Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Enda’s Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:21 PM

An April 4 Boston Globe  story by Kevin Cullen
suggests a review of …

  • "The Dead," by James Joyce
  • "Clay," by James Joyce
  • Dreamcatcher , by Stephen King
  • Enda's Game, a post quoting Tolkien
    on telepathic communication

Monday, January 30, 2012

Enda’s Game*

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM

The following passage by Tolkien was suggested by a copy of next Sunday's New York Times Book Review  that arrived in the mail today. (See Orson Scott Card's remarks on page 26— "Uncle Orson"— and the Review 's concluding essay "Grand Allusion.")

"Lastly, tengwesta  [system or code of signs] has also become an impediment. It is in Incarnates clearer and more precise than their direct reception of thought. By it also they can communicate easily with others, when no strength is added to their thought: as, for example, when strangers first meet. And, as we have seen, the use of 'language' soon becomes habitual, so that the practice of ósanwe  (interchange of thought) is neglected and becomes more difficult. Thus we see that the Incarnate tend more and more to use or to endeavour to use ósanwe  only in great need and urgency, and especially when lambe  is unavailing. As when the voice cannot be heard, which comes most often because of distance. For distance in itself offers no impediment whatever to ósanwe . But those who by affinity might well use ósanwe  will use lambe  when in proximity, by habit or preference. Yet we may mark also how the 'affine' may more quickly understand the lambe  that they use between them, and indeed all that they would say is not put into words. With fewer words they come swifter to a better understanding. There can be no doubt that here ósanwe  is also often taking place; for the will to converse in lambe  is a will to communicate thought, and lays the minds open. It may be, of course, that the two that converse know already part of the matter and the thought of the other upon it, so that only allusions dark to the stranger need be made; but this is not always so. The affine** will reach an understanding more swiftly than strangers upon matters that neither have before discussed, and they will more quickly perceive the import of words that, however numerous, well-chosen, and precise, must remain inadequate."

* "If a poem catches a student's interest at all, he or she should damned well be able to look up an unfamiliar word in the dictionary…."

   — Elizabeth Bishop, quoted in the essay "Grand Allusion" mentioned above. For a brief dictionary of most of the unfamiliar words in this post's title and in the above passage, see Vinyar Tengwar  39 (July 1998). This is copyrighted but freely available on the Web.

** The word "affine" has connotations not intended by Tolkien. See that word in this journal. See also page 5 of next Sunday's Times Book Review , which contains a full-page ad for the 50th anniversary edition of A Wrinkle in Time . "There is  such a thing as a tesseract."

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