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177Re: _úcarindor_

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  • Fredrik
    Aug 3 4:20 AM
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      Patrick Wynne wrote:

      >[Your question assumes that _úcarer_ in At. V & VI is not an
      >erroneous form; I contend that it is. I suspect that when Tolkien
      >wrote At. V, he probably wrote _úcarer_ instead of the correct
      >_úcarir_ under the influence of _úcare-_ in _úcaremmar_ 'our
      >trespasses' in the preceding line _úcarer_ in At. V
      >was apparently marked for correction > _úcarir_; but when
      >Tolkien wrote At. VI he made the same slip, writing _úcarer_
      >once again. Why didn't he correct the slip in At. VI? Because
      >At. VI was a fair copy carefully rendered in beautiful calligraphy
      >(perhaps intended to be sent to a correspondent, hence its
      >being written on a postcard), and it might be that Tolkien didn't
      >wish to mar it with corrections -- note that At. VI bears another
      >obvious slip, the long _í_ in úsahtíenna_, also left uncorrected.
      >-- Patrick Wynne]

      "Faint pencilled markings over the _e_ suggest that Tolkien intended to
      emend _úcarer_ > _úcarir_ (though the form remains _úcarer_ in At. VI)."
      (VT43:12)

      In the scanned image of the Merton College postcard (VT43:4), the "faint
      markings" over the _e_ do not come out as very faint at all, especially
      when compared to the other marginal notes on the postcard. Some pixels may
      well have been lost during the scanning but their presence would not make
      the "markings" (as reproduced in _VT_) any *less* clear. These "markings"
      look very much like an exclamation mark, written in at about 45° (slanting
      down from left to right) over the letter _e_, as if to draw attention to
      it. If it is an _i_, it is written upside down, and with a rather odd
      backwards slant.

      From the image, there seems to be no reason to suspect the presence of an
      _i_ here at all, unless you are very actively and imaginatively looking for
      one.

      Quite as importantly, the letter _e_ was not crossed out. Elsewhere on the
      postcard Tolkien inserted other correction marks where letters were to be
      replaced or removed: the _n_ of _carina_ was crossed out, as was the _h_ of
      _hrá_. Not so in this case.

      Therefore, from At. V alone there seems to be no reason to assume that
      Tolkien ever intended to emend _úcarer_ > _úcarir_. Tolkien highlighted the
      word, but it is impossible to know for what reason or what (if anything) he
      intended to do with it. Moreover, if it is an exclamation mark, then
      Tolkien never indicated the form _úcarir_ at all. This form was added by
      the editors in the _VT_ analysis.

      The interpretation is reinforced when At. V is compared to the fair copy of
      the text, At. VI. Tolkien made several corrections to At. V (and _Aia_ III
      appearing below it), and these corrections are all reflected in the fair
      copy texts of At. VI and _Aia_ IV. The corrections include _úsahtienna_ for
      _sahtienna_, _tambe_ for _síve_, _Erumande_ for _kemende_ (VT43:12). The
      form _úcarer_, which was *not* marked for correction in At. V but
      highlighted, was *not* changed.

      We need not speculate whether Tolkien would have put in corrections on the
      At. IV postcard or not. (By the way, I see no reason to assume that Tolkien
      ever intended to send the second postcard to anyone. It may be that he
      simply used them as available writing material. The fact that he used the
      first of these postcards for drafting strongly suggests this.) The fact
      that Tolkien did not make any change to the form _úcarer_ in the act of
      writing At. VI -- even though he clearly worked from the draft text and
      incorporated the other corrections made to it -- strongly suggests that
      whatever Tolkien's thoughts were when he highlighted the word _úcarer_ in
      At. V, he did *not* mean to change its form.

      For Patrick's above scenario to hold, Tolkien not only made a slip when
      writing the fair copy of the text, unthinkingly copying a previous slip.
      For some reason, he also passed over the correction that he had previously
      made, without looking at the draft text at hand and without it ringing any
      bells in his mind. Not only did he write the "erroneous form" out twice --
      once very carefully -- without any reaction. He was also capable of first
      noticing his blunder and then forgetting all about it, even with his own
      notes in front of him. I am not much impressed by this hypothesis.

      /Fredrik
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