marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
Today, in a lesson on war poets (WW1), our teacher said something along the lines of "who knows what we lost in the trenches of WW1, considering what we did get," speaking of some philosophers and writers, pondering how different the world would be if they had died in the war. I immediately thought of Lewis and Tolkien - how diferent the world would be without them! I did not say it aloud, because it would be very much derailing the discussion, but I'm thinking the difference might have, at this point, been even more pronounced than in those cases he named. It would have, most certainly, meant a much more profound difference in my own life.

Just to think of what children's books were like before The Hobbit, and those are people's first introduction to literature. Well, it's not entirely like The Hobbit is the only one (and there's George MacDonald if nothing else), but it's definitely sort of a class for itself. Fantastic literature would, of course, be very different - and considering how many fantasy and sci-fi, or sort of something like that, films we get these days... If all that had emerged from the trenches of WW1 had been modernism, there would certainly be something significant missing from the world as it is today.

I'm definitely biased; someone else might have been hugely impacted by modernism. I wasn't, not that same way. So there's that personal factor. But this is a personal journal; I'm not aspiring to academia here.

So there's no deep thought in this, I'm afraid, but it did make me wonder how much of my imagination as well as my ability to see the beauty of the real world, including the beauty of language, owes to those two. At an early age, just like Lewis points out in a defense of fantasy, their enchanted forests taught me to see some enchatnment in every forest. At an early age, they taught me about the fragile connection between reality and language, without me realising it. Think of all those descriptions Lewis gives, only to end saying it wasn't quite like that, really. "Yrch," said Legolas, falling into his own tongue. It's sort of banal, but it jumped out at me, and remained with me ever since.
("Philosophy was killed by language," the teacher said, in that same abovementioned line of thought, although I sort of missed the connection, because I forgot which philosopher/thinker he was referring to.)
I probably would not be studying English if I had not grown up with their books. I would not have learned to love Englishness without the hobbits and Puddleglum and countless other little instances; and in the very same way, I probably would not have learned to love Czechness so much.

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