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Re: Internal historical aspect of the five Catholic prayers in Quenya

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  • Boris Shapiro
    Aiya! Sunday, January 11, 2004, 11:25:39 PM, Boris Shapiro wrote: I raised a question of whether Tolkien s Catholic prayers in Quenya were meant to be a piece
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 13, 2004
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      Aiya!

      Sunday, January 11, 2004, 11:25:39 PM, Boris Shapiro wrote:

      I raised a question of whether Tolkien's Catholic prayers in Quenya
      were meant to be a piece of A.D. (Seventh Age) Quenya or a simple
      exercise of Tolkien's.

      CFH> [My own take on the Prayers is that they were simply a personal,
      CFH> private exercise, not intended to have any place within the
      CFH> mythology. My guess is that Tolkien simply had the Rosary on his
      CFH> mind one day and decided to see how it might be translated. CFH]

      OK, but won't in be somehow extraordinary? I mean, I don't recall many
      Quenya texts that weren't composed by Tolkien to be a part of his
      world. In fact, I fail to recall any (except early Qenya exercises).
      True, given his attitude toward both his world and his languages, it
      is hard to imagine him composing a Quenya text stripped of its
      Middle-earth roots.

      [But he wasn't "composing" a Quenya text, strictly speaking: he was
      _translating_ prayers that we know had a great personal significance
      for him, into the language he was creating. No more (or less!) extraordinary
      I would say than the choice of "Beren" and "L�thien" for his and Edith's
      gravestone. Moreover, Tolkien _is_ known to have been an inveterate
      doodler, writing newspaper stories and headlines in _tengwar_ and the
      like. I see no reason to think he wouldn't "doodle" in Quenya, as it were,
      as well. And finally, let us not forget the long tradition of translating
      The Lord's Prayer into various languages, to give a sample of a
      language through a very-well-known text. CFH]


      Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


      : avartuvan i tauri ni ontaner : an luumenya tyeela ar loanyar sintar :
    • Ales Bican
      ... **Personally, I do not find it extraordinary or even odd. Quenya, though undoubtedly an artistic creation, is a language. One of the major characteristics
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 14, 2004
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        >[Boris Shapiro] raised a question of whether Tolkien's
        > Catholic prayers in Quenya were meant to be a piece
        > of A.D. (Seventh Age) Quenya or a simple
        > exercise of Tolkien's.

        Carl F. Hostetter replied:

        >> My own take on the Prayers is that they were simply a personal,
        >> private exercise, not intended to have any place within the
        >> mythology. My guess is that Tolkien simply had the Rosary on his
        >> mind one day and decided to see how it might be translated.

        Boris:

        >OK, but won't in [read: it -- ab] be somehow extraordinary?

        **Personally, I do not find it extraordinary or even odd. Quenya,
        though undoubtedly an artistic creation, is a language. One of
        the major characteristics of a language, in fact its raison d'être,
        is its ability to express our thoughts and ideas. Tolkien created
        a language that can be used even beyond his mythological world,
        which he testified by translating the Prayers; and we do something
        similar in our Elvish compositions. There is nothing wrong with
        that -- as I said, Quenya is after all a language and a language
        is a means for communication.


        Ales Bican

        --
        What's in a name? That which we call a rose
        by any other name would smell as sweet. (Juliet, _Romeo and Juliet_)
      • galadhorn
        ... The question Boris had raised long ago is very interesting. Quenya is a language being the expression of the Quendian-culture and Quendian-mythology in
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 13, 2004
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          --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, Boris Shapiro <elenhil@u...>
          wrote:

          > Should we analyze the texts as a unique piece of
          > Seventh Age Quenya (probably as spoken in Valinor) and are we
          > to get anything interesting from that?

          The question Boris had raised long ago is very interesting. Quenya
          is a language being the expression of the Quendian-culture and
          Quendian-mythology in whatever context we use it. The words _Eru_,
          _menel_, the expression _i ëa han Ëa_ belong to the mythology
          of Tolkien's sub-creation, his _mythopoeia_. In fact every act of
          Tolkien's _logopoeia_ is the exploration of his myth. It is the way
          every "real" language works (and Tolkien's languages having their
          own mythology, their "sub-creative" context are like real langages,
          and very unlike the languages of the Esperanto-type).

          The prayers (presented in VT 43 and 44) come from the period of the
          1950s, when the mediator between the real history and the mythical
          history of the Elves and Men was Aelfwine/Elendil (cf. "Dangweth
          Pengolodh" in XII:395 from c. 1951-1959). Cannot the Quenya
          prayers be the translation made by Elendil (who was to live in 10th-
          11th C.) himself? Yes and no. Yes, because on that time there were in
          existence already: "Pater Noster", "Gloria Patri (Doxologia
          Minor)", "Sub Tuum Praesidium". No, because "Ave Maria" and "Litany
          of Loreto" are much younger (their final form was achieved in 16th C.).

          In "Qenya Lexicon" we find many words which show that the Elves
          (in the conceptual phase of the "Book of the Lost Tales") knew some
          elements of the Christian faith. There are terms for Holy Spirit,
          Trinity, monks, nuns and monastery. I wonder if Tolkien, translating
          the prayers into Quenya (and into the language of the Quendian
          mythology - I would call it Christian inculturation into the
          mythopoeic context) - had in mind such a possibility that these
          prayers could play any role in his fictitious history. Anyway even
          if it was "only" a linguistic exercise it is worth an analysis of
          how the Quenya terms work incorporated into the Christian context.

          Ryzard Derdzinski
        • lambendil
          In the post 655 (13/04/2004) Ryzard Derdzinski, replying to Boris Shapiro, questions if the catholic prayers presented in VT 43 and 44 could have been
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 18, 2004
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            In the post 655 (13/04/2004) Ryzard Derdzinski, replying to Boris Shapiro,
            questions if the catholic prayers presented in VT 43 and 44 could have been
            translations made by Aelfwine/Elendil (who was to live in 10th-11th C.). The
            reply was yes and no, because some prayers were already in existence on that
            time (Pater Noster, Gloria Patri, Sub Tuum Praesidium), but the others are much
            younger (the final form of Ave Maria and Litany of Loreto was achieved in 16th C.).

            As Ryzard notes, the question of authorship of the different parts of
            the Quendian mythology, on the internal point of view, is always and
            interesting but a complicated matter. Internal authorship shifted during
            the external evolution of some tales and he sometimes merged the real
            and fictional world (like in the LR Appendix where he appears as the
            translator of the red Book, not as the author of the novel).

            The place of the Catholic prayers in the main work is of course very
            special since they do not, _a priori_, belong to the Quendian
            mythology. But, as Ryszard remarks pertinently, "Quenya is a language
            being the expression of the Quendian-culture and Quendian-mythology in
            whatever context we use it" and "every act of Tolkien's _logopoeia_ is the
            exploration of his myth". So, the only fact that the prayers were written in
            Elvish connects them with the Quendian mythology, even if it creates a kind
            of paradox.

            But I think this paradox might perhaps be removed or at least find
            plausible explanations.

            In his post, Ryzard notes that we find many words in the "Qenya Lexicon"
            which show that the Elves (in the conceptual phase of the "Book of the
            Lost Tales") knew some elements of the Christian faith (terms for Holy
            Spirit, Trinity, monks, nuns and monastery).

            In a first version of the present post post (which was returned for
            revision !), I remarked that there are several words in the Lexicons
            that referred to our 'real, modern, world' and I quoted _Andesalke_,
            Salkinôre_ 'Africa' (QL/31, 84), _kalimba(n)_ '"Barbary", Germany',
            _kalimabardi_ 'the Germans' (QL/44), _Îverind-_ 'Ireland' (QL/43),
            _i•Ponôrir_ 'the Northlands (Scandinavia)' and _ponôre_ 'Norway' (QL/74).

            I tought that these names could give some clues about the authorship of the
            Lexicons, but as Carl Hostetter has pointed out in his private reply to my
            first post, "there's nothing in there that necessarily refers to our 'real,
            modern world'. None of the nations mentioned there were unknown in
            even Classical times, and all have their equivalents in classical
            Greek and Latin. That Tolkien translates them with modern country
            names instead of their Greek, Latin, or even Anglo-Saxon names
            is completely in accord with every other gloss in the Lexicons".

            This made me think of something else : if the Lexicons are the work of
            Aelfwine/Elendil during his sojourn in Tol Eressea, the original
            manuscript would have been written in Old English. Hence, the actual
            version of the Lexicons must have been translated in modern English
            (excatly the same way as the LR is presented as the translation of the
            Red Book in English, merging real and fictional world).

            Some words in the Lexicons are given with Anglo-Saxon, Latin or Greek
            glosses. This suggests, either that these non-English references were
            left intentionally by the translator or that the Lexicons are much
            latter, dating from the XXth century, and are the work of a man with
            very good linguistic knowledge that had some knowledge of the Quendian
            world and mythology.

            We can find in Tolkien's work some characters that fit this portrait,
            characters that lived in our modern age and who had dreams or visions
            of the mythical world of the Elves: Audoin and Alboin Errol of "The
            Lost Road" (V/36-106, c. 1936-37) and Arundel Lowdham of the Notion
            Club (IX/145-330, c. 1945-46). Even if he never finished none of his
            time-travel stories, the fact that Tolkien began two stories of this
            kind seem to show that Tolkien took this narrative process to heart.

            Of course, the mediators cited before are older than the prayers,
            externally speaking (30s and 40s vs. 50s), but a philologist like
            Lowdham might have been fully qualified to try a translation in
            "Avallonian" of some known catholic prayers (and even several attempts
            for some of these prayers !).

            Finally, we have a third possibility. We could think of some Elves who
            would have chosen to stay in the mortal lands and who would have
            withered to become spirits (a very old conception dating from the
            _Lost Tales_). Theses spirits may have contacted some open-minded
            humans and instructed them about the matter of the Elves, their
            history and their languages. Theses spirit-Elves could even have
            taught their tongues to a well-known English philologist of the XXth
            century...

            Sébastien Bertho
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