Monday, 8 November 2010

Another Ramer-Tolkien parallel identified - The Land of Pohja painting


From The Notion Club Papers, page 194.

[Ramer] "Here are some of the [dream] fragments of this kind. (...)

"And over and over again, in many stages of growth and many different lights and shadows, three tall trees, slender, foot to foot on a green mound, and crowned with an embracing halo of blue and gold."


These are depicted, precisely, in a painting done by Tolkien on 27 December 1914 and entitled The Land of Pohja.

The painting is reproduced on page 44 of J.R.R. Tolkien: artist and illustrator, by WG Hammond and C Scull, Harper Collins: London, 2004.

Since the Notion Club Papers were being written in early 1946, this means that Tolkien had probably had his dream of the three tall trees 'over and over again' for a period of more than thirty years!


Note added 1 May 2013. It is worth noting that the 'dreary' Land of Pohja is featured in the Finnish Epic The Kalavela which made such a large impact on Tolkien (and also Longfellow - as can be seen he used the Kalevala metre for Hiawatha) .

Rarely can we meet together,
Rarely on can meet the other,
In these dismal Northern regions,
In the dreary land of Pohja,
Let us clasp our hands together,
Let us interlock our fingers;
Let us sing a cheerful measure,
Let us use our best endeavours,
While our dear ones hearken to us,
And our loved ones are instructed,
While the young are standing round us,
Of the rising generation,
Let them learn the words of magic,
And recall our songs and legends,
Of the belt of Väinämöinen,
Of the forge of Ilmarinen,
And of Kaukomieli's sword-point,
And of Joukahainen's crossbow:
Of the utmost bounds of Pohja,
And of Kalevala's wide heathlands.

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