Из читанной летом "Tolkien and the Great War" Джона Гарта.
Про отношение к стихам: "As a child he had habitually skipped any verse he encountered in the books he read. His King Edward’s schoolteacher, R. W. Reynolds, tried largely in vain to spark his interest in the mainstream giants of English poetry, such as Milton and Keats".
Об одношкольниках и одноколледжниках: "Morris was important, too, because of his association with Exeter College, Oxford, where he formed the self-styled Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with fellow student Edward Burne-Jones (himself a former pupil of King Edward’s School). Tolkien once likened the TCBS to the Pre-Raphaelites, probably in response to the Brotherhood’s preoccupation with restoring medieval valuesin art".
Оказывается, любовь к лошадям у него не платоническая: " Tolkien was embarking on life at Exeter College, Oxford, where, in step with his generation, he pursued military training. As soon as he arrived he enrolled in King Edward’s Horse. This cavalry regiment had been conceived during the Boer War as the King’s Colonials, and it recruited men from overseas resident in the British Isles. (...) Tolkien joined it, presumably, because of his South African birth (...) Tolkien had a strong affinity with horses, which he loved, and became a de facto breaker-in. No sooner had he broken one horse in but it was taken away. Another would then be given to him and he had to start the process again".
Про драконов в "Падении Гондолина" и реакции на появление танков: "The more they (драконы из Падения) differ from the dragons of mythology, however, the more these monsters resemble the tanks of the Somme. One wartime diarist noted with amusement how the newspapers compared these new armoured vehicles with ‘the icthyosaurus, jabberwocks, mastodons, Leviathans, boojums, snarks, and other antediluvian and mythical monsters’. (...) The Times trumpeted a German report of this British invention: ‘The monster approached slowly, hobbling, moving from side to side, rocking and pitching, but it came nearer. Nothing obstructed it: a supernatural force seemed to drive it onwards. Someone in the trenches cried, “The devil comes,” and that word ran down the line like lightning. Suddenly tongues of fire licked out of the armoured shine of the iron caterpillar…the English waves of infantry surged up behind the devil’s chariot.’".
Очевидная, но, насколько я знаю, никем до Гарта не вынутая аллюзия: "As a literary creation, Melko is more than a winter-symbol or an abstraction of destructiveness and greed. He appeared in 1916 with remarkable timing. With his dreams of world domination, his spies, his vast armies, his industrial slaves, and his ‘spell of bottomless dread’, he anticipated the totalitarianism that lay just around the corner. Within a year, the Russian Revolution had established the first totalitarian dictatorship, its aim being to crush the individual will in the service of the economy and Bolshevik power. Lenin became a template for Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the other political monsters of the twentieth century".
И о том, что реализм просто не способен иметь дело с такими вещами, и ответ на вопрос, откуда и зачем в 20 веке вдруг завелась фэнтези: "But all that the totalitarian dictators did was to take to a logical extreme the dehumanization already seen in heavy industry, and to exploit the break with the past that the Great War had introduced. In its capacity to warn about such extremes, fantastic fiction has the edge over what is called realism. ‘Realism’ has a knee-jerk tendency to avoid extremes as implausible, but ‘fantasy’ actively embraces them. It magnifies and clarifies the human condition. It can even keep pace with the calamitous imaginings of would-be dictators. Doubtless Tolkien had no intention of making political predictions, but his work nevertheless foreshadowed things to come. Aspiritual kinship exists between the unhappy Meglin and Winston Smith, downing his Victory gin under the eyes of Big Brother".