did the Ents come to be? to imagine an example. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on the subject. CS Lewis mentions learning all he could about Norse myths as a boy until he became an expert in both the gods and the arcane. I can remember having a similar fascination with various mythologies, at one point one of those mythologies being that of Tolkien, and trying to find out everything about the different mythical personages and creatures.Has there been a development in your thinking about the books or, maybe, are the literary criticism aspects just more conducive to writing about (instead of just thinking or reading about)? Or were the more philosophical aspects always more interesting than the "world" ? Just asking as a curious fellow reader. Reading some of your Notion Club articles, I've come to appreciate the fascinating "backstage" and literary aspects of Tolkien as a writer.
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