Hexwood: the name 'Hume' (spoilers)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu Apr 12 11:07:11 EDT 2001


Neil:

>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'?

I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to whether she'd talked about the 
name, intended the reference, or anything of the kind, but I *would* 
bet she knew of him.

And just for a teeny, relatively boring synchronicity (relative to 
Neil's, that is), who should pop up in my course book today but Hume. 
Not that big a deal, but still, not someone I'd have necessarily 
expected to be mentioned in a section on Romantic Poetry.

Hallie.

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