Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Non silebo

I must apologize for the dearth of reading material here at Lingwë. I had meant to write my third post on “Errantry” (it’ll be more about “Goblin Feet”, actually), but that will still be a bit longer in coming, I’m afraid. In the meantime, it’s been too quiet around here, so at the very least, let me take a moment to post a couple of announcements.

First, I’ll be conducting a small, informal Reading Room discussion next week at TORn. The larger discussion, already underway, concerns Tolkien’s watershed lecture/essay, “On Fairy-stories” — my portion, starting Monday, pertains to the section called ORIGINS and the accompanying Note B. Feel free to stop by and join us, or just read along. :)

Second, the table of contents for the upcoming issue of Mythlore has been announced, which means that the issue cannot be far behind. I have two book reviews published in it: on Ross Smith’s Inside Language: Linguistic and Aesthetic Theory in Tolkien and Verlyn Flieger and Douglas Anderson’s expanded edition of Tolkien On Fairy-stories. The latter was in fact what precipitated the Reading Room discussion mentioned above, though we are keeping primarily to Tolkien’s essay. I hope anyone who reads either of my reviews will take a moment to let me know what he or she thought of them. By the way, Ross Smith’s book was recently reviewed for Tolkien Studies by Dimitra Fimi and for VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review by Carl Hostetter (that issue is still forthcoming).

That’s it for the moment, but keep an eye out for several more posts of the shorter variety (but still interesting, I hope) over the next few days. Hence the title of this post (for those with any background in Latin, or any cleverness with Google :). I’m going to try to finish my “Errantry” series next week or soon after.


  1. Hi master, welcome back..can you help me? Can you try to explain the meaning of the word 'FORBIDDINGLY' (Chapter VI of The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 107 of paperback edition 1997)? In italian i don't understand the translation..have no sense for richiudeva REPELLENTE alle loro spalle..Thanks from an italian that spend too many time without sleeping..:D

  2. Ciao, Giova. Come stai?

    The word forbiddingly, in this context, means to convey the sense of a dangerous, threatening, or uninviting atmosphere. The root sense is that the mist closing about the hobbits forbids their turning back. They are going into exile.

    In the Italian you provided (I’ll check my Italian copy when I get home to read the surrounding text as well), the literal meaning of the passage would be something like: “[it] closed itself again repelling/rejecting [?] their shoulders.” The word repellente could be either the present participle of repellere, therefore “repelling/rejecting” — or it could be the related adjective meaning “repelling, repellant”. That’s a subtle difference, but it could affect how one interprets the passage. My guess is that the participle was intended, because if the adjective was meant, then I can’t see a singular noun it would modify — unless it is nebbia earlier in the sentence, in a part that you did not quote ...?

    For what it’s worth, I’m not surprised you don’t understand the Italian translation, because in this instance I don’t think it’s very good. For one thing, in the original there is no mention of the hobbits’ shoulders. The sense of the translation is reasonable in the context, but it’s not accurate. But more than that, I don’t think repellente is close enough to what Tolkien had in mind. Better might be minaccevolmente or spiacevolmente. If you substituted either for repellente, would the passage make more sense to you?

  3. i think to the phrase all day long;..minaccioso o spiacevole is more accurate maybe but, for me,& thanks to your comment i understand that the root sense is another one in italian like si serrò a chiusura stagna, si chiuse ermeticamente (hermeticcally sealed). Do you like? Thanks for your interesting. Buona Domenica!! G.

  4. My pleasure. Buona giornata! :)