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Nobel Prize for Tolkien dashed by ‘poor prose’

January 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm by maegwen  - 

The Guardian writes that recently released documents reveal in 1961 Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” — nominated by friend and fellow fantasy writer CS Lewis — was rejected by the Nobel Prize jury “on the grounds of his second-rate prose.” The news organization reports that though LOTR was “crowned the UK’s best-loved book and sold millions of copies around the world,” the 1961 jury believed the book “has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.”
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Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Two Towers, Tolkien on January 5, 2012 by Source: The Guardian Nobel Prize for Tolkien dashed by ‘poor prose’ | Discuss
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12 responses to “Nobel Prize for Tolkien dashed by ‘poor prose’”

  1. Jamesmspaulding says:

    can we renominate him…it is deserved.

  2. tolkien fan #39087 says:

    I have never read a book with such a great and imaginative story as the lord of the rings. Honestly I believe that the LOTR was the book that sparked the age of modern fantasy.

  3. Fogleman6438 says:

    I suspect the Nobel committee just didn’t understand LotR. I don’t mean that in a literal sense, more in the sense of “it’s fantasy, so it can’t possibly have any merit.” It never ceases to amaze me how many people have the attitude that fantasy and/or science fiction is for children, and any adults who still like it *must* be immature. The sort of viewpoint J.R.R.T. argued against in his essay “On Fairy Stories.” Moreover, I agree with the posters here who suggested that the Nobel committee and other literary elites tend to scorn any fiction that appeals to a lot of readers. So, because the Nobel literary committee probably didn’t understand and appreciate LotR, because their own imaginations are limited, they disdained it. Just my opinion, but it seems as likely an explanation as any.

  4. Mark A. Cameron says:

    The jury is comprised of pompous swine and jealous haters!

  5. Rrose says:

    Yet they gave one to Obama….

  6. A Guest with an Opinion says:

    Well…they’re kind of right.  As a storyteller, Tolkien fails miserably.  His characters are static and uninteresting, and good storytelling is driven by the characters in the story.  His pacing is quagmired by indulgently long descriptions of scenery or physical objects.  The Hobbit was much better about all of the aforementioned issues with LOTR actually.

    However, The Lord of the Rings can’t be judged the same way as run of the mill novels that come out.  It is the archetype, the foundation for the modern fantasy genre.  It serves as the inspiration for countless other fantasy universes, and still none of them come close to the depth of the lore that Tolkien created for Middle Earth.  Middle Earth is legendary, it has a breathing and authentic mythology.  Tolkien is not a storyteller; he is a world-creator.  George R. R. Martin is the best storyteller to ever come along in the fantasy genre (in this man’s humble opinion), but he owes LOTR a debt like all medieval fantasy authors do; and his Essos never even comes close to that mythological epitome of Middle Earth.

  7. Mauricioayala84 says:

    The same jury chose Obama Nobel Peace. The best jury is public not always this prizes are right. I can’t imagine a better writer than Tolkien, he created a whole world so vast that is almost unbelievable that have been a single man. He created languages and instructions of how to write and speak, creatures, places,  in such a way that you think is possible that this has happened in a previos history. He made me read my first entire book by my self so quickly like no other writer has, when I was a kid. Obviously later a read the entire LORT.

  8. Dan Hartley says:

    I’ve written a short piece in response to this news: http://thinkingblueguitars.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/thoughts-on-tolkiens-poor-prose/

  9. DRL says:

    Strictly in terms of accepted writing at the time, they were right. It was about 10 years later, after the avalanche of quality fantasy and science fiction that emerged in the 60’s from the 50’s “pulp”, that Tolkien’s writing was realized to be extraordinary. But our genres have always been looked down upon by “mainstream”, it still persists to this day. Give us another 10 years, I think, and we will dominate 🙂

  10. Adam says:

    The Nobel committee invalidated itself by presenting Obama with a Prize (different reason, of course).  Regardless of politics the guy had done nothing to garner the Prize.  Tolkien’s work has had worldwide effect on literally millions upon millions of readers and in many ways, effected MANY lives in a positive way.  So, my friends, take comfort in the joy and love you have for J.R.R Tolkien, his work and for what he’s done for YOU.  Not what some dull group of pseudo-intellectuals think is deserved. 

  11. shade ancalagon says:

     the lotr books and the hobbit are definitely the most well writen fantasy books i have ever read.the sheer creation of jrr tolkein and the references about the the past in the books makes you realize about his epic creation.tolkein should have got the nobel and should have been knighted.it saddens me that tolkein died before releasing the silmarillion in the way he wanted to and didn’t release more middle earth books. 

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