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Re: [mythsoc] Capitalization in Tolkien

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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