Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tolkien on writing for children

On the eve of the second Hobbit film Joe Carter gives us "9 Things You Should Know About The Hobbit" — Tolkien's book, not the movie. The last of the nine reveals the author's misgivings about the style in which he wrote the book:
9. Tolkien denied that his stories were written for children:
That's all sob stuff. No, of course, I didn't... The Hobbit was written in what I should now regard as bad style, as if one were talking to children. There's nothing my children loathed more. They taught me a lesson. Anything that in any way marked out The Hobbit as for children instead of just for people, they disliked—instinctively. I did too, now that I think about it. All this 'I won't tell you any more, you think about it' stuff. Oh no, they loathe it; it's awful. Children aren't a class. They are merely human beings at different stages of maturity. All of them have a human intelligence which even at its lowest is a pretty wonderful thing, and the entire world in front of them. It remains to be seen if they rise above that.