Episode 63
June 3, 2024

Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Bunny

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned discuss Jared’s choice of topic: allegory and applicability. In a much-referenced section from his introduction to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wrote: “I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history – true or feigned – with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.” It’s been a point of discussion ever since in both specific Tolkien critical discussion and general fandom circles – and we’ve certainly referenced it quite a lot over the years – with the distinctions between the two terms and what they are meant to further represent not always clear or universally agreed on, even as readings of Tolkien across the map consider what Middle-earth and its inhabitants consider widely varying perspectives on what the work can be said to represent. What were the evident divisions between Tolkien and his friend and colleague C. S. Lewis on allegory in their work, and how did both of them speak about it and each other’s approach in turn? Where does Tolkien’s perceived modernism – and potential postmodernism – factor into how he was stated to consider allegory in writings beyond the famous quote? How is his seeming hostility to allegory squared with his most overtly allegorical work, “Leaf By Niggle”? And what part of you is a little bunny, or is the little bunny you – or are you a middle manager? 

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. Much will be explained when you listen to the episode itself.

The return of the original Jackson LOTR trilogy to the theaters: cool. The fact it’s in the crappy 4K version: not as.

Bernard Hill’s passing is a damn shame. Here’s just some of the many reactions.

Allegory! Maybe you remember the English or literature class where you first heard the term, or maybe it was somewhere else, or…

C. S. Lewis knew allegory? And used it in his Narnia books? The deuce you say.

Vermeer’s work is also known as The Art of Painting, and it’s well known indeed.

Our episode on Tree and Leaf, including both “On Fairy-Stories” and “Leaf by Niggle.”

Letter 109 from the collected letters, as summarized by Tolkien Gateway.

Animal Farm! It’s pretty well known, it is. And boy is it allegorical.

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis sure did get some new attention in recent years. Wonder why?

The Pilgrim’s Progress and The Faerie Queene, oh they thrive on allegory! And they thrive on not being Catholic, the latter especially.

Our Beowulf episode.

Letter 241 from the collected letters, again via Tolkien Gateway.

Ah, smol beans

Allegory versus myth? There’s a lot of randomness out there.

On the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius is one of the most well known works in the general field – and boy is it allegorical. (Our friends over at The Spouter-Inn did an episode on it.)

The Tolkien versus Lewis cartoon on allegory. It is pretty great.

Greta Gerwig and Narnia…we’re still wondering about that.

The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis are out there.

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