Yesterday there were a bunch of articles about how Tolkien was nominated for the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature for The Lord of the Rings, but his work was dismissed as having no merit. Some guy I’ve never heard of won, and a several other people I have at least heard of (including Robert Frost) were also dismissed for other spurious reasons like their age.
Let’s take a moment for the Nobel Committee lose any remaining credibility.
Okay, we’re back. What I thought was most interesting in the whole business (that the Nobel Committee involves snobbery and politics isn’t exactly a stunner) were the mainstream com boxes. I wasn’t stupid enough to go into them, not having my hipwaders handy, but it wasn’t possible to avoid them either. And what I thought most interesting was the oft repeated opinion that because a particular commenter “couldn’t get more than a hundred pages in” to the work, that the work has no merit.
Seriously? As a complaint, that’s pretty laughable. A commentor of unknown background, age, and education stating that because Tolkien didn’t write an easy page turner and couldn’t maintain his interest, that the book has no literary merit. This complaint presumes two things. One, that entertainment of the reader is the sole determinant of literary merit. And two, that this unknown’s opinion matters in determining literary merit.