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Query for the primary-source scholars

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  • William Cloud Hicklin
    To wit, is there any indication at all of the date for the preface Tolkien appended to one copy of Kortirion Among the Trees? I realise that WH & CS reckon
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5 8:09 PM
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      To wit, is there any indication at all of the date for
      the 'preface' Tolkien appended to one copy of "Kortirion
      Among the Trees?" I realise that WH & CS reckon it not
      too distant in time from the poem itself given its
      similar tone- but I wonder.

      The reason I ask is because if the 'preface' really does
      date from 1915 or so - in other words before the Somme -
      then it blows a hypothesis of mine out of the water (as
      would anything in the first layer of entries in the Qenya
      Lexicon which relates to the Great Lands legends as
      opposed to Valinor).

      It strikes me that JRRT meant it quite, quite literally
      when he said the legends grew out of the languages- and I
      emphasize languageS, plural. Notwithstanding T's comments
      in On Fairy-stories and elsewhere, it seems to me that
      the impulse to create actual narrative, stories, legends,
      came in not with Qenya (which generated lyric poetry, a
      'mythos' of tableaux), but with Gnomish/Goldogrin. As
      soon as T had *two* languages, historically related,
      philological training insisted on the 'historically' part.

      /Asking himself how Eldarissa and Noldorissa could have
      diverged, Tolkien answered by conceiving "the Travail of
      the Noldoli."/

      This of course is the precise answer Rumil gives in the
      'bridge' to the Music of the Ainur- even though that came
      rather later. The first shoot from the leaf-mould was
      the thought that lay behind what would become the
      (unwritten) Gilfanon's Tale, but not even in the form
      suggested in the sketches. Our best clues come from the
      first pieces written, Mar Vanwa and the Fall of Gondolin -
      which, fortunately, largely survive in their first
      drafts. Goldogrin is explicitly present, whereas there
      isn't a trace of it in the 1914-16 poetry (except in that
      bloody 'preface'!); as is the defeat and imprisonment of
      the Gnomes.

      It was characteristic of Tolkien's creative process to
      envision an end-state, and then work towards it; often he
      never got there.* Earendil was the first spark, but never
      written; it's noteworthy though that the full title of
      the Gondolin A-text is "Of Tuor and the Exiles of
      Gondolin (which bringeth in the great tale of Earendel)"
      Likewise the Travail of the Noldoli was an envisioned end-
      state, the goal of the long 1919 sequenza from The Music
      through The Hiding of Valinor, which in turn modified it
      (also characteristic). It left marks on Gondolin, though,
      a conception much earlier than Ailos/Gilfanon, wherein
      the Noldoli returning were *almost immediately*
      vanquished and enslaved at Unnumbered Tears, save
      Turgon's folk; and their thraldom changed not only their
      tongue but even their bodies, making them bent and, well,

      OK, this is unfocused stream-of-consciousness blathering.
      Anyway if anyone who has seen the Kortirion manuscript,
      or the QL has an idea, please speak up- is their any
      trace of the actual legends predating Gnomish or

      *True also of the Eriol-Aelfwine frame-story, and the
      Lost Road/Notion Club, and in a way the Lord of the Rings
      as well.
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