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  1. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
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    Charles Noad Reviews:Your Comments and Observations

    Those wishing to comment or observe on all/any of the three book reviews written by Charles Noad are asked to do so in this thread, not in the thread that contains the reviews themselves.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  2. It comes as no surprise that Charles Noad’s reviews of Elizabeth Whittingham’s <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Evolution of Middle-earth[/I], Dimitra Fimi’s Tolkien, Race and Cultural History, and my own Arda Reconstructed are chock full of insightful comments. Mr. Noad certainly has justified his reputation as one of the sharpest and most knowledgeable scholars of Tolkien’s work, particularly related to ‘the Silmarillion.’ He truly has given the Plaza a wonderful gift with these exclusive reviews.<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><?: PREFIX = O /><O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    It certainly gave me a great thrill to see someone with the stature of Charles Noad describe my book as “an extraordinary accomplishment” (at least on one level!) and “an important and thought-provoking work.” However, just as valuable are his perceptive comments about the book, including those critical of some of the conclusions that I reach. There are many, many points in Mr. Noad’s review that I could comment upon, and hopefully I will get a chance to address some of them eventually. But I don’t want appear like I am simply writing a review of his review of my book; that would not be appropriate. For now, I just wanted to clarify a couple of points that he raises regarding my book. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    First and foremost, I wanted to point out that there is one point that he raises regarding my comments about his own work that is based on a misreading of my comments (doubtless due to a bit of poor writing on my part, leaving my point somewhat ambiguous). Mr. Noad states that I object to his suggestion for the inclusion of Eärendil the Wanderer as the fourth Great Tale of the ‘Silmarillion’ tradition. That is not at all what I meant; I completely agree with him that Tolkien did intend to include an extended version of Eärendil’s story as the fourth Great Tale. Mr. Noad quotes me as stating:<O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>

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    <TD =BBquote>‘He actually includes an unwritten fourth Great Tale, called “Eärendil the Wanderer,” based on a brief reference in a note to the Shibboleth of Fëanor to “the four great tales or lays of the heroes of the Atani” (PoMe, 357 n. 7). Noad does not state what evidence he bases this suggestion upon, but Tolkien did mention the possibility of whether the long Númenórean versions of the Great Tales (Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin, The Fall of Gondolin and The Rising of the Star, suggesting that he did want to include Eärendil’s story) should be given as appendices to the Silmarillion (MR, 373).’</TD></TR></T></TABLE><O:P></O:P>



    <O:P></O:P>
    However, he leaves out the sentence that comes before that excerpt: “Noad suggests that in addition to appendices, there would be a section where the Great Tales would be included in full.” It is that suggestion that I was referring to when I said he does not state what evidence he basesthe suggestionupon, not the suggestion that Eärendil’s story was intended by Tolkien to be a fourth Great Tale (indeed, I actually state what evidence Mr. Noad points to regarding the Fourth Great Tale, so it would not make sense for me to say that he does not say what evidence supports it). I wanted to make sure that I clarified this point, as Mr. Noad spends a considerable amount of space defending himself against a “charge” that I never meant to make. In fact, I very much share his wish that Tolkien had written Eärendil’s story in full, for very much the same reasons that Mr. Noad describes so movingly in his review. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    The other point that I wanted to clarify is in regards to the following statement of Mr. Noad’s:<O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>

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    <TD =BBquote>However, I did chance to take a look at one specific detail, and found that it wasn’t quite what it seemed. On page 204, Kane notes: ‘<?: prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><?: PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME w:st="&#111;n">Chris</ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME>topher mentions in a commentary listed under “§§287 ff.” that the Grey Annals was practically the only source used from the Battle of Tumhalad through the end of the chapter [in the published Silmarillion] on Túrin (WotJ, 144). However, a close comparison reveals that the Grey Annals are followed beginning with §277, ten paragraphs earlier than <ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME w:st="&#111;n">Chris</ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME>topher stated.’ But, the Grey Annals may indeed be followed from §277 for the basis of the chapter on Túrin, but they weren’t practically the only source from §277 as they were from §287. There’s a slight difference.</TD></TR></T></TABLE><O:P></O:P>



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    In fact, my close comparison shows that the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Grey Annals[/I] were followed in those ten paragraphs about as closely as they were in the rest of the chapter (for those that own <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Arda Reconstructed[/I], see Table 21, specifically pages 197-199), so I feel confident that this point is well-supported by the evidence, though perhaps not expressed as well as it might have been.(Note that I’m not saying that there are no errors at all in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Arda Reconstructed[/I]; it would be virtually impossible to take on a task of this magnitude and complete it with perfection. For a listing of errata that I and others have discovered in the book, see the errata page at www.arda-reconstructed.com.)<O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    The other point that I wanted to make is that I regret that I left Mr. Noad with the impression that I was “taking him to task” for some of the observations that he made in his essay “On the Construction of <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Silmarillion."[/I] I think that is a very wonderful essay, and I regret not making that opinion clearer. Though I do say in the introduction to <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Arda Reconstructed[/I] that that essay (along with several others from the book <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Tolkien’s Legendarium[/I]) provide helpful insights regarding the history of the creation of Tolkien’s mythology, that brief statement hardly suffices to express the esteem that I hold for Mr. Noad and his work, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to remedy that oversight here.<O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    Similarly, Mr. Noad indicates that he has the impression that I underestimate the daunting complexity of the task facing <ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME w:st="&#111;n">Chris</ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME>topher Tolkien when confronted by the mass of ‘Silmarillion’ material. If I give that impression, I regret that as well, because I am fully aware of how daunting that task was. There are numerous occasions in which I state how complicated that task was(indeed, mind-boggling is a word thatuse to describe it). I fully acknowledge that the opinions that I express are based completely in hindsight, and are only made possible by the even more Herculean task of publishing the full History of Middle-earth. I want to take this opportunity to reiterate again what I state at the end of the introductory chapter of <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Arda Reconstructed:[/I]<O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>

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    <TD =BBquote>I wish to make clear, however, that none of the criticisms that I make should be taken as sign that I have anything but the deepest admiration for <ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME w:st="&#111;n">Chris</ST1:PERS&#111;nNAME>topher Tolkien, and profound gratitude to him for the tireless work that he has done to make so much of his father’s incredible work accessible to the public. Needless to say, without that effort, the present work would have been impossible.”</TD></TR></T></TABLE>

    The debt that I and all serious students of J.R.R. Tolkien's work have to Christopher Tolkien is literally inexpressible.

  3. halfir's Avatar
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    Like Voronwe the Faithful I am sure i will want to return a number of times with comments about the three excellent reviews that Charles Noad has given us. But one thing that stands out like a good deed in a naughty world, which identifies Charles as the Tolkien expert he is, is the sheer amount of information we gain about Tolkien from reading Charles' reviews of the three books in question.

    Not only do we get a first -rate commentary on each of the published works, we are also given a cornucopia of information about Tolkien himself. For that alone we should be most grateful,and that is only a part of the critical benison we are awarded.Truly awesome!

  4. geordie's Avatar
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    halfir -

    I'd like to add a few comments on Kane's book, if I may. First, let me say that I haven't read it (for reasons which will become apparent).
    My comments in this post are based on what I've read in the extract from Arda Reconstructed which Kane himself has pointed to on the Mythlore page, and other sources such as this extract from the book's blurb on the Amazon website:

    Synopsis "In Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion, Douglas C. Kane reveals a tapestry woven by Christopher Tolkien from different portions of his father's work that is often quite mind-boggling... He also makes a frank appraisal of the material omitted by Christopher Tolkien (and in a couple of egregious cases the material invented by him) and how these omissions and insertions may have distorted his father's vision of what he considered - even more than The Lord of the Rings - to be his most important work.

    Now, I take issue with the comments that anything which Christopher may or may not have done is egregious, or detrimental to his father's work. The portion of text which I have bolded seems to me to encapsulate what Kane has set out to do in his book. I base this on my reading of the chapter which is to be found on Mythlore's site, and also on my reading of the reviews of the book which have so far come my way, and also my reading of various websites over the years; including Kane's own website, 'The Hall of Fire' where, as I understand it, the idea of this book came from.

    To take the reviews first: In addition to that by Charles Noad, I've also read those by Jason Fisher in Mythlore (Look Here) - and by Nancy Martsch in Beyond Bree. A common theme among these reviews seems to be that the book has taken a lot of work - the reviewers give kudos for that - but there's always a 'but' and here it is, as expressed by Noad:

    However, this is much more than a tabulation of sources. In these discussions of the decision-making that Kane discerns in the redaction of the various source-texts in the published Silmarillion, he takes a distinctly judgemental attitude on how each part of it as edited by Christopher Tolkien was constructed, and it is precisely in such comment that the book enters a realm of controversy. Kane finds much to criticise. He considers that there is far too much in the way of omission of interesting and significant detail and on the whole rather too much editorial interference, very often, it would seem, in defiance of Tolkien’s own plainly expressed wishes. The phrase ‘unfortunate omission’ crops up often. Such comment, indeed, sometimes appears to take on a tone of condescension or even personal resentment — doubtless unintentionally, but that is how it may seem to some readers.

    Both Fisher and Martsch make much the same comments; e.g. Fisher:

    'To make judgments about changes or reductions in “Tolkien’s vision” for “The Silmarillion” presupposes an understanding of just what Tolkien’s vision was — to the extent this was ever fixed and knowable. It seems that Kane sometimes presumes he understands that vision better than Christopher does.'

    and -

    '...Kane’s opinion was shaped in the hindsight of The History of Middle-earth. Had Christopher followed Kane’s more “inclusive” strategy from the beginning, it is entirely possible that The Silmarillion would have been a commercial failure — perhaps such a failure as to have prevented any subsequent material from ever reaching readers. Kane realizes this, but his arguments carry a note of assumed authority which I do not feel is entirely appropriate.

    I take the same view, based on my reading of the chapter which I have read; I feel that Kane's judgemental attitude - amounting to what I certainly see as 'personal resentment' on Kane's part - dominates the 'message' of the book. And, this note of assumed authority - implying that he knows JRR's thoughts and intentions better than Christopher Tolkien - is one that sticks in my craw. To me, this attitude seems very odd. Why go to the trouble of writing a book about Tolkien's life's work, and then spend so much time villifying the one whose work has brought it to us? What is the point? I know; Kane makes much of the deep personal respect which he claims he has for Christopher Tolkien. But this rings hollow to me. As Mandy Rice-Davis once famously said: 'He would say that, wouldn't he?' I can't take Kane at his word.

    Now, though it's not often I disagree with Charles, I would say that I do not agree with the closing words of his review of Kane's book. Let me give this some perspective, in order to make my point perfectly clear: I have some of David Day's books on my shelves. And the 'biographies' by Michael White and Daniel Grotta, and even, God help me, a piece of unutterable rubbish by Michael Perry, whose title I will not even deign to give 'the oxygen of publicity'. But I won't be buying Kane's book. Personally - I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot barge-pole.



    It's all in the books...

  5. halfir's Avatar
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    Ouch! Strong views indeed, but clearly heartfelt. It will be interesting to see how others react to that judgemental attitudewhich clearly more than one reviewer has found.

    I suspect the problem will be, at present, that, like you, though perhaps for other reasons, many reading the excellent reviews that Charles has given will be using them as a point of reference as to whether to buy those books or not, or at least read library copies of them. Like yourself, they will not yet have read the book/s,

  6. geordie's Avatar
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    halfir - Yes, I have a copy of Fimi's book. As Charles has pointed out, it's as expensive as the Scull-Hammond. Ouch, indeed! I'll keep an eye out for the Whittingham book, too.

    Like you, I would recommend a reading of Charles' reviews, not least because, taken together, they amount to more or less an essay; very much like the 'review essays' on philology which Tolkien himself contributed to _The Year's Work in English Studies_ Vols. IV-VI. I think a reading of Charles' review, and that of Jason Fisher, which I linked to above, are pretty much essential for anyone who might be thinking of buying Kane's book.





    It's all in the books...

  7. Strong words, indeed, but not at all surprising, given the hostility that geordie has shown towards me and my work from the moment that I arrived here, well before the excerpt from my book first appeared in Mythlore that he mentioned. For solace, I take heart in the positive comments that have appeared in every review that has looked at the book. Probably the most gratifying comment was this one, from Nicholas Birns, in his review in Tolkien Studies:

    One of the questions Kane’s study puts to rest totally is the old conjecture about whether The Silmarillion is all Tolkien’s work. Other than a very few instances (such as tying the Nauglamir more closely to Thingol in “The Ruin of Doriath”) no significant line in the book was “written by the editor” (24). Kane’s well-known online epithet, “Voronwë,” is very suitable for his execution of this task, as watchful and respectful as Mardil the Good Steward’s rule no doubt was in the wake of the disappearance of King Eärnur. Kane’s textual scholarship is rigorous and is a model not only for Tolkien scholars but for scholars of more canonical authors, whose textual study is often pursued with less enthusiasm

    Mr. Birns doesn't agree with all of my conclusions either (though he agrees with some that Mr. Noad disagrees with); I wouldn't expect that anyone would agree with everything that I write. But he nonetheless states:

    As welcome as the scrupulous registering of minute changes is, the book excels most when it points to these larger choices.

    The one point that every reviewer has unanimously agreed upon is the one point that geordie expresses disagreement with Mr. Noad about: that it is an important work that serious students of Tolkien should have. As Jason Fisher - whose review geordie seems to rely on so strongly - concludes:

    Summing up, I find Arda Reconstructed to be a meticulously researched and valuable new reference work (one of all too few) on The Simarillion. If I have been hard on it, take that for engagement with the book and its author's ideas, and not as discouragement to potential readers. Moreover, it has the added benefit of approaching the work from the relatively new angle of considering Christopher's role as a vigorous editor, and Kane is to be congratulated for confronting the matter directly. He presses Christopher hard on many points, even candidly questioning his motives and judgment in a couple of cases (98, 239). He sometimes goes too far, but on balance, I find much of his criticism valid, and most of his questions worth asking. Even when his reach exceeds his grasp, at least he is reaching in interesting new directions. His study also throws a brighter light on just how complex the underlying texts and their interrelationships really are, and how Herculean a task Christopher faced in bringing these inchoate works to a larger audience, both in The Silmarillion and fourteen subsequent books. It is a tight and functional abridgement of much of The History of Middle-earth itself--an abridgement, but not a replacement. Finally, it is a blueprint to another possible "Silmarillion" (one I might actually like to read!)--and a roadmap to further exploration in that mythopoeic space.

    geordie is of course welcome to avoid the book with a ten foot pole. I expected nothing less than that from him. But I do hope that others will form their own decision based on the comments of Mr. Noad and the other folks that have reviewed the book.

  8. geordie's Avatar
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    #8
    The one point that every reviewer has unanimously agreed upon is the one point that geordie expresses disagreement with Mr. Noad about: that it is an important work that serious students of Tolkien should have. As Jason Fisher - whose review geordie seems to rely on so strongly - concludes:

    I don't see Mr Fisher saying that every student of Tolkien should have a copy of this book. Also, I don't take away that impression from my reading of Ms Martsch's review.

    I don't think I was relying too strongly on Fisher's review - I think I gave it as much 'air-time' as I gave to Noad's. The reason I quoted two passages from Fisher's review is through courtesy to readers of my post; that review is available on-line, whereas Nancy Martsch's is not.
    I invite interested parties to read Fisher's review in full, and make up their own minds.

    Other readers of Charles' post must of course make up their own minds about whether or not to buy the (three) books which he has reviewed. Or, as halfir suggests, whether or not to borrow one or all of them from their local library: I thoroughly agree with this latter point. I often suggest this myself, even in cases of books which I heartily recommend. I never presume that others might think the same way I do about the quality of a book.

    One man's meat is another man's poison.



    It's all in the books...

  9. Not only do we get a first -rate commentary on each of the published works, we are also given a cornucopia of information about Tolkien himself.

    Indeed! And as one who is 'a good deal younger than this writer', I did particularly appreciate his comments on the publication of The Silmarillion. By the time I read The Silmarillion, the entirety of History of Middle-earth had been published, and to hear about the 'old days' of anticipating The Silmarillion (and also the initial reception of The Lord of the Rings, or how his shorter works were received when published, etc.) is, in its own way, as fascinating to me as the works themselves. So I can certainly 'bear a little bit of autobiography', and indeed could take a great deal more of it!

    And of course there's the rest of this excellent review. At the prices these books are going for, I won't be buying any of them any time soon, but it is good to get a sense of what each work is about. I dearly wish Fimi's book were less expensive- after reading her article in this forum followed by this review, I am very eager to read her book.

    So thank you very much, Charles Noad! I think we are all highly appreciative of this thoughtful and informative review.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  10. geordie's Avatar
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    Lotr - And as one who is 'a good deal younger than this writer', I did particularly appreciate his comments on the publication of The Silmarillion

    Yes - as Charles writes:

    It is now difficult to fully recall the degree of expectation with which The Silmarillion was awaited among at least some Tolkien fans, and even more difficult for relative newcomers to Tolkien to envisage it.

    I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for the first time in 1976, and was pleasantly surprised, only the following year, to find not only a biography of the great man, but also a new work by him. I recall the 'owls of frustration in some quarters when I voiced this fact among the hoary old lags of the Tolkien Society down at the Valiant Trooper pub in London - 'You young varmint!' they spluttered: 'Some of us have been waiting twenty years for this!'...



    It's all in the books...

  11. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    Or in my case just short of twenty one years.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  12. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0cm 1.8pt 0.9pt">One of the hallmarks of a great reviewer, as has been observed before in this thread, is that those reading the review want to comment as much upon what the reviewer is saying as they do on the works being reviewed.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0cm 1.8pt 0.9pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">Like many, I have a host of questions and queries, as well as comments and observations, that stem both from the content of what Charles Noad has said about the books reviewed and the mass of information he has provided about Tolkien, in those reviews.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">So, to start off, I would like to direct attention to one very significant paragraph. I call it 'very significant' because it throws a searchlight on a figure whom to many is somewhat shadowy, at least as far as theediting of The Silmarillion is concerned.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">I refer of course to Guy Gavriel Kay.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">In his Foreword to The Silmarillion Christopher Tolkien writes in his final paragraph:
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">In the difficult and doubtful task of preparing the text of the book I was very greatly assisted by Guy Kay, who woked with me in 1974-1975.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">It is not really until we Charles Noad's review of Arda Reconstructed that we begin to get some idea of how significant that 'assistance' might have been.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">Charles writes:
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">The process of producing a finished narrative requires a slightly different set of skills than those required for producing an edited text of initially ‘inchoate’ papers. The latter needs a great deal of analytical intelligence together with specific skills in understanding the relationships between texts, the ability to decipher handwriting sometimes verging on illegibility, a sensitivity of judgement, and the like, qualities which, I feel, any reasonable judge would concur that Christopher Tolkien abundantly displays in The History of Middle-earth. But producing a finished narrative from the results of having edited the texts into legibility and comprehensibility is a slightly different matter. It requires, or at least may require depending on the state of the material being edited, a degree of creativity. Here I think is where Guy Gavriel Kay enters the picture. Starting with The Fionavar Tapestry (1985-6), Kay has shown himself to be one of the leading authors of literate high fantasy. He is a full-fledged professional writer of fiction in a way that Christopher Tolkien isn’t and even his father wasn’t. (To digress: J.R.R. Tolkien was a professional when it came such things as, for example, the evolution of vowel-sounds in West Midlands Middle English — and much else. In that kind of study he was one of the most learned people on the planet. But as a writer of fiction I have always considered that he belonged in the ‘(very) gifted amateur’ category. He was indeed creative, but not in a professional have-it-all-wrapped-up-by-the-publisher’s-deadline kind of way. What he produced in the way of fiction (and non-fiction) was, of course, of an extraordinarily high standard — or you wouldn’t be here reading this — but it was often written slowly and with great effort.) Given that it was Kay’s idea to produce a finished narrative rather than a scholarly version (indeed, he has since gone on record as being against the publication of Tolkien’s unfinished texts in the History), I would submit that the published Silmarillion owes a good deal in the matter of editorial decision-making to his input. Let me be clear here. I am not saying that we can lay all the presumed ‘failings’ of the published Silmarillion at Kay’s feet, thereby removing all responsibility for its apparent ‘defects’ from Christopher Tolkien. But I am saying that the presence at a critical juncture in preparing the publication of the ‘Silmarillion’ material of this creatively gifted young man had a significant effect on the shaping and editing of that material. One would like to know more.
    <DIV style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt">{Charles Noad - Scholars Forum Review: my bold emphasis}.
    <DIV style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt">
    <DIV style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">One would like to know more.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt">Indeed one would. Of course, at the time of the editing and publication of the Silmarillion Kay was an ‘unknown’ in the world of fantasy writing and one wonders, therefore, just how much weight his judgement would have carried with CT unless the ideas suggested by him were also felt by CT to have significant merit.
    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14.05pt; MARGIN: 0.9pt 1.8pt 0pt">
    Consider this quote from Guy Gavriel Kay (1987) who appears to have exercised such a significant influence on the final choice of approach to the construction of the published Silmarillion- (this is taken from Charles Noad’s report in Amon Hen 91- The Tolkien Society’s Journal, May 1988 - and is of course- courtesy of my great friend geordie. It is reproduced from a talk by Kay to the World Science Fiction Convention held at the Metropole Hotel Brighton in 1987)

    ’Kay began work on October 21 1974. The initial idea had been to produce a scholarly text rather than a single narrative. Such a book would have been 1300 pages long, and would have consisted of chapters which had as their main text the latest versions of the passages concerned, followed by appendices giving variant readings from other, earlier versions, complete with an editorial apparatus of footnotes and comments on dates and inconsistencies , and so on.The first two chapters had already been drafted in this academic style by Christopher Tolkien when Kay started work. However, Kay felt strongly that such an approach was the wrong one. Tolkien had regarded himself primarily as a storyteller, and what was needed was a real story, a continuous narrative ; and, eventually, the decision was made to attempt to edit a chapter as this type of straightforward narrative. This was done with ’Of The Coming Of The Elves’ , where it proved to be a catalyst. It was seen to work so well that the narrative approach was thenceforth adopted." {My bold emphasis}

    with this statement of CT’s some ten years earlier.

    In the 1977 Houghton Mifflin publication The Silmarillion - by J.R.R.Tolkien -A Brief Account of the Book and its Making by Christopher Tolkien, CT writes of this epsiode:

    ’To decide what that form should be was not easy; and for a time I worked toward a book that would show something of this diversity, this unfinished and many-branched growth. But it became clear to me that the result would be so complex as to require much study for its comprehension; and I feared to crush The Silmarillion beneath the weight of its own history .I set myself, therefore, to work out a single text, by this selection and arrangement. To give even an impression of the way this has been done is scarcely possible in a short space, and it must suffice to say that in the result The Silmarillion is emphatically my father’s book and in no sense mine. Here and there I had to develop the narrative out of notes and rough drafts; I had to make many choices between competing versions and to make many changes of detail; and in the last few chapters (which had been left almost untouched for many years) I had in places to modify the narrative to make it coherent. But essentially what I have done has been a work of organization , not of completion.’{My bold emphasis}

    It is not clear to me, and perhaps Charles can help here, if Kay actually initiated a significant shift in approach de novo or if his concept appeared a time when CT himself had seen the problems inherent in the ‘historical approach’:

    I feared to crush The Silmarillion beneath the weight of its own history

    and was seeking to change. The difference is subtle, but fairly critical.



    <DIV style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt">

  13. klemenko's Avatar
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    First of all, big thanks to Mr Noad for such excellent reviews - as others mentioned above: not only reviews but essays on the subject in themselves. I haven't read the first two books, but I happened to read Arda Reconstructed, (and I have already written something about it here ) so I'll limit myself to comment on the last part of the review.

    Noad's review is very balanced, he clearly sees more and less positive aspects of Kane's book. He acknowledges its value as an index of texts that constituted the published Silmarillion: the prospect of examining each paragraph, each sentence, even, sometimes, each separate word, of The Silmarillion and pinning down its place of origin in the History would surely be viewed as a labour so daunting that none but the most extraordinarily devoted reader would even think of attempting it (...) but this task has now been accomplished by Douglas Kane in Arda Reconstructed at an unprecedented level of detail.

    And that's the primary value of Kane's book. Nobody can deny this. Another aspect is about Kane's comments and views on Christopher's decision. I agree with Noad that Kane is sometimes going too far with his criticism, however, I didn't notice a tone of condescension or even personal resentment. I agree with Noad's position on alleged reduction of female characters and on the issue of lack of narrative framework (if there was one it would have been made up by CJRT).

    As I read further into the present work I found myself unable to engage with it as fully as I might. There is a reason for this. I hope that the good readers of Plaza (most of whom, I suspect, are a good deal younger than this writer) can bear a little bit of autobiography so far as it bears on the history of Tolkien fandom. It is now difficult to fully recall the degree of expectation with which The Silmarillion was awaited among at least some Tolkien fans, and even more difficult for relative newcomers to Tolkien to envisage it.

    It is an interesting point. However, it is very subjective. How long will we be haunted by the ghosts of the 1970s? The fact that the published Silmarillion was so long expected doesn't make it ideal or immune to criticism. As life goes on points of view change. And we shouldn't be limited in expressing our thoughts because TS was so much awaited more than 30 years ago. I think this is more or less what my generation (I was born 2 years after the publication of The Silmarillion) may think of it, regardless any opinion on TS itself or Arda Reconstructed.

    On the margin: Iwasvery sorry or even appalled or disgusted when I saw geordie's comment on Arda Reconstructed. geordie has proven to be one of the most knowlegdeable persons when it comes to Tolkien (among those I have had live or virtual contact with) and I have always admired his thoughtful posts and sense of humor. I simply cannot believe how he could write something like But I won't be buying Kane's book. Personally - I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot barge-pole. about a book he hasn't even read. It reminds me those who have their firm opinion on JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings based on PJ's movies only.

    To make things clear: I'm not a Tolkien scholar, my knowledge is still very, very small. I don't defend Kane - there is a lot to criticize in his book. And, like most Tolkien's fans, I feel profound admiration and gratitude towards Christopher Tolkien for his gigantic work of publishing his father's works and accompanying them with excellent scholarly comments.
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  14. geordie's Avatar
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    Well, it's very good of you to mention my posts, and my sense of humour - thank you kindly. But I'd ask you, if I may, to consider, given your favourable opinion of my thoughtful posts, why I should feel constrained to write in the way I did. I put as much thought into that post as I put into any other. I gave my reasons in my post above; I feel that if I add more, it will only serve to dilute my point.

    On the subject of reviews in general; it's up to the individual to decide whether or not to buy one, or any, of these books, based on reviews by Charles, or others. I don't much expect or even suppose my opinion will sway thoughtful readers one way or the other. My personal recommendation is, as usual, for folk to borrow books from the library, to see if they like 'em first. As I said, I recommend this even with books I happen to like personally. Not everybody likes the same thing.

    It's all in the books...

  15. How long will we be haunted by the ghosts of the 1970s? The fact that the published Silmarillion was so long expected doesn't make it ideal or immune to criticism. As life goes on points of view change. And we shouldn't be limited in expressing our thoughts because TS was so much awaited more than 30 years ago

    That's an interesting point, but one I'm not sure really carries that much weight, except at a very personal level. Why should we stop trying to understand a work in context, just because some time has gone by? If anything, I should think that would make the circumstances of the book's creation even more important. Can you imagine what people would make of the entire body of Medieval literature if scholars just decided to ignore all context and simply approach it unconsidered with modern eyes?

    I think that on the level of enjoying the Silmarillion as a straight read, we're all of course entitled to our opinions, and to wish that things might have been this way or that in the narrative. But if we're trying to talk about the book in any sort of considered way, we have to remember the circumstances under which it was made- that's true now, and will still be true in 500 years if the book's still being read then.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

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    For me, the point of recalling that Low Dishonest Decade is to give some idea of the pressures that publishers and editors were under. Expectations had been great and growing since the Silmarillion was first mentioned ... in the 1950s. By the 1970s speculation was rife, some of it sort-of informed. For example, I still havea copy of Tyler's Companion from 1976, which talks about Morgoth, whose real name was ... Melchar.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  17. klemenko's Avatar
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    geordie: if I haven't read a book, I refrain from negative comments about it. You put Kane's book among what you consider the worst sort of works on Tolkien (among tha authors you mentioned I read only Grotta - and here I share your bad opinion). Arda Reconstructed is not that bad, believe me or not. According to Noad it isn't: Arda Reconstructed is an important and thought-provoking work and raises serious questions about the treatment of unpublished — and unfinished — literary material. Even if one by no means agrees with all of its answers, it merits a place on the shelf of the more serious explorer of Tolkien’s imagined world. I think it wasn't a mere courtesy from Mr Noad's part.

    About 1970s: it's good to know the circumstances and Noad's review was a sort of an eye-opener for me. But after the publication of HoMe and some other texts we may have a more critical view on the book published in 1977.

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  18. geordie's Avatar
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    klemenko - I think it wasn't a mere courtesy from Mr Noad's part.

    I think it probably was. But I don't know - that's just my own opinion. I make no apology for making the comments I have about Kane's book. As I said (and I don't want to go on repeating myself) I based my opinion on more than one source; the main one being the chapter which is to be found excerpted in Mythlore. I seem to recall Kane saying that this was representative of the book.

    As for not commenting on a book I've not read - that is unusual for me; but no different surely than our comments here on the Plaza concerning the upcoming Hobbit movies. And as I said earlier - the idea of reading a book or film review is to help make up one's mind whether to buy a book (or a cinema ticket) or not.

    But this is going over the same ground again. Let's go back a bit. You say you haven't noticed 'a tone of condescension or even personal resentment' in Kane's book. I find that remarkable. To me, this was the dominating theme (and, I repeat, I have read only the one chapter. There must be a lot more of this sort of thing in the book). Clearly, the reviewers noted this too. The phrase is taken from Noad's review, but there are other examples of this sort of thing, for instance Nancy Martsch says:

    The author's subjective approach, in my opinion, is the greatest defect of _Arda Reconstructed_. The reader needs to make a conscious effort to separate what Christopher did from what Kane would have done.'
    (Beyond Bree; May 2009)

    Fisher, and Noad and Martsch all make comments like these, and they are to a greater or lesser extent quite forthright about it. However, in my opinion they also have a tendency to sweeten the pill. This seems reasonable - they have a reputation to uphold. I do not - like yourself, I don't hold myself to be a scholar. But I do take great interest in what goes on in the world of Tolkien studies. I've been reading books by and about Tolkien since a little before The Silmarillion was published and, as I've had cause to say just recently (rather uncharacteristically, given my natural modesty) I do know what I'm talking about. My opinions, on whatever aspects of Tolkien studies, are informed by my reading. If my reading of Kane does not include the whole of his book, it does include a fairly wide reading of other material, including the internet. I didn't come to this position quickly, nor lightly.

    Clearly my opinions have given you cause for disquiet, and I do regret that. But I have a strongly held opinion on this matter, and as I said at the beginning of my post, I make no apologies for expressing myself in the way I did. Sometimes even a 'thoughtful and humorous' non-scholar such as myself can be moved to, shall we say, making a more robust expression?

    Tom Shippey said, in some paper or other, that he'd once been questioned at some sort of interview about some remarks he'd made in the past. He'd been reported as saying that some miscreants or other (as he saw them) ought to be minced and boiled (complete paraphrase, from memory). What did he have to say for himself? the board had enquired. 'I'm only amazed at my own powers of restraint.' he replied.

    Irmo Edit: The Shippey comment is reported by him at the Tolkiien Society Annual Dinner Norwich April 13 1991, at which he was after dinner speaker(cf. Digging Potatoes Growing Trees Vol 2).


    Flayed alive and then have salt rubbed in is what Shippey recollected, although he himself was not 100% sure of what had been said. But the overall impression remains the same!


    So I said, "Well, I have to say that,looking back with mature judgment and consideration, and considering the whole thing with the benefit of hindsight'-and there is an ancient adage that everybody's hindsight is twenty-twenty - I said, "thinking everything over like this, all that I can say is that I'm amazed at my own moderation!"






  19. klemenko's Avatar
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    #19
    geordie: I don't expect apology, since I'm not offended. I also have never denied your great knowledge. And you have the right to robust expressions.

    The thing is that we are discussing a book only one of us read and which in my modest opinion and that of Mr Noad (I understand that what he wrote expresses his genuine opinion on the book reviewed; if you imply that it was just a courtesy you somehow put in question his credibility) is not so bad.

    I respect your opinion, however, I still don't understand such aggressive reaction.
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  20. geordie's Avatar
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    #20

    halfir - that's the one!

    klemenko - (I understand that what he wrote expresses his genuine opinion on the book reviewed; if you imply that it was just a courtesy you somehow put in question his credibility)

    - hardly that! Charles' reputation was made many years ago, and nothing I say could cast a cloud on his credibility. No - my point was to be taken in conjunction with what I said later in my post, viz:

    Fisher, and Noad and Martsch all make comments like these, and they are to a greater or lesser extent quite forthright about it. However, in my opinion they also have a tendency to sweeten the pill. This seems reasonable - they have a reputation to uphold. I do not...

    It seems to me that reviewers these days tend to add something nice to say, in order that their review seems not too harsh. (I am not implying that any of them are in any way insincere.) It's an impression I have; I could be mistaken.

    Anyway; I think we're in danger of coming back in a circle here. I can't add any more to what I've said already, and I fear we're in danger of distracting attention away from the purpose of this thread. With klemenko's permission, I'll leave the last word in this discussion to him - for now.

    It's all in the books...

  21. Aelindis's Avatar
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    As far as I'm concerned, Charles Noad's highly valued essay confirmed
    my decision to read all three books, i.e. to possibly buy them unseen,
    if the process of interlibrary loan available to me turns out to be too
    slow.



    Regarding criticism on Douglas Charles Kane's Arda Reconstructed, I feel confident that I will be able to separate what Christopher did from what Kane would have done.'

    (Beyond Bree; May 2009).



    With the history of edition(s) / the history of reception of other
    important posthumously published literary legacies in mind, it seems to
    me that the edition(s) of the 'Silmarillion' are rather exceptional in
    that both a selection and synthesis of a multitude of texts (cf. Noad's review) in the form of The Silmarillion (1977) and a subsequent scholarly edition in the form of The History of Middle-earth were accomplished by one and the same person, Christopher Tolkien.



    Compare for instance the case of Kafka's novel The Trial. -
    Kindly excuse the drawing on an example of German literature. ( I just
    happen to be more familiar with scholarship in this field.) - Regarding
    Kafka (if I may continue with this example): almost everybody is
    indeed grateful that Max Brod, Kafka's literary executor, did boldly
    disregard Kafka's explicit will that Kafka's unpublished manuscripts
    should be destroyed, and Brod's first edition of Kafka's inchoate texts
    has become indispensable to scholarly investigation. Nevertheless,
    subsequent scholarly editions of the manuscripts by other scholars have
    caused a plenty of research and discussions. No scholar, and no student,
    who aims for researching into the presentation of Kafka's manuscripts
    in Max Brod's edition runs the risk of being blamed for being ungrateful
    to Max Brod, at least as far as I'm aware.



    In the case of the 'Silmarillion', an impartial research seems to be impeded in some respects by the fact that both The Silmarillion (1977) and the HoME were edited and authorized by Christopher Tolkien.

    The role of Guy Gavriel Kay in the process of editing The Silmarillion
    remains a matter of speculation, as far as I am aware, until further
    notice. Anyway, whatever his contributions may hve been - it seems that
    Christopher Tolkien eventually agreed with his ideas.

    Christopher Tolkien seems to question some of his editorial decisions,
    according to certain editorial comments in the HoMe, although these
    notes do not enable us to guess at a completely different picture of The Silmarillion as envisioned by Christopher Tolkien, at least as far as I see.



    In my opinion, Douglas Charles Kane's point of view might be
    very interesting, and therefore I am looking forward to reading his book.



  22. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #22
    Yes, anybody taking a serious interest in Kafka has to deal with Max Brod!

    Another foreign author who poses textual problems is, of course, Proust. The original NRF edition seems nowadays to be universally reviled, but there is a degree of controversy over the best way to deal with Proust's "paperoles" - which present problems almost as complex as HoMe ...
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  23. Aelindis's Avatar
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    #23
    I fail to see the relevance of your personal associations regarding specific "textual problems" with Proust or any other "foreign author" (from your point of view) to the topic that I have adressed in my post.

  24. klemenko's Avatar
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    #24
    geordie: let's agree to disagree. And I'd love to read your comments on Noad's reviews of the other two books (which I haven't read, but really enjoyed the reviews) and on the books themselves.

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  25. Greetings again, friends. Very interesting comments, all around.
    I think there is one point that geordie and I actually can agree upon (or at least, will be able to agree upon, once the latest issue of Beyond Bree makes it's way across the pond). That is that the view of my book that he has tried to express (in his own inimitable way), is expressed in a much more extended and scholarly manner in an article/review that appears in the August 2009 issue of that publication entitled "Reflections on The Silmarillion and Arda Reconstructed" written by Christina Scull with contributions by Wayne G. Hammond (collectively, "Findegil" here at the Plaza), with the marked difference that based on the article, it is fairly clear that unlike georde, Ms. Scull has read the book. There is, of course, much in the piece that I don't quite agree with, and perhaps at some point I will try address some of the points made, although honestly I think most people who read the book would be able to figure out where I disagree with her/them, and what my position would be. But, as is true of everything written by these two leading lights of Tolkien scholarship it is both extremely well-written and full of interesting information, and raises some issues worth thinking about.

  26. halfir's Avatar
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    #26
    Gentles all: let's make sure we keep these discussions both temperate and scholarly-as we have generally to date. Some of us, perhaps, are a little 'prickly' when it comes to criticisms -real or perceived- of a man who virtually single-handedly gave us so much of his father's legacy that would otherwise have been unpublished. I know that I, on occasion, have rushed to act as 'Fidei defensor' as far as CT is concerned, and have not always been fair or generous in my defence of him to those who questioned aspects of his judgment. But the reality remains that without him there would have been no Silmarillion and no HOME and on both counts he deserves our unreserved thanks.

    And let's not forget that Charles has very generously reviewed two other important books, alongside Arda Reconstructed and not leave them out of our discussions.

    Voronwe: Thanks for the 'heads up' on the S&amp;H (Findegil)review. Sadly, because of the very limited circulation of Beyond Bree not many will be able to read it,so let's hope some -legal- mechanism is available that allows it wider circulation.

  27. klemenko's Avatar
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    #27
    Some of us, perhaps, are a little 'prickly' when it comes to criticisms -real or perceived- of a man who virtually single-handedly gave us so much of his father's legacy that would otherwise have been unpublished.



    But the reality remains that without him there would have been no Silmarillion and no HOME and on both counts he deserves our unreserved thanks.

    Very important point, halfir. The question is whether we can - taking into account CJRT's enormous merits - ask questions about the composition of the published Silmarillion and have a critical view on it.

    I know there are people who go way to far in <STRIKE>slinging mud at</STRIKE>criticizing CJRT and I understand that some of us may be a little allergic to any voice saying Christopher Tolkien did something not-so-perfect. But does it ban any research or critical analysis of The Silmarillion?
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  28. halfir's Avatar
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    #28
    klemenko: In my view we can of course have a constructively critical review of what CT gave us , as we can of any other editor or author. And I would never argue in favor of banning such a critique of an author/editor's works whatever his/her merits. Butin the context of CT's work and any similar contributor, Iwould set the bar of criticism very high, and expect it to be objectively justified. (I am not suggesting , BTW, that Voronwe is lacking on either of these counts, but that is my subjective view!).

    As to your amended mud-slingers comment it has, sadly , been a fact that CT has been exposed to some absurd comment and disgraceful speculation, which is quite outrageous given the context of what he has so laboriously gifted us virtually over half his lifetime, and this often from individuals who are incapable ofcomprehending even 'impoverished chap-book stuff!'

    But, seeing, in the words of 'the King' and Burning Love:

    Lord almighty,
    I feel my temperature rising

    I'll stop there.

  29. geordie's Avatar
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    #29
    Greetings again, friends

    Hello!

    I think there is one point that geordie and I actually can agree upon (or at least, will be able to agree upon, once the latest issue of Beyond Bree makes it's way across the pond). That is that the view of my book that he has tried to express (in his own inimitable way), is expressed in a much more extended and scholarly manner in an article/review that appears in the August 2009 issue of that publication entitled "Reflections on The Silmarillion and Arda Reconstructed" written by Christina Scull with contributions by Wayne G. Hammond (collectively, "Findegil" here at the Plaza),

    Thanks for that. My copy hasn't arrived yet; I hope it'll be waiting for me when I return home to Geordie Towers after work. I look forward to reading what Christina and Wayne have to say.

    It's all in the books...

  30. Quote Originally Posted by halfir
    And let's not forget that Charles has very generously reviewed two other important books, alongside Arda Reconstructed and not leave them out of our discussions.









    I agree, halfir. It is, perhaps, not surprising that with my presence here (not to mention the strong feelings that some here have about my book) there would be more discussion about it than the other books that Mr. Noad reviewed. And, in truth, his review of Arda Reconstructed is considerably longer than the others. But that should not prevent discussion of the insightful views that he expressed about those books. I have not yet read Fimi's book, so I really can't comment much beyond the fact that Mr. Noad's review makes me want to read it all the more. As for Whittingham's book, I liked it very much indeed. However, I find that Mr. Noad's comments about it are so clear and straightforward that I don't have much to add to them beyond "I agree."

  31. halfir's Avatar
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    #31
    I have told Dimitra that her book has been reviewed by Charles and she was very interested to read what he had to say. Whether or not she will make any pulbic comment I do not know. I do not know Elizabeth Whittingham- though I have her book - but perhaps as a courtesy I should drop her a line regarding the review.




  32. I think that would be both kind and appropriate.



    Halfir edit: Done

  33. geordie's Avatar
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    #33
    Quote Originally Posted by klemenko
    geordie: let's agree to disagree...


    It's all in the books...

  34. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #34
    I don't understand why one would regard CT as "untouchable" because he has given us the Silmarillion and many other texts that we otherwise wouldn't have got. Nobody else in the world would have been able to do it as well as he did, but that doesn't mean that he did it perfectly. In the HoMe volumes he questions his editorial decisions several times and even admits that he made mistakes, so since he criticizes himself on some points, why can't we?

    But now on to the main reason for this post. I would like to bring the attention of the members of the Plaza to this thread at the Hall of Fire forum. Carl Hostetter (Aelfwine), who is responsible for the publications Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon and has contact with CT, quotes from his recent correspondence with him. In this correspondence, CT makes it clear that if one only makes use of the HoMe series, one cannot make a full investigative analysis of the construction of the published Silmarillion, nor determine which alterations were made with some manuscript authority and which were not.<a href="http://thehalloffire.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2250" target="_blank">
    </a>

  35. klemenko's Avatar
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    #35
    Ardamir: That's my point, too.

    Well, a a full investigative analysis of the construction of the published Silmarillion will be possible if researchers were given access to the original material. So far all they have is HoMe and some other published texts.
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  36. halfir's Avatar
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    #36
    So far all they have is HoMe and some other published texts


    All they have! I am ovecome with staggerment.

  37. geordie's Avatar
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    #37
    I don't understand why one would regard CT as "untouchable"

    He isn't 'untouchable' in that sense - no-one is. Legitimate criticism is valid, and desirable. What I object to is what klemenko referred to earlier as 'mud-slinging'.

    Moving on to something else which klemenko said:

    Well, a a full investigative analysis of the construction of the published Silmarillion will be possible if researchers were given access to the original material.

    How do you mean? What researchers; and how would they be chosen and by whom? As for full access to original material; from what I gather, it's not as simple as some of the more vocal opponents of CT were ranting about, years ago on the Language forums. The papers cannot be scanned onto the internet for _'The World'_ to see, 'as Tolkien would have wished.' as they put it. For one thing, Tolkien did not wish it.** He left his 'literary estate' in his will to one person, ie Christopher, to publish or not, as he sees fit. And, this includes works other than his Middle earth works. I don't see folk demanding to see the originals of Finn and Hengest; or Roverandom and the like. It seems to be only Middle earth that sends blood pressure rising; resulting in unreasonable demands and rude and arrogant assumptions by some that they know Tolkien's mind better than his own son.

    For another thing: Carl Hostetter and others could attest to the 'incohate' state of the papers which Tolkien left behind. Many of them are hardly legible; few are numbered. Research into Tolkien's papers of necessity takes time and a degree of skill; and much has already been done, by CT and others whom _he_ has chosen to help him. These include Alan Bliss and Joan Turville-Petre - names which may not be so familiar to Middle earth fans, but they were chosen by CT to edit two of his father's more learned works. (ie, Finn and Hengest; and The Old English Exodus, respectively). Then there are other works, edited by the likes of Flieger and Anderson, Hammond and Scull; Rateliff and Drout. There is good work going on here; there is no need, nor would it be desirable, to let one and all get at it!

    So far all they have is HoMe and some other published texts.

    Well, that's enough to be going on with, I reckon. Plus the non- Middle earth material to which I have alluded above. And, there's the linguistic matter which Christopher Tolkien has entrusted to Carl Hostetter et al, and who are doing a great job, in the estimation of many who know about these things. (I'm a dunce at languages, myself).

    ** August 16th - If I might be allowed an edit to an earlier part of this post:

    - The papers cannot be scanned onto the internet for _'The World'_ to see, 'as Tolkien would have wished.' as they put it. For one thing, Tolkien did not wish it.** -

    - there are many out there who take the line in Tolkien's letter to Waldman about 'other hands wielding music and paint and drama' to mean that he had a deep, underlying wish that anybody and everybody (but mainly, themselves) can write anything they like and include events and characters from his works. This is not so. For one thing; that is not what he was saying in that letter. For another - in his will, he also expresses the wish that the copyright in his works should remain with the family for as long as is possible.

    It's all in the books...

  38. Ardamir, I hadn't seen that before, thanks
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  39. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #39
    Leaving aside for the moment any questions of copyright or Tolkien's presumed wishes, there are problems with unlimited access to manuscripts. Evenassuming honest and careful users who have been trained in handling them, there is the matter of wear and tear. Frequent handling contributes to eventual damage to the MSS. For everyday purposes digitisation can help here, but only to a certain extent; even with carefully written documents for serious research it is often necessary to see the MSS itself. Things like the type of paper, its condition and possible marks that with digitisation can be misinterpreted as accents or letters, make a considerable difference, and this is why there is currently great disquiet among medieval historians at the apparent decision of Britain's National Archives to limit access to medieval MSS to digitised copies. And when the MSS are not carefully written documents, as appears to be the case with most of the HoMe material, possibilities for error are great.

    A difficult situation.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  40. geordie's Avatar
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    Dorwiniondil observes -

    Leaving aside for the moment any questions of copyright or Tolkien's presumed wishes, there are problems with unlimited access to manuscripts... And when the MSS are not carefully written documents, as appears to be the case with most of the HoMe material, possibilities for error are great.

    Quite. I'm reminded of Tolkien and Simonne d'Ardennes' collaboration 'MS Bodley 34: A Collation of a Collation'. (_Studia Neophilologica_, Uppsala, 20, nos. 1-2, (1947-8),pp.[65]-72). Note - accurate citation of this quality is only possible due to a work of actual research and scholarship, viz. _JRR Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography_ by Wayne Hammond with the assistance of Douglas Anderson, Oak Knoll Press, 1993. My copy's signed!

    In this article, Tolkien and d'Ardenne were responding to a paper by one Mr Furuskog, who'd taken on the task of collating said manuscript, and who went further than his remit; making 'discoveries' and calling into question the scholarship current at that time.

    Tolkien and d'Ardenne (two experts in the field of Middle English manuscripts) pointed out that Furuskog had frequently overstepped the bounds of a collator, and also the inadvisability of using facsimiles of manuscripts for this purpose. At least one of Furuskog's 'discoveries' - that is, a 'dot' in conjunction with a letter, signifying (to him) a new light on the whole topic - was in fact a hole in the parchment!

    Here's an excerpt from Tolkien and d'Ardenne's piece which I consider apposite in the current discussion:

    'In any case a collation that makes a parade of such scrupulous accuracy should itself be, in its own terms, accurate. But accuracy cannot unfortunately be claimed for this article as a whole... This result seems to be, if one may presume to say so, partly due to insufficient acquaintance with the work and habits of this particular scribe.'

    "Sufficient acquaintanceship with the work, and also the habits of the scribe" - (or in this case, author, since I'm referring here to 'research' into Tolkien's works ref. klemenko's suggestion above) - seem to me to be a vital component of any study. Apart from Christopher Tolkien himself, there are very few people who have that necessary degree of knowledge, and empathy with Tolkien's works.And on a broader front; the same goes for acquaintanceship with literature on the work; for example, it's necessary when discussing the published Silmarillion to have read items such as CT's pamphlet _The Silmarillion: A Brief History of the Book and its Making_ (Boston; Houghton Mifflin 1977, reprinted in Mallorn 14 (1980))and William Cater's newspaper interview/article _The Filial Duty of Christopher Tolkien (Sunday Times, 25 September 1977) and other useful sources.

    Here's another verdict on Furuskog by the experts Tolkien and d'Ardenne; one which I find appropriate to quote in relation to Mr Kane's book:

    It is perhaps unfortunate that - in contrast to his basic method, which seems to be an endeavour to record verbally, as far as language permits, what is visible, without regards to the obvious intentions of the scribe - Mr Furuskog should so often have indulged in surmises or assumptions concerning the motives for this or that aberration. Few of these guesses are happy'.

    From what I've read of Mr Kane's book, and in the reviews I've read - (including the article by Christina Scull in Beyond Bree which Mr Kane refers to above) - I'd say it is unfortunate that Mr Kane should have strayed from his purpose of showing the relationship between _The Silmarillion_ and HoMe in favour of "indulging in surmises and assumptions" about Christopher Tolkien's presentation of his father's work. Particularly as Kane can have no more idea than anyone else (except possibly CT) as to what Tolkien Sr. actually had in mind at any one point.

    As I said earlier, CT's work is not above criticism - it's has been pointed out already that CT often criticises himself (but while many of us take this to be a point in favour of the man - a mark of his humility - others prefer to take it as an admission of failure).But there is a difference between legitimate criticism, expressed in scholarly terms, and Mr Kane's carping about what seem to him to be Christopher Tolkien's's faults and failings when in reality they are simply differences in opinion. And there's a world of difference between legitimate comment and downright rudeness. Which I find comes too often and too easily in what I have read of Kane's work, and which are highlighted in the reviews/articles which I have read about his work; and _that_ is why I have not read Kane's book in full.

    And why I don't intend to. Which is, and always has been, my main point.

    Though I don't expect everyone to agree with me.



    It's all in the books...

  41. halfir's Avatar
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    Further to the points being made regarding these 'unnamed' researchers who are going to throw such a great light on the further inadequacies of CT one is mindful of the comments made by Rayner Unwin-Tolkien's publisher and friend, and a man who was intimately involved with the publishing of The Silmarillion:

    The work that Christopher undertook in order to create a seamless web of narrative publication in a single volume was of astonishing complexity.It is doubtful if anyone else could have digested and rationalised the numberless box-files with their drafts and re-castings of the long and involved history of the first ages of Middle-earth.

    Christopher had been the closest to his father's imaginative world of all his children. He knew how his father thought and worked. {George Allen &amp; Unwin:A Remembrancer pp. 247-8 my bold emphasis}

    Compare that last bolded comment

    He knew how his father thought and worked.

    with Tolkien's own words quoted by geordie in a previous post:

    'In any case a collation that makes a parade of such scrupulous accuracy should itself be, in its own terms, accurate. But accuracy cannot unfortunately be claimed for this article as a whole... This result seems to be, if one may presume to say so, partly due to insufficient acquaintance with the work and habits of this particular scribe.'
    {my bold emphasis and underline }

    It is rather unfortunate for Douglas Kane that some of his 'disciples' demonstrate a degree of ignorance on matters relating to research techniques, and a willingness to make ill-considered comment, that he himself has never exhibited.

    {And in matters of documentary research I speak from literal experience as one who has both studied and written about 16th century church manuscripts and British Treasury Documentation from 1660 onwards).

  42. Disciples, halfir? I'm quite sure that I don't have any "disciples". What a disconcerting thought!







    Allow me to clarify some points, particularly the context of the quotes of Christopher Tolkien that Ardamir cites above.

    When I completed the original draft of my work, it was in a very different form than the final version. It was far, far more detailed. There were no tables. Instead the text included extremely in-depth comparisons between the published Silmarillion and the source texts that I traced, down to the level ofdifferences in punctuation. When I completed the draft, I thought that the courteous thing to do would be to contact Christopher, inform him of the project, and solicit any input that he would be willing to offer. So I sent a letter to him through the Tolkien Estate.He replied through his attorney that he wanted to see a sample before expressing any opinions. I then sent several chapters to him through the attorney. It was in response to that sample that he made the comment about HoMe not demonstrating what changes were made with manuscript authority. His other comment was that he didn't feel that such a close, line by line manuscript comparison with no leavening commentary or conclusion would be of sufficient interest to merit publication. He therefore declined to offer any assistance.

    It was after that that I reconfigured the book to eliminate the close line by line comparson, and only detail the major changes, while moving the tracing of the source material into the tables, and otherwise reconstitute it, including adding substantially more commentary and conclusions. While it is undoubtably true that HoMe can not demonstrate what changes were made with manuscript authority on the level of detail that my work originally attempted, there is also no question that HoMe (along with the other works that Christopher has published) is sufficiently detailed to allow the tracing of the source of thevast majority of the published Silmarillion. No matter what one thinks of my commentary or conclusions, that much is demonstrated by my book. And I make no bones about the fact that the only reason I was able to accomplish that task was because of the work that Christopher did publishing HoMe and other works. Even if I had had access to the original manuscripts, it would not have made any difference, because I simply don't have the skill or experience that would have allowed me to properly examine them, let alone the close relationship to the author that only Christopher had that made him not only the right person but the only person for that task. That is why I state in my book that I have nothing but "the deepest admiration for Christopher Tolkien, and profound gratitude to thim for the tireless work that he has done to make so much of his father's incredible work acessible to the public. Needless to say, without that effort, the present work would have been impossible."

    Let me add that I am not one of those who has complained about Christopher or the Elvish language translation team not releasing material fast enough. I strongly support their work, and I have long defended Christopher Tolkien's work, though geordie might find that hard to believe. Just the other day, I came across a more than six year oldthread at another forum in which I wrote "Unlike some here, I have tremendous respect for Christopher Tolkien and the work he has done editing his father's writings."

  43. halfir's Avatar
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    #43
    Voronwe: Thank you for your comments- they are most helpful, However, my points were not aimed at you but to those who have used your work as a medium with which to attack CT and his work, and indeed those who lack a proper understanding of the implications of manuscript research.

    Indeed I recall that you yourself had occasion to correct a somewhat simplistic fellow on the Hall of Fire site who appeared to believe that the lack of letters between CT and his father post 1945 denoted some major rift between them. Risible!

    Your own views on CT -which you quote- are well known.

    And 'disciples' was qualified.

  44. Aelindis's Avatar
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    #44
    From my own experience with libraries / literary archives that keep
    literary legacies, or parts thereof, I can say that it is not customary
    to let one and all get at it.





    Generally, applicants would have to submit a brief synopsis of their
    projects in order to gain access to the manuscripts. Students working
    on, say, a dissertation, would normally produce a letter of
    recommendation from their professors / universities.


    If the manuscripts are old, in poor condition, damageable and / or
    unpayable, the researchers must work with photocopies, microfilms, or
    digitalisations. In the case of certain especially doubtful passages
    the librarian / archivist will sometimes grant access to those parts of
    the manuscripts, provided that the librarian is present, the researcher
    wears gloves... etc.





    This, of course, applies only to literary legacies that were given over to libraries / archives in order to make them accessible to scholarly research by the respective authors or their heirs, or to legacies that are by now in the public domain anyway.





    Otherwise, as with the literary legacy of Tolkien at present, selective
    access to the manuscripts depends on permission and is subject to
    restrictions defined by the heir(s) on an individual basis.





    If I understand correctly what Kane wrote, he was not allowed to
    inspect Tolkien's manuscripts, although his research project was both
    evidentially of academic nature and in all likelihood a matter of
    interest for specialists who would like to determine which specific
    manuscripts / typescripts / drafts / riders... etc. within Tolkien's
    unpublished materials the respective paragraphs of the published Silmarillion are actually based on.

    Besides, Kane states: Even if I had had access to
    the original manuscripts, it would not have made any difference,
    because I simply don't have the skill or experience that would have
    allowed me to properly examine them.





    According to Christopher Tolkien and Carl Hostetter here there might be several other
    versions (or at times even a "final version") of certain paragraphs
    that were not included in the HoME, for what reasons ever.





    As long as scholars are not allowed to inverstigate the respective texts and publish what they have seen, it is obvious, that all they have is HoMe and some other published texts.



    Regarding the editorial team that publishes
    Tolkien's linguistic materials - as far as I am aware, it was stated
    frequently that they were working with photocopies, that they had
    access to certain manuscripts in the Bodleian library, and also that
    Christopher Tolkien's explicit permission for each publication is
    required.




  45. halfir's Avatar
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    #45


    and also that Christopher Tolkien's explicit permission for each publication is required.

    As the literary execcutor specifically appointed by his father he is doing exactly what he should be doing.

  46. geordie's Avatar
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    #46
    If I understand correctly what Kane wrote, he was not allowed to inspect Tolkien's manuscripts, although his research project was both evidentially of academic nature and in all likelihood a matter of interest for specialists...

    IIRC, Kane wrote on his website (in reply to a query) that he had not asked for permission to see the Tolkien manuscripts at the Bodleian. But doubtless he can come back himself and say yea or nay to that question.



    It's all in the books...

  47. That is correct, geordie. I never specifically asked for permission to see the manuscripts at the Bodleian. My assumption is that it is likely that such a request probably would have been denied, since Christopher explicitly stated through his attorney that he was not willing offer any assistance on the project. But in any case, as I indicated before,I know myself well enough to know that it is unlikely that I would have had much success at examining the manuscripts. That is a task for someone with different training and experience than I have.






    As I have said before, I don't see Arda Reconstructed as the end of the story, by any means. It has always been my hope that it would help open the door to more critical analysis of The Silmarillion. And if, some day, it becomes supplanted by a superior work written by someone who both had access to the original manuscripts and the skill and experience to utilize that access to good stead, that can only be a good thing.

    Wouldn't it?

  48. geordie's Avatar
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    #48
    Thanks for that confirmation.

    As for any hopes that Arda Reconstructed might one day help open the door to more critical analysis of The Silmarillion; I am not so hopeful as its author. It seems hardly likely (to me at any rate) that any future hopeful researcher turning up with a copy of that book under his or her arm (metaphorically speaking) could expect to receive any kind of a warm welcome from the Tolkien Estate!

    But again; this is only my view. For myself, I am content with what Christopher Tolkien and his co-editors have produced so far; and am happy in the knowledge that Tolkien's literary legacy is in safe hands.



    It's all in the books...

  49. geordie's Avatar
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    #49
    To return if I may to the question of permissions - (sorry for the further digression, but this is a subject which interests me) - in the past, some commentators have remarked unfavourably on the Tolkien Estate for, bluntly, not allowing folk access to the material in the Tolkien bequest housed in the Bodleian Library. Often, these commentators are themselves folk who've asked permission, and been turned down. (This does not apply to anyone on the Plaza, as far as I know).

    This complaint seems to me to be based on a misunderstanding of what the Tolkien Estate is, and what might be its purpose. The Tolkien Estate was not established as a 'gate-keeper' in order to grant or deny permission to see and/work on Tolkien's manuscripts, typescripts etc. Tolkien himself set up the Estate in order to carry out his wishes after his death. As far as his unpublished works are concerned, he left those, as is well known, to his son Christopher, to do with as he sees fit. (One of the options which Tolkien stipulated was that Christopher could destroy the work, in whole or in part). This is, I would guess, pretty much standard procedure when it comes to literary legacies.

    As I understand the situation, bona fide scholars have had no trouble in getting permission to examine Tolkien's works - my favourite example of this is that of Michael Drout who, in June 1996, wrote to the Estate's solicitors asking permission from the Tolkien Trustees to use quotations from some of Tolkien's works in his dissertation. The solicitors passed this polite request on to the Tolkien Estate, and then replied promptly with their clients' permission to use these quotes, and also to have a microfilm copy made of a certain manuscript which Drout had asked for, in order to help in his work.

    Drout includes copies of these letters at the rear of his dissertation - they are exemplars of what can be done in response to a genuine request for help in research.
    (Michael Drout - 'Imitating Fathers: Tradition, Inheritance and the reproduction of Culture in Anglo-Saxon England' - A Dissertation to the Faculty of the Graduate School in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy' UMI Dissertation Services Ann Arbor 1997)

    Another oft-heard complaint is that Christopher keeps the material to himself instead of sharing it. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I mentioned above, the list of Tolkien's posthumous publications to date include many works edited by 'other hands'. These co-editors are,
    I should feel right in presuming, selected by Christopher on merit, based on their track record in Tolkien studies. Certainly all of the good folk involved have the highest of credentials.

    As for the rest of us - many may 'feel' they are called: in fact few are; and even fewer are actually chosen.

    To sum up; many folk apply to the Tolkien Trustees for permission to work with Tolkien's original papers, whether for research and/or publication. Sometimes the answer is 'No'. But often enough it is 'Yes', to the benefit of Tolkien studies in general. Long may this happy state continue.

    It's all in the books...

  50. klemenko's Avatar
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    #50


    Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, for late reply

    How do you mean? What researchers; and how would they be chosen and by whom?

    I mean obviously serious, responsible researchers.

    So far all they have is HoMe and some other published texts.

    Well, that's enough to be going on with, I reckon.

    I was referring to what Ardamir wrote quoting Christopher Tolkien, that HoMe is not enough. So, is it or is it not?

    halfir: I hope you don't point at me when writing about Voronwë's disciples or those who have used your work as a medium with which to attack CT and his work, and indeed those who lack a proper understanding of the implications of manuscript research. I have no other feelings for CJRT than respect, gratitude and admiration, but I happened to have read Kane's book and it was a great eye-opener for me. There are many important questions and observations in that book.

    Moreover, I had hard time defending Christopher in his role as his father's literary executor (a role excellently performed) on some forums other than Plaza and not in English against people who think everybody can compile his/her own Silmarillion or calling the published Silmarillion a 'fanfiction by Christopher Tolkien'.

    I have only one problem with the published Silmarillion and Christopher's action: why didn't he revise it in the light of his own comments in HoMe (I think he had much more observations and reflections) or texts he wasn't aware of during composition of TS? His father revised and amended his texts very often - so why is TS so much treated as written in the stone?

    I also understand tha issue of handling original manuscripts, but I think it can be solved to some extent through microfilming or digitalizing. Anyway, the best scholar who has ever dealt with Tolkien's papers - his son - has already done most of the work! And I understand Christopher's and Estate's cautious approach, even if I hope one day more research opportunities will appear. It doesn't obviously mean Christopher is hiding anything - but as was said before, some more material than the published texts may be needed for more serious and profound research.

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  51. geordie's Avatar
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    I have only one problem with the published Silmarillion and Christopher's action: why didn't he revise it in the light of his own comments in HoMe (I think he had much more observations and reflections) or texts he wasn't aware of during composition of TS? His father revised and amended his texts very often - so why is TS so much treated as written in the stone?

    It isn't - at least, not by me, nor anyone else I can think of.

    But, what would be the advantage of CT's re-editing TS? We have the book; it is and was of its time. A compendium of writings by JRR Tolkien, selected by and edited by CT. HoMe is the same thing, done in a different way and on a larger scale. I don't see the value in such an undertaking, even if CT felt he had the time and energy to do it.

    In response to my query

    How do you mean? What researchers; and how would they be chosen and by whom?

    klemenko replies:

    I mean obviously serious, responsible researchers.

    Not so obvious to me - - I mean, how do you envisage these folk to be selected; on what basis, and by whom? As I've pointed out above, serious and responsible folk have already been involved in the publication of much of Tolkien's works in the last few years.

    It's all in the books...

  52. klemenko's Avatar
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    #52


    Well, there are good, reputable Tolkien scholars around. Maybe one of them will pick the subject up? Who knows?

    And re-edited TS would help avoiding dissemination of some more visible and irritating unfortunate things - such as the parentage of Gil-galad. Adding some appendices would also help.

    But I also understand that Christopher can be really tired after publishing so much material (in such brilliant way). And his age is also an important factor.
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  53. geordie's Avatar
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    #53
    Well, there are good, reputable Tolkien scholars around. Maybe one of them will pick the subject up? Who knows?

    I don't mean to press you on this - I don't want you to name names if you don't want to, but I am interested in which scholars you may think are capable of picking this up and having a go. I happen to agree that there are some around who could do it; but whether they would want to is another matter.

    Another point is this; do you have any ideas about what it is you want in the way of more material? personally, I should like to see more of Tolkien's non-M-e works; the vast unpublished store of poetry, for a start. And there are many academic works which I'm sure many would like to see reprinted (as it happens, I have all or most of these, but still)... But then again, the publishers have to be borne in mind, too. How many copies of these academic works (many of them out of date) do we suppose would actually sell?

    Questions, questions...

    It's all in the books...

  54. geordie's Avatar
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    #54
    From an earlier post of klemenko's -

    Moreover, I had hard time defending Christopher in his role as his father's literary executor (a role excellently performed) on some forums other than Plaza and not in English against people who think everybody can compile his/her own Silmarillion or calling the published Silmarillion a 'fanfiction by Christopher Tolkien'.

    Well, there's a lot of that sort of thing about. I saw some of it on the Plaza when I first started here. It's mostly gone; after I started quoting Tolkien's will at people. (I don't know if it's gone quiet on that front because I quoted the will; or whether the most vocal complainers simply moved elsewhere, but anyway): Some folk are simply pre-judiced in this matter, and just like to remain ignorant. Seems there's nothing which you or I can say to persuade them otherwise.



    It's all in the books...

  55. geordie's Avatar
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    #55
    Going back a page:

    Quote Originally Posted by klemenko

    Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, for late reply

    How do you mean? What researchers; and how would they be chosen and by whom?

    I mean obviously serious, responsible researchers.

    So far all they have is HoMe and some other published texts.Well, that's enough to be going on with, I reckon.

    I was referring to what Ardamir wrote quoting Christopher Tolkien, that HoMe is not enough. So, is it or is it not?
    Yes, I've seen that statement by Christopher before. I've been looking at it again just now, and I don't think it's an endorsement of your point. - here's the part I'm quoting from in full:

    I think that [Mr Kane> has (not unnaturally perhaps) misunderstood in some degree my meaning when I wrote, in the Foreword to The War of the Jewels (p.x), words that he cites in his Foreword: 'I would say that ['The Silmarillion'> can only be defined in terms of its own history; and that history is with this book largely completed. ... It is indeed the only 'completion' possible, because it was always 'in progress'; the published work is not in any way a completion, but a construction devised out of the existing materials. Those materials are now made available ... and with them a criticism of the 'constructed' Silmarillion becomes possible.'

    The last thing I had in mind when I wrote the last phrase of this passage was a dogged, grinding, line by line, word by word (extending even to hyphens) comparison of the published text with texts that I published in The History of Middle-earth....
    (emphasis mine)

    Here, CT is not flatly stating that 'HoMe is not enough' - at least, not in the way that Ardamir and klmenko seem to mean by that phrase. What he is saying is that during the long years of work on his father's papers, he'd never envisaged anyone attempting to come up with ' a dogged, grinding, line by line, word by word (extending even to hyphens) comparison - and that even if he had, there isn't enough information in HoMe to make such a comparison work. So actually, it's a polite way of saying that Kane's object was doomed from the start. Like his father, CT is being very polite (as always), and also very precise. A bit like the example I gave earlier, in my post about JRR Tolkien and his run-in with Furuskog over MS Bodley 34. At least, that's how I read it. Others might not agree.

    In reading Christopher Tolkien's views, as with those of his father's it's necessary to read carefully what he says. And accurate reporting is also essential, if I might make so bold, in order to put one's point across. It's not enough to simply lift a string of words from out of a complex statement, and present them as 'proof' that 'CT thinks HoMe is not enough'!

    *I give a link to Christopher's statement Here; courtesy of Ardamir in his previous post.

    It's all in the books...

  56. halfir's Avatar
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    #56
    I have just had the opportunity courtesy of the kindness of a friend to read Christina Scull's review of Doug Kane's Arda Reconstructed in the August edition of Beyond Bree, and all I can say is 'ouch!'.I leave others to decide what exclamation, if any, they would give, once they have read it.

  57. geordie's Avatar
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    #57
    I say 'Bravo!'
    It's all in the books...

  58. halfir's Avatar
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    #58
    Naughty boy!

  59. halfir's Avatar
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    #59
    Can I, as one who is as guilty in the breach as anyone else point out that Charles gave us three excellent reviews, and it would perhaps be sensible to also concentrate on those referring to Elizabeth Whittingham's work as well as that of Dimitra Fimi.

  60. geordie's Avatar
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    Naughty boy!

    Not at all - like me, and Prof. Shippey before me, I find myself amazed at Christina's self-restraint. But then Ms. Scull (as Kane refers to that good lady in a post on the topic in his forum 'The Hall of Fire) is a proper lady, as well as being one of the top experts in our field of study, and therefore I would have expected no less than the excellent article which Christina has submitted to what is one of the premier Tolken journals .

    Can I, as one who is as guilty in the breach as anyone else point out that Charles gave us three excellent reviews, and it would perhaps be sensible to also concentrate on those referring to Elizabeth Whittingham's work as well as that of Dimitra Fimi.

    Yes, I agree. I feel I've spent too much of the group's time in this thread on what I consider to be a misconceived and badly presented book!

    I doubt whether I'll have anything more to say on that topic here; except to suggest that folk look out for Christina's article, perhaps in a library - but on another tack: during the peregrinations of this thread I've been mulling over the unfairness of the attitude of some folk on the internet towards those whom JRR Tolkien chose to represent his interests after his death - a.k.a Christopher Tolkien and the other estimable members of the Tolkien Estate, who do get a 'bad press', in the main by folk who don't know what they're talking about!

    If I should decide to go further in this line, (or indeed if I should come up with something else I'd like to say about Kane and his book), I may consider opening a new thread somewhere else.

    With all due respect to Mr Kane.

    In the meantime, I hope the readers of this thread will forgive my digressions.

    It's all in the books...

  61. Quote Originally Posted by geordie
    Here, CT is not flatly stating that 'HoMe is not enough' - at least, not in the way that Ardamir and klmenko seem to mean by that phrase. What he is saying is that during the long years of work on his father's papers, he'd never envisaged anyone attempting to come up with ' a dogged, grinding, line by line, word by word (extending even to hyphens) comparison - and that even if he had, there isn't enough information in HoMe to make such a comparison work.









    Which is, of course, why I changed the structure of the work so that it no longer contained "a dogged, grinding, line by line, word by word (extending even to hyphens) comparison." Whether or not Arda Reconstructed as it is presently constituted shows that HoMe (and other posthumously published works) is sufficient to trace the vast majority of the sources used for the published Silmarillion I'll leave to those who have actually read the book to judge.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfir
    I leave others to decide what exclamation, if any, they would give, once they have read it.

    I would use "disappointing!" Not because she is criticizes the book, but because she does so in a way that is highly misleading about what I actually wrote, which is fairly shocking coming from someone who is normally so incredibly precise about what she writes. An example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Scull
    To add to the confusion, in his final years Tolkien envisaged massive alteration to his legendarium, in cosmology and other matters, but made few of the necessary changes. He was uncertain how to introduce them and still preserve elements particularly dear to him, such as the significance of the Two Trees and the Elves waking under the stars. Kane should understand that the inclusion of some of the texts whose omission he regrets would have introduced inconsistencies unless other parts were rewritten.

    Someone who has not read my book would likely assume from that statement that I criticize Christopher for not attempting to incorporate the changes that Tolkien envisioned to his cosmology and related matters. The truth is just the opposite. I actually praise Christopher in several places for not doing so and I specifically state that losing such things as the Elves waking under the stars would outweigh any benefit to making the change, and that I am grateful that Christopher did not attempt to make the change (see, e.g., Arda Reconstructed, p. 123.)

    I have the utmost respect for Ms. Scull's work. I constantly cite her and Mr. Hammond's books, both in in AR and in discussions across the internet. Right here at the Plaza, I stated just a couple of weeks ago regarding the LOTR Readers Guide and the J.R.R. Companion and Guide "I literally could not imagine not owning either of them. They are that valuable." (see here.) And there is certainly much interesting information and ideas in this piece. I just wish that Ms. Scull had been a bit more careful at the impressions she leaves of what I wrote. It is quite surprising from someone who is usually so precise in what she says.

  62. halfir's Avatar
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    #62
    I hope that the review in question might get coverage of a wider nature so that we do not, as we are already in danger of doing, write about books we haven't read and reviews we haven't seen! It is somewhat unfair to the authorial parties in all instances although I accept that substantial excerpts and critical comment are frequently the only way in which we first decide to read a book or not.

  63. geordie's Avatar
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    #63
    Oh, I agree that I haven't read 'the hoole book' as Malory might have put it - that seems to be a sticking point with Kane and his followers, who seem to like nothing better than to mention that fact. Often.

    But then, it was I who pointed it out in the first place. I also pointed out the reasons I don't intend to read it.

    But, halfir is right, as usual. Talking between ourselves,like this, does exclude those who haven't read Christina's article. I hope it might get wider coverage some day, in the not too distant future. It presents, in academic terms, a very accurate view of the value of Kane's work. In my (informed) opinion.



    It's all in the books...

  64. halfir's Avatar
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    #64
    Charles Noad has sent the following 'Comment on Comments' Regarding His Reviews.



    Firstly, all (or at any rate most) of the comments in the Plaza on my review of the three books and, indeed, on my own good self have been immensely flattering: I shall try not to let it go to my head. (Whether any of it is deserved is quite another matter.) Halfir notes my part in proofreading the (latter) volumes of the History of Middle-earth, but it is nonsense to suggest that my somewhat hasty reading of the page-proofs is in any way comparable to the work which produced them in the first place. Much has been said here, mostly on the matter of Arda Reconstructed, and I do not propose to respond to every single point made. However, I shall take the opportunity to consider a few of the comments. <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    By the way, on this Soviet rocketry business (how did that get out?). Yes, it has been a side-line of mine for some time. I’m old enough to remember (a phrase I seem to be using too much these days) the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, in October 1957. As opposed to the <?: prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><ST1:COUNTRY-REGI&#111;n w:st="&#111;n">United States</ST1:COUNTRY-REGI&#111;n> the <ST1:PLACE w:st="&#111;n">Soviet Union</ST1:PLACE> exercised a very considerable degree of secrecy as regards the technology involved, especially in the matter of launch-vehicles. It took several years for the details about the Sputnik and Vostok launch-vehicles to emerge, about twenty years after its first use for the configuration of the Proton launcher to be made public, and it took perestroika and the fall of the Soviet state for the very existence of the N-1 moon rocket of the 1960s to be acknowledged. Of course, such secrecy provokes curiosity, and I was among those who were very curious about such matters. It’s not the same nowadays, as most of the questions have been answered, but I still feel some of the old thrill. Not, I fear, that everyone shares this interest. Do you know, if I start on about the vacuum specific impulse of the NK-19 engine used on the fourth (TLI) stage of the N-1, some peopleโ€™s eyes start to glaze over? I’m sure I can’t understand why.... <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    Back to Tolkien. First, to deal withVoronwė’s points. Regarding the tale of
    Eärendil, and indeed the matter of all the Great Tales, I now see that Mr. Kane was considering the specific placement of the Great Tales within a full Silmarillion rather than just their presence. Now, given that the selection of texts which might have gone to make up a full Silmarillion is a fraught-enough enterprise, the actual arrangement of those texts within it is even more uncertain. I simply felt that given the stature which the Great Tales would have had in their full, completed glory, it would have been quite wrong to relegate them to the Appendices. So I assigned them a more-or-less chronological place among the major writings, with the Quenta Silmarillion at the start. Such an arrangement seemed appropriate, but I imagine I could have been more explicit on the matter of the proper ordering of the textual units of the book. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    Now that I’ve gone over the texts in detail I would accept that the Grey Annals do indeed form the source of the latter part of ‘Of Túrin Turambar’, as stated. But I’m not satisfied. When Christopher Tolkien wrote‘§§ 287 ff. From the Battle of Tumhalad to the end of the tale ofTúrin the text of the Grey Annals was virtually the sole source of the latter part of Chapter 21‘Of Túrin Turambar’in the published Silmarillion' (War of the Jewels, p. 144), he was stating the exact truth. He was not stating the precise point in the Grey Annals from which this part of the Silmarillion text had begun to be derived. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    As for taking to task, I think there is a difference between American English and British English here. FromVoronwė’s comments I get the impression that the phrase is generally much more serious, much heavier, in the former usage than in the latter. I hoped that the reference to smelling salts provided the context. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    The trouble with acknowledging the daunting nature of the task performed by Christopher Tolkien in editing (redacting?) the published Silmarillion is that, given such acknowledgement, any criticisms are still going to take up a lot more space and be much more, dare I say?, interesting to read. The nature of the enterprise inevitably produces a disproportion. Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    The exact influence of, and participation in by, Guy Kay in the shaping of the published Silmarillion is something I know nothing about beyond what he said at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1987, as well as one or two references in published interviews. <O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    Re Klemenko’s comments, I plead guilty to subjectivity! Also, I have never said that the long wait for the Silmarillion or the great expectations it engendered make it immune from criticism; quite the contrary, I would have thought. Regarding reminiscences of such times, I thought that some of you young 'uns (he said, waving his stick in the air) might like to have a reminiscence of the anticipation with which the Silmarillion was awaited, something which must undoubtedly have influenced the publishers attitude to publication of the book in the first place.

    <O:P></O:P>

    Chales Noad<O:P></O:P>
    <O:P></O:P>
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  65. Quote Originally Posted by halfir, writing for Charles Noad
    The trouble with acknowledging the daunting nature of the task performed by Christopher Tolkien in editing (redacting?) the published Silmarillion is that, given such acknowledgement, any criticisms are still going to take up a lot more space and be much more, dare I say?, interesting to read. The nature of the enterprise inevitably produces a disproportion. Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.



    I was quite pleased to see this comment by Mr. Noad. Someone asked me recently whether I agreed with most of the decisions Christopher Tolkien made in editing the book, and I responded that I definitely did. And while there are quite a few of those decisions that I do discuss in the book, I only make a point a point of doing so when there was a particular reason why that issue was of interest. Generally speaking "I agree with this" doesn't particularly advance the discussion very much. As Mr. Noad astutely points out (with the exact approprite Tolkien quote, of course), the nature of an enterprise like this is going to inevitably produce a disproportion.

    In hindsight, perhaps I should have added a statement that there are a vast number of editorial decisions that I don't comment about, and that the reader should take my silence about those decisions as agreement. I wonder if that would have made any difference to the critics of the book? Probably not.

  66. halfir's Avatar
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    #66
    I was sorry to read that Chares can help us no further than he has on the role and function of Guy Gavriel Kay as I - and I suspect many others- are unsure as to what weight we should give GGK's self-assessment of his role in the creation of The Silmarillion, as, while his usual courteous self in the comments that he makes, CT is fairlyunforthcoming on the subject.

    I was also interested in Charles' comments on the 'breathless anticipaaation" (sorry butI love the Rocky Horror Show!) with which The Silmarillion was awaited. Some 375,000 copies were made for the first print-run- the largest ever in the history of Unwins. What followed was something of a stunned silence - as many who had awaited the 'second LOTR" were baffled by what they actually received. Critical comment was very mixed, and sales after the first print fell off considerably. As Rayner Unwin observes (A Remembrancer) that first print was sufficient to satisfy all on-going demand,of which there was not a lot.

    Latterly The Silmarillion has indeed grown in popularity, but its actual reception in 1977 I would suggest , shows quite clearly, that if a version based on CT's original approach had been followed sales would have been virtually non-existent.

  67. I agree, halfir. Contrary to what some have suggested (not here), I do not advocate the positionthat Christopher should havepursued the academicapproach that he originally intended.Quite the opposite is true; I expressly state that I thought that he did the correct thing in constructing a single text from different sources (see Arda Reconstructed, pp. 26-27.)

  68. halfir's Avatar
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    #68
    Voronwe: I know you have always been consistent on that point, as have I. Would that we could have said otherwise perhaps, but I think- reading between the lines of ARemembrancer -that if a 'HOME style' version of The Silmarillion had emerged in 1977 it would -sadly -have sunk without trace!

  69. <?: PREFIX = O /><O:P>
    As halfir reminds us, there are two other excellent books that Mr. Noad was kind enough to review, which we have not discussed much. I did want to comment on one of them. Mr. Noad wrote:

    While The Evolution of Tolkien’s Mythology covers ground which is hardly new to old readers of the History of Middle-earth, the perspective entailed in its approach, especially the chapters on the nature of the divine beings, the physical structure of the invented cosmos, and the fates of Elves and Men, concentrate the reader’s mind on the essential state of unfinishedness of much of Tolkien’s unique creation; and perhaps furnish something by way of an introduction to the History as a whole. Whittingham’s book is an informed and entertaining introduction to these issues.


    I wanted to comment and expand upon that a bit. What makes this book a valuable resource, even for those of us who are old readers of HoMe, is that Whittingham is able to successfully summarize and cross-collate not one but two massive sets of information. The first, of course, is the content of HoMe itself, consisting as it does of the history of Tolkien's legendarium as it developed over the course of almost sixty years. The other set of information is even more massive: the contents of the different mythological traditions - classical, Norse, Finnish, and Judeo-Christian, that influenced Tolkien in developing his own mythology. As Mr. Noad describes in his review, Whittingham divides both the history of Tolkien work on his legendarium into discrete time periods, and also divides the subject into discrete separate sub-topics. This allows her to present different trends and patterns of evolution and influence in a highly accessible manner. For this reason, I have found her book to be one of the more valuable reference sources in Tolkien studies.</O:P>

  70. halfir's Avatar
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    #70
    I must admit I have had Ms. Whtiiingham's book on my 'to read' list for some time, but it still sits, along with many others on Tolkien , unread on my bookshelves! Charles' review and your comments have stirred me to actually rectify this!
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  71. It's quite an easy read, as thesethings go, halfir. For one thing, it is not burdened by a bunch of endnotes, as most of these books are. I certainly don't have a problem with endnotes (my own book has its share), butI admit it was nice to not have to page back and forth between the text and the notes, as is so often the case. And her writing is clear and unpretentious. Reading her book is not as deep or challenging an experience as reading books by Shippey (particularly Road to Middle-earthand Roots and Branches) or Flieger, but it definitely has its own rewards. And it is a book that I have found myself consulting on a number of occasions since I first read it, and I found the information I was looking for admirably quickly and easily.





    I wish I could comment more about Fimi's book, but honestly I just haven't been able to bring myself to spend the price. But I will, eventually. It clearly has too much to offer to pass up.

  72. halfir's Avatar
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    #72
    Voronwe: I think Charles commented on the price of Dimitra's book also, at the same time as pointing out some editorial infelicities which, for that price, should not have occurred!
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  73. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #73
    Just one more remark about the form in which The Silmarillion was published: I agree that it was a wise decision to publish it in that form, since it made it accessible to many more readers than it had done in a form similar to HoMe. But it has also given many readers the false impression that The Silmarillion is a finished and perfectly coherent work, while the relationships between its various units is actually fairly complex.

    I am going to make a fairly bold comparison of it to LOTR vs Peter Jackon's LOTR movies : PJ's movies made the story known to many new people, but most of them have got a simplified, dumbed-down and in several ways altered impression of the work.

  74. Aelindis's Avatar
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    #74
    Your comparision of The Silmarillion vs. HoME to PJ's LOTR vs. Tolkien's LOTR is definitely not appropriate, IMHO.



    Besides, no alert reader of Christopher Tolkien's foreword to The Silmarillion could arrive at the conclusion that it is "a finished and perfectly coherent work".





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    #75
    Aelendis:
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  76. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #76

    It seems that I accidentally picked the wrong smiley in my post above - it should have been this one: So, I wasn't exactly serious when I made that comparison. I don't think the published Silmarillion was "dumbed down" in the same way as PJ's LOTR movies at all. But still, I think some readers have got a slightly wrong impression of it.

    Aelendis: From my experience, not all readers could be called "alert".

    I am fairly sure that a few of my friends, who aren't really die-hard Tolkien fans but have read The Silmarillion once several years ago (not in English) and were not really impressed by it, are not fully aware of its complex state.


  77. I think some readers have got a slightly wrong impression of it.

    A wrong impression of what, exactly? Of the complexity of the raw Silmarillion material? If so, then how could Christopher Tolkien have done anything more to alleviate this impression aside from creating some form of the 'scholarly' work? Or perhaps a wrong impression of the 'real story'? In that case, we return to the debate of what the 'real story' is (or 'should' have been)--which is at best problematic.

    We've got the perhaps unfortunate state that, as Shippey said, the Silmarillion could never be anything but hard to read. We can debate back and forth on specific decisions, but I think that the basic nature of the Silmarillion--and I mean both the literary nature of the written works and the editorial 'mess'--has to be contended with at some point. I can imagine no way to fully overcome these problems for 'casual fans'. (I'm not saying we can't suggest formats that might have been somewhat more or less accessible, but I think it would be silly to imagine that we could have had, under any circumstances, an 'easy' read.)
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

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    #78
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

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    #79
    Lord of the Rings, I meant that some more casual readers of Tolkien and The Silmarillion probably think that it is a more finished work than it really is (how "easy" read it is is a different matter). But that's their own fault really; I am not saying that CT could have done more to prevent it, except by publishing it only in a scholarly form, but then again, only a few would read it.

  80. Ardamir,
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  81. halfir's Avatar
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    #81
    CT made a value judgment regarding the form of The Silmarillion which I think virtually all major scholars on the subjecthave concurred was the correct one.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  82. Ardamir's Avatar
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    Guy Kay's judgement that the HoMe volumes shouldn't have been published is in my opinion the wrong one, however.
    Member of the Tolkien Society, the Finnish Tolkien Society, and founder of <em>Lindon</em>, the Swedish-speaking smial of the FTS. My Tolkien-related twitter: http://twitter.com/Ardamir

  83. halfir's Avatar
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    #83
    Aradamir: I happen to agree with you, but I think it important that one knows why Guy Kay took that position. Unfortunately I don't have enough background infromation on his reasoning, but one should avoid giving any impression that the arguments he put forward were simply meretricious.

    I'll try and get a better handle on his reasoning and post it here, and of course, those more knoweldgeable on the subject than I are most warmly welcome to help us out.

    I note, BTW that Kay's novel Ysabel won the World Fantasy Award in 2008, and before the naysayers decry such awards I would point out that LOTR won the International Fantasy Award in 1957 (Letter # 202)
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  84. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #84
    Well, one of the first things that come to my mind when I think of Guy Kay is that he is/was perhaps more commercially minded than CT. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case with Tolkien's literary "successors", since they are often professional writers as opposed to Tolkien (or so I have understood at least). But then again, I agree with you halfir that it would best to have more background information.

  85. geordie's Avatar
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    #85
    Which 'literary successors' do you mean?



    It's all in the books...

  86. Quote Originally Posted by halfir
    Aradamir: I happen to agree with you, but I think it important that one knows why Guy Kay took that position. Unfortunately I don't have enough background infromation on his reasoning, but one should avoid giving any impression that the arguments he put forward were simply meretricious.

    I'll try and get a better handle on his reasoning and post it here, and of course, those more knoweldgeable on the subject than I are most warmly welcome to help us out.

    I note, BTW that Kay's novel Ysabel won the World Fantasy Award in 2008, and before the naysayers decry such awards I would point out that LOTR won the International Fantasy Award in 1957 (Letter # 202)

    I am travelling right now, so I don't have access to my books. However, I recall that David Bratman talks about Kay's opinion of HoMe in his fine essay "The Literary Value of The History of Middle-earth" in Tolkien's Legendarium, if anyone who has that excellent book would like to look it up. It is also worth noting that Kay's negative opinion apparently also extended to Unfinished Tales. Wayne and Christina discuss his mostly negative review of that book in the Reader's Guide, I believe on around page 1047. If no one else says anything more before I get home, I'll look up these references than, and post more. But I did want to give other who have those books the oppoturnity to look for themselves in the meanwhile.

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    #87
    Well, I have the books to hand. In his Legendarium article Bratman says (p89-90):
    ...in his guest of honor speech at the 1989Mythopoeic Conference [Kay} went on to express his view that the more scholarly project should not have been embarked upon.

    However Scull and Hammond "Reader's Guide" (p. 1047! Great memory, Voronwe!) write, about "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin":
    Guy Gavriel Kay has said that 'this beautifully written piece comes closer than anything else in Unfinished Tales to evoking the qualities of awe and power that Tolkien at his best commanded. Tuor's encounter with the god Ulmo, who speaks to him standing "knee-deep in the shadowy sea" is as good as anything he ever wrote. ("Dug out of the dust of Middle-earth' Maclean's 26 January 1981)

    There again, S&amp;H p. 1066, quote Kay in the same article:
    ... [Kay] wrote that 'for someone innocently seeking a good read Unfinished Tales emerges as inaccessible, pedantic and perhaps ultimately saddening. Where has the magic gone? One feels at times like an archaeologist, digging amongst the dusty rubble of a once-glorious civilization.'
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  88. One feels at ties like an archaeologist, digging amongst the dusty rubble of a once-glorious civilization.'

    Hm- I wonder what Tolkien would have thought of that--it does bring the tower metaphor from Beowulf to mind. But I think one can question whether Kay is rightly putting Christopher in with those only interested in examining individual stones for old lore, or whether perhaps he is missing the tower that Christopher himself has built of old stone.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  89. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #89
    Well, I saw the sea.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  90. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #90
    geordie:

    Which 'literary successors' do you mean?


    The fantasy authors of today, like Georgie R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Christopher Paolini, and Guy Kay himself. No, I didn't mean Christopher Tolkien.


    I would actually want to see a new edition of Unfinished Tales more in the vein of the HoMe series published, since CT chose to keep his commentary in it quite shallow compared to that in HoMe. There must be more draft material than what is mentioned.


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    #91
    Well, one of the first things that come to my mind when I think of Guy Kay is that he is/was perhaps more commercially minded than CT

    What is wrong with being commercially minded? The idea that making money out of one's academic or literary endavors is somehow wrong is absurd.How are artists supposed to live, romantically starving in garrets?

    And whether or not CT is/was less commercially minded than Gavriel Kay- who had at that time not achieved his later fame as a major fantasy witer, Tolkien himself was well aware of the importance of money

    In Letter # 202 talking of the possibility of LOTR being made into a movie Tolkien says: Stanley U.&amp; I have agreed on our policy:Art or Cash.Either very profitable terms indeeed, or absolure author's veto on objectionable features or alterations.

    And the Letters contain many references to the inquities of the tax system and Tolkien's desire to mitigate his exposure on this front, and his need for money.

    As to a new edition of UT that's the last thing I would want to see. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the existing version and there are many other potential jewels that could be published, although CT's own mature years clearly somewhat limits these possibilities.As to the statement

    There must be more draft material than what is mentioned

    I suggest that a little more respect is paid to judgment of the man who has dedicated such a significant portion of his life to producing his father's works.

    It seems to me that some of the comments posted here seem to miss the point that Tolkien was a great story-teller, not a pedantic anitquarian.How he created his masterpieces is indeed fascinating, what is critical is the masterpieces themselves.Let's not forget that,

    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  92. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #92
    As to a new edition of UT
    that's the last thing I would want to see. There's absolutely nothing
    wrong with the existing version and there are many other potential
    jewels that could be published, although CT's own mature years clearly
    somewhat limits these possibilities.

    If we take CT's mature years into account, then we'd rather prefer other unpublished material to be published, yes.


    How he created his masterpieces is indeed fascinating, what is critical is the masterpieces themselves.

    I think we are looking at a difference in taste here. Of course texts are more important the more "finalized" they are, but some people are more interested in the process of creating them and value access to the various draft material and versions of the texts more than others.


  93. halfir's Avatar
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    #93
    The play's the thing!
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  94. I could not possibly imagine a new edition of UT. What would possibly be the point to that? The whole point of that work is the "Tales"(even though"Unfinished"); it is not meant as a "history".

    Now, the History of the Silmarillion document that Christopher mentioned in his correspondence with Carl Hostetter, as mentioned earlier in this thread? That I would certainly be interested in seeing published. Though I doubt that will ever happen.

  95. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #95
    Voronwë,I do understand that it was CT's intention to publish the texts in the form they were published. But in doing so, much material was left unpublished and the commentary for these texts is now quite shallow. Most of the texts published in UT aren't actually of a different sort than the individual texts published in HoMe, like Tal-Elmar, The New Shadow etc. But just because the UT texts for one reason or the other were published in that volume, they have received a somewhat different treatment than the texts published in HoMe.

    I agree with you that the History of the Silmarillion would be a great publication.

  96. halfir's Avatar
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    #96
    I do understand that it was CT's intention to publish the texts in the form they were published


    Well if you understand that what's the point complaining that he didn't do something different?
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  97. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #97
    I don't complain that he didn't do something different, I complain that the texts are only available in the form they have in UT.

  98. halfir's Avatar
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    #98
    Well you appear to be in a minority of one on the subject.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  99. Ardamir's Avatar
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    #99
    Here at the LOTR Plaza, yes.

  100. halfir's Avatar
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    #100
    That's all that matters!
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

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