The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-12-2022, 01:02 PM   #1
mark12_30
Stormdancer of Doom
 
mark12_30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Elvish singing is not a thing to miss, in June under the stars
Posts: 4,405
mark12_30 has been trapped in the Barrow!
Send a message via AIM to mark12_30 Send a message via Yahoo to mark12_30
Silmaril Incanus or Outcanus… canon who?

Some chap on FB posted that RoP is canon because it is approved by the Tolkien estate…

I responded “ Hmmm, I’ll have to disagree with you there. The Estate doesn’t produce canon.
In my opinion JRR Tolkien and Christopher do and that’s it (all comments about “head-canon” aside).
Some Loremasters even exclude Christopher and consider JRRT as the only Canon source. I don’t know any Loremasters that give the Tolkien Estate that authority.“
Discuss/calibrate me…? Am I flying too high-and-close to Arien with waxy wings?
I think once the BD had a working definition of canon, what was it? Or did we have competing definitions?
__________________
...down to the water to see the elves dance and sing upon the midsummer's eve.
mark12_30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2022, 01:20 PM   #2
Formendacil
Dead Serious
 
Formendacil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Perched on Thangorodrim's towers.
Posts: 3,327
Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Send a message via AIM to Formendacil Send a message via MSN to Formendacil
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark12_30 View Post
I think once the BD had a working definition of canon, what was it? Or did we have competing definitions?
We definitely had some scorched earth--can't recall if anything grew in it. I'm pretty sure we had a member or two who thought that J.R.R. Tolkien didn't have full control over what was canon!

Even ignoring for a moment whether we, the fans, accept RoP as canon (I'm going to go out on a limb and say "we don't"), where or when did the Estate say RoP was canon? It may at some point have said RoP was authorised (i.e. it was granted a license to adapt the work)--but, even then, I thought this was an inheritance of the Saul Zaentz rights, which the Estate doesn't even have access to or authority over.

Imagine if it were canon! RoP is effectively throwing a black hole into the 2nd Age, sucking all events into the same human lifetime. Has Appendix B's timeline now ceased to be canon? What about the Prologue when it says Hobbits weren't literate pre-Shire?

I suspect that your Facebook sighting may not have thought things through!

But that doesn't mean we can't have a rigorous debate about it! Alas, but I no longer think it is as simple a matter as I once did, but I would in general say only CT had any sort of canonical authority outside of JRRT, and that his authority was limited to some judicial matters and was quite non-legislative. I suppose, in principle, if CT had picked a successor to be THE executor, I'd be willing to entertain the idea that the Estate, in the form of that person, had some canon-deciding authority, but CT's whole praxis became to lay out what his father had written, tangles and contradictions and all (and regretted where he'd made Decisions), so I think he effectively ended the possibility by divesting himself--and the Estate--of canonical powers.
__________________
I prefer history, true or feigned.
Formendacil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2022, 01:25 PM   #3
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,117
Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Well, I will stick my wings out gingerishly to test the heat.
Only JRRT could produce what is called "canon".
CT could not produce actual new canon himself. He could edit works of JRRT and publish that, to be seen for the first time by the public. But he could not himself write wholly new stories about the Legendarium that could be canon.
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2022, 01:49 PM   #4
Tar Elenion
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 346
Tar Elenion has just left Hobbiton.
Everything Tolkien wrote is canon. Anything Tolkien did not write is not canon.
__________________
Tar-Elenion

Last edited by Tar Elenion; 09-12-2022 at 02:03 PM.
Tar Elenion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2022, 03:17 PM   #5
Mithadan
Spirit of Mist
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 3,170
Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
I would temper Tar Elenion's position a bit. What Tolkien published during his lifetime and did not later correct in a subsequent or corrected edition is absolutely "canon." What Tolkien wrote but did not publish? Personally, for such materials canon is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone must agree that Tolkien's mythos encompassed tales from the First and Second Ages that were never finished. What ultimately became the 1977 Silmarillion is, at best, a version of what Tolkien wrote based upon Christopher's best guess at that time. The stories were in a constant state of flux up to the time that the author passed away. From those DRAFTS we can discern the contours of what Tolkien generally intended. But not the specifics. Beren and Luthien may have reached a point where it was maybe 65% final. The Hurin/Turin stories may have reached 85% completion or more. But they were never finalized. Names might have changed. Events may have changed. The basic threads of the stories may have been set, but are they "canon?" I don't know.

In my image of Middle Earth, the world was not round at its outset (that sounds really strange to say it), there were no Domes of Varda, Orcs are corrupted Elves not Men or beasts. Yet Tolkien "wrote" versions of his tales, or at least musings about them, that differ from my preferred views. Who is to say what is "canon?" Not I. Not Peter Jackson and not Jeff Bezos.

RoP was "licensed" by the Estate. I will not bore you with anything resembling a formal legal definition of the word. To me, "licensed", as in you can use place names, characters, concepts to build your own story that you can publish as being "based upon...," is not the same as "canon." That being said, my own view of canon has shifted over the years. RoP is an interpretation, as others have suggested, a fan fiction of sorts. If you like it, watch it and enjoy. If you do not, don't watch it. I don't even mind if you want to watch it in order to point out where it deviates from your version of "canon" so long as you (not directed at anyone in particular) accept that others might disagree and choose to watch it (and discuss it) because they enjoy it and want to do so.

Otherwise, I invite anyone who would like to do so to use our (semi-functional) search function and seek references to "canon." You will get voluminous results.

EDIT: To be clear, feel free to discuss "canon" to your hearts' content. I do not mean to suggest that my post is the final word on the subject.
__________________
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
Mithadan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 03:16 AM   #6
Huinesoron
Overshadowed Eagle
 
Huinesoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,576
Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
I think there can be multiple canons! What is a canon? It's a self-consistent set of works, intended by the creator to fit together. I would usually add "complete enough to reasonably write fanfic of", because that's how I think.

So Tolkien published a set of books: LotR, Hobbit, Adventures of Tom Bombadil. That's a canon. Christopher added to that, with the Silm, UT, and maybe Children of Hurin. That's another canon, an extension of the first, and (aside from Galadriel and Celeborn) internally consistent.

There's at least two versions of "the canon" which build off that: one which tries to reconstruct the absolute latest ideas Tolkien had, and one which tries to work in his latest ideas that fit the published Silm. Both are very individualised; no two people are going to agree on exactly what's in each.

But there are other canons! The Book of Lost Tales is a nearly-complete, mostly-internally-consistent canon. The Lost Road presents a different canon for Numenor, with different timelines and characters, complete enough that you could easily write fanfic in it.

And yes, there are the movie canons. The Jacksonverse, which may or may not include Rings of Power. The Rankin-Bass-verse, which may or may not include the Bakshi movie. Heck, the full script of the Boorman movie is available; that's a canon, too.

From a fanfic perspective, and even from a discussion perspective, all you have to do is specify which canon you're thinking of. "This is a Movieverse fanfic, including Rings of Power." "In the Lost Road era, was Elendil an effective leader?" "If Gil-Galad is Fingon's son, why did Turgon become High King?" Just try not to cross your canons over without realising you're doing it: "I think the Stranger is Fionwe, son of Manwe!"

The difficulty, of course, lies in those two individualised canons: the ones that ask what 'really happened'. For fanfic, you can cite the specific text - "I'm going with the version where Galadriel meets Celeborn in Aman". For discussions... well, that's why their discussions: you bring your preferred "canon" texts and make a case for why they're the most like what 'really happened'. You can forge agreement, but never a definitive answer.

hS
__________________
Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
Huinesoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 12:40 PM   #7
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,117
Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Well, I will stick my wings out gingerishly to test the heat.
Only JRRT could produce what is called "canon".
CT could not produce actual new canon himself. He could edit works of JRRT and publish that, to be seen for the first time by the public. But he could not himself write wholly new stories about the Legendarium that could be canon.
At the risk of being accused of arrogance for quoting myself, I feel I should add something that I just learned myself this morning and which relates to my comment about CT.

Another Tolkien friend asked about Guy Favriel Kay's role in editing the Silm, having just learned about his role in helping edit the Silm. Quite a few other Tolkien fans were also surprised to hear of his work with CT. It hasn't been widely acknowledged and in the 1977 Foreward (repeated in the Second Edition), CT makes a concluding comment to thank Kay for his work. It isn't clear if this is simply academic courtesy or an acknowledgement that Kay played a significant part in helping with the edition. Kay himself is reluctant to speak in detail about it. He has said that he learned a great deal about narrative writing working on Tolkien Sr's drafts and manuscripts. And he has gone on to become a highy regarded fantasy writer himself, winning international awards and becoming a best seller with translations into several languages.

As part of my searches about Kay's contribution, I came upon the fact that CT has acknowledged that chapter twenty two of the Quenta Silmarillion was in fact not an edited version of one of JRRT's texts but largely rewritten by CT himself.

Quote:
It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function.

'Apart from a few matters of detail in texts and notes that have not been published, all that my father ever wrote on the subject of the ruin of Doriath has now been set out (...) If these materials are compared with the story told in The Silmarillion it is seen at once that this latter is fundamentally changed, to a form for which in certain essential features there is no authority whatever in my father's own writings.
It is dicey to quote this because the source was not given but I suspect it is in book 11 of HoMe, a copy of which I don't have at hand right now.

The upshot of this of course influences what people might call canon. There are many online discussions asking how much of the Silm reflects CT's writing and even how much reflects Favriel Kay's work. Certainly I find the style in CT's edition of the Silm much different from JRRT's style in HoMe and the later editions of Tolkien Sr's work and for that reason I am not sure that we can say that the Silm is canon, if by canon we mean, as Tar Elenion says,
Quote:
Everything Tolkien wrote is canon. Anything Tolkien did not write is not canon.
And as an addenda to this, I note the following discussion about Vincent Ferré's article in The Great Tales Never End which apparently fails to make any mention of Guy Favriel Kay's contributions to editing the Silm. https://www.tolkienguide.com/modules...=4534&start=20

A review of Ferré's article can be found in the respected Journal of Tolkien Research https://scholar.valpo.edu/journaloft.../vol14/iss2/8/, which faults Ferré's omission.

So was CT the first fanfiction writer? He was certainly a fan.
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 01:31 PM   #8
Formendacil
Dead Serious
 
Formendacil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Perched on Thangorodrim's towers.
Posts: 3,327
Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Send a message via AIM to Formendacil Send a message via MSN to Formendacil
At the risk of being a pedant...

I do sort of want to define what "canon" even means. According to Wiktionary.org (not cited so much because it's authoritative as because it's easy):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiktionary.org
A generally accepted principle; a rule.

a formally codified set of criteria deemed mandatory for a particular artistic style of figurative art

The trial must proceed according to the canons of law.

A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field.
The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic.

the entire Shakespearean canon

A eucharistic prayer, particularly the Roman Canon.
A religious law or body of law decreed by the church.

We must proceed according to canon law.

A catalogue of saints acknowledged and canonized in the Roman Catholic Church.
In monasteries, a book containing the rules of a religious order.
A piece of music in which the same melody is played by different voices, but beginning at different times; a round.

Pachelbel’s Canon has become very popular.

(Roman law) A rent or stipend payable at some regular time, generally annual, e.g., canon frumentarius
(fandom slang, uncountable) Those sources, especially including literary works, which are considered part of the main continuity regarding a given fictional universe.

A spin-off book series revealed the aliens to be originally from Earth, but it's not canon.

(cooking) A rolled and filleted loin of meat; also called a cannon.

a canon of beef or lamb

(printing, dated, uncountable) A large size of type formerly used for printing the church canons, standardized as 48-point.
The part of a bell by which it is suspended; the ear or shank of a bell[1].
I think we can ignore the shank of a bell in this discussion--unless... aren't all the corner cases that stress any rules those that don't fall beneath the canon of the bell-curve?

All of these largely go back to the idea of a list: the canons of ecclesiastical councils, which codified things such as the rules of the Church (i.e. canon law) and the list of what books are definitely in the Bible (i.e. the Canon of Scripture), and it's derivative of this original source that we get Wiktionary's 11th definition--the one that I think is normally what we mean around here:

"Those sources, especially including literary works, which are considered part of the main continuity regarding a given fictional universe."

Except, at least some of the time, and even on this forum, I think we've historically taken it even one step further than that:

"Those events, especially those described in literary works, which 'actually' happened in the history of a given fictional universe."

And... well, there's a reason I put 'actually' in quotes: we're getting pretty close to full circle back to the Canon of Scripture and the Divinely Inspired Word of God if we're arguing over what "really" happened--even if, at times, I think that's what we've done.

I might only be speaking (sorry: writing) for myself, so the revelation as I've gotten older that it's a bit nonsense to speak of what really happened in a fictional world may be very old news indeed to those who've always know this. But--actually kind of going back to Tolkien as the Divine Author again--the canon was always in flux as long as Tolkien was writing it, and he could and did rewrite it at will, including the published works!

So, to answer the "canon" question, I find I have several answers:

What is the "Canon of Scripture": i.e. what are the "divinely inspired" works of Tolkien. The Hobbit, LotR, Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Anything else is like the Apocrypha or Patristic fathers: i.e. it's of great value but it's not Authoritative. Basically, I think if Tolkien didn't publish it, it doesn't have authority in the same way.

What is the "Western Canon": i.e. what list of Tolkien books should/must every Tolkien fan read? The Hobbit, LotR, the Silm, Unfinished Tales, the Book of Lost Tales 1&2, Adventures of Tom Bom, Farmer Giles, Smith of Wootton Major. At some point you have to draw the line... that's what I think the "essentials" are.

What "Actually Happened" in Middle-earth: i.e. how do I read the many works of Tolkien to decide what I, as a "historian," think actually happened? I accept every Middle-earth thing Tolkien wrote, but where things contradict, I will always default to the published text, and to the LotR 2nd Edition above all. Where details conflict but none are in a published work, I will prefer the details contained in what work is most in agreement with the published text, then the work that is most complete, then the work that is latest in time of composition.

Is the above answer "my canon"?: No.
__________________
I prefer history, true or feigned.
Formendacil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 03:16 PM   #9
Huinesoron
Overshadowed Eagle
 
Huinesoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,576
Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
I accept every Middle-earth thing Tolkien wrote, but where things contradict, I will always default to the published text...
So with that on my mind, this came across my Facebook just now:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Long Expected Party, first version
Hobbits had a curious habit in their weddings. They kept it (always officially and very often actually) a dead secret for years who they were going to marry, even when they knew. Then they suddenly went and got married and went off without an address for a week or two (or even longer). When Bilbo had disappeared this is what at first his neighbours thought. 'He has gone and got married. Now who can it be? -- no one else has disappeared, as far as we know.' Even after a year they would have been less surprised if he had come back with a wife.
Right at the beginning of HoME VI, page 17 in my edition. The passage drops out for the second draft, because it was prompted by Bilbo claiming he would get married; but the second draft hints at it remaining valid when part of the reaction to Bilbo's farewell is "Is he going to get married? Not to anyone here tonight." After that, it doesn't seem to be alluded to again.

But it's not contradicted by anything, either. RotK has Sam being very shy about mentioning his possible wedding to Frodo The line "as I hadn't spoken, she couldn't say so" hints at the secrecy from the first draft, and the way Sam and Rosie arrange the marriage between themselves certainly implies there's no 'seek permission from her father' business going on, which matches the 'curious habit'.

So... in people's view of the "what actually happened" canon, is this what Hobbit weddings are like? And if not... why not?

hS
__________________
Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
Huinesoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 03:44 PM   #10
Tar Elenion
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 346
Tar Elenion has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
As part of my searches about Kay's contribution, I came upon the fact that CT has acknowledged that chapter twenty two of the Quenta Silmarillion was in fact not an edited version of one of JRRT's texts but largely rewritten by CT himself.
Just brings to mind how some of us used to have to point this out repeatedly, usually in response to the infamous Thingol quote:
"‘How do ye of uncouth race dare to demand aught of me, Elu Thingol, Lord of Beleriand, whose life began by the waters of Cuiviénen years uncounted ere the fathers of the stunted people awoke?’"



Quote:
The upshot of this of course influences what people might call canon. There are many online discussions asking how much of the Silm reflects CT's writing and even how much reflects Favriel Kay's work. Certainly I find the style in CT's edition of the Silm much different from JRRT's style in HoMe and the later editions of Tolkien Sr's work and for that reason I am not sure that we can say that the Silm is canon, if by canon we mean, as Tar Elenion says,
Most of the Silmarillion is, essentially, from Tolkien, it is just edited together from a variety of texts written over decades, with editorial intervention to make some sort of internal and external consistency (not necessarily fully achieved).

Quote:
So was CT the first fanfiction writer? He was certainly a fan.
JRRT, as I understand it, specifically charged CT with completing The (or 'A') Silmarillion.
__________________
Tar-Elenion
Tar Elenion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 03:57 PM   #11
Formendacil
Dead Serious
 
Formendacil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Perched on Thangorodrim's towers.
Posts: 3,327
Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Formendacil is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Send a message via AIM to Formendacil Send a message via MSN to Formendacil
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
So with that on my mind, this came across my Facebook just now:

...

But it's not contradicted by anything, either. RotK has Sam being very shy about mentioning his possible wedding to Frodo The line "as I hadn't spoken, she couldn't say so" hints at the secrecy from the first draft, and the way Sam and Rosie arrange the marriage between themselves certainly implies there's no 'seek permission from her father' business going on, which matches the 'curious habit'.

So... in people's view of the "what actually happened" canon, is this what Hobbit weddings are like? And if not... why not?
We would seem to have the same algorithm funneling content toward our Facebook feeds...

I'm personally inclined to drop the habit from my view of "what actually happened," and as far as that teases out a principle, it might be that anything edited OUT of a published text has less standing than anything that's actually in it: unlike some hastily penciled or forgotten notes on a crumpled napkin, there is plain evidence (albeit not fully determinative evidence) that Tolkien dropped the idea.

But I'll also readily admit that this is as much grounded in preference as in anything I can specifically cite as principle: it just doesn't feel congruent to me with final draft hobbit culture. Tolkien's world feels just so and this feels just a bit off to me--almost like a second version of the backwards birthday presents. And hobbit culture doesn't feel like it should just be "normal 19th century British things backwards."

It's a good test case, though--and you might have hit upon a good formula for posting threads post-RoP: just find outrageous things cut from the LotR drafts and post them here with "is this still workable?" headers.
__________________
I prefer history, true or feigned.
Formendacil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2022, 05:36 PM   #12
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,221
William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
At the risk of being accused of arrogance for quoting myself, I feel I should add something that I just learned myself this morning and which relates to my comment about CT.

Another Tolkien friend asked about Guy Favriel Kay's role in editing the Silm, having just learned about his role in helping edit the Silm. Quite a few other Tolkien fans were also surprised to hear of his work with CT. It hasn't been widely acknowledged and in the 1977 Foreward (repeated in the Second Edition), CT makes a concluding comment to thank Kay for his work. It isn't clear if this is simply academic courtesy or an acknowledgement that Kay played a significant part in helping with the edition. Kay himself is reluctant to speak in detail about it. He has said that he learned a great deal about narrative writing working on Tolkien Sr's drafts and manuscripts. And he has gone on to become a highy regarded fantasy writer himself, winning international awards and becoming a best seller with translations into several languages.

As part of my searches about Kay's contribution, I came upon the fact that CT has acknowledged that chapter twenty two of the Quenta Silmarillion was in fact not an edited version of one of JRRT's texts but largely rewritten by CT himself.



It is dicey to quote this because the source was not given but I suspect it is in book 11 of HoMe, a copy of which I don't have at hand right now.

The upshot of this of course influences what people might call canon. There are many online discussions asking how much of the Silm reflects CT's writing and even how much reflects Favriel Kay's work. Certainly I find the style in CT's edition of the Silm much different from JRRT's style in HoMe and the later editions of Tolkien Sr's work and for that reason I am not sure that we can say that the Silm is canon, if by canon we mean, as Tar Elenion says,

And as an addenda to this, I note the following discussion about Vincent Ferré's article in The Great Tales Never End which apparently fails to make any mention of Guy Favriel Kay's contributions to editing the Silm. https://www.tolkienguide.com/modules...=4534&start=20

A review of Ferré's article can be found in the respected Journal of Tolkien Research https://scholar.valpo.edu/journaloft.../vol14/iss2/8/, which faults Ferré's omission.

So was CT the first fanfiction writer? He was certainly a fan.
Many years ago, Kay gave an address at (IIRC) Mythcon where he talked about his work on the Silm; it was not recorded or transcribed but a fairly well-known Tolkien figure - I keep wanting to say John Rateliff but it may have been someone else - published a summary of Kay's remarks.

One takeaway is that Kay was not yet an author- he was a 19-year old college student studying law. CT needed, basically, a gopher- somebody to make photocopies and fetch coffee. Since Kay's parents were friends of Baillie Tolkien's parents back in Winnipeg, his name came up and he got the gig.

The other takeaway is that Kay's role grew; CT started using him as a sounding board, and eventually as a first-pass "assembler" of JRRT passages (The "constructed" Silm is a bit like multiple decks of cards shuffled together)- and then CT would write the final text. So GK had a fair bit of input into the final product, and CT later did say that his "discussions" with Kay underlay the Doriath chapter.
__________________
The entire plot of The Lord of the Rings could be said to turn on what Sauron didn’t know, and when he didn’t know it.
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2022, 10:51 AM   #13
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,117
Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Many years ago, Kay gave an address at (IIRC) Mythcon where he talked about his work on the Silm; it was not recorded or transcribed but a fairly well-known Tolkien figure - I keep wanting to say John Rateliff but it may have been someone else - published a summary of Kay's remarks.

One takeaway is that Kay was not yet an author- he was a 19-year old college student studying law. CT needed, basically, a gopher- somebody to make photocopies and fetch coffee. Since Kay's parents were friends of Baillie Tolkien's parents back in Winnipeg, his name came up and he got the gig.

The other takeaway is that Kay's role grew; CT started using him as a sounding board, and eventually as a first-pass "assembler" of JRRT passages (The "constructed" Silm is a bit like multiple decks of cards shuffled together)- and then CT would write the final text. So GK had a fair bit of input into the final product, and CT later did say that his "discussions" with Kay underlay the Doriath chapter.
Thanks for this, William Cloud Hicklin. I knew that Kay had played a role in the editing but I was not aware of the different opinions about his role. Clearly that year working with CT on JRRT's manuscripts and notes had a great influence on him; he did complete his law studies and was called to the bar but writing called more strongly to him .

I've been told that Charles Noad in Amon Hen 91 reports on a talk given by Kay, where Kay explained what his role was on the Silm but I wasn't told where Kay gave the talk. Perhaps this is the one you were thinking of from Mythcon? I don't have access to AH.

I've also been told that it was Kay's influence to produce the Silm as a continuous narrative rather than an academic text with footnotes. So because of Kay we have both the Silm and HoMe?
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2022, 01:02 PM   #14
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,221
William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
I've been told that Charles Noad in Amon Hen 91 reports on a talk given by Kay, where Kay explained what his role was on the Silm but I wasn't told where Kay gave the talk. Perhaps this is the one you were thinking of from Mythcon? I don't have access to AH.

I've also been told that it was Kay's influence to produce the Silm as a continuous narrative rather than an academic text with footnotes. So because of Kay we have both the Silm and HoMe?
Yes! Correct on both counts. You have jogged my memory and it was Charles Noad; and, yes, CT's original inclination was to do something more like HME, or the Celeborn and Galadriel chapter of UT.

As to the former, it is specifically "A Tower in Beleriand, a talk by Guy Gavriel Kay", published in Amon Hen 91 (1988)
__________________
The entire plot of The Lord of the Rings could be said to turn on what Sauron didn’t know, and when he didn’t know it.
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2022, 12:18 PM   #15
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,023
Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
For me, Tolkien-published* text is canon.

And as the posthumously published stuff seems to raise the very question, again for me, that seems an easy division. Were we ever supposed to see any of these texts in the forms that we find them today? Even those texts that seem finished don't have that final stamp of author-approved . . .

Quote:
"The desire to revise, improve, and polish was characteristic of Tolkien. His obituary in the Times of London, obviously written by someone who knew him well, says that "his standard of self criticism was high and the mere suggestion of publication usually set him upon a revision, in the course of which so many new ideas occurred to him that where his friends had hoped for the final text of an old work they actually got the first draft of a new one”.

Christina Scull, The Development of Tolkien's legendarium, Tolkien’s Legendarium, Essays on The History of Middle-earth

__________

* Also, any "Hobbit-holdouts" (there appear to be some who do not hold any edition of The Hobbit as canon) will have to deal with Tolkien's own statements about even the first edition Hobbit being an internal work -- statements made in the canon itself (here The Lord of the Rings).
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:38 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.