Tolkien (was Re: Who invented the modern fantasy genre?)

minnow at minnow at
Tue Aug 24 19:12:32 EDT 2004

Charlie wrote:

>Just makes me wonder - why Scouring? For a long time I had the idea that it
>meant cleansing (I had only met 'scouring' as in scouring pads for doing the
>washing up), which makes a kind of sense. But then, William I's Scouring of
>the North was a fairly brutal foray into the northern counties of England to
>wipe out the last vestiges of Saxon resistance - just the kind of enterprise
>with which you'd think Tolkien would be unsympathetic.

JRRT was probably just using it in the ME sense of "cleansing or clearing
out by running water through" (like the tide scouring the waterways in East
Anglia) and thinking of the Labours of Hercules and the Augean Stablesin a
vague sort of way.

Anyhow William didn't succeed: bits of the Lake District were still being
unregenerately Saxon decades later, and a thorn in the side of his



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