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History of Middle Earth What is Needed?

Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jul 25, 8:41pm

Post #1 of 13 (1226 views)
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History of Middle Earth What is Needed? Can't Post

So I have ordered morgoth's ring and I am also getting The War of the Jewels. So my question is this, do these books make the book of lost tales meaningless? it seems to me they do. It seems volumes 1-4 of the history would not really be needed as to the history of the sillmarillion. What do you guys think?

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


squire
Half-elven


Jul 25, 9:19pm

Post #2 of 13 (1201 views)
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How far back do you like to take your history? [In reply to] Can't Post

You can read the two books you're getting, Morgoth's Ring and War of the Jewels (HoME X & XI), and learn a great deal about the published Silmarillion. But they both assume that you've read HoME V, which contains the full 'Quenta Silmarillion' from the 1930s, and which is in many cases the actual basis for the published book's text. HoME X & XI often simply document the changes that Tolkien made in the late 1940s, mostly due to having written The Lord of the Rings in the interim period.

Now, are the Book of Lost Tales (HoME I & II) plus the next two volumes (III Lays of Beleriand and IV Shaping of Middle-earth) really "meaningless" if you have vols V, X, & XI? In the end, it depends on how curious you are about where and how and when Tolkien first began to put this epic cycle of legends together.

Yes, the tales in the later three books are much closer in style and content to the final published book. The earlier stuff is different in tone, and in many cases in actual plot, setting, and mythological context. Vol. III is fully in verse!

Yet some people argue rather eloquently that the early stuff is 'better' in the sense of being more fun to read; how could one argue about that without having tried it?

And there are parts of the 'Lost Tales' that Tolkien never got around to rewriting for the 'Quenta Silmarillion', much less the later volumes X & XI: the fall of Gondolin is one example; the end of the Tale of Hurin is another. The barest sketches of Earendil's Tale, the climax of the entire cycle, are found in the early books; Christopher Tolkien simply did what he had to do to insert these unfinished, sketchy, or inconsistent stories among the more finished writings from the late 1930s on.

Anyway, it's up to you. How curious are you, how ambitious are you, and how - basically - energetic are you? History of Middle-earth, even just the 7 volumes on the Sil, is truly a daunting amount of text, with a huge amount of thematic and even textual repetition. You can skip the earlier volumes, but you will be missing a large bunch of genuine, if early, Tolkien.



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'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jul 25, 10:03pm

Post #3 of 13 (1187 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You can read the two books you're getting, Morgoth's Ring and War of the Jewels (HoME X & XI), and learn a great deal about the published Silmarillion. But they both assume that you've read HoME V, which contains the full 'Quenta Silmarillion' from the 1930s, and which is in many cases the actual basis for the published book's text. HoME X & XI often simply document the changes that Tolkien made in the late 1940s, mostly due to having written The Lord of the Rings in the interim period.

Now, are the Book of Lost Tales (HoME I & II) plus the next two volumes (III Lays of Beleriand and IV Shaping of Middle-earth) really "meaningless" if you have vols V, X, & XI? In the end, it depends on how curious you are about where and how and when Tolkien first began to put this epic cycle of legends together.

Yes, the tales in the later three books are much closer in style and content to the final published book. The earlier stuff is different in tone, and in many cases in actual plot, setting, and mythological context. Vol. III is fully in verse!

Yet some people argue rather eloquently that the early stuff is 'better' in the sense of being more fun to read; how could one argue about that without having tried it?

And there are parts of the 'Lost Tales' that Tolkien never got around to rewriting for the 'Quenta Silmarillion', much less the later volumes X & XI: the fall of Gondolin is one example; the end of the Tale of Hurin is another. The barest sketches of Earendil's Tale, the climax of the entire cycle, are found in the early books; Christopher Tolkien simply did what he had to do to insert these unfinished, sketchy, or inconsistent stories among the more finished writings from the late 1930s on.

Anyway, it's up to you. How curious are you, how ambitious are you, and how - basically - energetic are you? History of Middle-earth, even just the 7 volumes on the Sil, is truly a daunting amount of text, with a huge amount of thematic and even textual repetition. You can skip the earlier volumes, but you will be missing a large bunch of genuine, if early, Tolkien.




Thank you very much great stuff and insight. I may very well get volume 5 than along with 10 and 11. What is your opinion on the histories on the lord of the rings.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 25, 10:14pm

Post #4 of 13 (1182 views)
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Looking to the future. [In reply to] Can't Post

This goes beyond what you are actually asking, but I am still hoping that some overlooked or previously undiscovered papers might turn up such as "The Line of Rulers of the Woodland Realm" with insights into Oropher, Thranduil, their queens, Legolas, and and other children they sired. I would also like to know more about the Grey Havens in the last years of the Third Age, about the Avari and the Dwarves other than the Longbeards at the time of the War of the Ring. And Tolkien's known writings reveal very little of Aragorn's travels among the Men of the East and South.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 25, 10:15pm)


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jul 25, 10:20pm

Post #5 of 13 (1180 views)
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Histories of LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

Not to say reading them is useless, but what is the point of reading the histories of the LOTR volumes 6-9 if Tolkien held unpublished material so low it seems.


“It will probable work out very differently from this plan when it really gets written, as the thing seems to rite itself once I get going as if the truth comes out then, only imperfectly simple in the preliminary sketch.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 91


“Every part has been [re]written many times”
-Letters of J.R.R Tolkien 130


Tolkien was a perfectionist in his writings. Nothing hit the press unless revised, reconsidered and then finally published. Even sections that had stayed constant over and over could be drastically changed moments before publication such as the design to minis tirith. C.S Lewis said the inklings had “hoped for a final text of an old work, what they actually got was the first draft of a new one.”


“Whole thing comes out of the wash quite different to any preliminary sketch”
-Letters of J.R.R Tolkien

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 26, 11:58am

Post #6 of 13 (1142 views)
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*mods up* *sigh* // [In reply to] Can't Post

 




sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Jul 26, 11:58am)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 27, 8:48pm

Post #7 of 13 (1109 views)
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Well, at a minimum they are of interest in seeing how the ideas developed. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not many authors share their early drafts, outlines and revisions, so these contain much of what did find their way into the final texts and the other considerations either abandoned or modified. The inputs from Christopher, publishers etc. and the times of writing add background as well.

If you like the movie Appendices you will probaby appreciate the making of the books. It is as close to being a silent viewer of him writing as we can get.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jul 27, 8:51pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 27, 8:54pm

Post #8 of 13 (1100 views)
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Just flipping open Morgoth's Ring and in Myths Transformed we find the discussion of [In reply to] Can't Post

Orcish origins...pg 409-411


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jul 27, 9:41pm

Post #9 of 13 (1096 views)
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Very true of course [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Not many authors share their early drafts, outlines and revisions, so these contain much of what did find their way into the final texts and the other considerations either abandoned or modified. The inputs from Christopher, publishers etc. and the times of writing add background as well.

If you like the movie Appendices you will probaby appreciate the making of the books. It is as close to being a silent viewer of him writing as we can get.


Very true of course. I was thinking more in regards to cannon.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jul 31, 10:52am

Post #10 of 13 (1010 views)
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Sil source material [In reply to] Can't Post

Christopher Tolkien took most of the material for the published sillmarilion from Tolkiens early versions pre 1937 in the lost tales correct? So would the lost tales contain information about how much of the published sillmarillion came to be in its final form?

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


squire
Half-elven


Jul 31, 12:15pm

Post #11 of 13 (1010 views)
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It's not that easy [In reply to] Can't Post

The more one reads (or thumbs through!) the various HoME volumes that cover the textual history of The Silmarillion - early (I-II - 1910s), middle (III-V - 1920s-30s), and late (X-XI - 1940s-50s, post LotR/Hobbit) - the more one realizes how much picking and choosing both JRR and Christopher Tolkien did over a lifetime and a half to compose the 1973 published edition. The various chapters and tales were worked and reworked to wildly different degrees over 40 or 50 working years of the elder author's life.

The most ambitious attempt I know of to answer your question of 'how much of the published silmarillion came to be in its final form' is Douglas Kane's remarkable book Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Bethlehem: Lehigh U. Press, 2009). He uses all the HoME texts, plus any other information he could find, to document Christopher's process of pulling JRR's papers into one coherent narrative. The only flaw in his project, as far as I can see, is that he did not have access to all of JRR's papers, only those that CT published in HoME. But CT notes repeatedly in his HoME commentaries that he did not publish every scrap of Silmarillion-related text that existed in his archives; and CT warned Kane (as I have heard secondhand) that Arda Reconstructed would necessarily have gaps in understanding and analysis due to working from incomplete information. Nevertheless, it's the best such work we have, and given your curiosity about this subject I recommend you hunt it down - if, as well, you acquire the HoME volumes that support it.

Just for an example of the problems I've been referring to, I attach a file I did once of the textual history of the "Valaquenta", which is just one chapter in the Sil, for an old Reading Room discussion here on TORn. At the bottom of each towering column of text quotes (scroll all the way down to see them) are the five HoME sources I worked from. They range from 1918 to 1958. This helps to illustrate, I think, the massive problem Christopher faced, which Kane tried to document. It also helps show just why, after publishing the Sil, Christopher decided to undertake the publication of the entire HoME series: there was so much of interest in the background writings, that had to be left out of a single Sil.



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'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 31, 6:43pm

Post #12 of 13 (984 views)
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canon fodder [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I was thinking more in regards to cannon


Yes 'canon' is a very problematic issue for Tolkien's works. We sometimes discuss it, but usually the discussions go round and round - quite like a musical canon, actually. Occasionally there are also explosions and a lot of balls flying around...

If one accepts only works supervised to publication by JRR, then of course much good stuff is excluded. But if everything from HoME, UT etc is accepted then there are many contradictory versions of some bits, and if I've understood why some folks are very anxious to have a canon it's because they'd like there to be clear-cut answers to everything.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jul 31, 8:26pm

Post #13 of 13 (972 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The more one reads (or thumbs through!) the various HoME volumes that cover the textual history of The Silmarillion - early (I-II - 1910s), middle (III-V - 1920s-30s), and late (X-XI - 1940s-50s, post LotR/Hobbit) - the more one realizes how much picking and choosing both JRR and Christopher Tolkien did over a lifetime and a half to compose the 1973 published edition. The various chapters and tales were worked and reworked to wildly different degrees over 40 or 50 working years of the elder author's life.

The most ambitious attempt I know of to answer your question of 'how much of the published silmarillion came to be in its final form' is Douglas Kane's remarkable book Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Bethlehem: Lehigh U. Press, 2009). He uses all the HoME texts, plus any other information he could find, to document Christopher's process of pulling JRR's papers into one coherent narrative. The only flaw in his project, as far as I can see, is that he did not have access to all of JRR's papers, only those that CT published in HoME. But CT notes repeatedly in his HoME commentaries that he did not publish every scrap of Silmarillion-related text that existed in his archives; and CT warned Kane (as I have heard secondhand) that Arda Reconstructed would necessarily have gaps in understanding and analysis due to working from incomplete information. Nevertheless, it's the best such work we have, and given your curiosity about this subject I recommend you hunt it down - if, as well, you acquire the HoME volumes that support it.

Just for an example of the problems I've been referring to, I attach a file I did once of the textual history of the "Valaquenta", which is just one chapter in the Sil, for an old Reading Room discussion here on TORn. At the bottom of each towering column of text quotes (scroll all the way down to see them) are the five HoME sources I worked from. They range from 1918 to 1958. This helps to illustrate, I think, the massive problem Christopher faced, which Kane tried to document. It also helps show just why, after publishing the Sil, Christopher decided to undertake the publication of the entire HoME series: there was so much of interest in the background writings, that had to be left out of a single Sil.



Wow, amazing and thank you. I will indeed look up the book and your link certainty demonstrates your post. Thanks for your knowledge.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot

 
 

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