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  1. geordie's Avatar
    Hugo Bracegirdle
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    #1
    A lot has been written about Tolkien over the years; published in books, magazines; papers and, more recently, there's been a lot published on the internet. One of the bees in my bonnet is _mis_ information, that is, elements in written accounts of Tolkien's life and works which are not merely matters of opinion, but clearly factually incorrect. There's no excuse for this; generally it boils down to sloppiness in research.
    (I'm not talking here of typos and errors introduced by publishing firm's production departments. That can happen to anyone, Tolkien included).

    Take for example a book which I bought yesterday in Blackwells of Oxford. It's called 'JRR Tolkien' by David R. Collins, published in 2005. It's a re-vamp of a reasonably competent biography for younger readers which Collins had published in 1992, called 'JRR Tolkien: Master of Fantasy. For the present publication, it seems the publishers (Lerner Publications Company Michigan) felt the need to re-issue Mr Collins' book with a heavy slant towards the movies. The biographical information in Collins' original book was clearly taken (for the most part) from Carpenter's biography. His text is no better than pedestrian, but one saving grace of the book lies in the photographs, esp. of Tolkien in the study of his
    Merton St. flat.

    The presentation of the photos in the new book leaves something to be desired. We have a photo of what the publishers claim to be the library at Exeter College, Oxford. The building they show is the Radcliffe Camera - look Here

    I have a link to an old picture of Exeter College library Here

    This is an irritation, but it does highlight the problems a reader faces when trying to build an accurate knowledge of an author and his life & works. It's also typical, in my opinion, of the sloppy attitude taken by some makers of books (ie some authors, and some publishing companies) to jump on the bandwaggon that was rolling during and after the period when the movies were coming out. To take a more serious error; the original book was, if you like, worthy but dull; as I said, Collins merely condensed Carpenter's writings into a small book for young readers, and saved it by adding good photographs. That is not good enough for the publishers in the wake of the movies; oh, no. They decided to _dumb down_ the text. So, in addition to many facile references to the movies, we have a revised text which is simplified to the nth degree by the person assigned to collaborate with Collins - the by-line now reads 'by David R. Collins in Consultation with Martha Cosgrove M.A. and Reading Specialist'.

    We aren't told anything in this book about its author, Mr.Collins - his Introduction to the original book has been cut. But we are given info on
    Ms Cosgrave, whose expertise lies in developmental and remedial reading. Judging by the results of her consultation in this book, I'd say no good service has been made to Collins' readers. The text is now ludicrously simple.

    The cover of the 1992 book has the distinction of what must be, for me, one of the worst ever illustrations on a Tolkien theme. It. is. Hideous.
    But the book is an acceptable attempt at biography for schoolchildren (in spite of one or two 'embellishments' by Collins, which I can't find elsewhere).

    In contrast, the 2005 production has a nice photo of Tolkien on the front cover -

    (please allow me a digression, in order to give an example of my own small expertise in these matters - the book does not credit the photographer. I have copies of some of the original photos taken during that session; at Merton College, Oxford. From the information printed on the back of some of these photos I learned that they had been taken by one John Wyatt - I now know (from Scull-Hammond) that Wyatt was the BBC's chief cameraman at the time, and that the photos were taken during the filming of the BBC TV documentary 'Tolkien in Oxford' in February 1968. These photos come up often in newspaper articles on Tolkien; often with the appellation 'Billet Potter', which is, I believe, an agency)

    So - a nice picture on the front of the book; but what have the publishers printed on the back? A list of facts about Tolkien, including this question:

    (Did you know that)... He was almost eaten by his neighbor's monkey?'

    (Ironically, the title of the series of bigraphies, of which this is one, is 'Just the Facts Biographies')

    *sigh - since 2000, Hammond and Scull published two great books on Tolkien's life and works; John Garth has come up with a terrific biography based on one part of Tolkien's life, and then at the other end of the scale we have this, almost sub-David Day effort. And then there are the anecdotes, published on the net (and even in Amon Hen, the bulletin of the Tolkien Society itself).

    I sometimes think it's a case of 'one step forward, two steps back'...

    It's all in the books...

  2. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #2
    Right, geordie, you've started me off (you may regret this). For some time I have been compiling a collection of these, with suitable rebuttals. They fall into three broad categories: 1) muddles, slipshod researchand honest errors 2) disinformation by family members 3) malicious inventions. Here are two, the first belonging to category (1), the seconda mix of (1) and (2).

    First:

    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">C.S. Lewis, on hearing a reading from a draft of <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Lord of the Rings[/I], exclaimed disgustedly: “Another f***ing elf!”<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />[/B]
    No he didn’t. If anyone, it was Hugo Dyson, another Inkling, who disliked readings at Inkling gatherings in general, and Tolkien’s works in particular. The source of this seems to be A.N. Wilson’s biography of C.S. Lewis (London: Collins, 1990), where Wilson recounts how after 1945 Christopher Tolkien took over the readings from his father: “[...] But he could not be sure that his readings would not be interrupted by Dyson, lying on the sofa with his club foot in the air and a glass of whisky in his hand, snorting, grunting and exhaling - ‘Oh f***, not another elf!’” (p.217) In fact even this seems doubtful, as the use of the “f” wod at that period and in these circumstances would have been perceived as not only highly inappropriate, but aggressively rude. According to Christopher Tolkien, at worst Dyson is likely to have said: “Oh, no more bloody elves!” Dyson had in any case long been opposed to the idea of Inklings reading work-in-progress at meetings, preferring general conversation.
    C.S. Lewis on the contrary was one of the earliest and most vocal enthusiasts for <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Lord of The Rings[/I], having followed its progress devotedly over the years. His over-the-top recommendation appeared on the jacket of the first edition, and he gave it rave reviews wherever he could.



    Second:

    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Christopher Tolkien is a cantakerous misanthropist who was driven out of <?: prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:country-regi&#111;n w:st="&#111;n">Britain</st1:country-regi&#111;n> by crazed fans and now lives in seclusion in the South of <st1:country-regi&#111;n w:st="&#111;n"><st1:place w:st="&#111;n">France</st1:place></st1:country-regi&#111;n> at a hidden address on a vast estate guarded by a troop of wild boars.[/B]
    Christopher Tolkien does actually live in a small town in <st1:place w:st="&#111;n">Southern France</st1:place>, presumably because, like many other well-off British expatriates, he likes it there. That is correct; the rest of the above is a mixture of distortion, half-truth, and (mainly) falsehood. If you see any stories about Christopher Tolkien in the press, unless he actually wrote them himself, it’s safest to assume that it’s unfounded rumour. There is as yet no biography of Christopher, despite assertions in the “respectable” press.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  3. geordie's Avatar
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    #3
    Dorwiniondil - excellent! I'd like to see some more of that list of yours.


    In the meantime - as I said in my post above, another source of misinformation is the internet. I've been watching a thread on another forum, which is based on an article written by or about one of the Icelandic au pairs who worked for the Tolkiens during the thirties. Look
    Here

    - the irritating thing is that the thread-starter doesn't give citations, so we have no idea where the article was published, nor when. It's all very vague; but this doesn't prevent our fellow Tolkien fans from another site swallowing it whole, and making value judgements on Tolkien's wife, based solely on the _poster's report of an article purportedly written from real-life experience_ - an article which was probably written from memory (after decades) and from a subjective point of view.

    Hardly the sort of thing that objective biography is made of.


    It's all in the books...

  4. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #4


    Yes, the lack of a precise reference makes one just a little doubtful.
    Another item from my list, this time category (3) (malicious):

    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">The reason why Tolkien rated so highly in “Book / author of the century” polls is because of a well-orchestrated write-in by the Tolkien Society.<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><O:P></O:P>[/B]
    This assertion was first made on no evidence whatsoever by various literary personalities in the wake of the Channel 4/Waterstone’s poll in 1997. So far from sending in multiple entries, many (possibly most) members of the Tolkien Society did not vote at all, either out of indifference to polls or a dislike of literary league tables – although in any case the TS Committee would have had difficulty getting any co-ordinated response from the membership, who are a pretty independent and very varied bunch of people; organising a well-orchestrated write-in would be beyond the Committee’s power! Nobody has ever produced any evidence of an attempt to distort the polls in this way, but the assertion is still occasionally made.



    (PS: some uncharitable folk may suggest that we couldn't orchestrate the proverbial drunkfest in a brewery, but that is malicious)


    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  5. halfir's Avatar
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    #5
    Did you know that)... He was almost eaten by his neighbor's monkey?'


    I suppose this was the same neigbour whose pet tarantula gave Tolkien a nip and thus became responsible for the creation of Ungoliant and Shelob. Iam 'reliably'informed the neigbour was an ex-member of the Sultan of Zanzibar's harem.

  6. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #6
    Well of course she would be ...
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  7. halfir's Avatar
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    #7
    Daniel Grotta in his 'Author's Note section of his dreadful biography of Tolkien- the biography of JRR Tolkien arcitect of middle-earth writes that Michael Tolkien had written him to say:

    my father wrote primarily for his family and for his own amusement and was only persuaded gainst his will to publish at all (my bold emphasis).

    Without in any way impugning Michael Tolkien, but most certainly impugning Mr. Grotta's selective quoting,a simple reading of the Letters- particularly as they refer to The Silmarillion, but also to LOTR- will show what nonsense such a statement is.

  8. geordie's Avatar
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    #8
    Well of course, _some_ of the anecdotal seems to have emanated from the Tolkiens themselves. Take that story in Garth's book about Ronald being a _de facto_ horse-breaker during WWI. Quite ridiculous; but it comes, I believe, from an old issue of Amon Hen (again!) - that is, a report by the then editor of a conversation with Michael at as TS 'do'. I put it down to the family habit of telling 'romantic' stories of themselves. Like Tolkien's ancestor's charge at the Siege of Vienna, or whenever it was, whence came the name Tolkien - 'foolhardy'.

    What else - oh, yes - Amn Hen does seem to be getting it in the neck (from me) in this thread. Remember, we're still discussing the 'Tolkien the Midwife' story in another thread. That appeared in AH. Mind you, there's yet another anecdote (or small series of anecdotes) in AH 209, by a Mr Benedikz, whose aunt was yet another Tolkien Icelandic au pair. But this young lady remembered Mrs Tolkien with great affection - wonder what the chaps over at the 'other site' would make of that?

    It's all in the books...

  9. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #9
    Yes, I've got the geegees as one of my points.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  10. geordie's Avatar
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    #10
    geegees, yes - and let's not forget Tolkien and the Uhlans..
    It's all in the books...

  11. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #11
    That's what I had in mind! OK, here's my piece:


    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">When serving in the First World War, Tolkien, who was an expert horseman, once strayed across into the German lines and found himself confronted by a group of Uhlans with their death’s head insignia – they gave chase and it was only by hard riding that he escaped. This provided the inspiration for the Black Riders.<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />[/B]
    Nice idea, but unfortunately it seems tohave a lotwrong with it.It ispossibly a conflation of actual elements with an account of someone else’s experience in another war (and perhaps a family leg-pull). It is true that when training at <?: prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="&#111;n"><st1:PlaceName w:st="&#111;n">Exeter</st1:PlaceName> <st1:Place w:st="&#111;n">College</st1:place></st1:place> with the King Edward’s Horse, to which he had been assigned as a “colonial”, he knew how to ride, and even served as a breaker-in; however, since most of the horses were taken from local hunts, this cannot have been as arduous a task as it first appears. When he actually joined the Army, however, it was in an infantry regiment, as a very junior signals officer. Since he was only in the front line for a matter of months in 1916 on the Western Front, he would have been most unlikely to see any Uhlans, who were posted to the Eastern Front, and who in any case had been dismounted in 1915. Also the nature of trench warfare in the <st1:place w:st="&#111;n">Somme</st1:place> area in 1916 precluded the possibility of anybody wandering across into enemy lines by mistake, on foot or on horseback.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  12. geordie's Avatar
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    #12
    It is true that when training at Exeter College with the King Edward’s Horse, to which he had been assigned as a “colonial”, he knew how to ride, and even served as a breaker-in;

    Ah. did he already know how to ride? I understood he learned how to ride a horse while a member of the KEH. As for being a breaker-in, I think that's quite wrong. As you point out, the horses were supplied from local hunts, and needed no breaking in as such. (mind you, my knowledge of these things is nil - a horse = a big thing with a leg at each corner, as far as I'm concerned).

    My reading of the siteration is this - the KEH was a part-time unit, with training at weekends and the odd trip away from Oxford. (Scull-Hammond give details of one such trip; to Folkestone I believe). I guess Tolkien just got used to one horse, and then it was taken off him and given to another. This must have been mildly irritating, to say the least. It's easy to see how that story could be conflated to 'Tolkien the horse-breaker', but I can't agree with the mental image of Bronco Ronald heading out to the old corral.



    At any rate - Tolkien seems to have only spent little over a year in the K.E.H. : IIRC, he resigned a few months after the Folkestone trip. The weather was rotten, apparently. Tolkien seems to have been more involved in the Officer's Training Corps at King Edward's School, if the entries in Scull-hammond are anything to go by.


    It's all in the books...

  13. geordie's Avatar
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    #13
    *just having a rootle, 'scuse the sounds of rustling paper*

    Right - here we are - as blatant an example of what we're talking about as any I've come across so far: once again, our own Amon Hen is the culprit!

    To give a bit of context - after the Professor died in September 1973, some folk in the Tolkien Society put forward the idea of a meeting in Oxford at around the date of Bilbo and Frodo's birthday - ie the 22nd - and thus was born Oxonmoot, which has been held in Oxford in September, ever since.

    So - this is from the first ever Oxonmoot report, written by AH's joint editor Stuart Clark:

    '(There now follows a series of short notes and anecdotes regarding JRRT, obtained in conversation with Priscilla and Michael. it is impossible to put all these together in a narrative. SC)

    ...The name 'Tolkien' means 'foolhardy, rash'. Tolkien had fought in the first World War, and had been invalided home suffering from Trench fever. He travelled home on the penultimate voyage of the 'Lusitania'!

    It was First War recollections that formed the basis for the Black Riders. During the early part of the war, the germans used cavalry. In the fogs and smokes of Flanders, while JRRT was on gaurd (sic) duty, he heard whispers which carried unnatural distances, and saw shadows and unreal movement. The horses appeared natural, while their riders did not. Tolkien was in the cavalry himself - the King Edward Horse - he was keen on horses, and he had a very great affinity with them. He turned out to be an unofficial breaker-in, since it seemed that as soon as he had satisfactorily broken a new horse it was taken from him and given to another. As the war developed, he was switched to the infantry, which he disliked particularly as he abhorred loud noises. He saw, and was opposed to, the horrors of war, but was never a pacifist, as wars made him angry and bitter. He was never a soldier, but went to war out of a sence (sic) of duty. he was also a particularly good shot, but, at home, never shot anything larger than a rat'.

    (Amon Hen no.13; Oxonmoot Special, October 1974; published 31st January 1975)

    Well, there we have it - a report, based on a series of conversations, typed some time afterwards. Well - meaning, certainly; and some details there which even a very careful editor could not easily have verified at the time, even if he'd wanted to - note that at the beginning of the piece, he describes these as 'notes and anecdotes'. There are many other pieces of information in this report; invaluable as far as I'm concerned. We in the TS owe a great deal to Priscilla, and to the memory of her brother Michael, and to Rosie and Stuart Clark, the editors of Amon Hen no.13.

    It's all in the books...

  14. Olme's Avatar
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    #14
    a horse = a big thing with a leg at each corner, as far as I'm concerned

    So, if I was to try to form a picture in my head of this beast called a horse, would a dinner table work as a frame of reference?


  15. halfir's Avatar
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    #15
    I am also unmoved by the apalling Mr. Grotta's description of Tolkien writing The Hobbit while sitting on the edge of a camp bed in the attic! Shades of La Boheme and of poets in garrets.Utter tosh!

  16. Boromir88's Avatar
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    #16


    Grotta had an axe to grind against the Tolkien family and it showed. He smeared Christopher whenever he got the chance. What he did, just because he had a grudge, was dispicable...halfir, I don't even know if "dreadful" is a strong enough word to describe Grotta's junk.

  17. Magradhaid's Avatar
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    #17
    There is much worse out there for books defaming Tolkien than Grotta's or Day's refuse out there.

  18. halfir's Avatar
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    #18
    While Tolkien was clealrly deeply grived by the death of "Luthien'- Edith Tolkien, I somehow very much doubt that :

    When he didn't work or go out, he often did nothing more than sit in his room and stare out of the window, occasionally whistling or singing to himself. {Grotta -the biography of JRR Tolkien arcitect of middle-earth -The Recluse 1966-1973}

    But one thing I do agree with , and that is a quote from Michael Tolkien to Grotta in which MT explained why he did not wish to give interviews regarding his father:

    all I have seen published so far seems to me to be extraordinarily inaccurate and ill-informed {ibid- Author's Note}

    and that was before he had read Grotta's book!

  19. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #19
    In correcting these things, it is extremely helpful to find an original source, and thank you very much, geordie, for identifying this one - and thanks also to everybody else who has contributed to our further understanding. I shall amend my Syllabus of Errors accordingly (it was already largely a conflation of Plazaites contributions to the "Horses" thread).

    Now for another, this time the result of misunderstanding, confusion and just plain ignorant guesswork. It should be read by some contributors to The Other Forum already cited above:


    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">J.R.R. Tolkien was known to his friends and colleagues as “Tolly”[/B] <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">or “J.R.R.[/B]”
    Actually “Tollers”, and he seems to have been called that mainly by C.S. Lewis. In the family and to his boyhood friends he was most frequently called Ronald, sometimes John Ronald. In the early / middle 20th century, in the largely male academic circles where Tolkien spent most of his life, men were usually addressed by their simple surname, even by quite close friends, so he was simply “Tolkien”. “Tollers” is an English public-school (i.e. preppy) type of jocular abbreviation. He was never addressed as, or referred to as, “J.R.R.” by anybody, though in his schooldays he was sometimes called “Jirrt”, derived from his full initials..
    Incidentally, at this period in popular culture “Tolly” usually referred to Tollemache’s Pale Ale.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  20. Boromir88's Avatar
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    #20
    Tyr, I don't know if I'll come across anything as distorted (and truthfully...hilarious) as CT being a bitter old man who has an army of trained (and somehow wild?) boars guarding his property. Although, it'll be interesting to see what springs out of this so-called "Last Crusade" by CT to block the filming of The Hobbit.

    Also true that there is a lot worse out there than Grotta, I just find what he did to be in poor taste. The most aggravating thing (to me) is trying to pass off you are taking a honest, well-thought out critique, when really it was just a shoddy job of research and an attempt to throw some fisticuffs because you have a grudge.

    I find that far more damaging than David Day...because for the most part, I think people know David Day just made up a bunch of crap. ButGrotta islike that annoying documentary film maker Michael Moore, trying to pass off he is some great uncoverer of truth, and he's got "facts" that no one else is aware of, when really it's either just old information or distorted and misrepresented. I think they are far more damaging, because people believe them and take them seriously.

  21. Magradhaid's Avatar
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    #21
    Indeed, Boromir — the army of trained wild boars is actually to me a bit humorous, but I'm annoyed by the descriptions of CJRT as "bitter" or "cantankerous". I find Grotta's work in poor taste as well, and your reasoning led me to realize that while there is certainly worse out there (like something by a certain Swede), the 'worse' I'm thinking of is so far-out that I don't think anyone would ever take it seriously, whereas with Grotta's the risk is there, as you said.

  22. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #22


    I fear that Fr John seems to have been at least partly responsible for the wild boars; he could seldom resist having fun with reporters. In actual fact, I am told that in the woods near CRT's house there are wild boars,but theyare very shy of people, and are largely nocturnal.
    The cantakerous bit, as well as the mythical biography, came recently from the Murdoch press (i.e. The Times).
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  23. halfir's Avatar
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    #23
    came recently from the Murdoch press


    Trust the 'Dirty Digger' to keep the 'divine balance'- publish CT's work via Harper Collins and sl*g him off in The Times. It proves that you can have it both ways if you're a media mogul!

    Edir Note: It would appear our Plaza word filter does not wish me to put a letter 'a' in 'sl*g' and has replaced it with an asterisk. Clearly at some point someone's maiden aunt was asked to advise on verbal protocol for the Plaza.

  24. Mithalwen's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by geordie
    Dorwiniondil - excellent! I'd like to see some more of that list of yours.


    In the meantime - as I said in my post above, another source of misinformation is the internet. I've been watching a thread on another forum, which is based on an article written by or about one of the Icelandic au pairs who worked for the Tolkiens during the thirties. Look
    Here

    - the irritating thing is that the thread-starter doesn't give citations, so we have no idea where the article was published, nor when. It's all very vague; but this doesn't prevent our fellow Tolkien fans from another site swallowing it whole, and making value judgements on Tolkien's wife, based solely on the _poster's report of an article purportedly written from real-life experience_ - an article which was probably written from memory (after decades) and from a subjective point of view.

    Hardly the sort of thing that objective biography is made of.


  25. Mithalwen's Avatar
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by geordie
    Dorwiniondil - excellent! I'd like to see some more of that list of yours.


    In the meantime - as I said in my post above, another source of misinformation is the internet. I've been watching a thread on another forum, which is based on an article written by or about one of the Icelandic au pairs who worked for the Tolkiens during the thirties. Look
    Here

    - the irritating thing is that the thread-starter doesn't give citations, so we have no idea where the article was published, nor when. It's all very vague; but this doesn't prevent our fellow Tolkien fans from another site swallowing it whole, and making value judgements on Tolkien's wife, based solely on the _poster's report of an article purportedly written from real-life experience_ - an article which was probably written from memory (after decades) and from a subjective point of view.

    Hardly the sort of thing that objective biography is made of.

    I happen to know the poster she is a native Icelandic speaker and this is a translation from a cutting from the Icelandic press. ~I am sure if you contacted her she would provide the information you require which would be more courteous that insinuating at a distance that she is posting "misinformation" when she has taken the time and trouble in a busy life to provide information which non icelandic speakers would not have available to them.

    But hey thanks for reminding me why I spend so much more time with the fools at the other place compared to here.

  26. geordie's Avatar
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    #26
    Mithalwen - hi. I can't get in touch with the poster - would you be kind enough to ask the lady the details of the article - ie the date and the name of the publication? I don't speak Icelandic, but I'd like to be able to trace the original, and see if I can get a translation.

    I meant no offence - but it's plain that in the thread I linked to, the posters there are in the main discussing the ideas given by the original poster as facts, and are drawing conclusions - in particular, judging Edith Tolkien - based on a translation of an account by someone written goodness knows how many years after the events.

    Many of us in the TS have had the pleasure of meeting various members of the Tolkien family over the years. The Society as a whole, and some of us as individuals, enjoy friendly relationships with them. Stories and anecdotes, like the ones I've mentioned above, are all very well: but I feel that speculation on other folks' marriage - especially when the children and grandchildren are still around - is not well done, esp. when based on unsubstantiated matter such as this.

    Finally - you'll note that I spend much of my time so far in this thread talking about inaccurate info to be found in the TS bullettin Amon Hen, simply because that is where some of these sources emanate from. So I'm hardly being partisan. And nowhere in my post concerning the other site do I use the word 'fools'.




    It's all in the books...

  27. Boromir88's Avatar
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    Tyr, I mean only the trained wild boars part too.


    I came across this...in an on-line chat about The Hobbit Jackson was asked about CT's involvement in the movies. Jackson responded:

    Christopher Tolkien did not wish to be involved in the LOTR movies and I would assuem his feelings are the same with these two films. I totally respect him for that since he is looking after the legacy of his father's books and he does not wish to be involved in someone else's interpretation of the story.

    Sounds pretty respectful of PJ, but I think there is a bit of a "reporter's slant" in a Hobbit Movie fan site:

    -Christopher Tolkien (grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien) will not be participating in the films. (Actually he is suing to try and block the films because of money and has been very critical that the films didn't follow the books exactly.)

    I don't know if it's so much misinformation, but there is a definite slant casting CT in an ill light.

  28. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #28


    Badmouthing Christopher is something that has been going on in different areas for over 10 years now. It is usually when he is perceived to be stopping somebody doing something (often dodgy) that they want to do. Nowadays it's trying to get away without making agreed payments; in the 90s it was (among other things) because he claimed copyright, and additionally would not put all the linguistic manuscripts on the web, unedited and free of charge.


    Also, the statement that he has been "very critical that the films didn't follow the books exactly" is very dubious. As far as I am aware, he has made no statement for or against the films.Some may consider that significant; we couldn't possibly comment ...
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  29. geordie's Avatar
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    Christopher has made one statement about the movies, as far as I know - this came in the wake of the farago involving his son Simon. Look

    Here

    It's all in the books...

  30. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    Yes, thanks geordie - I'd forgotten that one. That really successfully muddied the issue. CRT should have gone into politics.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  31. Lalaith1's Avatar
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    Good evening, Geordie and others.
    I understand there has been some concern about an article I translated for my fellow members of the Barrowdowns recently.
    The article in question was published by the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, on February 28 1999. I have it as a cutting. It is an interview,conducted by Arndís Ásdísardóttir, a journalist, with the ex-au pair in questin, Arndís Þorbjarnardóttir.
    It is a fairly "straight" interview, ie with lots of direct quotes rather than reported speech. The lady being interviewed came across as an educated, fair-minded woman, well-read and thoughtful.
    I translated the article accurately but condensed it too as I went along - it was a double-page spread and would have been rather long otherwise. I am a professional writer and I think my translating/editing skills are fairly reliable, however, if you would like a second translation, I am sure that your local Icelandic embassy can provide you with some names.

    My intention was to provide my fellow Tolkien enthusiasts with what I thought was an interesting "insider´s" perspective. I trust their intelligence and know that they would allrealisethat it was the voice of someonewho was speaking
    from memory (after decades) and from a subjective point of view.
    What else?Please point me to a biography which does not contain any such material.

  32. Lalaith1's Avatar
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    #32
    PS. I'm sorry, the cut and paste (which I used for the Icelandic characters) didn't work properly. The journalist was Linda Ásdísardóttir, the au pair's name wasArndís Þorbjarnardóttir.

  33. halfir's Avatar
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    Lalaith 1: Welcome to the Plaza.Thanks so much for taking the time and courtesy to respond about the piece in question. Interestingly enough Christina Scull read a paper on "Memory and Tolkien' (not the exact title) at the recent Mythcon Conference, although I fear it will be some time before her comments reach us.

  34. Findegil's Avatar
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    <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
    We want to thank Lalaith1 for sending the reference to the interview with Arndís Þorbjarnardóttir. The fullcitation is ‘Barnfóstran frá Íslandi og Tolkien-fyölskyldan’, by Lindu (not Linda) Ásdísardóttur, in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Morgunblaðið[/I] for 28 February 1999, pp. 26-27 of Section A.

    We may be partly responsible for Geordie’s comments of 31 August. He referred us to Lalaith’s account of the interview on the Barrowdowns site, and we remarked to him that it was a pity she gave no reference. There are some interesting points in the account which we might want to include in addenda and corrigenda to our various publications, but felt that we should not do so without having a complete citation. We did not doubt the genuineness of the interview, though we have learned always to be cautious about information and accounts recorded years after the event. We have found many instances when Tolkien’s friends and family, and even Tolkien himself, misremembered. The account given of the interview rang no real alarm bells with us, though the suggestion that Tolkien was really writing The Hobbit for Christopher does not agree with statements made by Tolkien and his two older sons. We are particularly interested in the comment that Tolkien started to write The Hobbit while Arndís was with the family, and if we had known of this article in 1999 we would have tried to contact Arndís to find out more precisely what she remembered. Not only do people often misremember, but we know from personal experience that reporters often get things wrong, do not take (or have) time to fact-check, and sometimes even do some rewriting to make an account sound more exciting.

    From Lalaith1’s reference, Wayne was able to find images of the pages on the newpaper’s graphic archive. One reaches this through a link in the lower left corner of the website’s Gasnasfn page: click on the old newspaper shown there. The free viewer DjVu is needed; a link to the software will display if it’s not already onyour computer.

    One of the photographs in the article is particularly interesting as it is a pair with one on p. 54 of <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Tolkien Family Album[/I]. Arndís evidently took that one, and then sat in the chair vacated by Tolkien while he took the photograph of her with the rest of the family, published with the interview -- or perhaps vice versa. The photograph in the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Family Album[/I] is dated March 1930, which agrees with Arndís’ statement that she was working for the Tolkiens in 1930, though Priscilla was not in her ‘second year’ in March 1930, she would not have her first birthday until 18 June of that year, and John would not be 14 until 19 November 1931. But in our experience it would be quite normal for someone to remember the year in which something significant happened in her life, and equally normal to have a less precise memory about ages.

    Christina Scull &amp; Wayne Hammond

  35. halfir's Avatar
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    #35
    Wayne and Christina: Welcome to the Plaza. I am so delighted that after 'looking-in' on our threads, and being incredibly helpful in private communication with several members, you have finally joined. Most happy to see you.A Red Letter Day indeed!

    And thank you for such an informative post.

    I realise your commitments will probably not permit too much time spent with us, but on behalf of the Plaza and all its members may I give you the warmest of welcomes.

    N.B. For those unfamiliar with Wayne and Christina I should make it clear we are talking about Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, authors -inter alia- of The Lord of the Rings-A Reader's Companion, The JRR Tolkien Companion and Guide, and a host of scholarly essays and publications too numerous to mention!

  36. Lalaith1's Avatar
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    #36
    I'm delighted that the Morgunblaðið archive goes back that far, I was worried that somebody might at some point ask me to scan those pictures in, and this absolves me from the technical responsibility.
    Findegil, as a point of information, the journalist´s name is actually Linda, as I said originally.The report is by Linda, so it takes the accusative, Lindu, as does the surname, dóttur rather than dóttir. There are four cases in Icelandic, as in German: nominative, accusative, dative and genetive.
    Not particularly important, but given Tolkien´s devotion to language structure I thought I should point it out!

  37. halfir's Avatar
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    #37
    Lalaiith 1:Thanks for that informative reply. I never fail to be amazed- and delighted- how one thread starts off on one track and on its journey manages to go through so many fascinating highways and byways (excuse the mixed metaphors!)Your intial and latter posts are indeed a prime example of this, as is the post from Findegil.

  38. Findegil's Avatar
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    #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Lalaith1
    The report is by Linda, so it takes the accusative, Lindu, as does the surname, dóttur rather than dóttir. There are four cases in Icelandic, as in German: nominative, accusative, dative and genetive.

    Point taken, Lalaith1, thanks! It's always good to learn something new.

    Wayne &amp; Christina

  39. geordie's Avatar
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    #39
    Ooh - I go away for a couple of days at the seaside (it rained!!!) - and what do I find on my return? A terrific post from Lalaith1 - many thanks for that - and also a first (and second) post from Christina and Wayne. Welcome, all.

    I hope you find the Plaza as much fun as I do, but beware - it can become addictive...



    It's all in the books...

  40. geordie's Avatar
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    #40
    Here's something new - to me anyway.

    Look here

    It's a copy of a 1st US ed. of TH on ebay, and the vendor has given us a quote:

    "This beautiful tale is purely and simply one of the greatest children's books ever written" (Hammond & Anderson, J. R. R. Tolkien - A Descriptive Bibliography.)

    The thing is, I have a copy of Hammond and Anderson's Bibliography, and I don't recall reading this - and, it doesn't sound like something that Wayne would say (or write). So, I sent a link to Wayne, asking where I could find this quote. Here's with Wayne's permission, is his reply:

    It's in nothing that I've ever written. It looks like advertising copy, a publisher quoting a review, or the like, but I don't recognize it, and Google fetches only the Heritage catalogue citation

    Most odd, then. What's even more odd is that this same 'quote' appears in another ebay ad; this time by a vendor in Germany. The entry is entirely in German, except for the counterfeit quote -

    Look here

    So - another urban myth in the making?

    It's all in the books...

  41. halfir's Avatar
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    #41
    We'll clearly have to rewrite Disraeli's famous quote about statistics to read:

    There's lies, damned lies, and booksellers!"

  42. geordie's Avatar
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    #42
    Just spent a frustrating hour or so looking in on one or two other Tolkien forums. I'm amazed at the level of ignorance out there - by which I mean, 'lack of knowledge'. That's okay; not everyone can know lots about Tolkien. But this lack of knowledge doesn't prevent folk from putting up stuff which wouldn't last five minutes here on the Plaza: what's worse, others chime in and show their own ignorance by agreeing, or worse: by adding mis-information of their own.

    I have pointed out one or two instances of this sort of thing in the past; here and elsewhere on the Plaza; and then off someone trots and tells the person or people I'm talking about. - sometimes they turn up here, and have a good worthwhile chat, which is nice; then they drift off again.

    Ah well. The main thing I got from my journey round the net is that if challenged (or if a query is mildly raised) then the person will often angrily reply that this mis-information is their OPINION, and therefore somehow inviolate; it can Not be questioned. I get the impression that this would be an infringement of some rights or other. What I would like to know is; where does this idea come from? it didn't use to be like this, I'm sure - is someone telling young 'uns today (either in the classroom, or in the playground) that their OPINION is, Must be, as good as anyone else's? Whether it's based on anything or not?

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about Tolkien out there; and a lot of mis-information. And a lot of it, it seems to me, comes from the internet, and ill-informed chat. That's life, I suppose.

    It's all in the books...

  43. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #43
    There is a lot of misunderstanding about Tolkien out there; and a lot of mis-information. And a lot of it, it seems to me, comes from the internet, and ill-informed chat. That's life, I suppose.



    We live in a universe of new media with phenomenal opportunities for worldwide communications and research - but populated by volunteer vandals with poison-pen intellects. (John Seigenthaler, 2005)<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  44. halfir's Avatar
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    #44

  45. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #45
    I have pointed out one or two instances of this sort of thing in the
    past; here and elsewhere on the Plaza; and then off someone trots and
    tells the person or people I'm talking about. - sometimes they turn up here, and have a good worthwhile chat, which is nice; then they drift off again.

    Well, nobody likes to have people talking about them behind their backs. I don't see why one shouldn't tell them about it and correct them directly, if one thinks they are ignorant about something.


    The main thing I got from my journey round the net is that if
    challenged (or if a query is mildly raised) then the person will often
    angrily reply that this mis-information is their OPINION, and therefore
    somehow inviolate; it can Not be questioned.

    This reminds me of a discussion at another forum several years ago. There were people who were of the opinion that one may interpret Tolkien's works freely, even though his own words would sometimes be in conflict with your interpretation. They thought the information Tolkien gives in Letters shouldn't be taken into consideration, because they believed that it would contain the answers to all their questions concerning the writings, and then there wouldn't be anything to discuss...!

    Maybe I shouldn't be mentioning this now behind their backs, but the discussion took place several years ago, and I did participate in it then and let these people know that I disagree with them. And anyway, I think most of the people aren't left at the forum, or aren't even Tolkien fans anymore.


    it didn't use to be like this, I'm sure - is someone telling young 'uns
    today (either in the classroom, or in the playground) that their
    OPINION is, Must be, as good as anyone else's?

    But surely it's not just the young 'uns who sometimes think so? At least in the aforementioned discussion several of the participants who thought that their opinion of Tolkien's works is as good as his, were adults.


  46. geordie's Avatar
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    #46
    Well, nobody likes to have people talking about them behind their backs

    and

    Maybe I shouldn't be mentioning this now behind their backs,

    As you'll see from my earlier posts, I've commented on several things in this thread, including items published in the TS bulletin Amon Hen.
    I don't think that posting a comment on a public forum such as the Plaza can be construed as 'talking behind someone's back'.

    As for other websites -in order to contact the folk concerned, I'd have to join the website. I don't feel the need to join another site, merely in order to raise comments on what is written there. I'm free to comment on items I've found on another site, just as I'm free to comment on a story in a newspaper or anywhere else, in any medium. If I comment on something I've read in a paper, or seen on TV, then discussing it here on the Plaza is hardly 'talking behind the commentator's back', is it?

    Talking about people behind their backs is a mean and petty thing to do, and I take umbrage that you should accuse me of this. I'd ask you to please take that back.






    It's all in the books...

  47. geordie's Avatar
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    #47
    On another matter - those nice folk at the BBC (Ardamir, ought I to let the BBC know I'm talking about them?)

    ...as I was saying - those nice people at the BBC's 'Countryfile' have been doing the usual of spreading mis-information - saying that Tolkien was 'inspired' by Puzzle Wood, in the Forest of Dean. I hadn't heard of this; as far as I know, this isn't so; therefore I googled Puzzle Wood, and found this page

    Here

    - which quite blithely states that Tolkien visited the place often.

    Middle Earth Middle Earth?

    JRR Tolkien, a frequent visitor to the Forest Of Dean, would undoubtedly have visited Puzzlewood, and many believe Puzzlewood was the inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth contained within "The Lord of the Rings".

    There's that phrase: 'Many believe' which means 'I can't tell you whether it's true or not; but I think it's likely'.

    Not very good, BBC.

    *expecting a note from the Beeb any time now!



    *edit - there's another good word: undoubtedly

    - which means 'I'm telling you!'

    It's all in the books...

  48. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    I don't know what geordie meant by "young 'uns", but for me that tends to include anyone below the age of 60.

    More seriously: over the last generation there has been a widespread cult of what might be called vulgar postmodernism, viz., that the idea that there are such things as facts, and that any sort of objectivity is possible, is false - epistemology tells us that there are only only constructs, and to think otherwise is bourgeois (not to say elitist, racist, classist and sexist). The conclusion drawn from this is that anybody else's opinion is as good as anybody else's, or in the words of the old journalistic maxim: "Facts are free, but opinion is sacred". People who take this view are however happy to be maintained in the air by mere constructs when they travel to conferences where they maintain that anybody's ideas about physics are as valid as those of the so-called experts (vulgar Heisenbergism?). Alan Sokal, a physicist, got into trouble in the 1990s for making mock of this stance, and in fact it has in recent years lost most of its academic respectability, but it is still very much around in its gross form.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  49. Nieliqui Vaneyar's Avatar
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    #49


    geordie and Dorwiniondil, I think (it's my opinion, which of course is sacrosanct, now) that there's a lot more going on then just things like constructs. That would imply people actually listening in classrooms or reading various pieces and thinking about what it all means. A lot of what you're concerned about is taking place at all levels of society.
    It seems that there is a questioning of everything. Just because some person says something is a fact (and even provides the quote) is no longer significant. It would appear the original writer/speaker/inventor/creator can also be considered questionable. Is what was created/invented etc. really meaningful, was it the original, was something else going on, that we haven't been allowed to know?

    For example, I've read some reviews of Wikipedia where random selections have been analyzed and found for the most part to be valid. Yes, somequestionable stuff gets in, but I've also seen misinformation in printed college texts (and newspapers!!!! I can't begin to relate the very bad information I see in the very few stories I actually know something about!!! I can only imagine the rest!).And the Wiki editors (and concerned contributors) do try to keep that stuff out. Yet, Wikipedia still has a stigma attached that suggests that anytime anyone quotes anything from it, not only is the information extremely suspect but so now is the person for using it.

    Of course, now it would appear, many believe that solid reference books like the Encyclopedia Brittanicaare also suspect becausethey werecompiled by old white European-centric men (whether true or not, that seems to be the widely held belief). It no longer matters what's in the books, only that because the writers/editors are now suspect, that the information itself must be suspect.

    In this country, the new President-elect seems to be creating the most diverse group of advisors ever assembled, yet, many other groups are starting to grumble that they aren't being adequately represented, and they will be incensed if 'their person' doesn't get selected. So, it doesn't even matter any more how diverse one is, it will never be enough.

    I read other boards, some quite diverse from this, and the amount of hatred, blatant misinformation, and apparent jealousy of someone else's success almost at times overwhelms the decent contributions.

    That Seigenthaler quote above from Dorwiniondil just touches the surface of what is going on all over the internet. In a way, it's democracy gone wild. In the past, if you had an opinion, you could only share it with your friends/associates and if they got tired of that, (and you), you either lost them as friends, or learned to hold it in. With the internet and the (believed but not necessarily true) anonymity involved, one can 'share' ones opinion with the world and never be held accountable.

    In the past, you could go to a meeting hall, or stand on a corner and say the most outlandish things, but if no one listened or you were shouted down, it wouldn't - and didn't - matter. Now days, because of the internet, you can say things and say them again, and again, and fill up spaces with the most outlandish statements, and others now actually respond, giving the first person a forum that he/she would never have had in the past.

    Is there a solution? I don't know. I have seen many boards 'dry up' as it were, as the seemingly intelligent, caring people just gave up, and the ranters eventually left because their audience had left, but it usually takes months or more for that to happen, and the boards never recover. Could it happen here? Not today, but thats not to say that sometime in the future it couldn't happen. I suppose a board could 'charge' for use, that would keep the interlopers away but also keep valid decent people away too because they couldn't afford it. Or, demand real accountable names. That would of course solve one problem but presents a whole lot of new ones, especially since now it's potentially harmful information that is being collected.

    I wish I could remember which Sci-fi author it was - Vonnegut or Ellison, or Asimov or Clarke, somebody like that. At some convention, the author was talking about some book or story line, and a fan got up and stated his premise on what was going on. The author said basically, no, and explained what he actually meant, and the fan got upset and accused the author of not understanding what was really meant by that writing and that his ownversion (opinion)was the correct one.And this was like, 10 or 20 years ago.So, I don't thinkwhat's going on really isparticularly new, it's now just much more prevalent because of the internet.

  50. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #50
    NV: - and yes, I've taught in enough classrooms not to assume that anybody is listening, let alone understanding ....

    Most of what you point out quite correctly is in fact what I meant by elliptically referring to "vulgar postmodernism", which does go back about 40 years - people vaguely get the idea that sincethere are questions about the nature of knowledge, anything goes, and anti-elitism means that claims of expert knowledge are false and tyrannical: von Daeniken's ideas are as "valid" as Stephen Hawking's. The case in your last paragraph is far from unknown - academic denial of authorial authority has been around for a good 30 years. A really extreme version of this is found in Russia, where not only do many people have the idea that Tolkien didn't really understand his own work (how could he? He wasn't Russian!), but have gone on from that to form a Tolkienian religion.

    Still, I have to admit that disdain for facts goes back a lot further even than that. Folk who know The Truth have frequently regarded facts as not only irrelevant, but the work of the Devil. Chesterton frequently ventured into this area.

    Deep and dreary matters.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  51. it has in recent years lost most of its academic respectability, but it is still very much around in its gross form.

    I am glad to say that as a student of anthropology (a discipline unfortunately rather deeply infected by post-modernist thought- so much so that even today 'post-modernism' is one of the theoretical frameworks students are expected to learn, albeit in a significantly more restrained and precisely defined form) most of the more recent works I have read (not to mention the attitudes of professors) seem to be quite fed up with rampant post-modernism. I can't count the times I have heard a lecture turn into a rant about how while it's a good idea to appreciate other perspectives and consider minority groups, there is no excuse for abandoning reasonable thought and supported arguments. They are also fond of pointing out that the most obscure, incomprehensible, and jargon filled articles are generally those written by post-modernists accusing everyone else of being 'elitist'...

    I'm not sure what effect this will have on society at large (I can't imagine a terribly large portion of the population attends anthropological lectures on a regular basis), but maybe this reflects a wider change in popular perspective (or maybe I'm just overly optimistic).
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  52. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #52
    Yes indeed. There has always been a lot of academic resistance to the wilder versions of postmodernism (and what LotR says about their impenetrable jargon is only too true), and I too have the impression that in recent yearsthey have been in the ascendant. But the mindset they briefly gave a sort of respectability to goes back further, being based in a sort of pseudo-equalitarian anti-elitism, which is fostered by tne popular media who see a profit to be made from it - so we have the spectacle of extraordinarily rich upper-class media barons denouncing the elitism of impecunious teachers, for example.

    Well, it was ever thus. As someone once said:

    The rain it raineth every day
    Upon the just and unjust feller,
    But more upon the just, because
    The unjust's got the just's umbrella.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  53. Nemroth's Avatar
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    #53

    I stumbled upon this thread and happened to read a discussion generated by geordie's comments of a "translation" of an Icelandic article on another forum. The correct citing was given and everything checked out but I was wondering if the exact links would not be appreciated (as opposed to the search engine that was given, which could be confusing to some). Click here for article and here for the article in DjVu format.

    Of course, it's fairly useless unless you can read Icelandic, which I guess applies for the better part of you. Would there be any interest for a translation of the article, word-for-word, I mean then?

  54. geordie's Avatar
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    #54
    Nemroth - that's a very kind offer. If we can do something like this - whether a full transcript, or excerpts, depending on copyright considerations - I for one would greatly appreciate it.



    It's all in the books...

  55. geordie's Avatar
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    #55
    At the risk of raising the wrath of another fellow internet user - - I saw a thread the other day (on another forum - can't remember which) - where a lady was talking about the Tolkiens' grave. This lady had visited the grave, in Wolvercote cemetery sometime during the 80s, and was apparently distressed at the 'neglected' state she found the grave in. I don't know what the lady was expecting - apparently she was surprised to see that she was the only one visiting at that time, and (I guess) might have been expecting to queue!

    At any rate: the grave was not 'neglected' at that, or any other time. It has been well tended by the family since 1971. I have visited the site many times since the late 70s, soon after I read about it in Carpenter; and it's always been a sad but happy time, standing quietly and thinking of the man buried there, along with his beloved wife.

    And this brings me to the mis-information: others on the thread responded: yes, it's a shame that the grave is neglected (tut-tut). Seems folk (well some folk) will believe whatever is set before them, in a book (and there are some howlers out there) or, more especially, on the net. And all the more especially if it's something they _want_ to believe; whether it's that the grave ain't being looked after; or Tolkien wrote a book called The Two Towers because there were two towers near one of his childhood homes in Birmingham; or that he definitely stated that he wanted to write 'a Mythology for England'. And that he welcomed the idea of any Tom, Dick or Harry 'adding' their own ideas to his works after his death. All not true.

    And yet; and yet - stuff like this can be easily checked; in a selection of books; or on a reputable website such as this. All it takes is a little thought. If anyone thinks I'm being hard, consider this: the lady describes the gravestone (IIRC) as having only two words engraven thereon: Beren and Luthien (lowers head). Actually, it has Edith's full name, with 'Luthien' written underneath: and under that, Ronald's full name, with Beren underneath that. Oh, and their dates, too.

    Another thing: the lady says that when she was there the gravestone was very simple; just a slab of rock (Cornish granite actually, according to Carpenter) But not to worry; she'd looked at a website recently, and there was now a photo of the grave with two new slabs; one each side of the original; with lovely pictures on them. *sigh* I was there when those 'slabs' were put there; and taken away. They were not slabs at all, but floral decorations of a kind known as 'well dressing', and they were there for one day only (IIRC) during the Centenary Conference in 1992.

    The thread I'm describing from memory is on a website which is much less active than the Plaza; the thread itself is near the top of the page, but already two years old. If anyone sees my post here and would like to comment on it, I'd be glad to welcome them to this here Plaza; where we're happy to comment, or answer questions (to the best of our ability) and do our best to keep mis-information down to a reasonable level.




    It's all in the books...

  56. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #56
    All it takes is a little thought.


    I've quoted Housman elsewhere on the Plaza to the effect that though it only takes two minutes, thought is irksome, and two minutes is a long time.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  57. And all the more especially if it's something they _want_ to believe

    And that, I think, is the at the centre of a lot of this, whether it's a taste for scandal, or for being 'right' when 'most people' have got it wrong, or something more ideological.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  58. halfir's Avatar
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    #58
    The sad thing is bad news- like misinformation- appears to be given much more attention than good news. The fact that the grave was not well tended- even though untrue- attracts more attention than the fact that it is well tended. In the same way, the fact that 99% of planes taking off yesterday landed safefly and only one crashed is far less interesting than the one that crashed. Indeed I have never seen a newspaper headline on aircraft safety- of a positive sort!

  59. Saranna's Avatar
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    #59

    Incidentally, at this period in popular culture “Tolly” usually referred to Tollemache’s Pale Ale. (Originally posted by Dorwiniondil)

    Well maybe it suggests that to you, the first thing I thought of was the young hero of the first few of L.M. Boston's Green Knowe books! But I don't mind a pint....
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

    Death comes to all
    But great achievements raise a monument
    Which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
    George Fabricius, 'In Praise of Georgius Agricola'

  60. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #60

    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">And it still goes on ...
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">To mark Tolkien's 120th, ourown goodTrotter was interviewed for a brief slot on Russian-language Ukrainian TV as part of a programme called Podrobnosti (=Details) - here:
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">http://podrobnosti.ua/podrobnosti/2012/01/03/813066.html
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Trotter's contribution is brief but comendable. The same cannot be said for the rest. A rough translation follows:
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">===================================== ================================================== =
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><O:P></O:P><O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">The World marks the 120<SUP>th</SUP> anniversary of Tolkien’s birth<O:P></O:P>[/B]
    <O:P></O:P>
    3 January 2012
    <O:P></O:P>
    It was a New Year story that began the creative work of one of the most original writers of the 20<SUP>th</SUP> century. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien created a new genre: “fantasy”, based on the adventures of Santa Claus. At least, this is the opinion of many literary scholars. Today is the 120<SUP>th</SUP> anniversary of Tolkien’s birth. His “Lord of the Rings” continues to be read both by children and adults. How did Christmas cards become a masterpiece of European literature? Yelena Gnes’.
    <O:P></O:P>
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">“The end? No, life does not end with death. Death is only a continuation of the journey”<O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <O:P></O:P>
    Gandalf the Grey Pilgrim, the wise wizard and valiant White Rider, is one of the main heroes of the epic “the Lord of the Rings”. Many Tolkien scholars suggest that his prototype was Santa Claus. He is remarkably similar to the old man with the presents, whom Tolkien described to his children.
    <O:P></O:P>
    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Yelena Gnes’ correspondent: <O:P></O:P>[/B]
    <O:P></O:P>
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Every Christmas Professor Tolkien write his children letters as if from Santa Claus. He put real stamps on the envelopes and posted them to his own address.<O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <O:P></O:P>
    Every letter contained a short story with pictures from the North Pole. There were elves, dwarves and other fairytale creatures that recall the heroes of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” But even the author, when he wrote these letters, did not suspect that by entertaining his children he was creating a whole world called Middle-earth. Tolkien became the father of the fantasy genre out of his love for his children and for philology.
    <O:P></O:P>
    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Andrew Ferguson, Tolkienist and Tolkien collector:<O:P></O:P>[/B]
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">He was a philologist, a professor of English language and literature. He was very interested in the origin of words, and aspired to learn independently how to create new languages. In consequence, Tolkien decided to invent a whole new world and people it with beings who would speak in these invented languages.<O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <O:P></O:P>
    Tolkien began to write his first masterpiece, “the Hobbit, or There and Back Again”, quite unexpectedly, when marking students’ examination papers
    <O:P></O:P>
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Unfortunately, marking exam papers is a pretty boring job. I took the next paper and found one sheet was absolutely blank. I did not have to mark it. And I wrote straight onto the sheet: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”<O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <O:P></O:P>
    In a year’s time a film is due to appear on the theme of “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again”. Its director is Peter Jackson, who directed “The Lord of the Rings”. The new picture promises to be as successful.
    <O:P></O:P>
    <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Andrew Ferguson, Tolkienist and Tolkien collector:<O:P></O:P>[/B]
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Nowadays, with the development of technology, we have computer games and films based on Tolkien’s work. Nevertheless the best thing is to read his books. It’s not enough to watch Tolkien films – you have to read Tolkien. He is fantastic.<O:P></O:P>[/I]
    <O:P></O:P>
    </O:P><O:P>========================================= =====================</O:P>
    <O:P>"Details"??.</O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>Edited by: Dorwiniondil
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  61. Trotter's Avatar
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    #61




    When you are interviewed or appear on programmes like this, you are taking pot-luck with what they are going to say in the rest of the piece.

    Tolkien did not base his fantasy on Father Christmas and Christmas Cards did not result in a masterpiece of modern literature.

    I certainly did not suggest either of these points or that Gandalf was based on Father Christmas. If the interviewer had asked I would have pointed out that Tolkien thought Father Christmas should not have been in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and had no place in his mythology. Lots of other mistakes as well, but I leave that for others to point out.






    Edited by: Trotter
    My collector's profile - http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/collecting/collectors/Trotter.htm

  62. Trotter's Avatar
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    #62


    I have apologised on another site for my part in this item.

    http://www.tolkienguide.com/modules/...#forumpost9229


    My collector's profile - http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/collecting/collectors/Trotter.htm

  63. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #63
    Not your fault, Trotter! It's the idiots who took your perfectlysensible comments and set them in a pile of rubbish. This happens too often with the media - something similar was done to me some years ago... by the BBC!
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  64. It was clear enough to me that your small part was actually accurate - a couple of accurate comments sort of stood out in that context! At least you escaped without having your words twisted to mean the exact opposite, which I've also heard accounts of.
    Anyway, the Russophone Tolkien community seems to get some bad press, all furry legs and Santa (though pretty maps). Maybe someone knowledgeable about Tolkien and Russia could find their way to sharing something about the best of the best of the Slavic Tolkien world sometime?
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  65. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #65
    Did you have anyone specific in mind?

    In fact a lot of serious Tolkienism is going on in Russia - for example, last year saw the publication of the Russian translation of Sigurd and Guðrun. For those who understand Russian, there is a fair amount of news on the Арда-на-куличках (Arda in the boondocks) site: http://www.kulichki.com/tolkien/ Even in Ukraina by no means everyone is as bad as this lot - one of the best Tolkien translators, Valeriya Matorina ("VAM") is Ukrainian.

    And back to media distortion: yes, I have been notjust taken out of context but inserted into a completely different context that made Tolkienists lok like idiots who were doing something the Prof himself disapproved of.

    And people wonder why journalists have such a bad reputation. In fact, this is not entirely fair; many journalists are honest and conscientious (for example John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War). It's just that enough people have had bruising contact with the other sort to make them very wary.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  66. geordie's Avatar
    Hugo Bracegirdle
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    #66
    And people wonder why journalists have such a bad reputation. In fact, this is not entirely fair; many journalists are honest and conscientious (for example John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War). It's just that enough people have had bruising contact with the other sort to make them very wary.

    - yes, indeed- Tolkien not least.

    It's all in the books...

  67. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
    Old Took
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    #67
    The latest issue of Northern Life tells us that Tolkien wrote LotR over a period of 16 years in a room at Stonyhurts College, Lancashire. (thanks to Phil Lloyd for the headsup). Northern Life has form on this - for example, inthe December - January edition here:
    http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&amp;pnum=87&amp;refresh =yS1730cEx6K1&amp;EID=6558d353-2e9d-427c-9d37-7013105ce61d&amp;skip=&amp;p=87

    For Tolkien's brief connection with Stonyhurst, see Scull and Hammond's The J.R.R. Tolkien companion and guide.
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

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