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Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien

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  • Wayne G. Hammond
    ... We discussed this issue briefly in our note in the 50th anniversary edition of _The Lord of the Rings_, pp. xx-xxi, and in _The Lord of the Rings: A
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 7, 2008
      John (Davis) wrote:

      >Should one capitalise fantasy races?
      >
      >Now the obvious answer would seem to be no, no more than we capitalise
      >real species. So fox, rabbit, hobbit, elf.
      >
      >But Tolkien frequently - and frequently inconsistently, so far as I can
      >see - does capitalise. Not so much in the Hobbit, sometimes in LotR and
      >his letters, always in CoH (making it Christopher I suppose, but he should
      >know!).

      We discussed this issue briefly in our note in the 50th anniversary edition
      of _The Lord of the Rings_, pp. xx-xxi, and in _The Lord of the Rings: A
      Reader's Companion_, pp. 25-26.

      Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Davis
      Hi David, John; Which kind of illustrates the problem! Perhaps what is more important is to be consistent oneself? John ... From: David Bratman To:
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
        Hi David, John;

        Which kind of illustrates the problem!

        Perhaps what is more important is to be consistent oneself?

        John



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: David Bratman
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 3:27 AM
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien


        There is definitely no consistency, but the impression I have is that Tolkien's general practice is exactly the opposite of what you suggest. That is, he usually capitalizes the term if referring to the entire race, but uncapitalizes it if referring to individuals. "Bilbo the Hobbit" would be an exception: here "Hobbit" is an epithet and therefore capitalized, as you would say "Durin the Deathless".
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      • John Davis
        Hi Wayne, Can you tell me what conclusions you reached? John ... From: Wayne G. Hammond To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 4:07 AM
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
          Hi Wayne,

          Can you tell me what conclusions you reached?

          John


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Wayne G. Hammond
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 4:07 AM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien


          John (Davis) wrote:

          >Should one capitalise fantasy races?
          >
          >Now the obvious answer would seem to be no, no more than we capitalise
          >real species. So fox, rabbit, hobbit, elf.
          >
          >But Tolkien frequently - and frequently inconsistently, so far as I can
          >see - does capitalise. Not so much in the Hobbit, sometimes in LotR and
          >his letters, always in CoH (making it Christopher I suppose, but he should
          >know!).

          We discussed this issue briefly in our note in the 50th anniversary edition
          of _The Lord of the Rings_, pp. xx-xxi, and in _The Lord of the Rings: A
          Reader's Companion_, pp. 25-26.

          Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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        • Diane Joy
          An Urik-hai, I think? ... From: John D Rateliff To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, December 05, 2008 2:15 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
            An Urik-hai, I think?

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: John D Rateliff
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, December 05, 2008 2:15 PM
            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien


            Hi John
            As you say, Tolkien's not consistent on this point. But then
            again, given how long a span of time his legendarium materials cover,
            and the various states he left them in, complete consistency would
            have been hard to achieve. I personally don't feel that imposing a
            standardization onto his works is necessary or desirable.
            Re. the general question, "Should one capitalise fantasy races?",
            the standard at TSR was to leave the name of a race in lower-case but
            to capitalize a sub-race -- for example, "that orc is a Uruk-hai";
            "the elf turned out to be a Drow"; "Fallohides are the rarest of the
            three types of hobbit"; &c. I think here they were working on the
            model of ethnicities (e.g., asian vs. Mung). That at any rate was the
            rule they'd extrapolated, which worked pretty well.
            I hope this helps.
            --John R.

            On Dec 5, 2008, at 4:28 AM, John Davis wrote:
            > Hi,
            >
            > I've been banging my head against this one for a while, and would
            > appreciate any advice...
            >
            > Should one capitalise fantasy races?
            >
            > Now the obvious answer would seem to be no, no more than we
            > capitalise real species. So fox, rabbit, hobbit, elf.
            >
            > But Tolkien frequently - and frequently inconsistently, so far as I
            > can see - does capitalise. Not so much in the Hobbit, sometimes in
            > LotR and his letters, always in CoH (making it Christopher I
            > suppose, but he should know!). Shippey doesn't capitalise, other
            > writers do. Some people claim that the inconsistency is due to
            > Tolkien's editors and proofreaders not being up to the task, but
            > this doesn't seem to excuse the Letters (or does it?). It would be
            > nice to say that Tolkien used lower case if referring to the
            > species (a noun: 'the elven race is immortal', or 'an elven
            > sword'), and capitalised if referring to a specific individual or
            > group of individuals (a proper noun: 'Bilbo the Hobbit', or 'the
            > Hobbits in the boat'. But this doesn't seem to be the case,
            > certainly not by CoH.
            >
            > Online, some people advocate always capitalising fantasy races
            > (saying that they are really more a people), others advocate never
            > capitalising. Most seem unsure.
            >
            > Help!
            >
            > John





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          • Carl F. Hostetter
            No, it s Uruk-hai. And note that _-hai_ is a race-collective, meaning folk , so an individual can t be an Uruk-hai ; rather, one is of the Uruk-hai . Carl
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
              No, it's Uruk-hai. And note that _-hai_ is a race-collective, meaning
              "folk", so an individual can't be "an Uruk-hai"; rather, one is "of
              the Uruk-hai".

              Carl

              On Dec 9, 2008, at 1:11 AM, Diane Joy wrote:

              > An Urik-hai, I think?
              >
              >
            • Diane Joy
              I bow to greater knowledge. ... From: Carl F. Hostetter To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 2:55 AM Subject: [mythsoc] _Uruk-hai_ (was
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 9, 2008
                I bow to greater knowledge.
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Carl F. Hostetter
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 2:55 AM
                Subject: [mythsoc] _Uruk-hai_ (was Re: Capitalization in Tolkien)


                No, it's Uruk-hai. And note that _-hai_ is a race-collective, meaning
                "folk", so an individual can't be "an Uruk-hai"; rather, one is "of
                the Uruk-hai".

                Carl

                On Dec 9, 2008, at 1:11 AM, Diane Joy wrote:

                > An Urik-hai, I think?
                >
                >






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              • Wayne G. Hammond
                ... Our editorial brief for The Lord of the Rings was that we should follow Tolkien s intentions, when known or perceived with sufficient confidence.
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 13, 2008
                  John Davis wrote:

                  >Can you tell me what conclusions you reached?

                  Our editorial brief for The Lord of the Rings was that we should follow
                  Tolkien's intentions, when known or perceived with sufficient confidence.
                  Unfortunately, there were too many ambiguous or uncertain instances of
                  hobbits/Hobbits and other variously capitalized names of peoples (also of
                  sun/Sun, moon/Moon) in The Lord of the Rings to impose a general rule, so
                  we left things as they stood in our copy-text. Although we were able to
                  make a case for selected regularizations in other respects, Christopher
                  Tolkien agreed that it was best not to do so for the names of races. We
                  did, however, capitalize names of races, when used as such, in our added
                  commentary. Again, see The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion,
                  especially pp. 25-26. There was also a related issue with elvish/Elvish,
                  though there we had explicit JRRT direction: see Reader's Companion p. 173.

                  Wayne & Christina






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • John D Rateliff
                  I ve now finished up the Wilcox book, which turns out (like most of his works) to not be a book at all but an audiobook original -- essentialLY an extended
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 22, 2008
                    I've now finished up the Wilcox book, which turns out (like most of
                    his works) to not be a book at all but an audiobook original --
                    essentialLY an extended lecture or sermon. I wouldn't rank it as
                    essential but rather as for completists. I liked the second of the
                    two cds better, since there was less about Narnia on it. Despite its
                    presumptive focus, it really doesn't delve much into specifics about
                    how Lewis's ideas interact with Morman beliefs, which could have been
                    rather interesting, but rather holds him up as a champion for all
                    Xians. I'd hoped for an examination of THE GREAT DIVORCE (which
                    Wilcox describes as a favorite of his) in the light of Morman
                    afterlife/prejudgment teachings, but no such luck. A missed
                    opportunity, I'd say.
                    --JDR
                  • John Davis
                    Hi Wayne, Interesting - thanks for that. John ... From: Wayne G. Hammond To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:03 AM Subject: Re:
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 23, 2008
                      Hi Wayne,

                      Interesting - thanks for that.

                      John

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Wayne G. Hammond
                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:03 AM
                      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien


                      John Davis wrote:

                      >Can you tell me what conclusions you reached?

                      Our editorial brief for The Lord of the Rings was that we should follow
                      Tolkien's intentions, when known or perceived with sufficient confidence.
                      Unfortunately, there were too many ambiguous or uncertain instances of
                      hobbits/Hobbits and other variously capitalized names of peoples (also of
                      sun/Sun, moon/Moon) in The Lord of the Rings to impose a general rule, so
                      we left things as they stood in our copy-text. Although we were able to
                      make a case for selected regularizations in other respects, Christopher
                      Tolkien agreed that it was best not to do so for the names of races. We
                      did, however, capitalize names of races, when used as such, in our added
                      commentary. Again, see The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion,
                      especially pp. 25-26. There was also a related issue with elvish/Elvish,
                      though there we had explicit JRRT direction: see Reader's Companion p. 173.

                      Wayne & Christina

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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