Friday, October 20, 2017
Re-reading 'Lord of the Rings'
Although most of the books I read are ones I've never read before, I do have the habit of re-reading books that I consider classics, or at least particularly enjoy. I've read Illuminatus! several times and other RAW books more than once. I re-read Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun about a year ago. And now I'm re-reading Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. (As I write this, I'm nearing halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring.)
There are references to The Lord of the Rings in Illuminatus! For example, Epicene Wildeblood, describing a review he is preparing for a book that sounds very much like Illuminatus!, proudly trots out the insults in the text, including, "If the Lord of the Rings is a fairy tale for adults, sophisticated readers will quickly recognize this monumental miscarriage as a fairy tale for paranoids."
Both "trilogies" are in fact a single literary work, published in three volumes for economic reasons. Both can be described as works of fantasy. Both have appendices. I'm just guessing, but I wonder if Wilson and Shea worked in references to Tolkien because they hoped Illuminatus! would become an instant classic on the order of The Lord of the Rings.