Friday, December 14, 2012

The West Midlands roots of The Hobbit

New Zealand has turned Middle Earth into a tourist destination, but the Visit England blog suggests that Tolkien found his inspiration nearer to home in the West Midlands. Perrot's Folly and Sarehole in suburban Birmingham are both mentioned.

Meanwhile, Harvard Gazette has an interview with Stephen Mitchell, the university's professor of Scandinavian folklore and a Tolkien enthusiast:
Where does the word “hobbit” come from? 
I think you could probably start bar fights over this. There is, I believe, a heated debate about where the word comes from. The obvious answer is that it’s a combination of “human” and “rabbit,” a people-who-live-in-holes kind of thing. But as was pointed out years ago … there is a list of supernatural creatures from Yorkshire, and it does include the word “hobbit.” Scandinavians, for example, refer to the elves as the hidden or underworld people.

No comments: