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953Re: Query: the pre-Cambrian layer

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  • William Cloud Hicklin
    Nov 2, 2006
      > I'm enquiring because I've become interested in what scraps
      > might be excavated from the very earliest layer: the pre-
      > Somme period of the early poems, even before Gnomish
      > and the _Lost Tales_.
      >
      > [You'll want to be sure to have a look at John Garth's book,
      > _Tolkien and the Great War_, who examines just such issues.
      > CFH]

      It was Garth's book that got me started- he makes some (to me)
      startling assertions, yet he gives no sources beyond PE, VT, and
      HME. So how does one (did he) sift out those bits which predate
      the Somme? (my temporary hypothesis is that JRRT's service in
      the trenches represents a watershed: the Lost Tales and Gnomish
      on this side and the proto-mythology on the other. Indeed, it
      might be reasonable to deduce that he left the QL in England, or
      it would have been lost with the rest of his kit).

      [You will, unfortunately, find this sifting difficult without a copy
      of Parma XII (with QL) to hand. The Foreword presents much of
      the linguistic detective work involved in dating the QL entries
      in relation to the Lost Tales and events in Tolkien's life. PHW]

      I can throw up one suggestion bearing on a slighly later matter-
      "The Cottage of Lost Play" originally gave Lindo's father as
      _Manwë_, later emended to _Valwë_. CRT comments "possibl[y]...a
      mere slip." But I note that in one of the few bits of the pencil
      text of Tuor A which can be read, we find "bluer than the
      sapphires of Súlimo," where the later text has "bluer than the
      sapphires of the raiment of Manwë." Taken together with the fact
      that -wë is typically associated with elf-names (Finwë, Inwë,
      Voronwë, Linwë > Tinwë), could it not be that _Manwë_ in Mar
      Vanwa was not a slip at all: that it was't yet the Elder King's
      name?

      -- William Cloud Hicklin
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