Oct 25, 2011

Borders from Middle-Earth to reality

Tolkien might have done without borders on his map, but ours are richer for it. Tracing them across the globe, we find enclaves and exclaves, disputed and neutral zones, improbably straight and impossibly jagged borders, deadly borders born in war and old ones almost faded into irrelevance. Borders reflect humanity’s need for obstacles, for a line in the sand between Them and Us. And even if they coincide with rivers or mountain ranges, they remain entirely human constructs. They are there because we expect them to be, because the map says that they are. They can be as wondrous, frightening and magical as anything in Middle-Earth – as we will see in the following episodes.
That is from the article In Praise of Borders. Although I do not agree with the fundamental point, I still think this is a pretty good article, it is very well written, and it makes an important argument. 

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