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The hobbits' 'Shire' resembles a small town in the Home Counties, full of forelock-tugging peasants and happy artisans. Though he idealises the rural petty bourgeoisie, Tolkien treats them with enormous condescension. 'It would be a grievous blow', he says, if the Dark Power were to claim the Shire - to translate, if rural workers were industrialised. Because the good professor loves them so, with their hand-mills and their funny little rural ways. Not that he would want to be one, of course - good lord, no. He has a PhD, don't you know.
Tolkien - Middle Earth Meets Middle England

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