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