#1  
Old 02-17-2018, 05:48 PM
markn+ markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 1,385
Hard pounding

In 1968 J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to his son Michael (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien #306) in which he describes a 1911 hiking trip in Switzerland which was the inspiration for some scenes in The Hobbit. He tells of an incident when he was hiking on a trail across a slope where melting snow had exposed a number of boulders, some of which began rolling down the slope and across his trail. He says
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
The heat of the day continued the melting and we were alarmed to see many of them starting to roll down the slope at gathering speed: anything from the size of oranges to large footballs, and a few much larger. They were whizzing across our path and plunging into the ravine. 'Hard pounding', ladies and gentlemen. They started slowly, and then usually held a straight line of descent, but the path was rough and one had also to keep an eye on one's feet.
The quotes (or "inverted commas" as I think they're charmingly known in Britain) around "hard pounding" are in the original. This makes me think Tolkien was referring to something specific; either a well known British saying or a literary reference. Does anyone know more about this? Googling the phrase turns up mostly pornography sites, which is probably not what Tolkien had in mind.
  #2  
Old 02-17-2018, 05:59 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 20,274
Standard term for artillery fire.
  #3  
Old 02-17-2018, 06:04 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 20,274
More specifically, a style of artillery fire relying on sheer volume of ammunition rather than precise targeting or other technical advantages. From the 1910 Encyclopedia Britannica:
Quote:
Shielded guns, enhanced rate of fire, perfection in indirect laying apparatus, and many other factors, have modified the lessons of 1870, and complicated the work of achieving victory in the artillery duel so far that the simple "hard pounding" of former days has given way to a variety of expedients for inflicting the desired loss and damage, as to which opinions differ in and within every army.
Presumably Tolkien's point was that all these boulders shooting across their path were like a bombardment.

Last edited by Kimstu; 02-17-2018 at 06:06 PM.
  #4  
Old 02-17-2018, 06:12 PM
markn+ markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 1,385
Ah, excellent! That's undoubtedly it. Since Tolkien served in WWI, it makes perfect sense. Thanks!
  #5  
Old 02-17-2018, 06:14 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 20,274
Just doing my job, sir. Enjoy!
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:28 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017