December 11th, 2013


Tolkien and the Edda - with Bonus Memories of Penelope Lively's Toilet

"The Silmarillion basically takes the mythology of the Edda, and just changes a few of the names" (Stuart Kelly). Discuss.

Tolkien also turns out to have made the Norse myths less exciting by his excessive and "parochial" moralizing. Listen, if you dare, to Mariella Frostrup and guests on this week's Open Book (particularly from 7.40 in).

Frostrup goes on to introduce an interview with Penelope Lively by calling her Booker winner Tiger Moon. (I've never been confused about the name Moon Tiger before, but since I heard her say that I'm having to do a double take to remind myself which is correct. Curse you, Frostrup!)

The interview is one of those "meet the writer in their place of work" things, and has Lively showing Frostrup round her north London flat. This brought back memories, since I did an interview there myself early in 2004 as part of the research for Four British Fantasists. It was also the first time I met lady_schrapnell (she was visiting London, and I had lunch with her and her daughters at the British Museum beforehand). My main memory of Lively's flat is that the lock on her toilet door stuck from the inside, and I almost had to call for help. I remember thinking that having to be rescued from a toilet by a septugenarian Booker winner would not make a great item on my CV, and that thought alone gave me strength to force the bolt.