10 August 2009


Having recently visited England, I disagree somewhat with J.R.R. Tolkien's statement that "subcreation" is the invention of a totally imaginary, fully articulated world. In truth, it seems to me that the "subcreation" springs from the physical world and landscape in which one already lives and usually is not "totally imaginary." At least in Tolkien's case, the philologist of medieval Scandinavian languages lived in a land of ancient trees and ancient Druidic mysteries (England) which informed at least some substrate of his fertile imagination.

Could Middle Earth have been subcreated in the Outback of Australia, if one had no knowledge of rural England? Tolkien, it seems to me, remade--subcreated--the England he knew into a fanciful fantasy land and used biblical themes of the ultimate struggle between forces of light and darkness. His English sense of (real) place became the Middle Earth sense of imaginary place.

To me, England wears antiquity like Sherlock Holmes wears his overcape (coming to a theatre near you [starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law]).

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