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Old 10-14-2021, 10:07 PM   #1
Late Istar
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,184
Aiwendil is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Aiwendil is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
'Time and Ageing' Sequence of Composition

I don't know that I'm the first to do this, but I spent a considerable portion of last night working through the texts given in part 1 of The Nature of Middle-earth and trying to work out the order in which the many "c. 1959" texts were written. This is very, very speculative, but this is what I've ended up with:

- The earliest text in the chapter is "The Valian Year" text 1 (I.1), dated from c. 1951.

- (XXIII, "A Fragment from the Grey Annals" presumably dates from the early 1950s, but is unrelated to the other texts in this section).

- Then we have "The Valian Year" text 2 (I.2), dated from 1957, where we have the introduction of the 144-year Valian Year.

- From c. 1958, we have XXII, "A Fragment from the Annals of Aman".

- Moving on to the c. 1959 texts, first we have a group of four texts that are distinguished by the fact that, as initially written, they lack any notion of a "growth-year" or a faster 12:1 rate of growth in Elves' early lives, except insofar as a shorter gestation is introduced. Instead, these texts present an idea of "quickening" of a quickening of the ratio in Middle-earth as the ages wore on. These are IX ("Time Scales and Rates of Growth"), X ("Difficulties in Chronology"), XI ("Ageing of Elves"), and XX ("Time and Its Perception"). Of these, we can conclude that X was written before XI, since the idea of changing Arwen's birth year to TA 341 is arrived at in X but taken as given in XI. I'm also inclined to place XI later than both IX and X because both IX and X still flirt with the idea of a long gestation period on something like the 144:1 scale, while XI only refers to a 9-year gestation. XI can also probably be placed later than XX, since XX starts from the assumption of an Awakening in VY 1050, as it is in AAm, before proposing changing that to an earlier date - whereas XI implies an Awakening earlier than 1050, since 1050 is proposed as a date for Finwe's birth. It is more difficult to determine the order of composition of IX, X, and XX, except possibly that since IX and X deal with issues of chronology, just as XI does, they closely preceded it. So I would guess the order of these texts is: XX - (IX, X) - XI

- Next I think we have IV and V, "Time Scales" and "Natural Youth and Growth of the Quendi". Both of these would seem to precede III ("Of Time in Arda"), as that was an aborted typescript apparently made after IV, V, and VI were collated. V, at least, also seems to precede XII ("Concerning the Quendi and Their Mode of Life and Growth"), since a statement about the typical age of "first begetting" appears ab initio in XII in the form it was revised to in V. Both of these texts, however, have a faster 12:1 growth year for Elves up to maturity, which would seem to place them after XX, IX, X, and XI. IV, however, has one somewhat puzzling instance of gestation being calculated on a 144:1 scale, which is probably a slip, but may suggest that it was written soon after that earlier group of texts.

- There is then a sequence of texts that I think must have been written in the order VII - VIII - VI ("The March of the Quendi", "Eldarin Traditions Concerning the Awakening", and "The Awakening of the Quendi"). VII must, I think, precede VIII because in VII we see ideas concerning the Awakening of the Elves being developed, which are then apparently implemented in VIII, which is really the first version of the "Cuivienyarna". VI, on the other hand, would seem to follow VIII, since it cites a legend, which Hostetter takes to be a reference to the text of VIII, indicating that that text was already in existence. There is little to go on in determining the position of this grouping as compared to the texts I've placed immediately before it (IV, V), and it is quite possible that they weren't written in a direct sequence, but that the composition of this group overlaps with the composition of those texts.

- III ("Of Time in Arda") must have been written after these because it is the abandoned typescript version of the collated set of IV, V, and VI.

- XII ("Concerning the Quendi in Their Mode of Life and Growth") is hard to place, but my best guess would put it somewhere around here. It would seem to follow (and be a revision of) V, because the revised version of the "first begetting" passage appears ab initio here. I would guess that it also follows the collation of IV, V, and VI, because if it had been in existence at that time, it would have been included in preference to V - and for this reason, it may also postdate III. But its close relation to these texts suggests, to me, at least, that it was written soon after them.

- Next I think we have XIV.2 and XIV.1 ("Calculation of the Increase of the Quendi", texts 2 and 1) in that order. Up to here, whenever we have references to dates in YV, those are not terribly different from the dates in AAm: Awakening and Finding of the Elves somewhere in the 1000s, destruction of the Trees and exile of the Noldor around 1495-1500. This scheme is followed in XIV.2, but in XIV.1 these dates are explicitly rejected in favour of an Awakening in 1386 and Darkening in 1728.

- Then we have the group of texts from XIII, "Key Dates". Four texts are given here, labelled 1, 2A, 2B, and 3. 3 appears to be the earliest, since its dates agree with those arrived at in XIV.1. 2A and 2B move to a new date-scheme, with Awakening and Finding in the 800s (VY). 2B explicitly mentions and rejects the older Awakening = 1050 dating, which might (perhaps) suggest that it is earlier than 2A. (The fact that the 1000s dating is mentioned here does not, I think, represent any reversion to that scheme). 2A and 2B appear to be drafts preceding text 1, and that text 1 follows 2A is seen in the fact that 2A has the ambassadors as just Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe; 1 has the same thing initially, but this was revised so that Imin, Tata, and Enel are the main ambassadors, with Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe as representatives of the young Elves. Two other texts, both very difficult to place, <i>might</i> also be placed here. Text 2 of XVII, "Generational Schemes", has dates that closely match those in XIII.2B, so it might be contemporary with it. And XV, "A Generational Scheme", has 6 Valian Years between the Awakening and the Finding, which exactly matches the dates in XIII.2A. So my best guess for the sequence of these texts is: XIII.3 - XIII.2B - XVII.2 - XIII.2A - XV - XIII.1.

- Then in XVI ("Note on the Youth and Growth of the Quendi"), the 12:1 growth rate is mentioned and rejected in favor of a 1:1 growth rate (again, becoming 144:1 after maturity), and, for the first time in these texts, a 1-year gestation period (though if "Laws and Customs among the Eldar" dates to 1958, this may represent a reversion to an earlier idea).

- That leaves as the final of the "c. 1959" texts, XVII.1 and XVII.3 ("Generational Schemes", texts 1 and 3), in that order. These texts use a 1-year gestation. I take it that XVII.3 follows XVII.1, since it is written on later pages of the same engagement calendar.

- The next text is XVIII, "Elvish Ages and Numenorean", dating from 1965, which changes the growth rate to 3:1, with a 3-year gestation.

- Finally we have three texts dating from the c. 1968-1969 period, XXI ("Notes on Elvish Time-Reference") and the two texts of XIX ("Elvish Life-Cycles").

Again, this is all just my attempt at deciphering the tangle, so it's quite plausible that I've gotten plenty wrong.
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