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954Re: [Lambengolmor] Re: Query: the pre-Cambrian layer

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  • John Garth
    Nov 3, 2006
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      William Cloud Hicklin wrote, regarding "the very earliest layer" of Qenya:

      > 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?

      The process was lengthy (involving all the spare hours of about two weeks).
      Among other things, I rearranged QL in the order it appears in Tolkien's
      original, rather than alphabetically as published in _Parma Eldalamberon_.
      For lack of time right now, I can add nothing by way of elucidation except
      to repeat is what I said in the endnotes to _Tolkien and the Great War_ (pp
      335-6) regarding my description of the state of the mythology circa March
      1915 (pp. 125-8): "this reconstruction is based primarily on the Qenya
      lexicon, along with the available poetry of 1915, and notes on Eärendel's
      Atlantic wanderings and 'The Shores of Faëry' (LT2, 261­2; internal
      evidence suggests other outlines in LT2, 253ff., were written later). JRRT
      is unlikely to have risked taking the lexicon on active service, and its
      state circa March 1916 may be broadly surmised by excluding all entries
      lacking in 'The Poetic and Mythologic Words of Eldarissa', a list copied
      from it probably soon after he returned to England (Parma Eldalamberon 12,
      xvii­xxi). Some details appearing only in that list are assumed to postdate
      the initial lexicon phase, and omitted here. The reconstruction takes no
      account of unpublished poems, notes or outlines, and covers a period
      (beginning in early 1915) in which conceptions were probably very fluid.

      > (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).

      Regarding the "Poetic and Mythologic Words of Eldarissa", I also note (pp.
      352-3): "If JRRT left his Qenya lexicon at home when he went to France (as
      seems likely in view of Smith losing 'The Burial of Sophocles'), perhaps
      this new word list was written in hospital in Birmingham so he could
      refamiliarize himself with Qenya. It adds little to the content of the
      lexicon (upon which he continued to work), and makes no attempt at
      alphabetical order."

      > 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?

      I am inclined to agree, and this is just one of the pieces of evidence that
      I sifted for my book. See my notes on "The Cottage of Lost Play" on pp. 355
      and on "The Music of the Ainur" on pp. 361-2.

      John Garth
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