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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
'The Nature of Middle-earth' edited by Carl Hostetter - new interview

Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 17 2021, 3:40am

Post #1 of 18 (1481 views)
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'The Nature of Middle-earth' edited by Carl Hostetter - new interview Can't Post

Here is a very good interview with Carl in which he talks about the book.

From Linguistics to Metaphysics: interview with Carl F. Hostetter, editor of the new book by J.R.R. Tolkien

I particularly appreciated this quote:


Quote
NoMe brings some of Tolkien’s last writings. What to expect from this new publication?

I can’t yet speak about any more specifics, but I can say that The Nature of Middle-earth will appeal most to those who enjoy the descriptive and historical parts of Unfinished Tales, as well as those who enjoy Morgoth’s Ring.


That would be me!

Reading this interview definitely made me more excited about the new book. But I must admit I was quite taken aback to suddenly see my name mentioned in the middle of it.

'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


squire
Half-elven


Jul 17 2021, 4:26am

Post #2 of 18 (1452 views)
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The scariest sentence in the interview [In reply to] Can't Post

No, not his putdown of your speculative commentary on the Silm!

It was this:
"But most of what hasn’t been published (at least in full) of Tolkien’s writings that pertain to Middle-earth are drafts of works that have been published in full, and so primarily of interest to those who wish to conduct a more detailed study of the development of texts than Christopher could accommodate in The History of Middle-earth."
Oog. Imagine -- there are people ready and willing to read texts that contain more detail and background to Tolkien's subcreation than could be fit into HoME. Twelve volumes of heavily footnoted texts - and even then, CT had to leave some stuff out. And there are people, somewhere, whom Hostetter presumably knows, who are panting to read that stuff.



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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 17 2021, 1:26pm

Post #3 of 18 (1407 views)
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There's at least one! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm curious, at least. Of course, it is possible that these texts prove to be the obvious rejects that failed to make the cut for a reason, but I have an insatiable curiosity about the different avenues that Tolkien explored nor tried to expire, or even thought about exploring). And I suspect I am not the only one.

'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


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 17 2021, 3:09pm

Post #4 of 18 (1393 views)
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Nay! [In reply to] Can't Post

Given recent discussions here and around the internets you are not the only one. The salient word though is “kept,” while “discarded” seems to leave much more room for inference and debate.


Elthir
Grey Havens


Jul 18 2021, 7:40pm

Post #5 of 18 (1265 views)
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me three [In reply to] Can't Post

I mean, if there's even one new sentence regarding, say, the "exact" length of Galadriel's hair, that's for me.

Plus The History of Middle-Earth series is way too short, in general.

Smile


Felagund
Lorien


Jul 18 2021, 7:50pm

Post #6 of 18 (1263 views)
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Seriously, can't wait! [In reply to] Can't Post

He had me at Morgoth's Ring. Actually, no - he had me at 'Tolkien'!

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


InTheChair
Rohan

Jul 18 2021, 9:34pm

Post #7 of 18 (1251 views)
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Wonder how much... [In reply to] Can't Post

Is really Tolkiens drafts though, and how much is Hostetters commentary.

I only know his name from some of the linguistic publications like Vinyar Tengwar, of which I have only looked at two, and it's pretty dry stuff.
At 400 pages that could be a slog.

Sadly I'll probably get the book anyway, just to see what there is in it.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 18 2021, 10:27pm

Post #8 of 18 (1241 views)
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I would guess [In reply to] Can't Post

That the mix of drafts and commentary will be roughly equivalent to the volumes of Home.

'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


squire
Half-elven


Jul 19 2021, 12:53am

Post #9 of 18 (1231 views)
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Probably about 50-50 [In reply to] Can't Post

In the course of a study I did on HoME VII, 'The Treason of Isengard', I actually counted the pages of the prof's texts and the pages written by Christopher as editor and commenter.

It was just about 50-50.

Hostetter is an excellent Tolkien scholar. If the stuff he does seems dry (but have you read his "Elvish as she is spoke"? It's a hoot!) it probably means that the prof's stuff that he's writing about is dry.

I'm only mildly looking forward to this book, as the material is probably marginal to an increased enjoyment, as opposed to an increased understanding, of Tolkien's major works. But I've no doubt it will be a valuable addition to libraries of people who really do enjoy reading History of Middle-earth.



squire online:
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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 19 2021, 1:18am

Post #10 of 18 (1225 views)
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Do you think the percentage of commentary is higher in the History of LotR books? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have not at all done a comparison, but just off the top of my head I would think that the amount of commentary for the books tracing the history of the writing of The Lord of the Rings than the other books. I would guess that NoMe would be more in line with a book like Morgoth's Ring.

'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


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 19 2021, 4:39am

Post #11 of 18 (1212 views)
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Hostetter: "I have tried to keep my commentary briefer and much less technical." [In reply to] Can't Post

That's in comparison to the length and nature of his notes in the works he's edited for Vinyar Tengwar or Parma Eldalamberon. According to the interview, there are at least four previously published essays that will appear in The Nature of Middle-earth. One of those is "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor," which was published in 2001 in Vinyar Tengwar no. 42, and takes up some 27 pages. Of that total, I would estimate that 15 pages are Tolkien's writing and the remaining 12 are Hostetter's. So perhaps we can take that as a baseline.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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InTheChair
Rohan

Jul 19 2021, 9:08am

Post #12 of 18 (1182 views)
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That sounds positive [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as it goes, and I don't really expect this to be in the same vein as the linguistic works anyway.

Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor does not sound a whole lot like Morgoths Ring, so I guess the book may be divided into sections? Or maybe take a wider approach to the nature of the world.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 19 2021, 3:57pm

Post #13 of 18 (1166 views)
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"a book spanning both chief senses of the English word 'nature'" [In reply to] Can't Post

Hostetter says in that interview that the texts concern "both the visible and sensible phenomena of the physical world, including its lands, flora, and fauna; and the metaphysical, innate, and essential qualities and character of the world and its inhabitants."


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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Elthir
Grey Havens


Jul 28 2021, 2:31pm

Post #14 of 18 (971 views)
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Cant wait to refer to it as . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

GNOME

Smile


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 28 2021, 3:45pm

Post #15 of 18 (960 views)
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I love it! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

'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


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 7 2021, 9:06pm

Post #16 of 18 (682 views)
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Preview of Table of Contents, Foreword, etc. [In reply to] Can't Post

Google Books has put up a preview, including the table of contents, and Carl's Foreword.

https://books.google.pt/...ge&q&f=false

'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


squire
Half-elven


Aug 7 2021, 10:11pm

Post #17 of 18 (683 views)
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Thanks for the link. This really seems to be HoME XIII. [In reply to] Can't Post

That is, according to Hostetter's foreword, most of the material in the book was considered for including in History of Middle-earth vols. X-XII, but was cut because it was too dense, too detailed, or too technical even to appeal to the specialized audience for HoME or Unifinished Tales.

Now, several decades later, Tolkien Studies has progressed to the point where there is an audience, or a presumed one, for such intensely specialized material.

I remember reviewing Tolkien's essay on reincarnation that appeared in a French/English edition of a French Tolkien journal in 2014; that essay is now part of Nature of Middle-earth for those who don't nose about in the French Tolkien literature. It was fascinating in its speculative philosophy about just what the possible physical mechanisms of reincarnation could be, in terms of biology, psychology, and mysticism. In it the Elves seemed to be recreating the inquisitive program that Aristotle epitomized in ancient Greek culture.

If everything in the book is like that - and I feel sure it is - it will appeal for sure to a certain segment of Tolkien fans who really, really like inhabiting the Prof's sub-creative mind. I'll be interested to see how many people buy it who will not like it!



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.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 8 2021, 2:10am

Post #18 of 18 (676 views)
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Looks like at least a two-to-one Tolkien-to-Hostetter ratio. [In reply to] Can't Post

Or so it appears from the Google Books preview to which Voronwë linked below, based on the first five chapters shown there (of the sixty-two chapters in the book). And speaking of chapters, according to the table of contents, some of the chapters (which are grouped in three sections) are just one or two pages long. The longest appear to be:

I.17. Generational Schemes (25 pp.)
III.22. The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor (25 pp.)
II.15. Elvish Reincarnation (21 pp.)
I.7. The March of the Quendi (15 pp.)
II.9. Ósanwe-kenta (14 pp.)
III.18. Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans (13 pp.)
III.11. Lives of the Númenóreans (12 pp.)
I.13. Key Dates (11 pp.)
III.13. On the Land and Beasts of Númenor (11 pp.)
I.4. Time Scales (10 pp.)
I.12. Concerning the Quendi in Their Mode of Life and Growth (10 pp.)
I.14. Calculation of the Increase of the Quendi (10 pp.)
III.16. Galadriel and Celeborn (10 pp.)

Some of those longer chapters have been published before, mostly in journals which were read by relatively few people.

I think I.14. would have been of great interest to a biologist who was once a regular here and went by the name Beren IV. He argued on a number of cases that, based on what we know of Elvish reproduction and longevity, they ought to have long-since overpopulated the world.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.

 
 

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