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Yes, he is thinking in a European context, but there is a difference between 'meant to be Europe' and matching the maps! They DO NOT match! This is plainly obvious for anyone who looks. Tolkien admitted that he wanted the maps to match but he thought of this too late in the process (with The Hobbit already published, for example) to make it work. So the correspondence is approximate only.

I am historically minded. Middle-earth is not an imaginary world. The name is the modern form (appearing in the 13th century and still in use) of midden-erd > middel-erd, an ancient name for the oikoumenē, the abiding place of Men, the objectively real world, in use specifically opposed to imaginary worlds (as Fairyland) or unseen worlds (as Heaven or Hell). The theatre of my tale is this earth, the one in which we now live, but the historical period is imaginary. The essentials of that abiding place are all there (at any rate for inhabitants of N.W. Europe), so naturally it feels familiar, even if a little glorified by the enchantment of distance in time.
(Letters #183)

The action of the story takes place in the North-west of 'Middle-earth', equivalent in latitude to the coastlands of Europe and the north shores of the Mediterranean.
(Letters, #294)




--
Like ancient Rome, we today are once more importing every form of exotic superstition in the hope of finding the right remedy for our sickness.
-- C. G. Jung
Richard Wilhelm: In Memoriam (1930), CW 15: pg. 60

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Numenor---Atlantis 353 gizabrek 13-Mar-05 07:25
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 132 Nolondil 13-Mar-05 23:12
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 145 Mark Staab 14-Mar-05 00:09
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 146 Nolondil 14-Mar-05 07:23
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 115 Simon Magus 14-Mar-05 05:15
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 116 Nolondil 14-Mar-05 07:49
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 116 gizabrek 14-Mar-05 09:35
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 100 Mel1Forrer 14-Mar-05 11:17


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