The Roots of 21st Century Academic Impostor Syndrome
The Footnotes of 19th Century German Scholarship
The Roots of 21st Century Academic Impostor Syndrome
The Footnotes of 19th Century German Scholarship
Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee – but almost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.
1. Gollum looked at them. (4)
2. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face.(9)
3. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. (15)
4. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. (28)
5. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee – but almost the touch was a caress. (24)
6. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.(51)
|Artwork copyright Donato Giancola|
Ver. 9298. Wades bote] Upon this Mr. Speght remarks, as follows: "Concerning Wade and his bote called Guingelot, as also his straunge exploits in the same, because the matter is long and fabulous, I passe it over." Tantamne rem tam negligenter?* Mr. Speght probably did not foresee, that Posterity would be as much obliged to him for a little of this fabulous matter concerning Wade and his bote, as for the gravest of his annotations. The story of Wade is mentioned again by our author in his Troilus, iii. 615.
He songe, she playde, he tolde a tale of Wade.
It is there put proverbially for any romantic history; but the allusion in the present passage to Wades bote can hardly be explained, without a more particular knowledge of his adventures, than we are now likely ever to attain.
'But Wade of the Helsings wearyhearted'
The likeness of Guingelot to Wingelot is sufficiently striking; but when we place together the facts that Wingelot was Earendel's ship, that Earendel was Tuor's son, that Tuor was peculiarly associated with the sea, and that here 'Wade of the Helsings' stands in the place of Tuor, coincidence is ruled out. Wingelot was derived from Wade's boat, Guingelot as certainly, I think, as was Earendel from the Old English figure (this latter being a fact expressly stated by my father, II. 309).
Why my father should have intruded 'Wade of the Helsings' into the verses at this point is another question. It may conceivably have been unintentional - the words Wada Haelsingum were running in his mind (though in that case one might expect that he would have struck the line out and not merely written another line against it as an alternative): but at any rate the reason why they were running in his mind is clear, and this possibility in no way diminishes the demonstrative value of the line that Wingelot was derived from Guingelot, and that there was a connection of greater significance than the mere taking over of a name -- just as in the case of Earendel.
As they passed her they turned and their eyes watched her slowly floating away from them. For so it seemed to them: Lórien was slipping backward, like a bright ship masted with enchanted trees, sailing on to forgotten shores, while they sat helpless upon the margin of the grey and leafless world.
'I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a conspirator, now he's a jester. He'll end up by becoming a wizard – or a warrior!'
'I hope not,' said Sam. 'I don't want to be neither!'
FR 1.xii.208But maybe both?
[Sam] felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be.
When winter first begins to bite
and stones crack in the frosty night,
when pools are black and trees are bare,
'tis evil in the Wild to fare;
When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
þe Clerkes Compleinte
Whanne þat Octobre mid his schoures derke
Þe erþe haþ dreint, and wetė windes cherke
& swoghe in naked braunches colde and bare,
& þ’oldė sonne is hennes longe yfare;
The Clerk's Complaint
When October with his showers dark
The earth has drowned, and wet winds creak
And sigh in naked branches cold and bare,
And the old sun has from here far fared;
These half-elves and wizards, they would come to grief perhaps. Yet often I doubt if they are wise and not merely timid.
(FR 2.x.398, emphasis added)Frodo:
But into Mordor ... had [Gandalf] ever journeyed there? And here he was a little halfling from the Shire, a simple hobbit of the quiet countryside expected to find a way where the great ones could not go, or dared not go.
(TT 4.iii.644, emphasis added)
'Why not get rid of it? Why not be free of your doubt and fear? You can lay the blame on me, if you will. You can say that I was too strong and took it by force. For I am too strong for you, halfling,' he cried; and suddenly he sprang over the stone and leaped at Frodo.
(FR 2.x.399, emphasis added)
'You revealed yourself to me just now, foolishly. Give it back to Sméagol you said. Do not say that again! Do not let that thought grow in you! You will never get it back. But the desire of it may betray you to a bitter end. You will never get it back. In the last need, Sméagol, I should put on the Precious; and the Precious mastered you long ago. If I, wearing it, were to command you, you would obey, even if it were to leap from a precipice or to cast yourself into the fire. And such would be my command. So have a care, Sméagol!'
(TT 4.iii.640, first emphasis original)
[Frodo] got out of bed and discovered that his arm was already nearly as useful again as it ever had been. He found laid ready clean garments of green cloth that fitted him excellently. Looking in a mirror he was startled to see a much thinner reflection of himself than he remembered: it looked remarkably like the young nephew of Bilbo who used to go tramping with his uncle in the Shire; but the eyes looked out at him thoughtfully.
'Yes, you have seen a thing or two since you last peeped out of a looking-glass,' he said to his reflection.
Things would have gone ill with Sam, if he had been alone. But Frodo sprang up, and drew Sting from its sheath. With his left hand he drew back Gollum’s head by his thin lank hair, stretching his long neck, and forcing his pale venomous eyes to stare up at the sky.
‘Let go! Gollum,’ he said. ‘This is Sting. You have seen it before once upon a time. Let go, or you’ll feel it this time! I’ll cut your throat.’
Gollum collapsed and went as loose as wet string. Sam got up, fingering his shoulder. His eyes smouldered with anger, but he could not avenge himself: his miserable enemy lay grovelling on the stones whimpering.
About an hour after midnight the fear fell on them a third time, but it now seemed more remote, as if it were passing far above the clouds, rushing with terrible speed into the West. Gollum, however, was helpless with terror, and was convinced that they were being hunted, that their approach was known.
‘Three times!’ he whimpered. ‘Three times is a threat. They feel us here, they feel the Precious. The Precious is their master. We cannot go any further this way, no. It’s no use, no use!’
Pleading and kind words were no longer of any avail. It was not until Frodo commanded him angrily and laid a hand on his sword-hilt that Gollum would get up again. Then at last he rose with a snarl, and went before them like a beaten dog.
|The Light of Valinor © Ted Nasmith|
Now, though I have only touched (wholly inadequately) on elves and fairies, I must turn back; for I have digressed from my proper theme: fairy-stories. I said the sense “stories about fairies” was too narrow. It is too narrow, even if we reject the diminutive size, for fairy-stories are not in normal English usage stories about fairies or elves, but stories about Fairy, that is Faerie, the realm or state in which fairies have their being. Faerie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons: it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted
'Now we Eldar are your kinsmen, and your friends also (if you will believe it), and we have observed you already through three lives of Men with love and concern and much thought. Of this then we are certain without debate, or else all our wisdom is vain: the fëar of Men, though close akin indeed to the fëar of the Quendi, are yet not the same. For strange as we deem it, we see clearly that the fëar of Men are not, as are ours, confined to Arda, nor is Arda their home.
'Can you deny it? Now we Eldar do not deny that ye love Arda and all that is therein (in so far as ye are free from the Shadow) maybe even as greatly as do we. Yet otherwise. Each of our kindreds perceives Arda differently, and appraises its beauties in different mode and degree. How shall I say it? To me the difference seems like that between one who visits a strange country, and abides there a while (but need not), and one who has lived in that land always (and must). To the former all things that he sees are new and strange, and in that degree lovable. To the other all things are familiar, the only things that are, his own, and in that degree precious.'
Dixit et avertens rosea cervice refulsit
ambrosiaeque comae divinum vertice odorem
spiravere; pedes vestis defluxit ad imos;
et vera incessu patuit dea.
She spoke and turning away blushed red as a rose,
And her ambrosial hair breathed forth a divine fragrance;
Her robe flowed down to the soles of her feet;
And by her stride was revealed a true goddess.*
'I grant I never saw a goddess go.'
'"Hmmm! it smells like elves!" thought Bilbo....'
(Annotated Hobbit, 91)
iam senior, cruda deo viridisque senectus
'very old now, but for a god old age is fresh and green,'
'The countless years had filled [the trees of the Old Forest] with pride and rooted wisdom, and with malice. But none were more dangerous than the Great Willow: his heart was rotten, but his strength was green;'
Again she fled, but swift he came.
He called her by her elvish name;
And there she halted listening.
One moment stood she, and a spell
His voice laid on her:
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
'Though [Bilbo] had found out that the thing needed looking after; it did not seem always of the same size or weight; it shrank or expanded in an odd way, and might suddenly slip off a finger where it had been tight.’‘Yes, he warned me of that in his last letter,’ said Frodo, ‘so I have always kept it on its chain.’
This review first appeared in Sehnsucht vol. 12 (2018) 154-56
With the publication of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur, writes Sørina Higgins in her introduction to this volume, three truths became evident: that The Fall of Arthur is an important text worthy of study per se and for what it can add to our understanding of Tolkien and his legendarium; that in this work Tolkien draws on the significant cultural figure of Arthur whom many other British writers of his era found socially, morally, and spiritually relevant to their times; and that the coming of Tolkien’s Arthur also afforded the best opportunity for a study of the Arthuriana of the major Inklings. To illuminate these truths, Higgins has gathered twenty different scholars, herself not least, who turn their lights upon the Inklings and Arthur from a series of five different viewpoints. Through diversity in scholarly experience and choice of text, as well as in theoretical approach and theological perspective, this volume succeeds in all its goals. As often as scholars return to Arthur and the Inklings, they will return to this fine work.
Since intertextuality is integral to the entire concept of this book, the first section, “Texts and Intertexts,” quite properly begins with chapters that define terms (Higgins), review the history of Arthurian texts (Ordway), and demonstrate the lush web of significant connections between the Inklings and their sources as well as the among the works of the Inklings themselves (Dickieson). A splendid investigation of the place of Avalon as an evocation of the spiritual world that lies beyond ours reveals much about the ideas which Lewis, Williams, and Tolkien shared on the healing of the world and of ourselves (Huttar), while an initial exploration of Barfield’s Saving the Appearances leads to a provoking analysis of the role that myth, here in the form of the Grail, can play in helping us to regain a perspective on ourselves as part of a greater whole (Gaertner).
“Histories Past,” the second section, approaches the crossroads of myth and history that Arthur bestrides. For Lewis this crucial position revealed the struggle between the two; for Williams their coinherence meant that each affected the other; for Tolkien myth and history resonated together with spiritual truth (Imbert). Chesterton’s poems on Arthur similarly address the conflict between myth and history, which only the return of Christ will reconcile, and which takes place within the same broader context as Tolkien’s view of the Gospel as the Fairy-story that came true (Moore). The Fall of Arthur and The Lord of the Rings mythically reimagine the Middle Ages, constructing their perspective on nature, chivalry, and Christendom as a part of a cultural conversation with the Modernism of the Twentieth Century (Grewell).
“Histories Present” opens with a survey of the rise of Scientism, the prevailing intellectual culture of the Inklings’ time, and their responses to it, both their counterattacks on the narrowness of its vision, and their construction through Arthur of alternative moral visions (Jewell and Butynskyi). The Fall of Arthur subverts Arthurian myth by showing what harm the misappropriation of myth can do in the struggle between medieval community and individual domination, thus proving a dark foreshadowing of the central conflict in The Lord of the Rings (Drigger). In The Chronicles of Narnia Lewis seeks by quest and by healing the blighted land to recover from the despair inflicted by The Great War and mapped out in The Waste Land (Hooper). Through Arthur, often a racist or nationalist symbol, Williams holds up Otherness as a mirror in which we may see our own faults staring back at us, and mourns what humanity loses because of our attitudes towards the Other (Utter).
With “Geographies of Gender,” the scene shifts first to Tolkien’s Guinever, who, as heir to a mythic and literary tradition every bit as varied as Arthur’s, weaves together its Celtic and Germanic strands with the threads of Fate and Free Will, to create a figure embodying the transition from Britain to England, and challenging the notion that Tolkien’s female characters are lacking (House-Thomas). Charles Williams’s Arthurian poetry, with labyrinthine brilliance, seeks to advance his understanding of the City, or the Kingdom of God, through the essential interplay of Masculine and Feminine, but falters owing to its author’s troubled attitude towards women (Rasmussen). Similarly, in That Hideous Strength Lewis construes the Masculine and Feminine of the Spirit through the dual roles of Pendragon and Fisher King inhabited by Ransom (Shogren).
In “Cartographies of the Spirit,” the fifth section, we find George MacDonald mining the medieval revivalism of Victorian times to re-imagine contemporary notions of chivalry, seeking a moral way forward, not back, in which the true knight is the servant of all (Johnson). Similarly, in Williams’s Arthurian plays the choice of servitude brings freedom, another example of the paradoxical coinherence of the City of God, whose greatest expression is the Incarnation (Wells). War in Heaven shows the quest for the Grail to be more important than the Grail itself, because through the Eucharist it creates a communion of faith and experience (Bray). In Williams’s Arthurian poetry the Grail and the Eucharist again promise the union of Heaven and Earth, which may be achieved through service to the Grail, but the failure of Arthur and Logres is a failure to serve, thus causing the Grail to depart, but leaving still the promise of the Eucharist (Stout).
The literary Arthur, revised and re-visioned, is always a myth for its time, so Malcom Guite suggests in his conclusion to this volume. Through Arthur writers such as Malory and Tennyson addressed the spirit of their age. So, too, the Inklings. With a characteristically prophetic insight that seeks a recovery of vision, their Arthurs answer the despair and the marred self-image of the West since the First World War. That vision, that rex quondam, rexque futurus, is the mythic whole which we have lost that gives the parts meaning. In The Inklings and King Arthur Sørina Higgins has given us a study equal to its subject.
[O]ut of [the Black Gate] there came an embassy from the Dark Tower. At its head there rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was [...] more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame. The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man.The core similarity, of course, is the disrespectful address. In each version, the stranger boldly rides right up to the company and makes a big show of looking them up and down and asking who is in charge. He is very specifically pretending not to be able to discern the leader -- a matter which would be self-evident both from the man's own physical location, bearing, and adornment and from his followers' reactions, since they would doubtless be turning to him or looking his way. Here's Tolkien in LotR
(LotR 888, paragraph break omitted)
Now halting a few paces before the Captains of the West he looked them up and down and laughed.
'Is there anyone in this rout with authority to treat with me?' he asked. 'Or indeed with wit to understand me? Not thou at least!' he mocked, turning to Aragorn with scorn. 'It needs more to make a king than a piece of Elvish glass, or a rabble such as this. Why, any brigand of the hills can show as good a following!'Clearly, the Mouth of Sauron knows who Aragorn is, since he specifically picks him and his Elvish glass out for the first round of mockery. Here's the Middle English poet's verse (ll. 221-231):
Þis haþel [knight] heldez [proceeds, goes, comes] hym in and þe halle entres,
Driuande [lit: driving] to þe heȝe dece, dut [feared] he no woþe [danger],
Haylsed [greeted] he neuer one, bot heȝe he ouer loked.
Þe fyrst word þat he warp [uttered], 'Wher is', he sayd,
'Þe gouernour of þis gyng [company]? Gladly I wolde
Se þat segg [man, knight] in syȝt, and with hymself speke
To knyȝtez he kest his yȝe,The Green Knight's words are less overtly disrespectful here; he does not call into question Arthur's intellectual capabilities, compare him to a "brigand," or refer to his followers as "this rout" or "a rabble." Or does he? The word "gyng" (l. 225) stands out initially due to its visual resemblance to "gang." Tolkien's notes and glossary translate it as "company" (1st ed. p. 160) and his own translation uses "gathering" (p. 23). Likewise, Borroff goes with "crowd" in her verse translation, both in the 1967 original and a revised version for the Norton Critical Edition (2010).
And reled [rolled] hym vp and doun;
He stemmed [stopped, halted], and con [did] studie [look carefully, lit: study]
Quo walt [possessed] þer most renoun.
b. depreciative. A crew, a rabble.As we have seen, the Mouth of Sauron refers to the host as "this rabble."
'What, is þis Arthures hous,' quoþ þe haþel þenne,So Aragorn, unlike Arthur, passes the test insofar as keeping his cool under open mockery and laughter: "Aragorn said naught in answer, but he took the other's eye and held it, and for a moment they strove thus," until the challenger quails (LotR 889). The similarities in set-up perhaps reflect that, in each case, the emissary seeks to undermine, to provoke, to throw the good guys off their game, and ultimately to set a trap for them. ~~~~ Coda - Miscellaneous DetailsThe Green Knight issues his challenge on horseback, since immediately afterward "Þe renk on his rouncé hym ruched in his sadel" to look around at the company (l. 303). Moreover, once the challenge has been accepted, "Lyȝtly lepez he hym to, and laȝt at his honde" (l. 328). So he's kinda doubling down on the not-dismounting thing until he gets what he wants. The scene in LotR does not include a similar challenge/exchange. The Mouth of Sauron is answering the heralds' challenge: "Come forth! [...] Let the Lord of the Black Land come forth! Justice shall be done upon him. For wrongfully he has made war upon Gondor and wrested its lands. Therefore the King of Gondor demands that he should atone for his evils, and depart then for ever. Come forth!" (LotR But this is a fundamentally different kind of challenge than the Green Knight's proffered exchange of one beheading for another. The Mouth of Sauron does offers the company an exchange, but it, too, is fundamentally different from that offered by the Green Knight, since the terms are wildly unequal on their face (rather than like for like): He invites total submission and capitulation in return for the non-torture of one hobbit.
'Þat al þe rous [fame, talk] rennes of þurȝ ryalmes so mony?
Where is now your sourquydrye [pride] and your conquestes,
Your gryndellayk [fierceness] and your greme [wrath], and your grete wordes?
Now is þe reuel and þe renoun of þe Rounde Table
Ouerwalt wyth a worde of on wyȝes speche,
For al dares for drede withoute dynt schewed!'
Wyth þis he laȝes so loude þat þe lorde greued;
Þe blod schot for scham into his schyre face
He wex as wroth as wynde,
So did alle þat þer were.
Þe kyng as kene bi kynde
Þen stod þat stif mon nere,
Sense 8 probably developed primarily from the conception of a group of people going about together, whereas senses 9 and 10 were probably additionally influenced by sense 7, as denoting a group or set (of people or animals) having characteristics in common. Compare earlier ging n.1 It is uncertain whether there was any influence from early Scandinavian uses in compounds, or whether these simply show a parallel development; compare Old Icelandic þjófa-gangr group of thieves, gaura-gangr group of ruffians, and also drauga-gangr group of ghosts, músa-gangr group of mice. (Dutch gang and German Gang denoting a group of criminals show borrowings < English.)
Origin: Of uncertain origin. Either (i) a variant or alteration of another lexical item. Or (ii) a borrowing from early Scandinavian. Etymon: i-geng n.
Etymology: Either (i) aphetic < i-geng n., or (ii) < early Scandinavian (compare Old Icelandic ...
1. A company of armed men, a troop, army, host.
a. A retinue (of a great personage); a household, a body of retainers or followers.
b. In plural. A person's followers or people. Also: people in general.
a. gen. A gathering of people, a company; a band, a gang; a set. Also figurative.
b. depreciative. A crew, a rabble.
c. spec. The crew of a ship or boat. Cf. gang n.
4. In Old Testament usage: the Gentile nations collectively; heathen peoples.