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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
JRRT Author & Illustrator, ch. 5: LOTR: The Book of Mazarbul

Luthien Rising

Mar 21 2007, 8:31pm

Views: 225
JRRT Author & Illustrator, ch. 5: LOTR: The Book of Mazarbul Can't Post

There were many recesses cut in the rock of the walls, and in them were large iron-bound chests of wood. All had been broken and plundered; but beside the shattered lid of one there lay the remains of a book. It had been slashed and stabbed and partly burned, and it was so stained with black and other dark marks like old blood that little of it could be read. Gandalf lifted it carefully, but the leaves crackled and broke as he laid it on the slab. He pored over it for some time without speaking. Frodo and Gimli standing at his side could see, as he gingerly turned the leaves, that they were written by many different hands, in runes, both of Moria and of Dale, and here and there in Elvish script. ...

Gandalf paused and set a few leaves aside. "There are several pages of the same sort, rather hastily written and much damaged, he said; "but I can make little of them in this light. Now there must be a number of leaves missing, because they begin to be numbered five, the fifth year of the colony, I suppose. Let me see! No, they are too cut and stained; I cannot read them. We might do better in the sunlight. Wait! Here is something: a large bold hand using an Elvish script." ...

... “Here is the last page of all." He paused and sighed.

"It is grim reading," he said. "I fear their end was cruel. Listen! We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there. Then there are four lines smeared so that I can only read went 5 days ago. The last lines run the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Óin. We cannot get out. The end comes, and then drums, drums in the deep. I wonder what that means. The last thing written is in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters: they are coming. There is nothing more."

The creation of pages from the Book of Mazarbul clearly captured Tolkien’s imagination. These pages went through many iterations – always complete with holes and other elements of deterioration and destruction. This project of imaginative reconstruction was more than just irresistible: it can be seen as central to Tolkien’s project.

Tolkien “made at least four preliminary sketches of the first of the three pages,” report Hammond and Scull, “and at least one sketch of each of the other two, chiefly in coloured pencil.” The first version of the first page – one I wish were reproduced in their book – was on the final leaf of the original manucript of the Moria chapter. The final version were not drawings, but actual destroyed pages.

The pages were not published, because Tolkien, who wanted all three to appear in the book, would not convert them into halftone (black and white) versions. It was colour or nothing, and the book was published without.

One Page of the Book of Moria (Book of Mazarbul, first page, second version); pencil and coloured pencil (#155, p. 160 in Hammond and Scull).

This version of the first page “is built upon a pencilled grid with numbered lines, the easier to inscribe the text in runes and devise areas of loss. The bottom right corner of the ‘page’ is detached” (H&S p. 163)

online: http://www.warofthering.net/...ien/Untitled-157.jpg

Untitled (Book of Mazarbul), third page, final art; black ink, coloured pencil, and watercolour (#156, p. 161 in Hammond and Scull)

online: http://www.warofthering.net/...ien/Untitled-158.jpg
larger: http://www.aumania.it/fa/tolkien/032.jpg

1. As we’ll want to remember in May, Beowulf was little known until it was transcribed in in the late eighteenth century from the only known manuscript copy – a copy that had been burned in a house fire in 1731. (It was published in the early nineteenth century.) Tolkien’s imagining of a similarly destroyed manuscript must owe something to Beowulf – but why does it appear here?

2. These “facsimile” pages were created alongside the Moria chapter, but were not published with it. Did you first read an edition with them or without them? What effect does their inclusion have on the reading experience? How would you publish them?

3. University honour’s course essay question:

These pages are supposed fascimiles of manuscripts inside a book that is a supposed translation of a supposed copy of a supposed manuscript book. Say something clever about that.

Lúthien Rising
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. / We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Subject User Time
JRRT Author & Illustrator, ch. 5: LOTR: The Book of Mazarbul Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Mar 21 2007, 8:31pm
    Manuscripts and scholars. wolfranger Send a private message to wolfranger Mar 21 2007, 9:34pm
        Oh, wow! GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Mar 22 2007, 12:03am
    Link to transcript of pages. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 21 2007, 11:02pm
        Thank you! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Mar 22 2007, 2:13am
    Why does it appear here? Why not? Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 21 2007, 11:55pm
        "Perhaps that was dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Mar 22 2007, 2:16am
        Gimli takes the Book of Mazarbul FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 23 2007, 7:33pm
            I'm sure Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 23 2007, 10:05pm
                I'd be far from sure FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 24 2007, 10:42am
            It always seemed odd to me that Gimli took the book. Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 24 2007, 2:08pm
                It certainly woud be hard FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 24 2007, 3:42pm
                    Sorry, I meant *would* be hard FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 24 2007, 9:05pm
                Maybe he parked it in Lothlorien for safe keeping?/ Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 26 2007, 7:54pm
    Tolkien is in his own element Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Mar 22 2007, 4:39am
    next post tomorrow - sorry for the delay! / Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Mar 22 2007, 8:57pm
    My answers, by drogo drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 22 2007, 9:22pm
    Riddles in the dark FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 24 2007, 10:07am
    Illustration or mock manuscript? squire Send a private message to squire Mar 26 2007, 3:48am
    a kind of homage Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Apr 4 2007, 1:22am


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