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Old 04-22-2018, 10:28 PM   #1
Balfrog
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The Origin of a Pygmy Hobbit

The last article of Ms. Seth's 'Tudor, Elizabethan, and Jacobean' series discusses a new theory to the naming origin behind 'hobbit', and 'baggins'. Once again it links back to the parody theme developed in earlier essays.


https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...connections-2/


Essentially what she puts forward is that the early to late 20's was a period of time where Tolkien inserted a lot of comical content into his works. Accumulated then is a reasonably large body of evidence (The Hobbit Trolls, The Root of the Boot, 'Bilbo' from Match Me in London, and now 'Hobbit'; and 'Baggins') that this historical era influenced Tolkien far more than we have previously thought.

Could it all be coincidence? Hard to summarily dismiss.

In any case the latest article ties in myth, fairy-tale and theories abounding in the late 1900's on the origin of neolithic man in Britain. It's the first article I've seen that makes sense of why Tolkien cast Bilbo Baggins as essentially an English 'pygmy'!
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
The last article of Ms. Seth's 'Tudor, Elizabethan, and Jacobean' series discusses a new theory to the naming origin behind 'hobbit', and 'baggins'. Once again it links back to the parody theme developed in earlier essays.


https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...connections-2/


Essentially what she puts forward is that the early to late 20's was a period of time where Tolkien inserted a lot of comical content into his works. Accumulated then is a reasonably large body of evidence (The Hobbit Trolls, The Root of the Boot, 'Bilbo' from Match Me in London, and now 'Hobbit'; and 'Baggins') that this historical era influenced Tolkien far more than we have previously thought.

Could it all be coincidence? Hard to summarily dismiss.

In any case the latest article ties in myth, fairy-tale and theories abounding in the late 1900's on the origin of neolithic man in Britain. It's the first article I've seen that makes sense of why Tolkien cast Bilbo Baggins as essentially an English 'pygmy'!
"Match me in London" is an interesting find. I had never heard of it, but I checked it out- it is available online- and though the plot does not resemble that of "The Hobbit", the character Bilbo mentions both "firedrakes" and "conies" and also does a kind of babbling wordplay quite reminiscent of "our" Bilbo (though also rather typical of the "comic servant" stock character). I'd say it's indeed a probable source for the name.

As far as the origin of "Hobbit" goes- who can say, really? As noted, "Hob" and similar sounds occur in various names of both people and folklore creatures, and Tolkien's influence, whichever it was, seems to have been a subliminal one (but I think much more likely from the second category).

There is that single strange mid 19th Century occurrence of "hobbit" in Denham's list of supernatural creatures. But apparently nobody knows a) if Tolkien ever read the obscure work in question or b) where Denham got the word from in the first place.
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:18 PM   #3
Balfrog
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Nerwen

It's not easy wading through Elizabethan literature. I have read Match me in London several times – and I still don't understand many colloquialisms and nuances. Nevertheless – I do see some kind of 'skeleton plot', as Ms. Seth puts it, that someone as intelligent as Tolkien could have extracted.

The bigger question for me, as Huinesoron, has asked - is where and when did Tolkien take a fancy to dig into non-Shakespearean Elizabethan/Jacobean plays? It must have been pre-1930 if Ms. Seth's assertion is true. But exactly when is a mystery.

I don't see anything in his known personal library (as listed on the Tolkien Gateway site) as relevant. Any ideas from you (or anyone else) would be of interest.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:23 AM   #4
Marlowe221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post

...

There is that single strange mid 19th Century occurrence of "hobbit" in Denham's list of supernatural creatures. But apparently nobody knows a) if Tolkien ever read the obscure work in question or b) where Denham got the word from in the first place.
Well, that's easy enough. The word "hobbit" occasionally appears on such anitquated lists because hobbits were/are real creatures that lived in the northwest of the old world, east of the sea during the Third and Fourth ages of the world.

They may stlil be around somewhere, though if so I'm sure they were more numerous formerly than they are today...

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