Blogs > Cliopatria > Unlikely Connections

Jan 17, 2007 12:04 am

Unlikely Connections

Eighteen months ago, we took a look at Guy Davenport's essay on"Hobbitry," which appeared in his book, The Geography of the Imagination. Davenport speculated that J. R. R. Tolkien's Hobbits had their origins in stories he heard from Allen Barnett about country folk in Barnett's home in central Kentucky. Jonathan Wilson, Jeremy Boggs, and David Bratman's research (scroll down) suggested that the argument was dubious -- neither proved nor disproved.

Davenport's speculation seems no more unlikely, however, than Dumneazu's argument for the Appalachian roots of the Klezmer revival. Joel at Far Outliers and Nathanael at Rhine River put me on to this unlikely connection. And, if you don't check out some of Dumneazu's links, you're missin' the good stuff, like the string band, Da Costa Woltz's Southern Broadcasters. When I could talk him into it, my Confederate grandaddy used to sing"Old Joe Clark" and"Are You Washed in the Blood" was evangelical comfort food. If Nathanael will bring his mandolin to the next AHA convention, I'll dust off my cloggin' shoes and we'll put a whoop and a holler into the conventional mix.

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Oscar Chamberlain - 1/19/2007

The harmonies in "Washed on the Blood" are marvelous. Thanks.

Nathanael D. Robinson - 1/18/2007

I've been meaning to write something about Adenauer's selective memory.

Manan Ahmed - 1/17/2007

"Historical Memory and the Politics of Diaspora"

and we got a panel.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/17/2007

I'm in: "Selective Memory and the National Politics of Japanese Diaspora Scholarship."

Manan Ahmed - 1/17/2007

This does make an interesting proposal. We should have a panel at AHA - NOT on blogging - but there are enough cross-currents in our works for us to say something meaningful on nations or memory or historiography. The deadline is mid Feb. Who is in?

Nathanael D. Robinson - 1/17/2007

I concur. The "inventedness" of tradition is overstated. What's more important is determining how these traditions are modernized, and how the category of tradition is constructed. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? did an admirable job exposing the invention of old-timey music without denying its popular roots, even in its use of Alan Lomax source material.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/17/2007

We went 'round the "invented traditions" circuit here. I'm skeptical of the usage, because it suggests their artificiality and illegitimacy. I don't know of any social practice that is without a history of coming into being and am not sure that a more recent coming into being makes it any less legitimate. Manan and Sharon suggested "constructions of social memory."

Nathanael D. Robinson - 1/17/2007

Cloggin' to Niggunim--could make a great roundtable on invented traditions!