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LotRs & Feminism
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Penthe
Gondor


Sep 26 2010, 2:02am

Post #101 of 104 (1896 views)
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'Essentialist' [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always thought Tolkien's essentialism shows more in his attitude to his evil characters - ie that they cannot change to become good (you know, orcs and so on, not the Maiar).

As we used to say in our undergraduate days, you essentialists are all alike! (heh).

Now?


FarFromHome
Valinor


Sep 26 2010, 10:57am

Post #102 of 104 (1835 views)
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How do you define "correctly"? [In reply to] Can't Post

(Kind of pedantic, I know, but since this thread is so much about definitions....)

Tongue

Is Tolkien's deliberately archaic "Middle-earth" - as close to a one-word form as he could get, perhaps to echo the Old English one-word middangeard of Beowulf - the only "correct" spelling of this term? I suppose you could argue that it is, when the discussion is of Tolkien's own work. But if we accept that Tolkien didn't "invent" Middle-earth, but was using a concept, and a term, that preexisted his work, couldn't we also say that the obvious two-word modern spelling of this archaic term would be equally "correct"? (For what it's worth, the entry in the OED has "middle earth".)

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



squire
Valinor


Sep 26 2010, 5:17pm

Post #103 of 104 (1863 views)
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"Correctly" when referring to Tolkien's sub-creation [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course anyone can spell it any way they want, if they are trying to translate middengeard into Modern English. But Tolkien's use of Middle-earth in all his legends is clear and consistent; just as his spelling of dwarves and elves is. The NY Times (Ms. Dowd) was obviously referring to Tolkien's Middle-earth, not the erstwhile Middle Earth of ancient Norse legend, and as such the proofreaders should have gotten it right.

Professor Michael Drout complained in his 2000 bibliography of Tolkien scholarship that "misspellings" (his word) of Middle-earth must be anticipated when searching the scholarly databases for articles about Tolkien. He was quite annoyed by having to try "Middle Earth" and "Middle-Earth" just to be certain of finding everything - sounding as grumpy as Tolkien did when correcting the LotR proofs in which the typesetters had changed all instances of elves to elfs!



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 (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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


FarFromHome
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 9:04am

Post #104 of 104 (2159 views)
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Well of course [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you - I think pedantry goes deep with a lot of Tolkien fans, one way or another, and I'm as guilty of it as the next fan...

Cool

I just think it's important to bear in mind that the rest of the world isn't quite as hung up as we tend to be on minutiae such as Tolkien's personal spellings. If a general-interest publication fails to notice Tolkien's archaic form of a word and instead uses the obvious modern one that just comes naturally (and is equally "correct" by ordinary standards of spelling), it doesn't actually matter at all (in my opinion) providing the article has something interesting to say.

Of course I'm sympathetic to the inconvenience to Professor Drout, but as a medievalist he must be used to dealing with spelling variants that are far wider and more challenging than anything you'll find in the New York Times!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings


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