Display Full Text
[page 21] Richard Labonte forwarded a copy of an article appearing in WEEKEND MAGAZINE No. 35, entitled, "In A Hole In The Ground There Lived A Hobbit," written by Charlotte and Denis Plimmer. One is halted temporarily by some of the most gosh-awful art, certainly, that has ever been sketched on Middle Earth. Time permitting, I will attempt to reproduce at least a section of it. But once the interview with J. R. R. Tolkien is begun, the article produces a warm glow. An interview with Professor Tolkien brings out a few quotes which I hadn't heard kicked around before. Such as the one about how he happened to get started on hobbits: "It all began when I was reading exam papers to earn a bit of extra money. That was agony. One of the tragedies of the underpaid professor is that he has to do menial jobs. He is expected to maintain a certain position and send his children to good schools. Well, one day I came to a blank page in an exam book and I scribbled on it, 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' I knew no more about the creature than that, and it was years before his story grew. I don't know where the word came from. You can't catch your mind out. It might have been associated with Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt. Certainly not rabbit, as some people think. Babbit has the same bourgeois smugness that hobbits do. His world is the same limited place." The authors state, "Tolkien's imaginary landscapes grew out of his predilection for creating languages. 'Anyone who invents a language,' he said, 'finds that it requires a suitable habitation and a history in which it can develop. A real language is never invented, of course. It is a natural thing. It is wrong to call the language you grow up speaking your native language. It is not. It is your first learnt language. It is a by-product of the total make-up of the animal.'" Interestingly enough, the authors say that Tolkien feels strongly that the Ring should not be filmed: "You can't cramp narrative into dramatic form. It would be easier to film 'The Odyssey.' Much less happens in it. Only a few storms." (Opposed to this feeling of Tolkien, it would seem that a movie will be made. Quoting Ed Meskys in a Tolkien Society of America communication, "Two questions that everyone asks are on the Silmarillion and a movie of LotR. The first is a long way off--several more years-- while the contracts are almost signed for the latter. The studio or producer have @has@ not been announced, and I await the results with trepidation.") At any rate, it was an interesting article, and nice to see that LotR is still creating talk in the current publications, and is not "just a fad" after all.