Tolkien and Welsh
provides an overview of J.R.R.Tolkien's use of Welsh in his Legendarium
, ranging from the obvious (Gwynfa
—the Welsh word for Paradise
), to the apparent (Took
—a Welsh surname), to the veiled (Gerontius
—the Latinizaton of a royal Welsh name), to the hidden (Goldberry
—the English calque of a Welsh theonym).
Though it is a book by a linguist, it was written for the non-linguist with the goal of making the topic accessible. The unavoidable jargon is explained in a glossary, and the narrative presents an overview of how Welsh influenced Tolkien's story line, as well as his synthetic languages Quenya and Sindarin.
The study is based on specific examples of attested names, placed in the context of their linguistic and cultural background, while highlighting the peculiar features of Welsh, "the senior language of the men of Britain" (MC 189), that Tolkien found so intriguing. It supplements, rather than competes with Carl Phelpstead’s excellent Tolkien and Wales, which sidestepped the topic of the Celtic linguistics behind Tolkien's work. Learn the story behind Lithe, Buckland, Anduin, and Baranduin.
Pagination: xxx + 274, B&W illustrations by James Dunning, maps, Index, Trade Paper
Jason Fisher--the editor of Tolkien and the Study of His Sources (McFarland, 2011), and the host of the blog 'Lingwë: Musings of a Fish' -- says:
Tolkien and Welsh "should be pretty accessible to most readers." Mark gets "into some of the particulars of Welsh (and Sindarin) phonology--especially on the matter of mutation, a prominent feature of both languages--but Mark writes primarily for the lay person." Where Carl Phelpstead's book Tolkien and Wales "presents a broad survey of the forest as a whole, Mark's book is down at the level of the trees within it, even single leaves, grappling with individual words and names. If you are familiar with his previous books, it is much like those, but with the driving thread being the influence of Welsh on Tolkien's nomenclature and storytelling. I think Mark's book and Carl's complement each other and could be profitably read together."
Tolkien and Welsh has been invited to enter the 2013 Competition for the Literature Wales Book of the Year Award. Participation is by invitation only.
Despite the fact that the “Preface” explicitly advises the reader that:
“The focus is on sources that were current at the time in which Tolkien lived and wrote. Modern theories may have supplanted the theories of Tolkien’s time, but that is irrelevant. This volume explores the question of what Tolkien thought, not what we think we know now.”
some reviewers surprisingly fault Tolkien and Welsh for citing sources that present views that might not be supported by modern scholarship.
Also from this author:
Tolkien Through Russian Eyes (Walking Tree Publishers, 2003), published simultaneously in Russian.
"Frodo's Batman," Tolkien Studies, No. 1 (2004)
A Tolkienian Mathomium (Llyfrawr, 2006)
The Hobbitonian Anthology (Llyfrawr, 2009)
"Reading John Buchan in Search of Tolkien," Tolkien and the Study of His Sources, Jason Fisher (ed.). (McFarland, 2011)
The Tolkienaeum (Llyfrawr, 2014)
Iter Tolkienensis (Llyfrawr, 2016)
Tolkien and Sanskrit (Llyfrawr, 2016)