Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
"Mim's Lamentaton" - a lost short story by Tolkien, rediscovered.

Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 22 2019, 1:54am

Post #1 of 20 (1749 views)
Shortcut
"Mim's Lamentaton" - a lost short story by Tolkien, rediscovered. Can't Post

A lost Tolkien short story has been rediscovered, Mim's Lamentation, translated into German and published decades ago. Video is in German, but has English subtitles available. The short story appeared in the book Das earst Jahrzehnt (The First Decade, editor Gebundenes Buch?), apparently in 1997.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhNCKc6aYwg

#FidelityToTolkien


squire
Half-elven


Nov 22 2019, 3:09am

Post #2 of 20 (1716 views)
Shortcut
It's a very odd piece. [In reply to] Can't Post

The Germans were nice enough to post the re-translated-to-English text on the YouTube page with the video.

Since it's re-translated, it's hard to judge the degree of Tolkien's 'style' present in the text. As the video commentary notes at the end, nothing in the piece directly contradicts the other writings that feature Mim; but that's hardly evidence that this is in fact by Tolkien.

On another site, one fan noted that Hammond and Scull mention it in their massive 'Reader's Guide' to JRRT, but in the revised (3-volume) edition. I have only the original 2-volume set from ten years ago, and there's no mention of this text there - nor is there anything in History of Middle-earth that I could find in the indexes.

I imagine more information will come out in the next few weeks, if this is indeed a 'discovery' of a previously unknown Middle-earth text by the prof. Thanks for the heads up and the link!



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.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 22 2019, 2:36pm

Post #3 of 20 (1681 views)
Shortcut
The Hammond and Scull reference adds credibility. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the story is most likely authentic. One potential problem occurs to me with locating the original text; "Mîm's Lamentation" might not be Tolkien's original title for the story. I do not have a copy of The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, much less the revised, three-volume edition. Here are the links to those excerpts:

In German

In English (re-translated)

In French

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Nov 22 2019, 2:47pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Nov 22 2019, 3:20pm

Post #4 of 20 (1672 views)
Shortcut
Yes it is in Scull Hammand [In reply to] Can't Post

It is listed as The Complaint of Mîm the Dwarf

"Poem, together with an extended prose text, which at this writing has appeared only in German as Mîms Klage, translated from the English by H.J. Schütz and published by Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, in 1987, in the anniversary volume Das erste Jahrzehnt 1977–1987: Ein Almanach, pp. 302–5."

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

The Hall of Fire


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 22 2019, 3:44pm

Post #5 of 20 (1665 views)
Shortcut
Thanx! [In reply to] Can't Post

So, Tolkien's original title for the story was "The Complaint of Mîm the Dwarf". Good to know.

#FidelityToTolkien


The Dude
The Shire

Nov 22 2019, 4:36pm

Post #6 of 20 (1659 views)
Shortcut
Fyi [In reply to] Can't Post

"Klett-Cotta" is the name of the publishing house that holds the German rights to Tolkien's works. Based on some research, it was founded in 1977, when the publisher Ernst Klett bought the "Cotta-Verlag". So the book is an almanac for the first ten years of their existence. It was published in 1987, and not in 1997. It is highly unlikely that the text is a complete fabrication; at the time, Klett-Cotta was a publishing house that focused on scientific and academic papers, so that makes it even more implausible that they would fabricate the text.

The video subtitles mention a translator by the name of "Hans W. Schütz". In all likelihood, this refers to "Hans J. Schütz", one of the more prominent translators of Tolkien's work (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Hans_J._Sch%C3%BCtz). Schütz was responsible for translating the "Book of Tales", the only two volumes of "The History of Middle-earth" which have been translated into German.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 22 2019, 5:36pm

Post #7 of 20 (1653 views)
Shortcut
Okay. [In reply to] Can't Post

1997 must have marked a new printing of the almanac. Thanks for the clarification for the name of the translator (Hans J. Schütz). That tracks with the credits given in the video. This was probably an academic paper (written by Schütz?) in regards to the story in question. Hopefully we will be provided with more information soon.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Nov 22 2019, 5:38pm)


The Dude
The Shire

Nov 22 2019, 6:15pm

Post #8 of 20 (1637 views)
Shortcut
My guess is... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that Schütz and Klett-Cotta had access to some short, unpublished Tolkien manuscripts in the late 1970s, arguably all related to the unpublished "Silmarillion".

It is worth pointing out that Tolkien himself, to a certain extent, was involved in the German translation of "The Lord of the Rings" (e.g., his recommendations for the German name of the elves); although for those he corresponded with Margaret Carroux, the original German translator of LotR. Tolkien's interaction with Carroux and Klett-Cotta began in 1966/67.


squire
Half-elven


Nov 22 2019, 9:52pm

Post #9 of 20 (1627 views)
Shortcut
Thanks for that. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll take their word for it that this is an authentic fragment by Tolkien. What's odd, a little, about the Hammond Scull listing you gave us, is that they don't really say anything more than the video does. That is, they don't seem to have any information on the date of composition by Tolkien, the context in which he wrote it with speculation about his intentions, its transmission to a German translator and journal, and its long period of obscurity in the English language Tolkien Studies field. That's just not like the estimable H&S!

The most interesting parts of the piece, to me, are 1) the lack of any reference to Turin and his men, in the context of the Amon Rudh episode in the "Narn...", and 2) the conceit that possession of stolen Dwarven artifacts can turn Men to Evil.

Almost as interesting is the theme that Mim 'used up' his artistic creativity at the height of his career, and is seeking to recover it in his old age.

There's also the odd format: a sung 'lament' in verse, followed by a longer narrative in the form of a soliloquy. Tolkien rarely composes in the first person of his characters - what privilege did Mim wield to obtain control of his own voice?



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.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Nov 22 2019, 10:06pm

Post #10 of 20 (1622 views)
Shortcut
They do say more [In reply to] Can't Post

I did not quote the whole entry, not wanting to violate copyright.

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

The Hall of Fire


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 22 2019, 11:23pm

Post #11 of 20 (1619 views)
Shortcut
The Book [In reply to] Can't Post

The full title of the book where the story/essay is reprinted: Klett-Cotta: Das erste Jahrzent 1977-1987, ein Almanach (Klett-Cotta: The First Decade 1977-1987, an Almanac). I still wonder if this reprinted manuscript was along the lines of an academic paper about Tolkien's previously unpublished short story.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Nov 22 2019, 11:23pm)


Solicitr
Rohan

Nov 23 2019, 12:09am

Post #12 of 20 (1618 views)
Shortcut
yes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

The most interesting parts of the piece, to me, are 1) the lack of any reference to Turin and his men, in the context of the Amon Rudh episode in the "Narn...", and 2) the conceit that possession of stolen Dwarven artifacts can turn Men to Evil.

Almost as interesting is the theme that Mim 'used up' his artistic creativity at the height of his career, and is seeking to recover it in his old age.


To me, it all feels rather fan-ficcy.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Nov 25 2019, 7:17pm

Post #13 of 20 (1558 views)
Shortcut
I'm confused by what you are saying [In reply to] Can't Post

By saying that it seems "rather fan-ficcy" that Tolkien did not in fact write it? Or just that it isn't very good?

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

The Hall of Fire


Solicitr
Rohan

Nov 25 2019, 10:21pm

Post #14 of 20 (1549 views)
Shortcut
Well, [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
By saying that it seems "rather fan-ficcy" that Tolkien did not in fact write it? Or just that it isn't very good?


sort of the first. I mean, the provenance appears legitimate, in that both translator and publisher are 'official;' this isn't something from Otto's Discount Mimeographs.

On the other hand- and with the big, big caveat that we are talking about a summary of a German translation - it just doesn't feel like something Tolkien would have written, especially about this character. It's as if a fan-fic author had borrowed random Tolkien concepts and applied them to Mim.

But then again, it could really be Tolkien, defying our expectations yet again.


squire
Half-elven


Nov 25 2019, 11:34pm

Post #15 of 20 (1547 views)
Shortcut
I would like to read the original English text [In reply to] Can't Post

As you say, it's really hard to read past the re-translation from German to English, listening for Tolkien's style and usages regarding the petty-dwarves and their legends.

I agree that it 'feels odd' - but Tolkien was more flexible than he sometimes seems to have been, especially in the area of experimentation with formats and voices.

I guess I'm most surprised that we're even having this discussion, given Christopher Tolkien's efforts with History of Middle-earth to try to get all of his father's 'worthwhile' or relevant Middle-earth texts into print and into some context. Where did this thing come from, and how did it apparently slip from his hands?



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.


Solicitr
Rohan

Nov 26 2019, 7:14am

Post #16 of 20 (1510 views)
Shortcut
Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I know, JRRT only ever transferred one copyright in his life- that of Bilbo's Last Song, as a gift to his longtime secretary Joy Hill. And goodness knows CT hasn't.


The Dude
The Shire

Dec 11 2019, 1:21pm

Post #17 of 20 (942 views)
Shortcut
More insights (appendix) [In reply to] Can't Post

So I bought a copy of the "Almanach" online and received it today.

The "Gründungserklärung" (founding declaration) and the first essay do not mention Tolkien, but they both stress "the compatibility of literature and science" on which the publishing house is built (pages: 17-22). This implicitly strengthens the idea that we have here in front us a genuine work of Tolkien. If the lament had been found, let's say, in a book by an obscure German publisher, unconnected to Tolkien, and specialized on pulp literature, much doubt could be raised on its authenticity - but with Klett-Cotta I seriously doubt the possibility of a forgery.

The book contains multiple excerpts from works written by other prominent authors, among them Ernst Jünger, Emil Cioran, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Anthony Burgess, or Doris Lessing.

For those who have read the English translation of the piece: I would concentrate on the prosa text and not on the poem. The poem rhymes in German, so Schütz chose a poetic translation and not a literal one (German and English are, of course, similar; and indeed a lot of it would rhyme in English too - but not everything like in the German version).

Now to the only true new insight I can offer: The appendix of the book, i.e., the "Quellenverzeichnis" (bibliography"). An editorial note above the appendix states that the essays in the book are grouped into four sections - each loosely centered around a "thematic center". "Mîms Klage" appears in Section 3, which is dedicated to translations ("the central field for the literary program of Klett-Cotta")

On page 345, the bibliography lists the source for "Mîms Klage". I will quote the entire line: "J.R.R. Tolkien, Mîms Klage. [copyright sign] The Executors of J.R.R. Tolkien, 1987. Aus dem Englischen von H.J. Schütz"

In the structure of the bibliography, "The Executors of J.R.R. Tolkien" does not refer to a book but to the author/originator/editor of a work; in this case it refers most definitely to the Tolkien Estate. It is possible that Klett-Cotta received the original version of the work by the Tolkien Estate as a "gift" for the ten-year anniversary.

PS: The original English title of "Mîms Klage" is never given in the book; so it could very well be that the piece does not have an English title; if there is one, it probably is "The Lament of Mîm" or "Mîm's Lament", as this would fit German translation patterns.

I might dare another re-translation of the German version later on...


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 11 2019, 2:48pm

Post #18 of 20 (933 views)
Shortcut
Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

You've gone to a fair amount of trouble for an obscure translation of a minor work by Tolkien. From what Voronwë discovered through Hammond & Scull, Tolkien did have an original title for the piece, "The Complaint of Mîm the Dwarf".

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Dec 11 2019, 2:51pm)


Mari D.
Rivendell


Dec 11 2019, 7:27pm

Post #19 of 20 (924 views)
Shortcut
I read it in German and to me, it doesn't sound un-Tolkienish. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can well imagine him having written it, and I quite liked it, although it's a sad story, too.


(This post was edited by Mari D. on Dec 11 2019, 7:27pm)


Mari D.
Rivendell


Dec 11 2019, 7:31pm

Post #20 of 20 (922 views)
Shortcut
Maybe we could ask them about it ... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It is possible that Klett-Cotta received the original version of the work by the Tolkien Estate as a "gift" for the ten-year anniversary.


... someone there might still remember ...

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.