View Single Post
Old 11-23-2018, 02:44 PM   #64
King's Writer
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,589
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Maybe I was not clear enough in my last post, so I will try again:
- Yes, I believe that a note exists that contains the story of the Nauglamír made for Felagund and being the sole treasure brought from Nargothrond to Menegroth by Húrin. For easier and clearer farther reference let us name that note ‘text X’.
- Yes, I agree that the confirmed existence of ‘text X’ gives more weight to the version of the story told in the Sil77.
- And it is clear that if, we come to the conclusion, that this version of the story, is to be taken, the actual text of Sil77 is the one and only option, because it is the best representation of the content of ‘text X’ that we have.
But as we don’t have any farther information about ‘text X’ and its timing or circumstances of writing or anything else concerning it, we must base our decision about it on something else. For me it seems that, the only choice we have as measure for that judgment is the treatment of ‘text X’ by Christopher Tolkien.
So how does Christopher Tolkien treat ‘text X’:
A) Christopher Tolkien used in the years 1974-75 ‘text X’ as basis for the story in Sil77.
B) He does not give ‘text X’ in HoME. Even in HoME XI; A note on chapter 22 Of the Ruin of Doriath (published in 1994), where a very fitting place would have been for it, he does not more than hinting very unspecific to ‘a few matters of detail in texts and notes that have not been published’. So what he did was summarizing the story as found in Sil77, so that the features of ‘text X’ are given together with features for which ‘there is no authority whatever in my father's [JRR Tolkien’s] own writings’.
C) He does mention its existence and content of ‘text X’ in the footnote in BL (published 2017), but does not give it in full nor base the story told in that book on its content.
As can be expected B) gives some background information on A):
b1) Christopher Tolkien speculates that JRR Tolkien ‘ would have reintroduced the outlaws from the old Tales (II.113-15, 222-3) as the bearers of the treasure’. Which means, that Christopher Tolkien thinks that his father would not have used the content of ‘text X’ for his ‘final’ story. This speculations is backed up by late (1966) writings concerned with The Wanderings of Húrin.
b2) Christopher Tolkien confirms that there had been much ‘experimentation among alternative conceptions’ and that the final text of Sil77owes much to my [Christopher Tolkien’s] discussions with him [Guy Gavriel Kay]’. Guy Gavriel Kay was for sure NOT onboard of these discussions due to his special knowledge about the textual history of the story or his good judgments about what JRR Tolkien would have done – for such matters Christopher Tolkien was for sure the better judge. Mr. Kay told us in an interview with The Guardian that Christopher Tolkien ‘saw the editing process in the classic ‘senior academic working with the bright young graduate student’ way, which is the template for so much academic work.’ Nonetheless since Mr. Kay became later a fantasy author, his input was most probably on the ‘literary value’ of the ‘alternative conceptions’.
In the end C) Indeed changes some possible interpretations of B) and has to be interpreted in itself:
c1) Since C) does confirm the existence of ‘text X’ the first major criticism utter in B) that, the story in Sil77is fundamentally changed, to a form for which in certain essential features there is no authority whatever in my father's [JRR Tolkien’s] own writings’, does not apply to the features told in ‘text X’ (Nauglamír made for Felagund in Nargothrond, Nauglamír being the sole treasure brought to Menegroth by Húrin). (As we discussed that matter first before the publication of BL, I think we all based on the second part of B) were under the impression that there was no ‘text X’ in existence.)
c2) As well as the first criticism (see c1)) the last, that with creating the story as given in Sill77 he was ‘far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function’, does not apply to the features of ‘text X’, since C) does confirm the existence of ‘text X’ and choosing between alternative texts is the function of an editor.
c3) In BL Christopher Tolkien for the first time edits the presented story as ‘history in sequence’ as he named it. That makes the text together with the note fully ambivalent of what was the ‘true’ story.

All that ‘facts’ collected, what do I make out of it?
The clear statement of C) is that using the text of Sil77 in the matter of the Nauglamír and what part of the Nargothrond treasure came to Doriath is an reasonable option for us (which it had not been before). But in b1) I see a hint that ‘text X’ was older than 1966, otherwise the features of ‘text X’ would have been a way out of the difficulties that the story as told in Q30 represent. As we do with writings of JRR Tolkien, we as well should do with such of Christopher Tolkien: His knowledge about the texts of his farther would have become greater with longer studying time. Therefore B) does have much more weight for me than A). Specially

Last edited by Findegil; 01-07-2020 at 10:10 AM.
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote