Re: Big research projects (was: Lawsuit about Tolkien)
- 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
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.
- At 12:06 AM 2/12/2002 , Michael Martinez wrote:
>--- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:Haste is not needed as an explanation: I was not sufficiently clear, and
>> 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
>Sorry. My mistake. I was stealing time from work.
the context of the discussion was subcreations, not biography.
>Anyway, that project is one where I've been asked not to disclose theReference works for the pseudo-history have been published before: Foster's
>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.
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
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'SDid he? I must have missed that. Do you have any references for this
>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".
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,OK, I must have misunderstood you. The origin of Celeborn is the most
>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.
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,
>But let me stress again that I change canons on an almost hourlyUnderstood; but for me to find this very practical (as opposed to
>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.
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.
- --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:
> At 12:06 AM 2/12/2002 , Michael Martinez wrote:Maeglin"
> >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
> >and "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin".this
> Did he? I must have missed that. Do you have any references for
> 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 theI use the second history of Celeborn and Galadriel (in UNFINISHED
> 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
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
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 hourlyThe book will represent a variety of perspectives and
> >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.
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
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.