Hexwood: the name 'Hume' (spoilers)

Neil Ward neilward at dircon.co.uk
Wed Apr 11 23:49:47 EDT 2001

I was struck by the use of the name Hume in "Hexwood".  In the book, Hume is noted as a shortening of human, but hume also means 'earth' and, as exhume means 'to dig up', hume could refer to Hume (Martellian/Merlin) having been buried on Earth. 

In my quest for background, I looked up Hume as a given name, and came across this information about the 18C Scottish philosopher, David Hume: -

"He rejected the possibility of certainty in knowledge, finding in the mind only a series of sensations ('impressions'), and discounted the existing notion of causation: we are aware of events in pairs, but although we can observe that one constantly follows another we can never be certain that it must follow."

I find this fascinating in the context of the story told in "Hexwood", where nothing is certain, once the story gets going.  Because the Bannus is changing the state of play for most of the book, we really can't make assumptions about the logical progression of events and most the characters that realise they are being tricked place less reliance on the certainty of facts.

I wonder if DWJ knew of David Hume when she wrote "Hexwood"?  Does anyone know if she has talked about the origins of the name 'Hume'?


PS - I am a dunce when it comes to Arthurian legend, so if that is the origin of Hume, it would have gone flying over my head.  


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