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Old 11-25-2021, 06:57 PM   #18
Pile O'Bones
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 20
Voronwë_the_Faithful has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Now that it's officially public, I can talk about what's in it in a bit more detail. This is the third and last of the 'synoptic' time-schemes Tolkien made, in other words using parallel columns to keep track of his various groups of characters. They wind up looking something like calendar pages, grids of boxes. This version, which I have dubbed S3, postdates the completion of the story. That fact I think is important in understanding its nature- it's not a 'working' document, in which we can see him developing his ideas as with the drafts in HME, but more in the nature of a 'reference' document like the Appendices, of which impulse it really was a part, although it was not I believe intended for publication but rather as groundwork for published material.

The first two pages (one leaf), written on 13-inch lined paper in the normal manner, are a linear time-scheme of the story from Hobbiton to the entry into Lorien. The next six (three leaves) use the same paper but are oriented landscape-fashion and divided into columns for the dramatis personae (these change constantly as needed), with a row for each date, January 15 through March 7. The next page, the ninth, followed suit; but it dissolved into a welter of alterations, strikethroughs, insertions, directional arrows and ultimately became such a chaotic mess that Tolkien discarded it (it was found separately in the archives) and replaced it. From this point he used blank pages from exam booklets, his usual medium for drafting. As so often, what had started as a "final" copy had become mere rough work. (It's also possible though that he simply ran out of the other paper!). The new pages 9-11 continue the multicolumn time-scheme through the fall of Sauron on March 25. The verso of 11 was left blank (for now), and 12-14 return to portrait linear mode, there being no need for multiple columns, until Sam's return to Bag End on 6 October 1421. At some time, I am inclined to think much later in around 1954 while working on 'The Great Years,' Tolkien jotted some Appendix B-style entries on the back of p.11, all concerned with global events after the fall of the Dark Tower.

There then follow far more than 15 pages of my own blathering about the above, and an ungodly number of footnotes. The blathering actually covers much more than just this document, because I found myself for better or worse describing the development of all three 'synoptic' chronologies, and their interrelationship to the development of the narrative itself. This applies even to S3: although the story was 'finished,' making S3 caused Tolkien to completely overhaul the week leading up to the Pelennor, and accordingly rewrite all the many, many threads converging on Minas Tirith.

And then there's the matter of converting his calendar post facto from our modern calendar to Shire Reckoning.......
Congratulations! I believe you told me about this a very long time ago, but I might be inventing that in my mind. In any event, I look forward to reading it.
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