J.R.R. Tolkien

Spookdaddy

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Possible apologies in advance: I have read LOTR and The Hobbit - but many years ago and am not by any means a Tolkien nerd, so the following may all be common knowledge to fans. But as something of an outsider – I found it interesting.

I have just been reading The Geography of the Imagination, a collection of essays by the late Guy Davenport: American polymath extraordinaire. (The guy must have started reading in the womb – possibly the only man ever to have lived who could conceivably have read the entire internet, including the index; think Martin Gardner – but with less science, and more books.)

Anyway, bookended between an essay on Wittgenstein and another which begins with the reluctance of Webster’s to countenance generic trademarks as real words, before discussing the purpose of dictionaries in general, there is a very entertaining and easily digestible essay entitled Hobbitry.

There’s a great cameo of Tolkien himself, who taught Davenport when the latter was a Rhodes Scholar at Merton (not terribly flattering, by the way). But what’s most interesting is Davenport’s conjecture that, through an Oxford classmate of the student Tolkien, the latter became fascinated with the names and tales of the former's Kentucky home:

“He used to make me repeat family names like Barefoot and Boffin and Baggins and good country names like that.”

So, it seems that a significant influence on Tolkien’s Middle Earth may have been far removed from the vales, hills and forests of the northern climes and exerted by the – to be fair, not dissimilar - hollows, peaks and forests of the south eastern US.

To be honest – this doesn’t surprise me; some years back I thought I’d misremembered when trying the recall the name of the Battle of Brandywine: Nah, that name's from Tolkien, I thought, not the American War of Independence. Whereas it’s both. I suspect Tolkien was a great harvester of fine sounding names.

The essay also contains what is likely to become my favourite quote on the subject – from Tolkien’s friend and fellow Inkling, Hugo Dyson (although I have no more idea what he actually meant by it than Davenport did):

“His was not a true imagination, you know: He made it all up.”

I’m also somewhat reassured to find that Davenport’s massive intellect clearly found Anglo-Saxon as impenetrable at university as did my own much more meagre one.

Turns out the essay is available online in a couple of places - but the most complete version I can find is actually on this reddit page.
 
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Ogdred Weary

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I don't know how well known this is but it seems Tolkien made the start of planning and writing a sequel to LOTR. I wasn't aware of this, although I knew that there were thousands of pages of notes, some edited and published by his son. I knew that he wrote the history/mythology of his world but assumed it stopped with LOTR.

 

pandacracker

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I refer the honourable member to my post of August 3rd.
 

Spookdaddy

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My post is the sequel to yours.

Can’t be – waaaay too short.

Should be more along the lines of:

It was written – in the time before the Great Wobbling - and by Flubblesdottir, child of the Leftlegin and Itsybitsyteenieweenie - that the runes Ogdred the Weary smote upon the walls of the Fort of Forrum, on the mountain of Wibblehelm, with his ancient sword Rustworn Dwarfmangler were not his own, but had been written even more anciently by P’andakråkå, when, after many skull splitting and bloodbathed sword-trials and differences of opinion with trolls, his mighty longship Wherethefuckarewe finally made shore in the ancient fastness of Idunno Yuhádthebastadmáp…..

...

I’m sorry…

What was it we were talking about?
 

Kondoru

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He was definatley influenced by American writings; the trip in the boat down the river is very Leatherstocking.

And Shakespeare, whom he tried to hate
 

Ogdred Weary

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Can’t be – waaaay too short.

Should be more along the lines of:

It was written – in the time before the Great Wobbling - and by Flubblesdottir, child of the Leftlegin and Itsybitsyteenieweenie - that the runes Ogdred the Weary smote upon the walls of the Fort of Forrum, on the mountain of Wibblehelm, with his ancient sword Rustworn Dwarfmangler were not his own, but had been written even more anciently by P’andakråkå, when, after many skull splitting and bloodbathed sword-trials and differences of opinion with trolls, his mighty longship Wherethefuckarewe finally made shore in the ancient fastness of Idunno Yuhádthebastadmáp…..

...

I’m sorry…

What was it we were talking about?

We also need fifteen songs about how nice a particular tree or stream is, several of them by Tom Bombadil.
 

maximus otter

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It was written – in the time before the Great Wobbling - and by Flubblesdottir, child of the Leftlegin and Itsybitsyteenieweenie - that the runes Ogdred the Weary smote upon the walls of the Fort of Forrum, on the mountain of Wibblehelm, with his ancient sword Rustworn Dwarfmangler were not his own, but had been written even more anciently by P’andakråkå, when, after many skull splitting and bloodbathed sword-trials and differences of opinion with trolls, his mighty longship Wherethefuckarewe finally made shore in the ancient fastness of Idunno Yuhádthebastadmáp…..

:bdown:

maximus otter
 

Ghost In The Machine

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We also need fifteen songs about how nice a particular tree or stream is, several of them by Tom Bombadil.
One of my kids was once listening to the audiobook, and got to Boromir's death just as he left college, by the race-course. It's quite a long walk into town from there and he says they were still singing the interminable dirge about Boromir's death, when he hit town...

Re. US influences, I'm not so sure (and I could be wrong - will have to go look it up). He'll have found his student's mentioning of Kentucky names - well, UK names surviving in Kentucky - interesting but I suspect those names just appealed (probably remembered from South Birmingham is my bet), and the student is misremembering their own influence on him, in retrospect. The professor who taught me Old Norse used to find my Yorkshire dialect words interesting - or rather, the fact I could translate some Old Norse words because they were similar to dialect my mother's family had spoken and the kids I went to school with. Philologists are like that.

Don't really find any US lit influences in there whatsoever, and of course, no Shakespeare. (Fortunately re. the Shakespeare). I think the Brandywine thing is a coincidence - it's the hobbits' homely take on the river others called Baranduin. That sort of stuff happened with English place names, where something's name morphed into something else because to later ears it sounded like that word. I doubt he read any American Lit or very much. He started out with classics, swapped to English and stuck with everything pre 1066.
 

Spookdaddy

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Re. US influences, I'm not so sure (and I could be wrong - will have to go look it up). He'll have found his student's mentioning of Kentucky names - well, UK names surviving in Kentucky - interesting but I suspect those names just appealed...

I think that's Davenport's attitude also. He doesn't really suggest any actual US based literary influence on Tolkien's writing beyond the possible collecting of interesting names - nothing deeper than that, really.

I probably over-egged the pudding by using the word 'significant'. I suppose, in the sense that some of those very memorable names might have been harvested from Tolkien's memory of old conversations makes them significant on one level - because they are so memorable, and so inextricably associated with his work - but not in any deeper literary sense.

It's also worth pointing out that it wasn't actually a student of Tolkien's who was the guy with the names, but a contemporary from Tolkien's own student days - which meant that they had a long time to percolate through the latter's literary imagination.
 

Kondoru

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Were any hobbits surnamed Goldwater or Woodhouse?

Those names always make me laugh
 

DougalLongfoot

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Were any hobbits surnamed Goldwater or Woodhouse?

Those names always make me laugh

Woodhouse is not used as a hobbit name, but the entire race of the Druedain (Ghan-Buri-Ghan who guides the Rohirrim through Druadan Forest) is translated as Wood-woses (from the OE wudu-wasa) from which Woodhouse is derived.

Wikipedia Druedain
 

Kondoru

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Yes, theres them.

But it might have been funnier as a Hobbit name
 

maximus otter

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Rare ‘Lord of the Rings’ adaptation discovered after 30 years

A long-lost Soviet television adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy has been unearthed after being lost for 30 years.

lord-of-the-rings-russia-2.jpg


Based on Tolkien’s first installment, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the 1991 film “Khraniteli,” which translates as something close to “guardians,” aired on Leningrad Television just once before it was presumed lost after the fall of the Soviet Union later that year.


Made during a period of economic collapse in the USSR, the humble work serves as a time capsule of Soviet-style entertainment, marked by low-budget set design and special effects, and a soundtrack composed by Russian composer Andrei Romanov of rock band Akvarium.

Unexpectedly, Russian state network 5TV, Leningrad TV’s successor, shared part one and part two of “Khraniteli” on YouTube last week, and more than 450,000 have tuned in so far.

“Fans have been searching the archives but had not been able to find this film for decades,” according to Russian-language fantasy fansite World of Fiction, which investigated the missing movie back in 2016.

https://nypost.com/2021/04/05/soviet-lord-of-the-rings-adaptation-found-after-30-years/

maximus otter
 

catseye

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One of my kids was once listening to the audiobook, and got to Boromir's death just as he left college, by the race-course. It's quite a long walk into town from there and he says they were still singing the interminable dirge about Boromir's death, when he hit town...

Re. US influences, I'm not so sure (and I could be wrong - will have to go look it up). He'll have found his student's mentioning of Kentucky names - well, UK names surviving in Kentucky - interesting but I suspect those names just appealed (probably remembered from South Birmingham is my bet), and the student is misremembering their own influence on him, in retrospect. The professor who taught me Old Norse used to find my Yorkshire dialect words interesting - or rather, the fact I could translate some Old Norse words because they were similar to dialect my mother's family had spoken and the kids I went to school with. Philologists are like that.

Don't really find any US lit influences in there whatsoever, and of course, no Shakespeare. (Fortunately re. the Shakespeare). I think the Brandywine thing is a coincidence - it's the hobbits' homely take on the river others called Baranduin. That sort of stuff happened with English place names, where something's name morphed into something else because to later ears it sounded like that word. I doubt he read any American Lit or very much. He started out with classics, swapped to English and stuck with everything pre 1066.
I also listen to the audio version of the three books. I LOVE the Fellowship, but have to skip over the songs. They are bearable in book version, where you can ignore them, just read the lyrics, or make up your own tune, but when you are subjected to all 143 verses of Tom Bombadil trilling about his very suspect meeting of his 'wife'...well. It's enough to put you off.
 

Lb8535

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Rare ‘Lord of the Rings’ adaptation discovered after 30 years

A long-lost Soviet television adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy has been unearthed after being lost for 30 years.

lord-of-the-rings-russia-2.jpg


Based on Tolkien’s first installment, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the 1991 film “Khraniteli,” which translates as something close to “guardians,” aired on Leningrad Television just once before it was presumed lost after the fall of the Soviet Union later that year.


Made during a period of economic collapse in the USSR, the humble work serves as a time capsule of Soviet-style entertainment, marked by low-budget set design and special effects, and a soundtrack composed by Russian composer Andrei Romanov of rock band Akvarium.

Unexpectedly, Russian state network 5TV, Leningrad TV’s successor, shared part one and part two of “Khraniteli” on YouTube last week, and more than 450,000 have tuned in so far.

“Fans have been searching the archives but had not been able to find this film for decades,” according to Russian-language fantasy fansite World of Fiction, which investigated the missing movie back in 2016.

https://nypost.com/2021/04/05/soviet-lord-of-the-rings-adaptation-found-after-30-years/

maximus otter
And I bet the Tolkien estate was unhappy then and now is whetting its lawyers. That's one low-budget Birthday Party scene.
 

Ogdred Weary

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Shouldn't this thread be in Fortean Culture? Mods?
 

Stormkhan

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Is this a good time to point out that there's a large convenience store chain, up here in the north, called Proudfoot?
I know that as lovely as the countryside here is, it aint the Shire.
 

Ogdred Weary

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Is this a good time to point out that there's a large convenience store chain, up here in the north, called Proudfoot?
I know that as lovely as the countryside here is, it aint the Shire.

Proudfeet!
 

Ghost In The Machine

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I also listen to the audio version of the three books. I LOVE the Fellowship, but have to skip over the songs. They are bearable in book version, where you can ignore them, just read the lyrics, or make up your own tune, but when you are subjected to all 143 verses of Tom Bombadil trilling about his very suspect meeting of his 'wife'...well. It's enough to put you off.
I re-listened to one of my favourite chapters in the audiobook version, the other week - the barrow downs. And then re-listened to it again, it was so good! Tom is annoying but also a glimpse of something very, very intriguing. (If you knock out his songs).
 

Ghost In The Machine

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Rare ‘Lord of the Rings’ adaptation discovered after 30 years

A long-lost Soviet television adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy has been unearthed after being lost for 30 years.

lord-of-the-rings-russia-2.jpg


Based on Tolkien’s first installment, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the 1991 film “Khraniteli,” which translates as something close to “guardians,” aired on Leningrad Television just once before it was presumed lost after the fall of the Soviet Union later that year.


Made during a period of economic collapse in the USSR, the humble work serves as a time capsule of Soviet-style entertainment, marked by low-budget set design and special effects, and a soundtrack composed by Russian composer Andrei Romanov of rock band Akvarium.

Unexpectedly, Russian state network 5TV, Leningrad TV’s successor, shared part one and part two of “Khraniteli” on YouTube last week, and more than 450,000 have tuned in so far.

“Fans have been searching the archives but had not been able to find this film for decades,” according to Russian-language fantasy fansite World of Fiction, which investigated the missing movie back in 2016.

https://nypost.com/2021/04/05/soviet-lord-of-the-rings-adaptation-found-after-30-years/

maximus otter
I think we need Krepostnoi to translate.

That is so bad it's good.
 

catseye

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I re-listened to one of my favourite chapters in the audiobook version, the other week - the barrow downs. And then re-listened to it again, it was so good! Tom is annoying but also a glimpse of something very, very intriguing. (If you knock out his songs).
The barrow wights are very very spooky in the audio book. Such a shame they were left out of the films.
 

Gloucestrian

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The barrow wights are very very spooky in the audio book. Such a shame they were left out of the films.
Trouble is you can hardly have the Barrow Wight without Tom Bombadil to rescue them (or another intervention in the story to erase the need for him) and if Frodo and co can defeat a Barrow Wight then why not the Ring-wraiths that pursue them in Bree. It would damage the sense of suspense, while also confusing the casual audience.

The first half of Fellowship is one of my favourite parts of the story, I love the section between the first night under the fir tree through to the Bucklebury Ferry, the slowly building fear of pursuit is sublime. The subsequent passage of the Old Forest and the other misadventures caused by short cuts are, in my opinion, some of the most atmospheric and world-building parts of the story. I have heard many complaints that Tolkien took forever to get going with the story but in my opinion the story would not be the same without that very dense set of misadventures at the beginning giving us a good sense of how capable the Hobbits are and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

However if this had all been faithfully filmed it could have taken a whole film just to get to Bree. So I can understand why they cut the majority of that material, sad though it is.
 

Souleater

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Trouble is you can hardly have the Barrow Wight without Tom Bombadil to rescue them (or another intervention in the story to erase the need for him) and if Frodo and co can defeat a Barrow Wight then why not the Ring-wraiths that pursue them in Bree. It would damage the sense of suspense, while also confusing the casual audience.

The first half of Fellowship is one of my favourite parts of the story, I love the section between the first night under the fir tree through to the Bucklebury Ferry, the slowly building fear of pursuit is sublime. The subsequent passage of the Old Forest and the other misadventures caused by short cuts are, in my opinion, some of the most atmospheric and world-building parts of the story. I have heard many complaints that Tolkien took forever to get going with the story but in my opinion the story would not be the same without that very dense set of misadventures at the beginning giving us a good sense of how capable the Hobbits are and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

However if this had all been faithfully filmed it could have taken a whole film just to get to Bree. So I can understand why they cut the majority of that material, sad though it is.
Tolkien did have a habit of subscribing to the notion of 'why use one paragraph to describe something when you can use 3 chapters' :p
 
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