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Re: Query: the pre-Cambrian layer

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  • William Cloud Hicklin
    ... My bad! I had intended to reference Mr Garth s published comments, which my own slender observations are merely meant to supplement; but somehow neglected
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 9, 2006
      --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, John Garth
      <johnwgarth@...> wrote:

      > In fact, I also have something to say on this matter in my
      > endnotes to _Tolkien and the Great War_ (p. 355), where I
      > refer to the framing tale by its English title:

      My bad! I had intended to reference Mr Garth's published
      comments, which my own slender observations are merely meant to
      supplement; but somehow neglected to do so.

      Tolkien said, "I find it only too easy to write opening
      chapters" [_Letters_ no. 24]; and he was being truthful: the first
      chapters of both _The Hobbit_ and _LR_ languished for a long time
      before being carried forward, and we have the abandoned openings
      of _The New Shadow_ and the _Farmer Giles_ sequel. There is also
      the trunk of _The Lost Road_, where JRRT leaped ahead to the parts
      he was really interested in, the Anglo-Saxon episode and the Fall of

      It seems to me that it was especially characteristic of Tolkien
      to envision a midpoint or endpoint for a story; to start writing
      the story from the beginning towards that point; and in the event
      never get there.* This happens *three* times in the _Lost Tales_
      (yes, this has a linguistic reference: bear with me). In the
      first instance, there was the Eriol-story, intended to bring
      about the preexisting identification of Tol Eressea with
      England. "_Mar Vanwa Tyalieva_" was the beginning, probably his
      first prose narrative - but he never reached the already-imagined
      end, either as envisioned or in the modified Aelfwine-form.

      Also from the pre-Somme period was the idea of Earendel and his
      voyages, which never reached narrative form then or later (save
      the _Qenta Noldorinwa_ epitome). I have little doubt that the
      "Fall of Gondolin" was the first actual Tale written precisely because
      it begins the story of Earendel, with his parentage and birth.**
      The title of the first text was "Tuor and the Exiles of Gondolin (which
      bringeth in the great tale of Earendel)". But then came Tinuviel,
      quite likely for personal reasons- and the Earendel story was
      never resumed, notwithstanding the many promises in the frame-

      But I believe that the "essential historical fact" (EHF) of Tolkien's
      conception as he lay in his hospital bed, already present in the
      "Fall of Gondolin", was mandated by the "essential linguistic
      fact:" the new language Gnomish and the need to explain its
      divergence from Qenya. The EHF was of course the "exile and
      thraldom of the Noldoli," which I strongly suspect were in the
      initial conception nearly coextensive. This was the point toward
      which Tolkien was driving when, armed with the "Valinorean"
      elements of the proto-mythology, he wrote the long continuous
      sequence from "The Music of the Ainur" to "The Tale of the Sun and
      Moon". But of course he never reached his goal - all we have are
      the outlines published under "Gilfanon's Tale". This conception
      would of course be preserved, but the expanding mythology would
      eventually make it untenable: the ages before _Nirnaeth Arnoediad_,
      and before the Return of the Noldor, would so stretch out, and
      the element of thrall-Noldor so diminish, that out of necessity
      Tolkien made the Great Linguistic Shift, Noldorin > Sindarin.

      And so Tolkien was being absolutely truthful when he called his
      mythos "linguistic in inspiration:" beyond even the perceived
      need for tongues to have a "history" in which to live, I submit
      that the core of the entire _legendarium_ was Tolkien's need to
      explain the relationship of Eldarissa and Noldorissa.

      * cf also the _Narn i Chin Hurin_, where Tolkien wrote the end
      before starting from the beginning, and never quite bridged the
      gap. I suspect he wrote the Brethil section first because the
      basic story-points in his conception of the _Turinssaga_ were the
      Sigurd-element (Glaurung) and the Kullervo-element (Nienor).

      ** Perhaps also because it was an outlet for the inner tension
      between JRRT's horrific experiences and his romantic spirit. In
      the "Link to the Tale of Tinuviel" he wrote, "'Aye, often enough,'
      said Eriol, 'yet not to the great wars of earthly kings and
      mighty nations, which are cruel and bitter, whelming in their
      ruin all the beauty both of the earth and of those fair things
      that men fashion with their hands in time of peace - nay, they
      spare not sweet women and tender maids, such as thou, Vëannë
      Melinir, for then are men drunk with wrath and the lust of blood,
      and Melko fares abroad. But gallant affrays have I seen wherein
      brave men did sometimes meet, and swift blows were dealt, and
      strength of body and of heart was proven."

      --William Hicklin
    • ejk@free.fr
      In looks to me that the Gnomish noun _saib_ a boat , according to the Gnomish Lexicon, p. 66, should read boot instead. It comes from the root Sayap- and in
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 13, 2006
        In looks to me that the Gnomish noun _saib_ a "boat", according to the Gnomish
        Lexicon, p. 66, should read "boot" instead. It comes from the root Sayap- and
        in the Qenyaqetsa p. 82 from it we have Eldarissa _saipo_ "a boot".

        Funny that in Ety. the translation from the related root SKYAP- was also misread
        "shore", instead of "shoe".


        Edouard Kloczko

        [I have checked my photocopies of the GL ms., and yes the gloss of
        _saib_ should read "boot". Thanks for catching this! It also appears that
        the root SAYAP cited in this same entry has a dot over the Y, though this
        is not indicated in the published text. -- PHW]
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