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Old 09-23-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
davem
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Unseen JRRT Hobbit Pic

Daily Mail has a feature about some previously unseen illustrations by Tolkien http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...=1850423044001

Now. the first three I've already seen, but the fourth is a bit interesting - if only for the fact that Elrond is described as 'Half-elfin' as opposed to the usual Half-elven'.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:35 AM   #2
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Very nice, thanks for that, davem. I have seen the first and the third one (although not so green), but I also haven't seen the Smaug one, either. Can someone who is fluent in Elvish decipher the writings on the edge of the last one? (If they make any sense?) I am too lazy for that...
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:50 PM   #3
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I started wondering about half-elfin as well. As far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong, non-native), elfin is the "right" English adjective for elf-like or elf-made, and Tolkien had problems with this as often the word elven was indeed 'corrected' to elfin in LotR, by the publishers. Maybe at this point he had himself not settled on elven? Is there a date to be found somewhere, to tell when the picture was drawn?

I'll join Legate's plea for deciphers of the text in the last one.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:15 PM   #4
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All of the pictures, and many more, are in The Art of The Hobbit by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, published in 2011 by HarperCollins UK and earlier this month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the USA. The image in question is the reverse side of Death of Smaug, and Hammond and Scull decipher the text.

Last edited by Calcifer; 09-24-2012 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:53 AM   #5
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"Previously unseen" my fanny.

Somewhere buried in the middle of the text the Mail fesses up to "previously unseen in any newspaper."

Rivendell and the Eagle (Bilbo Awoke With the Sun in His Eyes) of course were published in the second UK and first US printings in 1938*; and the Death of Smaug first appeared as the cover of the 1966 UK paperback before being printed in Pictures by JRR Tolkien (1979). All have since been reprinted in Hammond and Scull's JRR Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator; while their new Art of the Hobbit does contain previously unpublished illustrations, these ain't them.

*Actually the UK and US editions each had four color plates, but different ones; Houghton Mifflim used the Eagle picture whereas Unwins went with Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft-Elves
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pomegranate View Post
I started wondering about half-elfin as well. As far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong, non-native), elfin is the "right" English adjective for elf-like or elf-made, and Tolkien had problems with this as often the word elven was indeed 'corrected' to elfin in LotR, by the publishers. Maybe at this point he had himself not settled on elven? Is there a date to be found somewhere, to tell when the picture was drawn?
I think 'elfin' must be correct given the origins of the word 'elf' and other uses of it (it was aelf in old English and is the root of names such as Alfred). Alan Garner's own 'elves' are the Svartalfar, reflecting the Norse tradition. I have read 'elven' used in other writings than Tolkien's, and 'elfin' grew to relate more to fairy/folk tale. Though I have to say that in the wake of Tolkien, you don't hear 'elfin' used very much nowadays unless to describe a child or a young fashion model!
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:27 PM   #7
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I think 'elfin' must be correct given the origins of the word 'elf' and other uses of it (it was aelf in old English and is the root of names such as Alfred).
The Old English word was normally spelled ęlf or sometimes elf.

Etymological dictionaries claim that the form Elfin was invented by Edmund Spencer in his Fairie Queen, and from that point became a common adjectival form. Spelling was not nearly so fixed as now in Spencer’s day.

In older tales it is the word fairy that is generally used, not elf. And looking through such older tales as I find, even those that mention elves do not happen to use adjectival forms. My memory is that both elfin and elven were formerly in use by different authors. And Tolkien again and again makes a big deal that the form dwarves with a v is his own invention, but never claims to have invented the form elven.

So I take it that my memory is correct and that elven was a reasonably common form which Tolkien preferred to elfin. But dictionaries then used by proof-readers listed elfin as the preferred form to use, whence Tolkien’s difficulties.

Even now elven is still in common use but dwarves and dwarvan is mostly limited to references to Tolkien’s work, except in translations from the Norse by the poet W. H. Auden who used dwarves because of his respect for Tolkien’s work.

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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Even now elven is still in common use but dwarves and dwarvan is mostly limited to references to Tolkien’s work
It seems that at least in the US fantasy and RPG industries, "dwarves" has become the standard form, of course due to Tolkien's influence.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:08 AM   #9
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Poking through old threads for entertainment, I took a look at the Tengwar briefly discussed here, and they're really weird.

To save people visiting the Daily Mail:



The actual translation of the Tengwar here is pretty dull:

Esgaroth
Esgaroth

Above Esgaroth upon the long lake

Smaug the magnificent
King of the dragons of the north


Broadly speaking, it's written in the Westron convention, as used in the Book of Mazarbul pictures. But that 'broadly' covers a multitude of quirks:

-The first 'Esgaroth' is almost readable as English; that cross-bar on the E isn't from any form of Elvish! Tolkien also used a Z/SS for S, and put a lovely curl into the final TH letter, all to make it look more English. He's also chosen to use 'o' to mean, uh, O, which doesn't seem to be his normal use - as far as I can tell, as a vowel it is almost universally U.

-The second 'Esgaroth' is a more standard rendering on the same word. That 'c' symbol for E is still highly unusual, but he's switched to an S rather than a Z, and gotten rid of the curl on the TH. What are we seeing here? Was this one the first written, with the 'first Esgaroth' an attempt to make it look like English (maybe for use as a label)? Or was the 'first Esgaroth' first, as its position might suggest - which implies this comes from Tolkien's actual development of the Tengwar?

-'Above Esgaroth upon the Long Lake' is my English gloss, but the words here are written phonetically. The actual transcription looks like 'uhbuv Esgaroth [identical to 'second Esgaroth'] uhpon the Long Lįk'. 'Uh' is the letter written as upside-down e in the IPA; I think it's a schwa. 'The' is a single character, which is standard for the Westron convention - but the vowel use is still all 'wrong'! It's consistent with the 'Esgaroth's, but not with any later text.

-'Smaug the Magnifisent / King of the dragons of the North'; this is the text found elsewhere in English, and supports the idea that Tolkien was planning to write Elvish border text onto some of his 'Hobbit' pictures. Generally this follows the same style as the rest of the page; it looks like the AU symbol (an A with a curl above) is elsewhere rendered AW, but we can assume that's phonetically identical. The most interesting letters are actually the two S: Tolkien usually draws these as curls, but originally wrote both as a 'u' shape with a diagonal line affixed, and then changed the first one to the more familiar curl.

In conclusion: if you read Tengwar, this is a really weird experience.

hS
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