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A stranger in the village On immigrating to Sweden, migrants are given the option of exchanging their current last name for one that sounds a little more Swedish. The process is administered by the...
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The trouble with titles is a writer of pulp assumes they'll emerge over time. Of Arthur Bryant's many books, two books, The Years of Endurance and the Years of Victory, a history of The British against The French at the time ...
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It would be very difficult to think of an E-book as precious. I say this on the understanding that nothing of unlimited supply can really be thought of as precious. The hand illustrated, hand written manuscript would be uniqu...
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Some time in the next few hours there'll be a battle between your correspondent and a whole series of technical devices, many of which are prone to asking totally incomprehensible questions. Window 98, second edition is still a mysterious alien super power with very little user friendliness to me, so god knows what's going to happen.

If successful you might hear a clunking sound as A Derailment hits the ether. If not, this could be farewell because odds are there'll be bloodhounds and zoo keepers with nets hunting the woodlands for a deranged writer of pulp. All the same, go ahead be brave Contact Me for a free copy of either Tim Candler's, A Derailment or for updates from Tim Candler's Competency Hearing.
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Face aux "peurs", Hollande vante l'apport de l'immigration à la République http://u.afp.com/ERJ #AFP
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Pour son premier grand discours sur l'immigration, deux ans et demi après son élection, François Hollande a fustigé lundi ceux qui agitent la peur d'une "dislocation" de la France ou des accords de Schengen pour vanter au contraire l'apport des immigrés à la République.
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On Tolkien’s Hobbits. Part II

Today I hand over the second key required to unlock the nature of Hobbits. Yesterday I wrote about scholarly ideas of the history of the peoples of the British Isles. Today I turn to the history of Tolkien’s own imagination.

First, a question: before Tolkien had the idea of Hobbits living in a Britain of long ago, when there was less noise and more green, what magical race did he conceive to dwell on this island?

The answer: Elves.

English Elves (or as he also called them back then, Fairies) appear in ‘The Book of Lost Tales’ – the seed out of which grew 'The Silmarillion' and which a young Tolkien began to write back in 1917 after the Battle of the Somme. 

Back in 1917 there was no Second and Third Age - the ‘lost tales’ tell of a period of time not so long before the first recorded history. They are stories of great and terrible deeds “in the Northern regions of the Western World” – that is, in the regions that later became the first homeland of the English. 

But Tolkien imagines the tales being told long after these events.

Their telling is set in a period after the great wars between the Elves and Morgoth when most Elves have already departed from Middle-earth, sailing over the western ocean. But this is a time before the migration of the English to their new homes on the British Isles. One Englishman sails from his native Angle in the east and arrives at the island of Britain where he encounters the last Elves still dwelling on the edge of Middle-earth.

These Elves tell the traveler their stories of an earlier age in the history of the world and, because he passes these stories on to his sons, and they to theirs,  writes the young Tolkien, so today the English “have the true traditions of the fairies, of whom the Íras and the  _Wéalas_ (the Irish and Welsh) tell garbled things.”

Very interesting. But what has any of this got to do with Hobbits?

Well, these English Elves are absolutely not Hobbits by another name. They are Elves as we know them from the later writings. 

Except, in these very early writings, Tolkien plays with the idea of the Elves being small, or at least diminishing in size. In this way he connects these English Elves - as he would later do with Hobbits - to traditional folktales of 'the little people'.

These Elves are also caught up with the history of migrations and incursions into Britain that I wrote about yesterday. In fact Tolkien suggests that in the face of the invasion of each new Celtic tribe or Roman legion so the Elves grow smaller and more ethereal - they still exist but become almost invisible to the 'Big People'.

But things are different when the English arrive. The Elves feel a special connection with the newcomers, even speaking to them in their own language - Old English.

So these Elves are absolutely not the same race as Hobbits; but they do play a vaguely similar role in Tolkien's wider imagination. Specifically they serve to connect the incoming English to an original population settled in the British Isles.

Can all this be stated more simply and more clearly?

Absolutely. 

But don't be hasty. I promised to give you the keys to unlock the meaning of Hobbits. But to use the keys you must first find the keyhole! 

Tomorrow will shine the last light of Durin’s Day and, Inshallah, we can unlock the door and even descend down the passage to glimpse Smaug's stolen treasure.
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THINKING WITH WITTGENSTEIN ON LANGUAGE. D. R. Khashaba. In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Wittgenstein was very much concerned with language. That should be a platitude since already in the preface we read that “the aim of the book is to draw a limit to thought, or rather—not to thought, ...
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This is our campaign page for Rounded Globe - an attempt to publish free, top quality non-fiction eBooks. 

We really need help and support. So if you cannot join the Patreon campaign here are two things that would be massively appreciated:

(1) Share this link as widely as possible.

(2) Help us get together a decent video to replace the present one - which I cannot stand!!!!!

#openaccess   #oabooks  
Patreon is empowering a new generation of creators. Support and engage with artists and creators as they live out their passions!
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It could well be time for your writer of pulp to re-interview himself. Ask the probing questions, come away with more sensible answers than last time he interviewed himself. Interview. In the world there's an assumption that...
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A super abundance of unfair weapons has led to the lack of chivalry
In a recent post I explained Rivers' 'conversion' from evolutionary to diffusionist models of social change. Before returning to psychology – and articulating a particular thesis about Cambridge moral science in my next post – I highlight some salient features of the two models by way of a ...
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On Hobbits. Part III.

The third and final part of my series Concerning Hobbits...

Today I'm going to use the two previous posts in this series to suggest an answer. These earlier posts presented facts - that is, claims easily verifiable by looking at original texts. Today I'm going to move from the fact to an interpretation - a Hobbit hypothesis, if you will. 

Let's quickly rehearse the facts:

(1) Like most British scholars since the 1880s, Tolkien took it for granted that the British Isles had been inhabited by a succession of peoples, each of whom had interbred with and mixed with the older inhabitants, and - furthermore - that the first settlers predated the Celts.

(2) Tolkien's earliest stories (c.1917) refer to this background of invasions but posit the original settlers not to have been humans but Elves - who have a special connection with the Anglo-Saxons.

Now my first suggestion (which I think pretty clear from the early stories) is that Tolkien felt uneasy with the idea of the English taking their present land from others (i.e. Celtic-speakers) and wished to strengthen the tie between the English (people and culture) and the land (of modern day England).

This seems certainly to be going on with the early stories of the Elves fading in the face of the Celtic and Roman invasions - and then perking up again when the English arrive.

But it is also clear that Tolkien was unhappy with this early idea of England as the last refuge of the Elves. His early stories chop and change and, by the late 1920s, the idea was pretty much abandoned.

Now let me add another fact. Around 1930 Tolkien was researching Celtic folklore in an attempt to comment on the name Nodens found on some inscriptions on the Welsh border. From the essay that resulted we know this research led him to read carefully the writings of John Rhys, the first Oxford Professor of Celtic (whose lectures Tolkien probably attended as an undergraduate).

And here is my Hobbit hypothesis: Tolkien found in Rhys a new solution to his old problem. More concretely, in reading Rhys, Tolkien discovered Hobbits.

Rhys believed that Welsh fairy tales contained dim memories of a 'little people' who had inhabited the British Isles before the coming of the Celtic-speakers. From the tales he inferred that these first settlers were: 

“a small swarthy population of mound-dwellers, of an unwarlike disposition… and living underground.”

And turning to archaeology, Rhys pointed to the remains of “certain underground – or partially underground – habitations.” He connected these dwellings with Britain’s native settlers, and observed that some of their homes:

“appear from the outside like hillocks covered with grass, so as presumably not to attract attention… But one of the most remarkable things about them is the fact that the cells or apartments into which they are divided are frequently so small that their inmates must have been of very short stature…”

Here is a Hobbit hole. 

Indeed, Tolkien's essay on ‘The Name “Nodens”’ - which reveals a deep engagement with Rhys' scholarship - was published in 1932 – the same year that Tolkien first wrote down in manuscript form the story that would be published five years later as The Hobbit.

How did this provide Tolkien with a new solution to his old problem?

The key is found in Tolkien's 1955 lecture 'English and Welsh' (delivered the day after publication of 'The Return of the King').

Here Tolkien distinguishes between our linguistic and cultural inheritance, on the one side, and our biological inheritance, on the other. 

What this means is that the modern English have inherited a language and culture with roots in the land between the North Sea and the Baltic - the original homeland of the English.

But what this also means is that many of the modern English have inherited inner dispositions and predilections - a consuming passion for mushrooms, for example - from Rhys' small and peaceful population of mound-dwellers.

If my hypothesis is correct we are now in a position to answer that most delicious of questions: what is a Hobbit?

Hobbits are (a somewhat tongue-in-cheek) representation of the little people that back in 1900 Rhys had identified as Britain’s first farmers. But because this original population has never been driven from the land, Hobbits are at the same time a depiction of the inherited ‘inner selves’ of many who live in England today.

Hobbits are that part of the English people that is native to the land; they are Tolkien’s way of explaining why the modern English truly belong to the land now called England.

And 'The Hobbit' is a story of how this native part of us comes to terms with its English cultural inheritance: the tale of a peaceful bachelor, with a penchant for bacon and eggs, who rediscovers himself by venturing out into the perilous world of ancient English tradition; there, and back again.

You can disagree with the interpretation, but if you do the onus is on you to explain the facts in a better way!

#Hobbits   #TheHobbit   #Tolkien  
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The experience was just wonderful. Not being from Virginia and having no idea what we were looking for, we could could easily have got it wrong. But Liza held our hands through the entire process. Not once did we feel on the receiving end of sales pitch. Our questions were answered honestly, even the trick question. It was very refreshing. It's a pretty place, and quiet. Within an easy drive to good shops and a choice of hardware stores. I don't think you can go wrong with Liza
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