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Re: Lawsuit about Tolkien

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  • 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 1 of 13 , Feb 11 12:27 PM
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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      My own (unpublished) Middle-earth history ran to about 600 pages, of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 2 of 13 , Feb 11 4:19 PM
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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 3 of 13 , Feb 11 6:02 PM
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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 4 of 13 , Feb 12 12:06 AM
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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 5 of 13 , Feb 12 12:19 AM
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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 6 of 13 , Feb 12 10:00 AM
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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 7 of 13 , Feb 12 10:48 AM
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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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