What's in a Name? Or, Why I Changed the Name of My Blog

What's in a Name? Or, Why I Changed the Name of My Blog September 10, 2013

David Russell Mosley


10 September 2013

The Edge of Elfland

Beeston, Nottinghamshire

Dear Friends and Family,

For a long time now, I have contemplated changing the name of this blog. If I could change the web address as well without loosing comments or stats (and if I can and you know how, please tell me), I would. The reason I have wanted to change the name has only recently dawned on me: It is unlikely I will spend the rest of my life in Nottingham. Being an American citizen aside, even were I to find work here, it is unlikely that work would forever keep me in Nottingham. Nevertheless, I see a future for this blog. It has served me well in discussions adjacent to the academia, fully in the Church, and often from my own life.

The reason I’ve changed the name to Letters from the Edge of Elfland, perhaps requires a bit more explanation. Or perhaps not since my last few posts have centred around Faerie and theology. Nevertheless, allow me to give a brief explanation. In some of my favourite stories the main characters always seem to live right on the edge of Faerie, or Elfland (the terms being interchangeable). Anodos in MacDonald’s Phantastes not only has his bedroom turn into a forest, but it is a forest on the edge of Faerie; The Pevensies move into a house with a Wardrobe that leads to Faerie; even Frodo and Sam  and Merry and Pippin live near the Grey Havens from where the Elves sail to Valinor. The idea is that we are always living right on the edge, the balance between the natural and the supernatural (or in the case of Faerie the natural and the extra-natural). So wherever I am, it will be true to say that I am on the edge of Elfland, for I will always be at the intersection of Heaven and Earth, Faith and Reason, Super-nature and Nature, Elfland and the World.

This does not mean I’m only going to write about fantasy literature from now on, or poetry, though I will continue to write about those things. My posts will continue to be a mix of theological reflection, extracts from my scholarly work, reflections on the Church and the Christian Life, reflections on my own life as a Christian, husband, theologian, PhD Student, and someday soon (I pray) PhD graduate. Nevertheless, as my time here in Nottingham winds down, I thought a change here at the blog was in order. This way, no matter where I am, my letters to you will always be coming from the edge of Elfland.


Sincerely yours,

David Russell Mosley

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  • I’m a Germanic Frenchman writing English novels and I really like the name “Edge of Elfland”, it sounds so poetic and romantic!

    That said elfves who are afraid of modern civilization are much more likely to be find in the continental Germanic countries where they originate from 😉

    From the 15th October onwards, I’ll be living in the Uk for the first time in my life. I hope I’ll find some Churches not too far away from my own progressive Christian theology.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son


    • Lothar,

      Thank you, poetic and romantic is precisely what I was aiming for.

      According to John Milbank, a theologian and professor at the University of Nottingham where I attend, it was the Reformation that made the elves leave, so they’d be even less likely to be found in parts of continental Europe than Britain!

      Enjoy your time in the UK. I’m not sure what you mean by progressive Christian theology, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of excellent churches here.


      • Hello Dave!

        The book I am writing in English is about parallel modern words, our earth, God and gods, UFOs, a drug transforming people, terrible atrocities and conspiracies and so on and so forth.
        I take Jacques Valee’s views that there are spiritual beings which can appear to us in many different forms.

        Maybe you could be interested to receive a free copy of my copy?

        Liebe Grüße aus Lothringen.
        Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  • I like the title. It took me a long time to come up with “A Pilgrim in Narnia.” I’m not American, so “pilgrim” has a much different evocation. But I think I’ll stick.
    We all wander at the edge of Elfland.

    • Brenton,

      Thanks. I’ve been sitting on this name change for a while. I really like your title. I think it works well. We all are wandering at the edge of Elfland, sadly, too many of us have forgotten how to see it. Let’s hope people like you and I can reawaken the sight in others.


  • Right on.

  • brambonius

    As an occasional reader I find your ideas on faery very interesting. Could you tell me what definitions you would use for ‘supernatural’ and ‘extra-natural’ here?

    • Bram,

      Supernatural tends to have connotations of the divine, or being above nature, which I want to avoid, even when talking about the supernatural. I tend to define the supernatural as perfecting nature (i.e. grace). With Faerie, however, I currently prefer extra-natural because it is, in many ways, more natural, it belongs more to nature than even we do. I’m using Tolkien here where his elves are tied to the world in a way humans are not (they can return after they die and resume their life in Middle Earth if they so desire, e.g. Glorfindel). Thus I think it best to conceive of Faerie as something belonging to nature in way even we do not. Does that make sense?