Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire by Rainer Nagel (01.03.12 by Pieter Collier) - Comments

Walking Tree Publishers known for their high quality books on anything Tolkien have released a book called Hobbit Place-names - A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire.

The title immediately makes me think about these three things:

The first is the book called The Hobbitonian Anthology: of Articles on J.R.R. Tolkien and his Legendarium by Mark T. Hooker. Which is fun to see was reviewed by the author Rainer Nagel, who wrote this new book.

The second is a letter by J.R.R. Tolkien to Elsie Honeybourne, where Tolkien is charmed by her name and writes her if he could he would certainly put Honeybourne on the map of the shire.

The third is something I recall from a long time ago when I saw a documentary on Tolkien and first heard the "Woodhouse Lane" explanation by Tom Shippey and later read it again in his J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century:
"It would not have escaped Tolkien that his office at Leeds University stood just off 'Woodhouse Lane.' which crosses 'Woodhouse Moor' and 'Woodhouse Ridge.' These names may preserve, in mistaken modern spelling, old belief in 'the wild men of the woods' lurking in the hills."

Combine these three items and Rainer Nagel and I'm certain this book is worth-while to read. Tolkien loved place names and all must have a certain origin that can be revealed by someone who knows... and I'm certain Rainer Nagel is the perfect person to do the job!

hobbit place-names a linguistic excursion through the shire

About the author Rainer Nagel

Rainer Nagel, a professor of English and Linguistics at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, has written numerious articles written in German and English, mainly about the topic of translation of the works by Tolkien. I personally enjoyed very much his “Working with HoMe: Its Use in Researching Shire Place-Names” published in Hither Shore Band 3 the bilingual journal by the German Tolkien Society (Deutschen Tolkien Gesellschaft aka DTG).

A harder nut to crack was an article that compared the German translations of The Lord of the Rings with the original in his article “Verschiedene Interpretationen eines Textes als Grundlage von Übersetzungsstrategien” [“Various Interpretations of a Text as the Basis of Translation Strategies”] that was published in Hither Shore Band 1.
A similar article, The Treatment of Proper Names in the German Edition(s) of The Lord of the Rings as an Example of Norms in Translation Practice, was published by Walking Tree Publishers in Translating Tolkien: Text and Film. A book that is very interesting to all people interested in the words by Tolkien.

From the preface

J.R.R. tolkien's giving of names has garnered considerable attention in the linguistic analysis of tolkien's works. Usually, however, the focus has been on singling out particular names of important individuals and places. Thorough analyses of names (place-names or personal ones) are usually reserved for Elvish names only.

Thus, this book centres on the place-names as found in the Shire as well as Breeland. All those names that are referenced on tolkien's map of the Shire, plus those few that are not found on the map but mentioned in the text, as well as four from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, are analysed as to their possible "etymologies" against the theoretical backdrop of real-world English place-name research.

tolkien's "own" (in-world) etymologies, insofar as they differ from the real-world ones, are also taken into consideration. Finally, all extant German translations (Scherf and Krege for The Hobbit, Carroux and Krege for The Lord of the Rings) of these names are given and, where necessary, compared. Other media (the films and the Hobbit graphic novel, in particular) are also covered.

Title: Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire
Rainer Nagel

Walking Tree Publishers

Publication Date:
11 February 2012

ISBN-10: 390570322X
ISBN-13: 978-3905703221

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