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Re: [mythsoc] Lawsuit about Tolkien

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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