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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room: Yes, I think that's right. : Edit Log


Apr 2, 5:28pm

Views: 1298
Yes, I think that's right.


In Reply To
So if I follow this correctly, then Tolkien always intended the story flow to be what we now see? And no chapter re-ordering was required when making Books, and then further splitting into the Trilogy?

Yes, I think that's right. Or at least, the story flow is what he submitted in his first manuscript, rather that something that was imposed or agreed for publishing production reasons. (Whether JRR experimented with different flows before deciding on the final one, I don't know)

As regards when Books and Volumes were introduced, it may be that others can answer more fully. But he idea of 'parts' is something JRR refers to in a letter to Unwins in March 1945, when he describes how far he's got with LOTR:

It is divided into Five Parts, of 10–12 chapters each (!). Four are completed, and the last begun. I could send it to you, Part by Part, with all its present imperfections on it–riders, alternatives, variable proper names–until you cry ‘halt! This is enough! It must go the way of “The Silmarillion” into the Limbo of the great unpublishables!’”

Letter 98

Part I - IV would have pretty much corresponded with Books I - IV as they are published in FOTR and TT, if I've understood correctly.

At some point, JRR must have decided that Part V was best split into V and VI. I infer that the LOTR manuscript that JRR handed over to Unwins in September 1952 was a 6-parter

By Letter 135 (24 October 1952) it's become clear that a one-volume or two-volume publication would have been impractically expensive. A plan of 2 parts (now Books) per volume and 3 volumes is being discussed in Letter 136 (24 March 1953), although JRR points out this isn't fully satisfactory as III and IV don't really form a satisfying pair. Possibly there weren't any other real options - six very short volumes might also have been impractical.

In Reply To
If that's the case, it's interesting how the consecutively-ordered chapters so neatly fell into fairly same-sized Books, and then into fairly same-sized Trilogy books.

Yes - but that seems to have been something that emerged as Tolkien wrote - note that he had five roughly equal parts in mind when he wrote Letter 98.

"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Apr 2, 5:32pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by noWizardme (Half-elven) on Apr 2, 5:32pm

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