--- Original Message ---
From: "William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 16:44:17 -0000
Subject: Re: Jane Chance
> --- In email@example.com, "Larry Swain"
> > I was going to protest, but on checking some of the places
> where I
> had remembered Tolkien using the phrase, I find that in fact
> didn't. You are quite right, David. He leaves no doubt
> about what
> he is talking about, but his descriptions of this "cycle of
> interconnected legends" that he thought to compose "for my
> is as near to the phrase as one can get without actually
> using it.
> The phrase itself seems to come from Humphrey Carpenter.
> It appears that the origin of the concept, though not the
> precise phrase, lies in Letter No. 131 (to Milton Walman,
> ca. 1951):
> "I was from early days grieved by the poverty of my own
> beloved country: it had no stories of its own (bound up with
> its tongue and soil), not of the quality I sought, and found
> (as an ingredient) in legends of other lands. There was
> Greek, and Celtic, and Romance, Germanic, Scandinavian, and
> Finnish (which greatly affected me); but nothing English,
> save impoverished chap-book stuff.......Do not laugh! But
> once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a
> mind to make a body of more or less connected legend,
> ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of
> romantic fairy-story...which I could dedicate simply to: to
> England; to my country. It should be possessed the tone and
> quality that I desired, somewhat cool and clear, be redolent
> of our 'air' (the clime and soil of the North West, meaning
> Britain and the hither parts of Europe: not Italy or the
> Aegean, still less the East), and, while possessing (if I
> could achieve it) the fair elusive beauty that some call
> Celtic (though it is rarely found in genuine ancient Celtic
> things), it should be 'high', purged of the gross, and fit
> for the adult mind of a land long now steeped in poetry."
> In his Biography, 1977, Carpenter introduced a portion of
> the above-quoted text with "his desire to create a mythology
> /for England/." This is almost certainly the origin of the
> phrase, predating Chance by two years.
> W C Hicklin