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Lawsuit about Tolkien

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    See the article here: http://www.salon.com/ent/wire/2002/02/06/tolkien_estate/index.html The complete correspondence between Michael Perry and the lawyers for
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 6, 2002
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      See the article here:

      http://www.salon.com/ent/wire/2002/02/06/tolkien_estate/index.html

      The complete correspondence between Michael Perry and the lawyers for
      Tolkien's publishers is published in the most recent issue of _The Lewis
      Legacy_. The book is not a retelling of _The Lord of the Rings_. It's a
      chronology of the events of Middle-Earth.

      Wendell Wagner
    • David S. Bratman
      ... Thanks for the reference. I presume you haven t actually seen the book; nor have I. But speaking purely hypothetically, I don t see that a chronology of
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 7, 2002
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        At 09:41 PM 2/6/2002 , Wendell Wagner wrote:

        >The complete correspondence between Michael Perry and the lawyers for
        >Tolkien's publishers is published in the most recent issue of _The Lewis
        >Legacy_. The book is not a retelling of _The Lord of the Rings_. It's a
        >chronology of the events of Middle-Earth.

        Thanks for the reference. I presume you haven't actually seen the book;
        nor have I. But speaking purely hypothetically, I don't see that "a
        chronology of the events" is necessarily "not a retelling." As LOTR is a
        chronological story, any chronology amounts to a summarized retelling. And
        LOTR contains its own chronology of events: it's called Appendix B.

        But it also seems clear that HM have not condemned Perry's book out of
        hand: at this point they merely want a stay of publication while they
        examine it. (Why they didn't sign the nondisclosure agreement, so that
        they could see it earlier, I don't know. But I bet they had reasons.)

        I just finished cataloging a videotape on pre-trial mediation, conducted by
        the same judge who issued the stay order. Small world.

        David Bratman
      • WendellWag@aol.com
        In a message dated 2/7/2002 3:04:10 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Perry s book is a chronology of the entire history of Middle-Earth, not just of the events of
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 7, 2002
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          In a message dated 2/7/2002 3:04:10 AM Eastern Standard Time,
          dbratman@... writes:


          > As LOTR is a
          > chronological story, any chronology amounts to a summarized retelling.

          Perry's book is a chronology of the entire history of Middle-Earth, not just
          of the events of _The Lord of the Rings_. It would take considerable work to
          put together all the events in all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth books, and it
          looks from Perry's description that this isn't something that could be read
          as a novel. Whether chronological summarizations are covered under the
          copyright protection isn't something I can answer.

          Wendell Wagner


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David S. Bratman
          Please note the If s in what follows. I haven t read what Perry wrote, and am merely discussing possibilities. ... Appendix B, already in LOTR, is a
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 7, 2002
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            Please note the "If"s in what follows. I haven't read what Perry wrote,
            and am merely discussing possibilities.

            At 09:16 AM 2/7/2002 , Wendell Wagner wrote:

            >Perry's book is a chronology of the entire history of Middle-Earth, not just
            >of the events of _The Lord of the Rings_.

            Appendix B, already in LOTR, is a chronology of pretty much the entire
            history of Middle-earth.

            If Perry is merely copying, then copying from several of Tolkien's books
            wouldn't be any more justifiable than copying from just one of them.

            >It would take considerable work to
            >put together all the events in all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth books,

            It would also take considerable work to, say, type out LOTR word-for-word
            from scratch. Effort isn't the question here; the question is, how much
            original intellectual content does Perry have?

            >and it
            >looks from Perry's description that this isn't something that could be read
            >as a novel.

            Definitely beside the point in HM's opinion.

            >Whether chronological summarizations are covered under the
            >copyright protection isn't something I can answer.

            My guess is, it depends on how he presents the material. Plot summaries in
            Cliffs Notes and such books are clearly OK; but they are the summarizer's
            own words, and they are not the entirety of the books they're in. If
            Perry's work is mostly quotes or is too bald in style, he's on more
            questionable ground.

            My sympathy for Perry is limited. I'm in a similar situation: I'm the
            compiler of a massive documentary chronology of the Inklings. Perry's book
            is reportedly very short: mine is well over 50,000 words. My subject
            required much wider research: dozens of books by many authors, and
            literally weeks reading manuscripts at the Wade and the Bodleian. Yet,
            because my work is mostly quotations, I fear that it's unpublishable in
            this form. I've tried to solicit scholarly opinion on this, but I haven't
            gotten very far. It will never be submitted for publication unless I make
            absolutely sure it's OK with all the copyright holders quoted more than
            passingly. I have used it as source material for other work, though (my
            presentation at the D.C. Mythcon in 1994 was basically a summary of the
            work I'd done to date), and I am working on a summarized version in my own
            words, for which I have publication prospects.

            If Perry wants to guide readers through the maze of Tolkien's sub-creation
            - an admirable task - he should consider re-casting his research into
            another form, but bear in mind that the most easily usable form, an
            encyclopedia, was already compiled by Robert Foster - who provided, by the
            way, a chronology of the parts of Middle-earth's history not covered in
            Appendix B (and who did so as a supplement, not as his principal work).

            David Bratman
          • WendellWag@aol.com
            In a message dated 2/7/2002 12:47:27 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... By considerable work, I meant, of course, considerable intellectual work, not merely large
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 7, 2002
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              In a message dated 2/7/2002 12:47:27 PM Eastern Standard Time,
              dbratman@... writes:


              > >It would take considerable work to
              > >put together all the events in all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth books,
              >
              > It would also take considerable work to, say, type out LOTR word-for-word
              > from scratch. Effort isn't the question here; the question is, how much
              > original intellectual content does Perry have?
              >
              >

              By "considerable work," I meant, of course, considerable intellectual work,
              not merely large amounts of time.

              Wendell Wagner


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David S. Bratman
              ... That s not at all obvious to me. It would indeed be possible to create such a document with considerable intellectual input; but it would also be possible
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 7, 2002
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                At 08:50 PM 2/7/2002 , Wendell Wagner wrote:

                >dbratman@... writes:
                >
                > > >It would take considerable work to
                > > >put together all the events in all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth books,
                > >
                > > It would also take considerable work to, say, type out LOTR word-for-word
                > > from scratch. Effort isn't the question here; the question is, how much
                > > original intellectual content does Perry have?
                > >
                >By "considerable work," I meant, of course, considerable intellectual work,
                >not merely large amounts of time.

                That's not at all obvious to me. It would indeed be possible to create
                such a document with considerable intellectual input; but it would also be
                possible to create such a document with virtually no original thought
                whatever. The results would be very different documents, but which it is
                that Perry wrote we have no idea - as I said in the very remark you quoted.

                David Bratman
              • michael_martinez2
                I haven t seen Perry s book -- have never heard of him prior to this lawsuit -- but if his commentary on the chronology of all events in Middle-earth is less
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 11, 2002
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                  I haven't seen Perry's book -- have never heard of him prior to this
                  lawsuit -- but if his commentary on the chronology of all events in
                  Middle-earth is less than David Bratman's 50,000 words on all
                  Inklings works, I have to wonder how much original content is in
                  there.

                  My own (unpublished) Middle-earth history ran to about 600 pages, of
                  which the first 400 were fully written and the last 200 were outlined
                  and/or partially written. I had what I considered to be pretty
                  detailed chronologies and discussions of the cultures, but was
                  advised that the work might require additional end-notes (in some
                  sections) to win acceptance by the scholarly audience (and conversely
                  might require fewer end-notes to win acceptance by the mass market).

                  That was, of course, one person's opinion, but it seemed reasonable
                  to me. I have since put that project aside to collaborate on a
                  different though similar project. It, too, will run to more than
                  50,000 words. And this time we're not planning to be as detailed as
                  my original project.

                  I feel the chronology can be treated in one of two ways. It can be
                  viewed as a purely literary creation, where the commentator
                  says, "The author made THIS decision here and THAT decision there,
                  and THESE inconsistencies cannot be explained but THOSE
                  inconsistencies arise from the evolution and expansion of the
                  mythos...."

                  Or, it can be viewed as a credible history with some vague areas and
                  conflicting sources. I take the latter approach, although my
                  Suite101 essays sometimes shift between the two viewpoints. But in
                  a "history of events in Middle-earth", I think you have to separate
                  the critical voice from the chronicling voice. It becomes too
                  confusing. Somewhere you have to make some decisions about what is
                  canonical and go with that.

                  My research tries to glean all the relevant historical and cultural
                  information from about 20 books published by JRRT and CJRT. But
                  though that's a pretty sizable library, a lot of those books can be
                  almost wholly discounted. THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, for example, is
                  really not tied to "Middle-earth", the fictional past depicted in THE
                  LORD OF THE RINGS. It served as a model for parts of the various
                  Silmarillion texts, and Christopher mined it for material he felt was
                  required to complete "A" Silmarillion text. But BOLT's pixies, fays,
                  and gnomes (the predecessors of the Noldor) really have no place in
                  Middle-earth. Nor do Kortirion, the half-elven Beren, or the eveil
                  Tinwelint.

                  Anyway, I would be curious to see how this lawsuit turns out. If he
                  is just retelling the chronology in THE LORD OF THE RINGS, even
                  annotated with notes based on other books, I can't see how there is
                  much to say that hasn't been said already. And I have read where Mr.
                  Perry claims the book will have limited appeal. I think, based on
                  reactions to my own writing, he may be correct. People love the
                  speculations -- perhaps that is why David Day is so popular, although
                  I have tried to make it clear where I am speculating.
                • David S. Bratman
                  ... Clarification (the misapprehension is understandable): my chronology is not of the Inklings works, but of their lives. Specifically, of their mutual
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 11, 2002
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                    At 12:27 PM 2/11/2002 , Michael Martinez wrote:

                    >I haven't seen Perry's book -- have never heard of him prior to this
                    >lawsuit -- but if his commentary on the chronology of all events in
                    >Middle-earth is less than David Bratman's 50,000 words on all
                    >Inklings works, I have to wonder how much original content is in
                    >there.

                    Clarification (the misapprehension is understandable): my chronology is not
                    of the Inklings' works, but of their lives. Specifically, of their mutual
                    interactions (not the entirety of their lives). My scholarly interest here
                    is in the Inklings as a group.

                    Clarification requested: it's not clear to me from your description what
                    exactly you're writing, in either of your two projects. A basic history
                    textbook, in the first case? A series of ethnographic/historical
                    encyclopedia-style articles, in the other?

                    >THE BOOK OF LOST TALES ... served as a model for parts of the various
                    >Silmarillion texts, and Christopher mined it for material he felt was
                    >required to complete "A" Silmarillion text.

                    My impression, without having specially studied the matter, was that the
                    1977 Silmarillion text was constructed out of post-LOTR material with
                    considerable back-up taken from the late 1930s Silmarillion texts, but that
                    nothing was taken by CT from the Lays (except for one quote) or BLT. But
                    perhaps I am mistaken.

                    >Somewhere you have to make some decisions about what is
                    >canonical and go with that. ... But
                    >though that's a pretty sizable library, a lot of those books can be
                    >almost wholly discounted. THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, for example, is
                    >really not tied to "Middle-earth", the fictional past depicted in THE
                    >LORD OF THE RINGS. ... But BOLT's pixies, fays,
                    >and gnomes (the predecessors of the Noldor) really have no place in
                    >Middle-earth. Nor do Kortirion, the half-elven Beren, or the eveil
                    >Tinwelint.

                    Indeed they don't, but the question of where to draw the line is a vexing
                    one. Working from just what you call the "credible history" viewpoint,
                    I've seen at least four canons used:

                    1) The Hobbit (revised), LOTR, and the 1977 Silmarillion are canonical;
                    everything else is not. This approach has been hotly defended by some on
                    the old Tolkien Bitnet list. It seems to me unnecessarily limiting.

                    2) List 1, plus those non-contradictory materials which supplement them:
                    basically, most of Unfinished Tales, large parts of the last 3 volumes of
                    HoME, a few of the Letters. This is my preference when working in this field.

                    3) Absolutely everything. Usually taken as the canon by those working from
                    what you call the "literary creation" viewpoint, it can be (barely)
                    justified from what might be called the "_in_credible history" viewpoint by
                    accepting the contradictions as genuine in the sources but of varying
                    reliability. In this case, BLT could be seen as a hopelessly corrupt later
                    retelling, along the lines of some of the bad late medieval Sigurd poetry.
                    This approach was used by Tolkien himself in writing "The Drowning of
                    Anadune". And it's been used even in list 1 by writers of the "Sauron got
                    a bad rap" school.

                    4) Some of the contradictory material but not others, your approach. For
                    my part, whether I'd find a comprehensive work on the subcreation, written
                    from this viewpoint, to be useful would depend on how the dividing line was
                    justified. What's the difference between accepting the different origins
                    of (say) Celeborn, as described in Unfinished Tales, as all being "genuine"
                    (if vague and conflicting), but not accepting the different origins of
                    Beren, as described in BLT and the Silmarillion? The justification can be
                    made, it's made all the time in primary world historiography, but it needs
                    a solid intellectual foundation.

                    David Bratman
                  • Stolzi@aol.com
                    In a message dated 2/11/02 2:32:59 PM Central Standard Time, ... Unlike Hobbits: they liked to have books filled with things that they already knew, set out
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 11, 2002
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                      In a message dated 2/11/02 2:32:59 PM Central Standard Time,
                      michael@... writes:

                      > People love the
                      > speculations

                      Unlike Hobbits: "they liked to have books filled with things that they
                      already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions." (PROLOGUE,
                      Part 1)


                      Diamond Proudbrook
                    • michael_martinez2
                      NOTE: I am trying to snip liberally for the sake of brevity, such as I am able to contrive at this late/wee hour. ... Sorry. My mistake. I was stealing time
                      Message 10 of 13 , Feb 12, 2002
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                        NOTE: I am trying to snip liberally for the sake of brevity, such as
                        I am able to contrive at this late/wee hour.

                        --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:

                        > Clarification (the misapprehension is understandable): my
                        > chronology is not of the Inklings' works, but of their lives.
                        > Specifically, of their mutual interactions (not the entirety of
                        > their lives). My scholarly interest here is in the Inklings as a
                        > group.

                        Sorry. My mistake. I was stealing time from work.

                        > Clarification requested: it's not clear to me from your description
                        > what exactly you're writing, in either of your two projects. A
                        > basic history textbook, in the first case? A series of
                        > ethnographic/historical encyclopedia-style articles, in the other?

                        Since the first project is shelved, perhaps permanently, I don't mind
                        discussing it. The second project, unfortunately, is not mine to
                        explain. I was approached for the second project by a gentleman who
                        has worked with Dean Koontz and Stephen King, and who wanted to
                        recruit a team of people to do a book about Middle-earth. We have a
                        proposal which is being refined and will be submitted to a major
                        publisher. Some outside opinions have been sought, and are being
                        sought, in the hope that the project will be pitched with as much
                        support from inside the Tolkien community as possible (and I realize
                        that most of the people on this list have not heard about this
                        project before -- many of you would certainly qualify among those
                        whose opinions would be helpful, but I am not soliciting the
                        opinions, except where I may have some contact with people).

                        Anyway, that project is one where I've been asked not to disclose the
                        details or even the general concept, beyond the fact that it is
                        a "history" book and it will be quite unlike anything previously
                        published in the Tolkien field. It is a reference work for the
                        pseudo-history, not a literary analysis of the mythology.

                        I dare not say more.

                        The ORIGINAL project was basically a collection of essays on the
                        various kingdoms, tribes, peoples from the return of the Noldor up
                        through the Fourth Age (as much of it as could be documented). Each
                        essay was accompanied by end notes explaining most of the obscure
                        details (types of weapons used by soldiers, who was married to whom,
                        movements of peoples, where all this stuff could be found, etc.) and
                        in some cases explaining some of my reasoning (why I picked one
                        interpretation of the texts over another). Each essay was concluded
                        with a chronological table showing the years in which significant
                        events occurred.

                        The essays discuss -- as much as possible -- economics, law, social
                        customs and anything else which Tolkien might have made reference
                        to. Rarely used names were thrust to the forefront of the narrative
                        (such as Marachians for the House of Hador, Beorians for the First
                        House, etc.). It's a history text, straight forward, a bit dull in
                        places, perhaps. It covers geography and occasionally delves into
                        motives of various movers and shakers, as well as potential
                        consequences. I had also planned to include about 30 illustrations,
                        maps, although I never was able to find an illustrator who could draw
                        exactly the kind of maps I wanted.

                        Some portions of that history project have been published in small
                        ways. I submitted my "History of the Kingdom of Hithlum" to the
                        journal OTHER HANDS a few years ago. I later on wrote an essay about
                        the peoples of the Second Age for that journal but based it on the
                        history book's notes. (I think both those pieces were picked up by
                        one or more other small journals, but I don't recall the details).
                        And last year, when I was pressed for time after I moved to Texas and
                        took a job, I published on Suite101 what was to be one of the
                        appendices. This was the three-part "History of the Last Alliance of
                        Elves and Men", which originally was solicited by the Arda journal's
                        last editor. He never finished the volume he was working on, and
                        though I had decided early on to make that account an appendix in the
                        history book, it worked out well enough as a Suite101 essay.

                        I suppose that, if I ever give in to my readers' requests and publish
                        a sequel to Visualizing Middle-earth, I could include the Last
                        Alliance essays. I did submit a proposal for a sequel to a small
                        press, but I don't think it included those three pieces.

                        Just off the top of my head, I had a chapter devoted to the Noldor in
                        the First Age, a chapter for the Sindar in the First Age, a chapter
                        for the Noldor in the Second Age, a chapter for the Sindar in the
                        Second Age, a chapter for the Edain in the First Age, a chapter for
                        the Edain the Second Age (mostly Numenor, but not entirely so), and
                        chapters for Arnor and Gondor, as well as chapters on the Dwarves and
                        other peoples.

                        I based two other Suite101 essays, "Them Dwarves, Them Dwarves"
                        and "Them Dwarves, Them Dwarves, Part II" on my research for the
                        Dwarven material.

                        I spent about two years working on that project. When Chris Zavisa
                        approached me about the current project, I showed him the proposal
                        for the original history book. A small press had actually expressed
                        an interest in it a few years ago, but then went out of business.
                        While he agreed that the research covered what he wanted, he
                        explained his concept to me more fully and I decided it would be
                        better to write an entirely new text to fit with his design better.
                        The rough draft for the proposal simply blew my socks off. I only
                        wish I could speak about it in greater detail, but I have to let the
                        wheels turn and see what comes back.

                        And though I have not said to whom the proposal will be submitted, it
                        is not necessary for anyone to provide me with names and addresses,
                        or warnings. Let it suffice to say that someone of greater stature
                        than I, who has already worked with the Tolkien Estate, is involved
                        with the project. I doubt we will try to go forward with anything
                        that would be opposed by the Estate, but they have not (to my
                        knowledge) seen the proposal yet.

                        Actually, I'm not sure how far along it has advanced. My work for
                        the proposal is finished and I'm now working on the primary text. So
                        I am out of the loop, except for occasional "Oh, by the way..." news
                        from Chris.

                        > >THE BOOK OF LOST TALES ... served as a model for parts of the
                        > >various Silmarillion texts, and Christopher mined it for material
                        > >he felt was required to complete "A" Silmarillion text.
                        >
                        > My impression, without having specially studied the matter, was
                        > that the 1977 Silmarillion text was constructed out of post-LOTR
                        > material with considerable back-up taken from the late 1930s
                        > Silmarillion texts, but that nothing was taken by CT from the Lays
                        > (except for one quote) or BLT. But perhaps I am mistaken.

                        That's a reasonable summary for what Christopher devoted MORGOTH'S
                        RING and THE WAR OF THE JEWELS to explaining, but he had to draw
                        upon "The Fall of Gondolin" directly for some parts in "Of Maeglin"
                        and "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin".

                        >>... Nor do Kortirion, the half-elven Beren, or the evil
                        > >Tinwelint [belong in Middle-earth].
                        >
                        > Indeed they don't, but the question of where to draw the line is a
                        > vexing one. Working from just what you call the "credible history"
                        > viewpoint, I've seen at least four canons used:
                        >
                        > 1) The Hobbit (revised), LOTR, and the 1977 Silmarillion are
                        > canonical; everything else is not. This approach has been hotly
                        > defended by some on the old Tolkien Bitnet list. It seems to me
                        > unnecessarily limiting.

                        Technically, I don't work from a single canon. I have found it
                        impossible. But, generally speaking, I try to work from this one:

                        The 2nd edition of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, as updated with final
                        corrections (the "Douglas Anderson edition", as some put it).

                        The 3rd edition of THE HOBBIT, as presented in THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT
                        (although Anderson suggests there is a technical fourth edition,
                        IIRC).

                        THE ROAD GOES EVER ON, 1st edition (does not include "Bilbo's Last
                        Song")

                        THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BOMBADIL

                        THE SILMARILLION

                        and portions of UNFINISHED TALES. I have lately begun to draw upon
                        much of the pre-publication material intended for the appendices
                        which Christopher published in THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH.

                        A complete consistency cannot be achieved, if one seeks to include
                        all relevant material. Middle-earth, from the time Tolkien decided
                        that LoTR would be more than just a sequel to THE HOBBIT, went
                        through what I have identified as three phases of development (and a
                        fourth one was planned, started upon, but never brought to
                        completion):

                        1) Initial composition, the 1st edition (1937-48, 1950-52)

                        2) Post-LoTR texts, including material intended for and eventually
                        used in THE SILMARILLION, but also including some of the UNFINISHED
                        TALES texts (mid-1950s to early 1960s)

                        3) Ace Books-inspired revisions. The 3rd Edition HOBBIT and 2nd
                        Edition LoTR, in my opinion, introduced changes which Tolkien felt
                        were needed to justify the new copyright, and which probably
                        reflected or launched his third phase of development. This last
                        phase is the most difficult to document, but includes some of the
                        later material in UNFINISHED TALES, MORGOTH'S RING, and THE WAR OF
                        THE JEWELS.

                        That more-or-less coincides with your second option.

                        I cannot accept the inclusion of everything. It's bad enough when
                        Tolkien stops what he is doing in Middle-earth and starts over. But
                        to bring in the earlier Silmarillion mythology and the Lost Tales
                        mythology is, in my opinion, completely absurd. Some people just
                        don't see any reason to distinguish between the England-based stories
                        of BOLT and the 1960s material, and I've given up trying to explain
                        the innumerable differences to them.

                        If this point of view arose originally from the literary analysts, I
                        should just point out that I've often disagreed with them on many
                        points anyway.

                        > 4) Some of the contradictory material but not others, your
                        > approach. For my part, whether I'd find a comprehensive work on
                        > the subcreation, written from this viewpoint, to be useful would
                        > depend on how the dividing line was justified. What's the
                        > difference between accepting the different origins of (say)
                        > Celeborn, as described in Unfinished Tales, as all being "genuine"
                        > (if vague and conflicting), but not accepting the different origins
                        > of Beren, as described in BLT and the Silmarillion? The
                        > justification can be made, it's made all the time in primary world
                        > historiography, but it needs a solid intellectual foundation.

                        Although you're just offering an example, I would not, in fact,
                        attempt to rationalize the differences between the Celeborn
                        histories. He started out (in Christopher's estimation) as a
                        Nandorin Elf, but in the 2nd Edition he was made into a Sinda. In
                        the last year of Tolkien's life, Celeborn became an inexplicable
                        grandson of Olwe of Alqualonde, thus implying that Tolkien had
                        forgotten about or set aside the taboo among the Eldar against
                        marrying first cousins.

                        I accept Celeborn simply as one of the Sindar. Nothing else works
                        within the framework of the other texts I rely upon.


                        But let me stress again that I change canons on an almost hourly
                        basis, depending upon who I am discussing something with or writing
                        for, and what the topic is. I can't stay within the confines of a
                        single canon, and yet I cannot work with the gelatinous complexity of
                        all the Tolkien works. One might as well include ROVERANDOM's
                        episode with the Bay of Elvenhome, or Smith of Wootton Major's walks
                        through Faerie, in the Middle-earth canon as THE BOOK OF LOST TALES.
                        They are only slightly more remote from the Middle-earth mythology
                        than BOLT, and some people might argue they are somewhat closer.
                      • michael_martinez2
                        Not that I think anyone is taking notes, but I omitted two other ... I do also usually draw upon THE WAR OF THE JEWELS and MORGOTH S RING, although some of the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Feb 12, 2002
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                          Not that I think anyone is taking notes, but I omitted two other
                          titles from the list of my base canon:

                          --- In mythsoc@y..., "michael_martinez2" <michael@x> wrote:
                          >
                          > Technically, I don't work from a single canon. I have found it
                          > impossible. But, generally speaking, I try to work from this one:
                          >
                          > The 2nd edition of THE LORD OF THE RINGS
                          > The 3rd edition of THE HOBBIT
                          > THE ROAD GOES EVER ON, 1st edition>
                          > THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BOMBADIL
                          > THE SILMARILLION
                          > and portions of UNFINISHED TALES. I have lately begun to draw upon
                          > much of the pre-publication material intended for the appendices
                          > which Christopher published in THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH.

                          I do also usually draw upon THE WAR OF THE JEWELS and MORGOTH'S RING,
                          although some of the material in these books conflicts with other
                          sources.

                          And in very rare cases, I have looked through THE TREASON OF
                          ISENGARD, THE WAR OF THE RING, and SAURON DEFEATED for insight. I
                          don't think I've relied much upon THE RETURN OF THE SHADOW.

                          Finally, "Lay of Leithian" is simply timeless. Although there
                          conflicts between details in the "Lay" and later books, it's just too
                          important a source text to pass up. I may not give precedence to
                          what I find in the "Lay", but I still look through it for relevant
                          details on a lot of subjects.
                        • David S. Bratman
                          ... Haste is not needed as an explanation: I was not sufficiently clear, and the context of the discussion was subcreations, not biography. ... Reference works
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 12, 2002
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                            At 12:06 AM 2/12/2002 , Michael Martinez wrote:

                            >--- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:
                            >
                            >> Clarification (the misapprehension is understandable): my
                            >> chronology is not of the Inklings' works, but of their lives.
                            >> Specifically, of their mutual interactions (not the entirety of
                            >> their lives). My scholarly interest here is in the Inklings as a
                            >> group.
                            >
                            >Sorry. My mistake. I was stealing time from work.

                            Haste is not needed as an explanation: I was not sufficiently clear, and
                            the context of the discussion was subcreations, not biography.

                            >Anyway, that project is one where I've been asked not to disclose the
                            >details or even the general concept, beyond the fact that it is
                            >a "history" book and it will be quite unlike anything previously
                            >published in the Tolkien field. It is a reference work for the
                            >pseudo-history, not a literary analysis of the mythology.

                            Reference works for the pseudo-history have been published before: Foster's
                            Guide, Tyler's guide, Day's guides (pfooey), Fonstad and Strachey's
                            atlases, An Introduction to Elvish, etc.

                            So I await with eagerness the opportunity to learn what makes this one
                            quite unlike those that have come before. It looks like I may have to wait
                            a while.

                            I recommend for your perusal, if you haven't already looked at it, Michael
                            Stanton's _Hobbits, Elves, and Wizards_. It has its factual flubs, but it
                            also has what seems to me a pretty good accounting of the subcreational
                            "rough spots" in LOTR, odd things that lack explanation or need pondering.
                            Including the "walking-tree" bit that was giving us such trouble a while ago.

                            For others reading this, though, I must emphasize that I do NOT recommend
                            Stanton's book to anyone who doesn't already know LOTR backwards and
                            forwards. He is so efficient at nailing Tolkien's subtle points and
                            numinous atmosphere to the page that he'll spoil LOTR readers' appreciation
                            of anything they haven't discovered for themselves. Normally I don't say
                            things like that - for instance, I do not think seeing the film first will
                            spoil your appreciation of the book, though it may give you a false
                            impression of what the book is like - but this time it's true. IMO, of
                            course: caveat emptor.

                            >That's a reasonable summary for what Christopher devoted MORGOTH'S
                            >RING and THE WAR OF THE JEWELS to explaining, but he had to draw
                            >upon "The Fall of Gondolin" directly for some parts in "Of Maeglin"
                            >and "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin".

                            Did he? I must have missed that. Do you have any references for this
                            handy? If not, I'll put it on my mental "check up on this" list.

                            >Although you're just offering an example, I would not, in fact,
                            >attempt to rationalize the differences between the Celeborn
                            >histories. He started out (in Christopher's estimation) as a
                            >Nandorin Elf, but in the 2nd Edition he was made into a Sinda. In
                            >the last year of Tolkien's life, Celeborn became an inexplicable
                            >grandson of Olwe of Alqualonde, thus implying that Tolkien had
                            >forgotten about or set aside the taboo among the Eldar against
                            >marrying first cousins.
                            >
                            >I accept Celeborn simply as one of the Sindar. Nothing else works
                            >within the framework of the other texts I rely upon.

                            OK, I must have misunderstood you. The origin of Celeborn is the most
                            prominent example of contradictory texts of the sort that I thought you
                            were including in your canon, as opposed to ones like BLT that you're
                            leaving out. Can you give a better example of the sort of contradictory
                            (not just vague) texts you are including as canonical?

                            But my major point is that for me to find a reference work for the
                            subcreation useful, I need to know what the compiler is considering
                            canonical and what reliable (not always the same thing with Tolkien!), and
                            to have a rational and logical distinction made. (Foster gets a pass for
                            his limited canon because that's all he had back in 1978.) In your case,
                            you write:

                            >But let me stress again that I change canons on an almost hourly
                            >basis, depending upon who I am discussing something with or writing
                            >for, and what the topic is. I can't stay within the confines of a
                            >single canon, and yet I cannot work with the gelatinous complexity of
                            >all the Tolkien works.

                            Understood; but for me to find this very practical (as opposed to
                            theoretical) approach useful for detailed subcreational study, I hope you
                            will supply commentary and justification of what you consider canonical and
                            what reliable on various topics, even at the risk of popping out of the
                            subcreational stance and into the "literary work" stance to do it. My
                            instincts on what should be worked with on a given point may be different
                            from yours, and others' instincts different from either of ours, so I want
                            to know what sources such a work is using or not using.

                            David Bratman
                          • michael_martinez2
                            ... Maeglin ... this ... I m at work again. :) THE WAR OF THE JEWELS explains the processes he used to create those chapters. Of Maeglin was more like a
                            Message 13 of 13 , Feb 12, 2002
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                              --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:
                              > At 12:06 AM 2/12/2002 , Michael Martinez wrote:
                              > >That's a reasonable summary for what Christopher devoted MORGOTH'S
                              > >RING and THE WAR OF THE JEWELS to explaining, but he had to draw
                              > >upon "The Fall of Gondolin" directly for some parts in "Of
                              Maeglin"
                              > >and "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin".
                              >
                              > Did he? I must have missed that. Do you have any references for
                              this
                              > handy? If not, I'll put it on my mental "check up on this" list.

                              I'm at work again. :)

                              THE WAR OF THE JEWELS explains the processes he used to create those
                              chapters. "Of Maeglin" was more like a negative-use than an actual
                              use. That is, he tried to create a coherent story while glossing
                              over various names he felt should not have been used in it
                              (Glorfindel and Ecthelion, for example, would have been responsible
                              for losing Aredhel). "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin" relies
                              extensively upon the fragmentary "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
                              (a post-LoTR text published in UNFINISHED TALES) up to the point
                              where it breaks off (Tuor's arrival at Gondolin). From that point
                              onward, the only detailed source Christopher had available was "The
                              Fall of Gondolin", so he engaged in some radical compression.

                              These two chapters do appear to be weak, after reading the
                              explanations Christopher offers for how he constructed them. But
                              they are much more satisfying than "Of the Ruin of Doriath", which
                              departed from JRRT's briefly stated ideas radically.

                              > OK, I must have misunderstood you. The origin of Celeborn is the
                              > most prominent example of contradictory texts of the sort that I
                              > thought you were including in your canon, as opposed to ones like
                              > BLT that you're leaving out. Can you give a better example of the
                              > sort of contradictory (not just vague) texts you are including as
                              > canonical?

                              I use the second history of Celeborn and Galadriel (in UNFINISHED
                              TALES) as my primary source for information regarding events in
                              Eregion and the War of the Elves and Sauron, even though in this
                              second history Amroth is their son (and not the son of the ubiquitous
                              Amdir/Malgalad).

                              I also use a lot of the information in "Quendi and Eldar", even
                              though some of the points made there contradicted earlier material.
                              One case deals with Eol's relationship to Thingol. I think that,
                              in "Quendi and Eldar", he is a Tatyarin Elf (an Avar) who has somehow
                              become a part of Thingol's realm. Hence, his resentment of the
                              Noldor is explained by an aside which states that the Tatyarin Avari
                              felt the Noldor (their western cousins) were arrogant. I'm not sure,
                              but I think Tolkien eventually restored Eol to the Sindar. I tend to
                              disregard the tradition of Eol as a Tatya, but I accept other points
                              regarding the Tatyar.

                              > >But let me stress again that I change canons on an almost hourly
                              > >basis, depending upon who I am discussing something with or
                              > >writing for, and what the topic is. I can't stay within the
                              > >confines of a single canon, and yet I cannot work with the
                              > >gelatinous complexity of all the Tolkien works.
                              >
                              > Understood; but for me to find this very practical (as opposed to
                              > theoretical) approach useful for detailed subcreational study, I
                              > hope you will supply commentary and justification of what you
                              > consider canonical and what reliable on various topics, even at the
                              > risk of popping out of the subcreational stance and into
                              > the "literary work" stance to do it. My instincts on what should
                              > be worked with on a given point may be different from yours, and
                              > others' instincts different from either of ours, so I want
                              > to know what sources such a work is using or not using.

                              The book will represent a variety of perspectives and
                              interpretations. I don't necessarily agree with them all. I am the
                              primary author, but mine is not the only voice which will be evident
                              in the book. Although I have set a fairly definitive canonical
                              standard for myself, I've already run into a couple of situations
                              where I have had to accept compromise. But it was true compromise,
                              with both parties making some concessions to the others.

                              I suppose we run the risk of being criticized for creating a work by
                              committee. But the other people involved in the project are
                              contributing things which are simply beyond me. And I think that, in
                              the end, this book (if published) will earn a high degree of
                              credibility because it won't be perceived as one person's point-of-
                              view or interpretation. People will undoubtedly find things to
                              object to -- that is inevitable. But what we are doing has not
                              really been attempted before (at least -- nothing like it has ever
                              been published -- I suppose there could have been many failed
                              attempts).

                              I can only hope people will appreciate the effort once they see it.
                              Early reaction to the proposal has been completely enthusiastic. I
                              just have to go forward believing that we'll be able to sustain the
                              enthusiasm sufficiently to get the project to completion. After
                              that, it will be up to the readers to make the final call.
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