Queen of the hobbits

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geordie 09/Nov/2006 at 01:59 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Elaine Griffiths was a friend and former pupil of Tolkien’s. She was instrumental in getting The Hobbit published. Her copy of LotR came up for sale in February 2004, at Bonham’s, the London auction-house. Tolkien had inscribed for her:

Elainen tárin Periandion ar meldenya anyáran’

[To Elaine, queen of Hobbits and my very old friend]

[From Hammond and Scull’s JRR Tolkien: A Companion and Guide]

Kirinki54 10/Nov/2006 at 01:46 PM
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My dear Geordie, If she was instrumental, I am sure that you would care for us non-Companion members to explain why!!!!  

Hopefully yours!!!

Kirinki54

Magradhaid 10/Nov/2006 at 07:55 PM
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The whole Susan Dagnall thing, right?
geordie 11/Nov/2006 at 12:27 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Sorry, yes - the Susan Dagnall story. But it’s not just in the Companion; Carpenter tells the tale, too: and [a bit more obscure; surely one of carpenter’s sources] Elaine tells the story herself in a taped interview some years ago. Part of it is available on a cassette by Brian Sibley called ’A tolkien Audio Portrait’.

Elaine was a friend and former pupil of Tolkien’s. Later in life, she attained great stature in academic life; as Fellow of St. Annes’s College Oxford, and at one time Chair of Oxford University’s English Faculty Board. She did not publish much; she saw her role in life as ’to teach the young’ - an echo of what Tolkien said himself, in his paper ’The Oxford English School’ in The Oxford Magazine in 1930.

Elaine was one of the few people outside of the family who had been allowed to see the typescript for The Hobbit. [another was CS Lewis]. one day, a friend of Elaine’s - Susan Dagnall of George Allen and Unwin - came up to Oxford to meet Elaine, she wanted some info on another matter. Elaine couldn’t help with that request, but said ’while you’re here, why don’t you go and see Professor Tolkien and ask to see the children’s book he’s writing, because I think it’s frightfully good’. No question of ringing up before-hand; Elaine suggested to Susan she simply go there and knock on the door!
Elaine went on [in a mock conspiratorial whisper - obviously enjoying her tale, and with complete affection for both Tolkien and Susan] ’Now Susan was a nice girl, and very nice to look at, so I thought if anyone would be able to get the typescript off Tolkien, it would be Susan!’

The typescript was taken to London; Tolkien was asked to finish it [in its present state, it only went up to the death of Smaug] and young Rayner Unwin [aged 10] was asked by his father Stanley Unwin [not yet a knight] to read it and offer a report. He did, and the book was published.

Think what may have happened if Susan and Elaine had not met that day. No Hobbit; No Lord of the Rings! A chance meeting, as we say on Middle-earth



About my first post: I was being a bit thick, for which I apologise. Readers of that post might wonder what is my point? Well, when that line in Elvish was posted to a Tolkien list in 2004, Carl Hostetter was most interested; it gave a previously unknown small clue to how Elvish sentences are constructed. I think. [I know nothing about Elvish languages]. So I’d supposed that Elvish cognoscenti here would have spotted that, and commented on it. I’ve had a change of PC since 2004, and I’ve lost the details, so I was wondering - can anyone here tell me which of the parts of the sentence shine new light on the way Tolkien wrote Elvish?

Here - looking at my initial post, I see that some kind [and erudite] person has added the correct accents to my rendition of that sentence - eglerio! and thank you [whoever it was]. It looks much better.

Aelindis 11/Nov/2006 at 03:46 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004
geordie, maybe the information you are looking for is in Lambengolmor Message #640.
Kirinki54 11/Nov/2006 at 04:21 AM
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Interesting, Aelindis!

Geordie, "thick" is not what usually comes to mind regarding your posts... But another thing: I do not have Carpenter handy either at the moment, but the story of the manuscript as related above is not wholly consistent with Tolkien´s version in Letter 294. He wrote there that Elaine Griffiths lent it to Susan Dagnall (and she to a Mother of a convent where Dagnall stayed at a hostel).

Neither of the loans, to Susan or to the Rev. Mother, were authorized by me – I did not think the MS. important – but they proved the foundation of my good fortune in connecting me with Allen and Unwin. I have always been undeservedly lucky at major points.

Strange! Which version is true?

geordie 11/Nov/2006 at 05:14 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Aelendis, thank you very much! [mind you, Carl’s tech. talk is over my head. Thick I am; I said and meant; when it comes to languages, anyway.   

Kirinki - Neither of the loans, to Susan or to the Rev. Mother, were authorized by me

blimey! Seems JRR may have had a memory lapse then. Or poss. Elaine was confused [though she sounds confident enough on the tape.    ]

On the whole - no offence to Tolkien, bless ’im - I’d go for Elaine’s remembrance as being the more accurate [because she only had one or two major Tolkien-related events to recall. Whereas Tolkien himself had loads! ]

And the dear old chap was known for getting things wrong from time to time; even in stuff he published [for instance, he got the date of his St Andrews lecture wrong in at least one publication].
Kirinki54 11/Nov/2006 at 05:38 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005
It would appear that this is the most likely explanation; few persons have 100% accurate memories. And Tolkien had a lot storied in his mind besides personal recollections. It will be interesting to read the story eventually in the Companion...
Aelindis 11/Nov/2006 at 05:56 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

I have deleted my original answer to Kirinki as it coincided with geordie’s reply. Whoever remembered correctly - it cannot be decided, IMHO.