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Old 04-25-2021, 04:34 PM   #13
Rune Son of Bjarne
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I realised that I did not have a copy of Farmer Giles of Ham lying around, nor could I find my copy of the Danish translation Niels Bonde fra Bold. I couldn't find it on my audiobook/library apps and my local library have a bit of delivery time. Today I had resigned to purchasing an e-book version, when I looked at the book shelf and realised I had a barely touched volume of "Tales from the Perilous Realm" standing right there... Anyways, I have only made it a little passed the foreword for now.

Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post

That being said, I feel like one would also greatly benefit from being more familiar with English mythology and history. I feel like you can't really appreciate Tolkien's writing as much "just as a story", without a greater context. Now that I think of it, it's rather fascinating how he often wrote - in a way - for scholars and children at the same time, which is not really a common combination.

As for the foreword itself, two things stood out to me - two very trademark Tolkien things that we see in his major works too. One is that his love for and knowledge of linguistics is evident; how many other authors would say their story is just an explanation for odd place names? Or how many others would bother to establish what language the story is written, and what they're telling us it was translated from? And the trope of the somewhat unreliable translator-narrator passing on an old story, obscuring the truth of what "really happened," is of course the second thing. It is very much like the whole narrative framing of the Red Book of Westmarch.
I think this scholarly approach is one of the reasons I still find Tolkien so fascinating. It is escapism, but it also speaks to the part of me that loves academia. Like Tolkien I prefer history, even if this history is imagined.

I agree with your comparison with the Red Book of Westmarch, which incidentally is one of my favorite things in the appendix to Lord of the Rings.

Originally Posted by littlemanpoet View Post
I find in the Foreword some delicious comments in terms of geography: the valley of the Thames and excursions to the "walls of Wales." The pseudo history places the tale some time after King Coel (maybe) and after King Arthur ... which, of course, makes it pseudo-history in the plainest sense. If one were to take this seriously, then it would have to be a story about pre-Anglo-Saxon Britain. Will we find the ensuing text free of Anglo-Saxon place names? Wink wink.

Let the fun begin!
Tolkien quite caught my attention when he started talking about the valley of the Thames, because I have never really thought much about southern English geography before. Too me it is just a massive urban area, but all of the sudden my mind started wondering. Why did that area/London become so important. I remembered that it had already been important in Roman times, obviously the main reasons had to be geographical...
and so on.

Anyways, I quite expected the setting to be pre-Anglo-Saxon Britain-like... So I was immediately flustered by the blunderbuss, more so than the giant and the talking dog.
Originally Posted by Lalaith View Post
Rune is my brother from another mother.

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