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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Imaginary Histories: How Tolkien’s Fascination With Language Shaped His Literary World, by Damien Bador, Literary Hub

JRR Tolkien disliked novels that tended toward autobiography, though he did not dispute the fact that an author has no choice but to use his or her own experiences in writing fiction. The Lord of the Rings is most assuredly not an allegory for the 20th century, nor are any of his protagonists a reflection of Tolkien himself. Yet, if there is a domain inextricably intertwined with the life of our author, it is linguistics: comparative philology, to be precise.

To Be Fully Human, We Must Also Be Fully Embodied Animal, by Melanie Challenger, Aeon

These end-of-life stages prick our imaginations. They confront us with some unsettling ideas. We don’t like to face the possibility that irreversible biological processes in our bodies can snuff out the stunning light of our individual experience. We prefer to deny our bodies altogether, and push away the dark tendrils of a living world we fear. The trouble for us is that this story – that we aren’t really our bodies but some special, separate ‘thing’ – has made a muddle of reality. Problems flow from the notion that we’re split between a superior human half and the inferior, mortal body of an animal. In short, we’ve come to believe that our bodies and their feelings are a lesser kind of existence. But what if we’re wrong? What if all parts of us, including our minds, are deeply biological, and our physical experiences are far more meaningful and richer than we’ve been willing to accept?

An Aging Surfer Comes To Terms With Mortality In Paul Theroux’s Superb ‘Under The Wave At Waimea’, by Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

“Under the Wave” goes deeper, however. Its immersion in the physical essence and social divides of Hawaii feels profoundly experienced rather than merely observed.

The Tradition Of Storytelling In Something Unbelievable, by Laura Spence-Ash, Ploughshares

These crafted stories, told by one family member to another, provide a link from one generation to the next, allowing us to connect with the past as we move into the future.

Sapphics, by Sophia Dahlin, Chicago Review

How will I write Sapphic poetry
for though I am a woman, loving women
my love is a man’s!