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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Foster versus Tyler

Elthir
Rohan

Jun 4, 12:13pm


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Foster versus Tyler [In reply to] Can't Post


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Honest mistake (personally I actually prefer JEA Taylor's book, though I've only ever read the '91 edition of Foster's book)



While not perfect, in my opinion Foster outshines Tyler here.

Plus I believe Tyler later attempted to include Unfinished Tales, which in my opinion is a mistake. David Bratman once put this review up at Amazon: 'Third edition of an encyclopedia whose first two, pre- and post-Silmarillion, versions have been floating around for years. A reliable source but a very poor second choice to Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle-earth (less detail, more omissions, few dates, hardly any page references), Tyler's tome now includes entries from Unfinished Tales, 24 years after that book was published. It ignores almost everything else since then, whether it fits into the (illusory) "final" legendarium or not. Tyler claims he's dropped his pretence that Middle-earth is real, but entries like that for Orcs, identifying them as the true origin of mythic goblins, show that he hasn't. This new edition is only worth having if a copy drops into your lap.'

Okay, that might be a bit harsh Wink

But I do think employing Unfinished Tales only muddies the waters, as to my mind...

A) one either publishes a book about the 'internal' World of Middle-earth [Foster, in my opinion]...

B) or one publishes a book that includes obvious references to both internal text and tales, and external variations [Hammond and Scull]

To create B is arguably more difficult, although Hammond and Scull are true scholars at being purely descriptive -- not letting opinion 'seep' into their descriptions and explanations, and being clear when they are describing opinion.

One might argue that Foster, since he primarily employs only those works which were published by Tolkien himself, but plus the constructed Silmarillion, is not truly being internal* -- but my response to that is: if one wants to include Silmarillion material in any significant amount, there is no other way to do it since there is no finished, published Silmarillion from Tolkien himself.

That is, one can hardly present the internal world of the First Age without making personal choices -- even Christopher Tolkien [with Guy Kay] has done so, with respect to the constructed version; but whether one agrees or disagrees with those choices, it is the only 'shared internal version' the public has [although this will also include certain details that were invented by CJRT and Guy Kay, most notably with regard to the Fall of Doriath].

Otherwise, anyone creating a guide book for 'everyone' will arguably present a different internal world of the First Age, according to what the author decides is best, or thinks Tolkien was ultimately headed about a given matter, and so on.

_________

*Internal: the tales as they are found in the imagined legendarium, or 'The Red Book'. For example, Foster will not indulge in the various problematic versions of the history of Galadriel and Celeborn, but will present what is known from the works published only by JRR Tolkien himself.

External: the tales as they are found in the Primary World -- which includes the confusing history of Galadriel and Celeborn set out in Unfinished Tales, to employ the same example.

Well, that's what I mean here by these terms anyway Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jun 4, 12:22pm)

Subject User Time
Question/Request: Is there a good book list/recommendation of Tolkien's works? Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 1, 4:07am
    Ask Middle Earth... Laineth Send a private message to Laineth Jun 1, 4:27am
        Laineth: Thanks! Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 2, 3:09am
    If you're interesting in geography IdrilLalaith Send a private message to IdrilLalaith Jun 1, 5:04am
        IdrilLalaith: lovely Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 2, 3:11am
            I haven't cracked it open in a while IdrilLalaith Send a private message to IdrilLalaith Jun 3, 2:04am
    You might find these links useful malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Jun 1, 11:16am
        Very useful indeed... Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 2, 3:13am
        Not that one! :-) geordie Send a private message to geordie Jun 2, 8:02pm
            Whoops! malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Jun 3, 10:38am
                What would you do without me? you ask.. geordie Send a private message to geordie Jun 3, 9:05pm
                Foster versus Tyler Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Jun 4, 12:13pm
        Complete Guide to Middle-earth IdrilLalaith Send a private message to IdrilLalaith Jun 3, 2:09am
    A particular recommendation: The Tolkien Reader Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jun 1, 2:45pm
        Arigatou, Sempai Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 2, 3:17am
            'The Tolkien Reader' is still in print squire Send a private message to squire Jun 2, 11:41am
                Thanx for the clarification, squire! // Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jun 2, 2:19pm
                Cool, thanks, squire! Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 3, 6:49am
            Even more reccomendations and links: malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Jun 2, 6:54pm
    Even more recommendations and links for you Lurker (ignore my earlier post I missed the edit window): malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Jun 2, 7:16pm
        Thank you very much, malickfan. Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 3, 6:51am
            My Pleasure... malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Jun 3, 11:08am
                The local library would be a great idea elsewhere Lurker in the Mirk Send a private message to Lurker in the Mirk Jun 4, 10:32am

 
 
 

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