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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Arda Reconstructed to be published

Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jan 31 2008, 4:45pm

Post #1 of 20 (1002 views)
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Arda Reconstructed to be published Can't Post

I am very pleased to announce that my book, Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion, has been accepted for publication by the Lehigh University Press. LUP is a member of the Associated University Presses, who will actually be issuing the formal contract, but I don't anticipate that there should be any problem with that. I don't have any information on when it is likely to be available, or other details, but I will surely post that information when I have it.

Here is a brief description of the book:

Quote
In The History of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien documents in amazing detail the development of the lifelong work of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien, that would become The Silmarillion. However, neither Christopher Tolkien himself, nor anyone else, has ever thoroughly documented the final step: his actual creation (several years after his father's death) of the published work.

That has finally changed. ARDA RECONSTRUCTED: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion reveals a tapestry woven by Christopher Tolkien from different portions of his father's work that is often quite mind-boggling, with inserts that seemed initially to have been editorial inventions shown to have come from some remote other portion of Tolkien's vast body of work. I demonstrate how material that was written over the course of more than 30 years was merged together. I also make a frank appraisal of the material omitted by Christopher Tolkien (and in a couple of egregious cases the material invented by him) and how these omissions and insertions may have distorted his father's vision of what he considered—even more then The Lord of the Rings—to be his most important work. It is a fascinating portrait of a unique collaboration that reached beyond the grave.


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 31 2008, 9:12pm

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Congratulations! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's nice to learn that all your hard work paid off with what should be a valuable reference tool to aid in understanding the fiendishly complex construction of The Silmarillion. I look forward to its publication.

For general reference, here's a link to the post where Voronwë's project was first brought to this forum's attention by dna, in Oct. 2006.

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Ataahua
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 31 2008, 11:51pm

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Well done! :) / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
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Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 1 2008, 12:04am

Post #4 of 20 (664 views)
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Congratulations! [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a great achievement.


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a.s.
Valinor


Feb 1 2008, 12:06am

Post #5 of 20 (668 views)
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Excellent, how exciting [In reply to] Can't Post

Make sure you let us know when and where we can purchase it!

a.s.

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"And we must all bring Provisions."
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"Things to eat."
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entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 1 2008, 12:47am

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Wow! Congratulations! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll definitely be buying a copy. I can resist all the movie stuff, but I can't resist a Tolkien book. Be sure to keep us posted.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Feb 1 2008, 2:09am

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Thank you all! [In reply to] Can't Post

I will surely keep you all informed. Although as N.E.B. mentions, it is not likely to be until next year before the book is available.

An extra big thank you to everyone's favorite Brigand for the invaluable assistance that he gave me.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


Beren IV
Gondor


Feb 1 2008, 2:19am

Post #8 of 20 (680 views)
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Congratulations indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

That Arda is reconstructed is of monumental import, needed for readers to understand, and I think that your book may make that clear! Congratulations! Tell us when it is out! Smile

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 1 2008, 2:28am

Post #9 of 20 (662 views)
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Congratulations! [In reply to] Can't Post

This sounds like it's going to be more interesting than parts of the Sil itself!


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Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2008, 1:21pm

Post #10 of 20 (689 views)
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Congrats! [In reply to] Can't Post

That is an excellent accomplishment- I'll be sure to be looking around for it! Sounds great.

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Curious
Half-elven


Feb 2 2008, 3:01pm

Post #11 of 20 (641 views)
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I look forward to it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm far too lazy to work out the details myself, so I look forward to your book with interest!


SilentLion
Rivendell

Feb 3 2008, 3:01pm

Post #12 of 20 (640 views)
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Congrats!!! ... but I thought Bilbo translated it from the original Elvish [In reply to] Can't Post

And now you come along and tell me Christopher Tolkien pieced it together!!!

Seriously, congratulations on some very hard work.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Feb 3 2008, 4:13pm

Post #13 of 20 (669 views)
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Don't tell anyone ... [In reply to] Can't Post

... but Christopher actually IS Bilbo. Wink

Thanks again for the congratulations, everyone, It is very gratifying.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


dna
The Shire

Feb 5 2008, 6:43am

Post #14 of 20 (775 views)
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and so it begins... the conceit, that is ;-) [In reply to] Can't Post

But of course Christopher is Bilbo! How else, pray tell, is anyone expected to enjoy the published Sil these days? Wink

And congrats, Voronwe!

If this publication is as I hope - and I mean that with full optimism, Faithful One, knowing your inspired intentions & follow-through abilities with a publisher devoted to taking on the task - it should be a significant revolution in discussing Tolkien wrt 'Middle-earth Matters'. No more will ad hoc quotes from the Sil be blindly tolerated, as anyone with a degree of respect and a penchant for detail (Tolkien fans? No way!!!) will have their 'Sil-Companion' at the ready!

So, what will this do to the published Sil?

Verlyn Flieger is known to lace her talks on Tolkien by embracing the question, "who wrote this book that I'm holding, and how did it get here?"; pursuing the desirable suspension of disbelief so critical to Tolkien in "On Fairy-Tales" (which Flieger cites as Tolkien's crucial link to penning LotR, not caring herself much for The Hobbit, which had no such framing conceit until the Sequel's Preface).

Christopher, alas, has ignored this essential element (not only for Tolkien's Middle-earth, but almost all fantasy) for 30 years. But J.R.R. clearly set-up his intended Sil to be the handywork of one Bilbo Baggins (also from the Sequel's Preface); just as he also clearly framed The Children of Hurin as a work of the Mannish poet Dirhaval at Earendil's Havens in the 1st Age, but that's another matter...

Like it or not, J.R.R. Tolkien did not write upwards of 25% of the published Sil - a figure I'd heard speculated before, but one in which studying Voronwe's work I'm forced to uphold. Sure, Christopher took most of it from his father's writings; but very few paragraphs remained intact. It was all mostly altered, with generally over 10% of the words added outright (not including changes in word-order, punctuation, capitalization, etc); and pieced together from divergent scattered writings, bottoming out in Chapter 22, which was less than half (if not closer to 1/3) J.R.R. Tolkien. Christopher strikingly changed much of it for his purposes - one of which was completely eradicating all semblance of who may have written these stories, that we all wish to know.

So let the conceit, to last as I predict for years, now officially begin...

I'll start it off, rather easily...

Bilbo, with the aid of Lothlorien/Rivendell scribes, if not Galadriel & Celeborn themselves, altered the 'Ruin of Doriath' tale (as truthfully told in BoLT 2 by Eressean story-tellers) to best preserve Elf/Dwarf relations (& others - Sindar/Noldor, Nogrod/Belegost, Men/Elves, Dwarves/Ents, etc) needed well into the 3rd Age...

So, in this same vein, why did Bilbo alter Gil-galad's parentage? Wink


squire
Half-elven


Feb 5 2008, 12:43pm

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Oh, my word [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see there is going to be a lot of fun coming out of this for a long time to come. Voronwe's effort will be an excellent starting point for helping people, who have not read HoME to the last word, understand that The Silmarillion was far more complex than one canonical manuscript.

But if I remember, Christopher Tolkien has stated that HoME does not by any means contain all the manuscript material that was available to him for the production of The Silmarillion. As we have seen from his notes on the assembly of The Children of Hurin, about which his Appendix was a bit more straightforward, he often picked and chose from several variants that were available, but which were too much alike or too awkward or fragmentary to justify publication in HoME.

Thus, while we can now, thanks to Voronwe, identify easily which parts of the HoME corpus went where in the Sil, it would be premature to conclude that any aspect of the latter text that does not appear verbatim in HoME was de facto a creation of CT or his staff. Some was - he has said so, though without any precision. But not necessarily all - much remains to be found out, and may be found out, in the next generation when the Tolkien Estate permits scholarly investigations of CT's papers that will no doubt lead to a much-awaited The History of the History of Middle-earth, pub. c. 2030!

You start the games with:

Bilbo, with the aid of Lothlorien/Rivendell scribes, if not Galadriel & Celeborn themselves, altered the 'Ruin of Doriath' tale (as truthfully told in BoLT 2 by Eressean story-tellers) to best preserve Elf/Dwarf relations (& others - Sindar/Noldor, Nogrod/Belegost, Men/Elves, Dwarves/Ents, etc) needed well into the 3rd Age...

But I thought Bilbo's truthfulness was so characteristic of him that his lie about the finding of the Ring struck Gandalf as most suspicious. And his "Translations from the Elvish", which we will now consider to be the manuscript for the published book The Silmarillion, was said (by whom?) to be work of great learning and skill. Both these characterizations of Bilbo and his work suggest that he would not alter any tale he came across to this great an extent, certainly not for "political" reasons, anathema to any scholar who would be faithful to the dignity and honor of the First Children.

And when in the course of his retirement would Bilbo have received the aid of anyone from Lothlorien, much less Galadriel and Celeborn, whom he never met until the last riding to the Sea?

Finally, there is the idea that the Elves of the late Third Age would somehow count on the scholarship, translation ability, and cultural clout of Bilbo Baggins, late of the Shire, to transmit their legends to the latter-day mortal world. Surely the renewed Kingdom of Elessar, with its long and honorable connection to the Eldar, and its long tradition of learned historians and men of letters, would be the proper vehicle? (The Prince of Ithilien is going to need something to do, after all.) Not to mention that Elessar would see the "political" problem in a clearer light, since it is his world that will need that relatively peaceful mythology.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Feb 5 2008, 3:40pm

Post #16 of 20 (641 views)
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You Are Quite Correct [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But if I remember, Christopher Tolkien has stated that HoME does not by any means contain all the manuscript material that was available to him for the production of The Silmarillion. As we have seen from his notes on the assembly of The Children of Hurin, about which his Appendix was a bit more straightforward, he often picked and chose from several variants that were available, but which were too much alike or too awkward or fragmentary to justify publication in HoME.


That is true (although it is far more true regarding the material concerning Turin than any other part of the legendarium). Not only are there variants of texts, but there is also material that may have affected his editorial decisions. For instance, there is a statement in the recently released "Words, Phrases and Passages in various tongues in The Lord of the Rings" that was edited by Christopher Gilson and published in Parma Eldalamberon 17 that provides a possible explanation for a particularly puzzling omission (this was pointed out to me by the irrepressible N.E. Brigand). One of the things that I have tried to do (and am continuing to work on) is to make it clear that we don't have (and probably never will have) all of the source material available to Christopher Tolkien. After all, some decisions may have been influenced by conversations that he had with his father, that were never documented in any other way.


And dna, you may end up being disappointed to find that the published text of Arda Reconstructed won't end up documenting all of the multitude of minor editorial changes that together make a major difference in the way the Silmarillion is presented. For a number of reasons (both involving the coherence and readability of the work, and copyright concerns) much of that has been removed. But I am thinking of possibly creating an internet-based supplement to include that information in a more easily accessible format than the original Hall of Fire thread.


Now, turning to the game. Wink


I think that it is evident that Bilbo combined two different sources to create the text of the Silmarillion: Mannish myth and Elvish history. Most of the work is clearly taken from the Numenorean exiles (but still "translated from the Elvish", since the exiles still preserved these tales in that language). Thus, the deviations from the "true story" were introduced not by Bilbo himself, but over the course of many centuries, as "history became legend, [and] legend became myth." However, in certain places, true Elvish history was included by Bilbo, no doubt as a result of his close friendship with Elrond, and others in the household of Rivendell.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


visualweasel
Rohan


Feb 6 2008, 3:27pm

Post #17 of 20 (606 views)
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A late congratulations! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've clearly missed all the fun here over the last few days — darn you, influenza!! Tongue

But hearty congratulations are definitely in order! I missed your paper at Mythcon last year, but I heard all about it from others who were there. And I look forward to your book, which will be the full unabridged version. Too bad I didn't have your book when writing my chapter on Christopher Tolkien's mythographic approach to the problem of the 'Silmarillion' (in The Silmarillion: Thirty Years On, Walking Tree, 2007); it would have been very helpful! Did you end up communicating with Christopher himself during any part of its preparation? I would think this could have been very illuminating; however, it's not easy to get in touch with him these days. He's trying to go more and more into semi-retirement (well deserved, certainly).

Well done, Voronwë!

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Feb 6 2008, 4:13pm

Post #18 of 20 (606 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the congrats! I recently ordered The Silmarillion: Thirty Years On, and I am particularly looking forward to reading your chapter (for obvious reasons!).

I did contact Christopher through the Tolkien Estate and sent him a sample of part of my early manuscript. He was very gracious but declined to offer assistance or endorse the project.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


visualweasel
Rohan


Feb 6 2008, 4:41pm

Post #19 of 20 (608 views)
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We can only hope ... [In reply to] Can't Post

... still to be in such high demand and to have to give our own polite regrets when we're 83. Wink

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Feb 9 2008, 6:22am

Post #20 of 20 (628 views)
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It's Official [In reply to] Can't Post

I got the signed contract in the mail today.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

 
 

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