re. Tolkien's knowledge of Scottish wars
> Lynn Forest-Hill <lynnevda@...>The one piece of information that comes to mind comes in a letter to
> 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.
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
Hope this helps.
*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
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