Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Christopher Tolkien interview

So, I've now seen the new Tolkien book (at the Border's, in the mall), and it looks v. good indeed. It's more substantial than I expected, at about 350 pages. In addition to the two poems (the main event), the commentary, both by CT and excerpted from various notes and lectures by JRRT himself, promises to reveal a good deal about Tolkien's ideas about the Eddas.

In the meantime, if like me you're waiting for your copy to arrive, here's an interesting interview with Christopher about the book, his father's popularity, and other related matters. Thanks to Shelly for the link; I advise clicking on the follow-up button for the full length version.


--John R.


Philip said...

I apologize that this is completely off-topic, but I was wondering if you had noticed the similarity between “Bolg” of The Hobbit and “Boldog” of The Lay of Leithian? Yet another tie-in between the two works. (You may have already mentioned it in your book.)

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Philip.

So far as I'm concerned, Tolkien is always on-topic.

As for Bolg in THE HOBBIT and Boldog in THE LAY OF LEITHIAN, I do indeed think the two names are linked, and discuss this in my mini-essay 'Bolg of the North' (RETURN TO BAG-END, pages 708-713); I also provide a summary of Tolkien's various proposed theories for the origins of the goblins in my essay on Goblins in MR. BAGGINS (esp. pages 138-139). One of the most curious things about Bolg is in fact his name, which belongs to Tolkien's invented language known as Magol, about which relatively little is known (whereas Boldog is Noldorin/Sindarin). Personally, I think 'Bolg' probably is JRRT's borrowing from Ivernian, the pre-Irish language of Ireland, as in the Fir Bolg.

So yes, I do think the two figures are connected, in that one probably inspired the other, but not of course the same individual.