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Re: [mythsoc] Lawsuit about Tolkien

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  • 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 1 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 2 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        My own (unpublished) Middle-earth history ran to about 600 pages, of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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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