sábado, 24 de julio de 2010

Tolkien and History

Para mis lectores en lengua inglesa, un extracto de mi última publicación sobre Tolkien (“John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973)”. Rewriting the Middle Ages in the Twentieth Century: Volume II, National Traditions. Eds. J. Aurell & J. Pavón. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers. 2009. 327-70).http://www.medievalists.net/2009/11/05/rewriting-the-middle-ages-in-the-twentieth-century/

"[...] Tolkien had a real interest in the history of England, the history of his people. So much that he dreamt about being able to travel back in time, back to the days when Beowulf was written, as stated in a letter to his son Christopher (18 January 1945): 'I read till 11.50, browsing through the packed and to me enthralling pages of Stenton’s Anglo-Saxon England. A period mostly filled with most intriguing Question Marks. I’d give a bit for a time-machine'.
Tolkien had a genuine interest in history but, as he was a trained philologist, the main sources from which the Professor came to shape his conception of Anglo-Saxon England were literary texts. To this, Sir Frank Merry Stenton’s Anglo-Saxon England (1943) would be a later contribution, since published six years after Tolkien delivered his conference on Beowulf
at the British Academy. Designed as a volume of the Oxford History of England, Stenton’s book is widely considered a classic history of the period, even if it is a bit dated. This is not the place to enter into a detailed discussion of this work, but already in Stenton’s preface we see points of connection with some of Tolkien’s views on the history of Anglo-Saxon England. For instance, Stenton considered that one of the main characteristics of the period was that in it the roots of a nation were established:
'In political history the central interest of the following centuries is the evolution of an effective monarchy, covering all England, and overriding all the differences of race and custom which separated the various English peoples from one another, and the English people as a whole from the Scandinavian colonists of the North and East. This volume ends with the death of William the Conqueror, who in twenty years had transformed this memorial Germanic kingship into a pattern of feudal sovereignty'.
The nationalistic approach to Anglo-Saxon England, together with the emphasis on the rupture brought on by the Norman invasion, is also central in Tolkien’s view of the period".
Mi familia me reclama...

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Beowulf MS

Beowulf MS