Simon J. Cook s is well known, the origins of Tolkien's legendarium are bound up with a desire to dedicate a mythology to England. The present essay claims that an early engagement with Hector Munro Chadwick's The Origin of the English Nation (1907) shaped Tolkien's basic idea of what an English mythology might look like, and did so by pointing his gaze beyond the borders of England. It also argues that Chadwick's book suggested to Tolkien some of the defining--and enduring-- features of his English mythology. But it is further suggested that Tolkien's reading of Chadwick was not uncritical, and that the connection between the former's legendarium and the latter's scholarship is not unidirectional. Chadwick provided Tolkien with a crucial literary resource; but Tolkien's legendarium embodied a critical reappraisal of Chadwick's methodological approach to Northern traditions. Chadwick's Origin was a turning point in Anglo-Saxon scholarship. Late-Victorian historians of England usually prefaced their account of the Anglo-Saxon settlements with a few remarks on the preconquest English. Drawing upon Roman sources, they sketched a picture of seminomadic barbarians but recently migrated from the East.1 Chadwick's starting point was the recent archeological discovery that the Baltic coasts and islands had been
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Dec 18, 2015
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