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Old 05-03-2010, 01:50 AM   #1
Legate of Amon Lanc
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Palantir-Green "Where is this from?" - Quote-search

Maybe you know the feeling when you remember almost perfectly clearly some quote from the books, but you just cannot remember where exactly it is from. We have several games in the Quiz Room based upon this idea, but this thread is, I would like to point out, not supposed to serve as "cheating board" for such occasions. Rather, I would like it to become a place where people can ask fellow 'Downers for help in looking for some quote.

This idea came to me after I have been thinking about a particular quote for some time, and yet cannot remember where have I seen it and all the places I have checked seemed to fail me. Being so frustrated, I assumed that some of the 'Downers might know, but I did not feel like starting a thread just because of one quote. So I have decided to make a general "Q&A" thread where people can continue to ask their own questions, if they encounter a similar problem like the one I had.

So, to start - my problem is rather simple. Somewhere, Tolkien says something along the lines that "Middle-Earth was indeed supposed to be a depiction of our own world in some ancient age". If you know what it is and what I mean, could, please, somebody refer to me where this is from? (For that matter, it is enough for me if it is something similar, roughly along these lines, but having the same meaning - I think it's likely that Tolkien said similar thing several times in different places, but I think there is this one which is in some "obvious" place - only I cannot seem to be able to find where.)

Can any fellow 'Downer help me out?
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"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post

So, to start - my problem is rather simple. Somewhere, Tolkien says something along the lines that "Middle-Earth was indeed supposed to be a depiction of our own world in some ancient age". If you know what it is and what I mean, could, please, somebody refer to me where this is from?
Closest I can find is in the BBC interview with Denis Guerolt from 1971:

Quote:
G: I thought that conceivably Midgard might be Middle-earth or have some connection?

T: Oh yes, they're the same word. Most people have made this mistake of thinking Middle-earth is a particular kind of Earth or is another planet of the science fiction sort but it's just an old fashioned word for this world we live in, as imagined surrounded by the Ocean.

G: It seemed to me that Middle-earth was in a sense as you say this world we live in but at a different era.

T: No ... at a different stage of imagination, yes.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:52 AM   #3
Legate of Amon Lanc
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Thanks, davem. I knew somebody will help me Although I am still wondering whether there is some other place still where it was said, as I have the vague recollection of actually reading it and it being stated in some different way (i.e. not as a negative response, like up here). Though, of course, I may be mistaken.
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"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:11 AM   #4
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I, too, remember reading about it somewhere but I can't remember where either
I suspect I read it in an introductory essay that precedes one of Tolkien's works... Good luck with finding out where it's from!
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:26 AM   #5
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In answer to your question, Legate, there's also this from Letters:

Quote:
'Middle-earth', by the way, is not a name of a never-never land without relation to the world we live in....imaginatively this 'history' is supposed to take place in a period of the actual Old World of this planet.
Letter 165

And this:

Quote:
The theatre of my tale is this earth, the one in which we now live, but the historical period is imaginary.
Letter 183
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:33 AM   #6
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Well, well, great, that looks nice. I am not 100% sure if these are the things I originally had in mind, but I definitely got in the answers more than I hoped for Thanks to everybody once again... Still, if anybody came up with something more, you can let me know... otherwise, this thread is open for anybody who would feel in similarly dire need as me. (But for the sake of not spamming around and also for honing your own research skills, I suggest you always try to first find it by yourselves! )
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"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:03 PM   #7
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Here is the quote from letter #165 that Inziladun gave, a bit more extensive:
Quote:
"Middle-earth", by the way, is not a name of a never-never land without relation to the world we live in. It is just a use of Middle English middel-erde (or erthe),altered from Old English Middangeard: the name for the inhabited lands of Men "between the seas". And though I have not attempted to relate the shape of the mountains and land-masses to what geologists may say or surmise about the nearer past, imaginatively this "history" is supposed to take place in a period of the actual Old World of this planet.
and the quote from letter #183 also more extensive:
Quote:
I am historically minded. Middle-earth is not an imaginary world. The name is the modern form (appearing in the 13th century and still in use) of midden-erd> middel-erd, an ancient name for the abiding place of Men, the objectively real world, in use specifically opposed to imaginary worlds (as Fairyland) or unseen worlds (as Heaven or Hell). The theatre of my tale is this earth, the one in which we now live, but the historical period is imaginary. The essentials of that abiding place are all there (at any rate for inhabitants of N.W. Europe), so naturally it feels familiar, even if a little glorified by the enchantment of distance in time.
And here is a quote from letter #211
Quote:
I have, I suppose, constructed an imaginary time, but kept my feet on my own mother earth for place. I prefer that to the contemporary mode of seeking remote globes in "space". However curious, they are alien, and not lovable with the love of blood-kin.
Middle-earth is not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration of an old word for the inhabited world of Men: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and (in the northern imagination ) between the ice of the North and the fire of the South.
I hope you are now satisfied, Legate!
(I remembered that I had looked up these quotes some years ago for a German discussion forum, so I could just copy-paste them now.)
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:42 PM   #8
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Ah, wonderful. Thanks, Guinevere! Actually I think the #183 now in its full sounds a bit like the thing I had in mind originally, though still I am not sure. But great, thanks for your help
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"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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