Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien and Nodens in the news this morning.
- Merlin wrote:
To say "unconfirmed" is to give the story more credibility than it deserves. There's no evidence that Tolkien visited the excavations at Lydney -- at least, that we're aware of, but our research has been very broad. Tolkien'scolleague at Pembroke, R.G. Collingwood, however, a member of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries, did visit the site, as mentionedin the prefatory note to the Lydney report, and it was probably Collingwood who was the connection between Tolkien and Mortimer Wheeler. The prefatory note in its acknowledgements mentions those who worked on the site or visited, but for Tolkien says only: "Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, of Oxford, has very kindly presented a detailed report upon the name of the Lydney God, Nodens". Added to this is the formal mode of address in letters written by Wheeler to Tolkien in 1931 and 1932 -- "Dear Sir" and "Dear Professor Tolkien" -- which indicates that there was nopersonal relationship, such as has been suggested between Tolkien and Wheeler after supposedly many visits.
Both stories claim that Tolkien visited Lydney Park, but I thought that I had read, perhaps in Christina and Wayne's books, that this was unconfirmed.
Nor is there any evidence, or good reason to believe, that Tolkien was inspired by the Roman ring, for reasons others have put forward here and in various Tolkien discussion forums, e.g. that the Ring, as it first appeared in the first edition of The Hobbit, did not have a "curse", if one wants to use that word to describe the nature of the Ring as later developed by Tolkien. Wishful thinking, indeed, as Larry writes, of the sort we've seen since the time of the Lord of the Rings films, and are still seeing with the Hobbit films in release, with so many claims of Tolkien connections based on the most dubious of ideas, some of which have been outright invention. Press headlines don't help, either: some of those for the ring story said that it "may have inspired Tolkien", while others said "inspired Tolkien", turning a supposition into a fact -- and for undiscriminating readers, "may have" will be taken to mean "did".
Wayne & Christina
- Note also that the gold ring in question was *not* found at Lydney; it had been dig up in the 18th century near Silchester and was not part of the Wheeler excavation at all; the connection lies in the fact that it appears likely to have been the ring referenced in the lead curse-tablet found at Lydney (which had itself been discovered decades before 1929).
The Press engaged in another Parrott's Folly, I'm afraid; and it's a shame the UK Tolkien Society seem to be playing along.
--- In email@example.com, "not_thou" <emptyD@...> wrote:
> Two co-workers asked if I'd heard the news this morning about an exhibit in England featuring a Roman ring that "may have inspired Tolkien". Here are links to two versions of the story:
> Both stories claim that Tolkien visited Lydney Park, but I thought that I had read, perhaps in Christina and Wayne's books, that this was unconfirmed.
> A connection between Tolkien's "The Name 'Nodens'" study and THE LORD OF THE RINGS had been suggested at least as far back as 1997, by Helen Armstrong, so I have read here: