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Re: Big research projects (was: Lawsuit about Tolkien)

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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