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Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien

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  • 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 1 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
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      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 2 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
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        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

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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 3 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
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          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 4 of 13 , Dec 8, 2008
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            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 5 of 13 , Dec 9, 2008
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              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 6 of 13 , Dec 13, 2008
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                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






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              • 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 7 of 13 , Dec 22, 2008
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                  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 8 of 13 , Dec 23, 2008
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                    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

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