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Old 09-23-2018, 07:29 PM   #3
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 87
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.

Apologies for the late reply (once again!) and thank you for your views.

The thing is it is very difficult to build a credible article by being wishy-washy. The presence of too many “maybe's, perhaps's & possibly's” tend to sow doubt in a reader's mind as to the validity of an article, and whether the author himself/herself is convinced. The balance between being over-assertive or under-convincing is a certainly a difficult one to achieve.

I think's it's worth taking another look at Ms. Seth's Match me a Bilbo in London bearing this in mind. Upon careful reading you might note Ms. Seth talks about her proposal potentially leapfrogging “pre-existing theories” and jumping “to the front of the queue”. In other words – she is effectively stating her proposition is a theory too! Not fact!

Actually within the article she does use 'perhaps' and 'maybe' several times – to be honest overly much for my liking. It is only towards the end of Match me a Bilbo in London – where more assertiveness is displayed. And that is precisely the right point to do so.

I am sure you must be aware that these are 'her' views and that is what she wishes to portray, By using the word “surely” - as a reader – I feel that it's simply the case of me being urged to think along the same lines. I take no offence - and it's up to me whether I concur.

One other point that is of relevance is that one might also want to consider – is her style – which she outlined in her very first article:

"what follows is a hypothesis, and though sometimes a factual portrayal is presented – this is just literary style and for effect."

Such a disclaimer could be added to the beginning of each and every one of her articles – but this to my mind is overkill. The reader ought to be acquainted with common practice.

As to 'proof' – you are quite right – it's extremely hard to achieve.
I discussed your suggested approach with Ms. Seth. The comment received was that it was an interesting tack. However she, for this particular hypothesis, prefers the 'DNA match' method.

In other words what are the odds of finding a person called 'Bilbo' (spelled exactly that way) and a fire-breathing dragon in another literary work?

Match me in London could be coincidence – but out of all the literary works out there – to her research it is a singular one. Even then – if it purely co-incidental – then what is the explanation for all the other similarities? They are too numerous to arbitrarily dismiss.

And by the way she's grateful to Nerwen, in pointing out the 'riddle scene' as yet another similarity. One that she completely missed.

I take your point about the Beowulfian stuff and the quest of the dragon's treasure being incipient to the story-line. Tolkien freely admitted “Beowulf is among my most valuable sources”.

But I think Ms. Seth's case is that the source of inspiration for The Hobbit was actually putting together a parody of Dekker's play - which itself is a quest to recover 'treasure'. From that he could tailor it to include Beowulfian elements.
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