And it's a favorable one. It's also rather long and heavily footnoted, so I really don't have time to get into it right now. I will just note a slight misconception on page two of the article, where the author says:
Much has been written about the historicising framework of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and how The Shire in particular is presented as a pre-industrial, agricultural society. Indeed it can almost be termed a pre-modern society, in that Tolkien took some trouble to eradicate anachronistic references to New World vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes, and especially tobacco--which in the hobbit lexicon becomes pipeweed.
Well, I wouldn't call that "careful eradication" myself -- Sam refers to "taters" constantly, which is a common word both in England and America for potatoes -- and that word is also used. If Tolkien really wanted to make his society historically premodern right down to the food, the vegetable referred to would have been some native Old World root such as turnips, and there would have been no smoking whatsoever of anything, since that was something Europeans did not do until their discovery of the Americas. (When the Native American practice was first observed by Europeans they didn't even know what to call the activity -- it was first referred to as "drinking smoke.") But it's a nitpick.
(Via TheOneRing.net,)Posted by Andrea Harris at March 10, 2003 10:06 AM