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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**An Unexpected Party** - 6. “Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert.”
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White Gull
Lorien


Apr 2 2009, 5:00pm

Post #51 of 59 (154 views)
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Actually, I deserve that. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have so few chances to come here anymore that when I do, I spend most of my time feeling sad and guilty. Sad that I've missed so much and guilty that I comment so seldom on the great stuff that's posted here. I wish there was some thread like: "Torn's Greatest Posts," so I could catch everything in one fell swoop. Trouble with that is that what I consider a great post isn't usually on anyone else's list...... Oh well, I'm off the enjoy what I can.

Poetry has been to me an exceeding great reward; it has soothed my affliction; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared my solitude; it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

White Gull's Fanfic


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 2 2009, 5:04pm

Post #52 of 59 (169 views)
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Well, it's good to have you back now! [In reply to] Can't Post

But I certainly understand. Real life is where the action is, and duty, and great joy. So if you can make it back now and then, it's a gift, and we appreciate it. But absence is nothing to feel guilty about.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Curious
Half-elven


Apr 2 2009, 5:48pm

Post #53 of 59 (151 views)
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Look for the cookies. [In reply to] Can't Post

Since we can't mod up any more, we do try to call attention to great posts. Posts calling attention to posts are now jokingly referred to as cookies. I think Aunt Dora is responsible for the term, or maybe just popularized it, since she has handed out many of the cookies.

I know the feeling about Real Life. But please don't feel guilty -- you don't owe us your time. I'm glad you still comment from time to time, just to let us know you're still around.


(This post was edited by Curious on Apr 2 2009, 5:50pm)


White Gull
Lorien


Apr 2 2009, 5:53pm

Post #54 of 59 (132 views)
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Thanks! :)// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Poetry has been to me an exceeding great reward; it has soothed my affliction; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared my solitude; it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

White Gull's Fanfic


White Gull
Lorien


Apr 2 2009, 5:56pm

Post #55 of 59 (138 views)
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Good tip! [In reply to] Can't Post

That should help a bit. And thanks for still being here, these many years.

As for guilt, I may not owe anything, but this site has given to me much more than I give back.

Poetry has been to me an exceeding great reward; it has soothed my affliction; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared my solitude; it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

White Gull's Fanfic


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 2 2009, 10:50pm

Post #56 of 59 (134 views)
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Darkstone started it. [In reply to] Can't Post

He reminisced about a time when a newbie had put forth quite an intelligent post, and got no response. When he felt slighted, someone asked, "What did you want, a cookie?" Darkstone then maintained that it isn't such a bad thing to toss people a cookie now and then for a good post.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Curious
Half-elven


Apr 2 2009, 11:39pm

Post #57 of 59 (154 views)
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Right. I should have looked it up. But Aunt Dora [In reply to] Can't Post

picked up on that suggestion big time, and has a long history of handing out cookies before that was what they were called.


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 2 2009, 11:59pm

Post #58 of 59 (147 views)
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Gingersnaps for Aunt Dora! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


FarFromHome
Valinor


Apr 7 2009, 10:54am

Post #59 of 59 (446 views)
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About the trains [In reply to] Can't Post

Is this an “anachronism”???? I dare you to call it a “translation” and suggest what the original written phrase was that the translator chose to render in railroad terms, because the original was unsuitable for a modern audience to understand. Be specific.

I doubt you'll find any takers for your challenge. It's too obvious that the translator/narrator of The Hobbit is telling the story in his own words, not translating it directly from There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Tale.

In fact, I doubt whether anyone claims that either The Hobbit or LotR could be taken as direct, literal translations of work by Bilbo and Frodo. There's clearly a modern translator/narrator, even in LotR - a kind of semi-fictionalized Tolkien - who fills us in on the background in the Prologue to LotR in a pseudo-scholarly way. He takes a chapter or two to back out and let the story tell itself, during which he manages to come up with another train simile in A Long-Expected Party. After this, he certainly keeps himself out of the limelight in LotR, but he's one of the many layers in the storytelling that makes it very difficult to pin down the "right" answer to the many ambiguities that, for me, make the story so compelling. The narrator claims to be telling a story that he has stumbled upon, a story originally written by its protagonists, and for the most part he makes that stick, by only telling us things that he could have taken straight from protagonists' own account - in The Hobbit, for example, we know pretty much only what Bilbo knows. We don't follow Gandalf, we don't see into the dwarves' minds. This is Bilbo's story, filtered through a modern translator/narrator. So is LotR, I find, although the filtering is much more subtle. But in neither case does it make sense to invoke a word-for-word, literal "translation". It's all about adaptation.

As for why the translator/narrator finds himself using train imagery, I think it's because trains in the age of steam were so magical and romantic in themselves. Of course, if you think of them objectively - about coal, and cast iron, and manufacturing technology - then they clearly don't fit in Middle-earth. But if you think of them as the magical agents they seemed in rural England in the 19th century, puffing steam and spouting fire, taking you, or someone you knew, to faraway places, then they have a certain dragon-like magic about them. Tolkien's use of train imagery always reminds me of the Robert Louis Stephenson children's poem called From a Railway Carriage that begins, "Faster than fairies, faster than witches..." English children, and many English adults, loved the romance of the steam train, and that's why I think train images fit the tone of The Hobbit, and the start of LotR, even though no logical, literal-minded adult could allow them into Middle-earth itself.

Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Bilbo's Last Song


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