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790Tolkien's C and G (was Re: _A Gateway to Sindarin_ by David Salo: a review)

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  • Hans
    Mar 19, 2005
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      > [Neither is David Salo, but that does not prevent him from
      > presenting himself as an expert on Tolkien's handwriting and making a
      > completely false, self-serving claim, completely without any
      > supporting evidence and contrary to the the actual evidence of the
      > facsimile, as though it were an established fact. CFH]

      Salo's statement as quoted by Carl, "Tolkien's handwritten capital _C_
      and capital _G_ are very similar", must indeed be understood as a fact
      established by somebody who knows Tolkien's handwriting. In reality,
      one doesn't even have to be an expert, or to have access to original
      manuscripts, to see that it's completely false. The shortest look at
      the facsimile (VT44:23) shows that the C is written connected with the
      following letter (e) in a way impossible for a G. That alone would be
      sufficient to dismiss Salo's claim as lacking evidence.

      But it's not difficult for most persons seriously interested in
      Tolkien's work to have a look at lots of capital G in Tolkien's
      handwriting. All one has to do is to have a look into _The War of the
      Ring_, containing many facsimiles of original manuscript pages, those
      in turn containing many words like "Gollum", "Gandalf", "Gondor" or
      "Gate" for obvious reasons.

      Hans Georg Lundahl wrote:

      >As for Tolkien's G's, a lot depends on whether he wrote G's with a
      >tail (like a minuscule g but open) or only G's with a dash (like this
      >typed G).

      Just open the book and look at the first frontispiece. The seventh
      line contains a nice "Gollum" clearly showing the tail, so it's the
      former case (a G like printed may be found in rare case, like on the
      extremely fair copy of a map, VIII:434, but one would find it hard to
      confuse that with a C).

      In this case (and actually often) the G is not connected with the
      following letter, and the tail ends at its lowest point. Then, the
      tail may be even not connected to the rest of the letter G, as one can
      see in the last paragraph of VIII:204 ("Gollum" and "Gondor").
      When the capital G is connected with following letters (as it seems,
      that happened in more hasty writing), the tail turns upwards again in
      a characteristic loop, as one can see in the last line of VIII:90 (the
      last two words are "Good luck", cf. the bottom of VII:91). That loop
      is often formed more clearly than the rest of the letter, so it's not
      just improbable, but downright impossible to confuse with a capital C.

      Hans
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