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Revtim
03-31-2015, 09:44 AM
I'm reading a recently published fantasy novel, like a lot of them, the people in the fantasy land throw around a lot "forsooth"s and the such. Who started this "tradition" of fantasy land dwellers speaking like Shakespeare characters? Was it Tolkien?

cjepson
03-31-2015, 09:56 AM
I'm reading a recently published fantasy novel, like a lot of them, the people in the fantasy land throw around a lot "forsooth"s and the such. Who started this "tradition" of fantasy land dwellers speaking like Shakespeare characters? Was it Tolkien?

Tolkien was essentially following stylistic tradition that had been developed by the previous generation of adult fantasy writers such as William Morris. They, in turn, were attempting to write in a style that evoked earlier works such as Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.

misling
03-31-2015, 09:58 AM
Dunsany beats Tolkien for 'earliest', but Spenser definitely beats Dunsany.
The earliest English translations of the King Arthur myths may have influenced, too.

CalMeacham
03-31-2015, 10:06 AM
As already mentioned, fantasy writers have been using such artificially "ancient" speec h for quite a while. Besides Lord Dunsany, William Morris, and Spenser (I don't actually know if his speech patterns diverged from those current in his time, though), I'd add E.R.R. Eddison, whjose [I]Worm Ouroborus cycle of interminable books are filled with false archaisms.

Eddison's books are written in a meticulously recreated Jacobean prose style, seeded throughout with fragments, often acknowledged but often directly copied from his favorite authors and genres: Homer and Sappho, Shakespeare and Webster, Norse Sagas and French medieval lyric poems. Critic Andy Sawyer has noted that such fragments seem to arise naturally from the "barbarically sophisticated" worlds Eddison has created.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_R%C3%BCcker_Eddison

I think I also have to mention the translations of the Arabian Nights by Sir Richard F. Burton, who translated the dialogue into a weird style of his own, and which other translators have taken him to task over.

misling
03-31-2015, 10:15 AM
Eddison's style seems so artificial to me I hadn't included him. It is lovely though.

Here's a bit:
"Yet albeit his frail body quailed, even so were his spirits within him raised with high and noble imaginings as he stood on the lip of that rocky cliff. The cloudless vault of heaven; the unnumbered laughter of the sea; that quiet cove beneath, and those ships of war and that army camping by the ships; the emptiness of the blasted wolds to southward, where every rock seemed like a dead man’s skull and every rank tuft of grass hag-ridden; the bearing of those lords of Demonland who stood beside him, as if nought should be of commoner course to them pursuing their resolve than to turn their backs on living land and enter those regions of the dead; these things with a power as of a mighty music made Gro’s breath catch in his throat and the tear spring in his eye.”
- from "The Worm Ouroboros"

Maserschmidt
03-31-2015, 11:29 AM
Eddison's style seems so artificial to me I hadn't included him. It is lovely though.

Here's a bit:
"Yet albeit his frail body quailed, even so were his spirits within him raised with high and noble imaginings as he stood on the lip of that rocky cliff. The cloudless vault of heaven; the unnumbered laughter of the sea; that quiet cove beneath, and those ships of war and that army camping by the ships; the emptiness of the blasted wolds to southward, where every rock seemed like a dead man’s skull and every rank tuft of grass hag-ridden; the bearing of those lords of Demonland who stood beside him, as if nought should be of commoner course to them pursuing their resolve than to turn their backs on living land and enter those regions of the dead; these things with a power as of a mighty music made Gro’s breath catch in his throat and the tear spring in his eye.”
- from "The Worm Ouroboros"

Yes, Eddison seemed to be writing as though his characters had emerged from "Beowulf" with a somewhat modernized vocabulary. I agree it's lovely.

Lumpy
03-31-2015, 12:12 PM
In King Solomon's Mines, the explorers encounter a nation called the Kukuana, who in the protagonist's words speak "an old-fashioned form of the Zulu tongue, bearing about the same relationship to it that the English of Chaucer does to the English of the nineteenth century". As transliterated in the novel, it has a lot of thee's and thou's.

Revtim
03-31-2015, 08:36 PM
Thanks everybody.

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