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Tolkien's knowledge of Scottish wars

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  • ecrowews
    A query from our friends in The Tolkien Society (UK). If you have useful information please respond to the following--NOT to me. (And copy to this list if you
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 5, 2008
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      A query from our friends in The Tolkien Society (UK). If you have
      useful information please respond to the following--NOT to me. (And
      copy to this list if you wish for the edification of your fellow
      listmembers.)

      Lynn Forest-Hill <lynnevda@...>

      The Question:

      We have had a request for any information regarding Tolkien's knowledge
      of, opinions about, or writings on, Scottish wars and clan violence.
      The enquiry is particularly focussed on Scottish wars and clan violence
      in the Borders, but any insight into Tolkien knowledge of these matters
      would be helpful.

      Edith Crowe, Corresponding Secretary of the Mythopoeic Society
      correspondence@...
    • John D Rateliff
      ... The one piece of information that comes to mind comes in a letter to his grandson Michael dated 16 October 1963: As my knowledge of Scottish History is
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 5, 2008
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        > Lynn Forest-Hill <lynnevda@...>
        > The Question:
        > We have had a request for any information regarding Tolkien's
        > knowledge of, opinions about, or writings on, Scottish wars and
        > clan violence.
        > The enquiry is particularly focussed on Scottish wars and clan
        > violence in the Borders, but any insight into Tolkien knowledge of
        > these matters would be helpful.



        The one piece of information that comes to mind comes in a letter to
        his grandson Michael dated 16 October 1963: "As my knowledge of
        Scottish History is v. small I find it difficult to follow who
        murdered whom, or why � the general trend of Scots history." (Letters
        page 336). He was referring specifically to the Gowrie conspiracy of
        1600 (a particularly complicated event still much disputed, as
        related to him by a partisan of one faction). Given his typical
        modesty, it's probably safe to assume he knew the main outlines of
        Scotland's history that any well-educated person of the day would
        know* but had no special knowledge such as a university historian
        would know. My impression is that while he enjoyed visiting Scotland
        and liked the Scots he had no particular interest in Scottish
        mythology, much preferring the Welsh (and, to a lesser extent, the
        Irish). That said, Macpherson's example of creating Scotch myths from
        a few oral fragments (the Ossian cycle) is a pretty clear precursor
        to 'a mythology for England'.
        I'd be interested in seeing what your research on this topic
        turns up.
        Hope this helps.
        --JDR

        *Don't forget that he'd once been a fan of S. R. Crockett's The Black
        Douglas, a historical novel about 15th century Scots.


        On Jan 5, 2008, at 9:00 AM, ecrowews wrote:
        > A query from our friends in The Tolkien Society (UK). If you have
        > useful information please respond to the following--NOT to me. (And
        > copy to this list if you wish for the edification of your fellow
        > listmembers.)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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