View Single Post
Old 11-12-2020, 05:01 AM   #6
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Huinesoron's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,389
Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Originally Posted by mhagain View Post
I don't believe this signifies anything. At the time, Tolkien was in the habit of reusing place and personal names from the real world and from real world myths in his stories. That's where Mirkwood (an actual real world place) and many of the names in The Hobbit come from. This is just another example of the same.
Well that's certainly true of The Hobbit! But I think it becomes less true as you work backwards from that point. HoME I includes the poem Kortirion Among the Trees, which is a love-song to the city of Warwick as a relic of the Elder Days; and the House of a Hundred Chimneys from the Book of Lost Tales is strongly identified with Shugborough Hall in Great Haywood (to the point where you can check out the Bridge of Tavrobel in Google Maps).

In a sense, you're absolutely right here: Shugborough Hall is very obviously post-medieval, whereas Tolkien's notes connecting Tol Eressea and Britain (HoME II, The History of Eriol or Aelfwine) would require it to be in place by the time of Hengest and Horsa in the fifth century. So Tolkien definitely wasn't imagining that these exact towns and buildings were in place at the time of his setting. But that's pretty common with myths, I think - you'll find (for instance) stories claiming Merlin built Stonehenge, despite Stonehenge being millennia older than Arthurian myth.

I think the use of the name Broseliand for an enchanted forest can definitely be seen as Tolkien providing a 'true history' for the Christianised Arthurian myth (just as Atalantie provides a 'true history' of Atlantis). What I'm still puzzling over is whether he intended for Broseliand/Doriath to be equated with Broceliande/Brittany, or whether he imagined an older, now-lost forest bearing the name, and the Brittany connection as spurious.

I think I'm going to have to dig through BoLT a bit more to understand the geography. Does Beleriand even get drowned in the original stories? I can't find anything past Earendil's (failed!) mission to Valinor until we hit the Faring Forth.

Huinesoron is offline   Reply With Quote