Pith of the Pair? Moorcock and Tolkien

ElricPeter Bebergal has an essay in the New Yorker on Michael Moorcock, the Anti-Tolkien (at least according to the headline writer). Moorcock is the author of numerous books and the creator of various incarnations of the Eternal Champion. He’s also the former editor of New Worlds, a British magazine that was instrumental in presenting alternatives to science fiction and the type of fantasy stories that followed J.R.R. Tolkien’s success in the 60’s.

As Bebergal explains, “Moorcock’s literary agitation shook the fantasy and science-fiction establishment and made it possible for writers to step outside the long shadow of Tolkien and other fantasy devices. And frail Elric, dependent on a soul-stealing sword to keep his kingdom from utter dissolution, is a necessary corrective to the bloat of something like the “Hobbit” movie trilogy.”

Moorcock’s dislike of Tolkien’s stories is well known. Moorcock sees Tolkien, among other writers, as anti-technological and anti-urban and ultimately misanthropic, with bourgeois attitudes towards progress and political change. (And, clearly, Moorcock is never misanthropic. <G>)

More here by Bebergal on Moorcock and Tolkien.

And read Moorcock’s Epic Pooh essay to fully understand Moorcock’s issues with Tolkien and his Inkling brethren, and to discover which writers Moorcock does believe are reading-worthy.

Finally, 20 kopins to the first reader who explains my header.



1 Comment

  1. Eugene R.

    For all of his critique of the stereotypes of fantasy, Mr. Moorcock’s character Elric is much more the anti-Conan than the anti-Hobbit. While it is true that Mr. Moorcock dislikes the “cozy” fantasy of Middle-Earth, his fantasy fiction works other ground (sword-and-sorcery as opposed to “high” fantasy).

    And 20 kopins will sure buy a lot of cheese dip!

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