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Old 08-15-2018, 03:46 PM   #1
R.R.J Tolkien
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Questions About Arda Reconstructed

I am almost done Morgoths ring and next is the war of the jewels. So my question to anyone who owns arda reconstructed. Is it really needed if you have Morgoths ring and Jewels? and what text does it argue should be the true Sillmarillion?

Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:53 PM   #2
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It looks like it could be a good reference guide to CRT's methodology, but I doubt it will suggest a 'true' or definitive Silmarillion. The only such thing in my view would have been a complete version published by JRRT. Very few people are willing to guess what that would have looked like, and I advise caution when dealing with those who are.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:13 PM   #3
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I looked at a summary of the book on one of the retail sites, and it said:

Quote:
He also cites the works of some of the most important Tolkien scholars, including Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, Christina Scull, Wayne Hammond, Charles Noad, and David Bratman in an attempt to understand and explain why these changes may have been made.
What? No Priya Seth?
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andsigil
What? No Priya Seth?
I assume when she discovered the Athrabeth includes Tolkien's actual insertion of a Biblical person into Middle-earth, she threw up her hands and went home.

hS

EDIT: I've not read Arda Reconstructed, but from what I've heard I agree with The Squatter of Amon Rdh - I don't believe it even attempts to establish a 'definitive Silmarillion'. There's a fair amount of discussion of the book over at the Hall of Fire, where the author is a member; they have a subforum dedicated to it. ~hS

EDIT2: As someone who it's always wise to exercise caution when dealing with... we know that J.R.R. Tolkien imagined his Silmarillion coming to about the same length as The Lord of the Rings, so it would certainly have been a much chunkier book than the Silm we have! If he had stuck to that plan, I think we would have seen a kind of composite book: one that included all three parts of the pre-War of Wrath Silm we have ('Ainulindale', 'Valaquenta', and 'Quenta Silmarillion' proper), along with the Annals (he certainly wanted a timeline in LotR), and longer versions of the Great Tales. While I'm no stranger to writing for sheer pleasure, I can't imagine Tolkien wouldn't have intended The Children of Hurin to sit in his book alongside Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin.

He probably wouldn't have included the epic poems; I don't think he ever made any effort to integrate the Narn or the Lay into his narrative writings. The really interesting question is whether he would eventually have written a huge final section of which we have no trace; The Book of Lost Tales includes the intriguing comment that the tale of the Nauglafring was intended to be the first of seven tales dealing with Earendil - and the second was the entire Fall of Gondolin. Earendil was supposed to have adventures in the South (some versions have him killing Ungoliant), and then there's the War of Wrath... all of which Tolkien only ever hinted at in poems, with no narrative even started.

... of course, all of this misses the point, which is that 'J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion' was always going to be exactly what it was: an unwieldy mass of manuscripts in various stages of revision, never quite coming together into a cohesive whole. It's a miracle we even got one Legendarium book out of the man (The Hobbit being somewhat different, of course); he was a chronic reviser.

Which brings us neatly back round to the challenge Christopher had to face to create our Silm, and the process which Douglas Kane laid out in his book. ^_^ ~hS

Last edited by Huinesoron; 08-17-2018 at 05:07 AM. Reason: Actual relevant content. ^_^
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Old 08-17-2018, 05:37 AM   #5
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Separate enough to warrant a separate post... I've just run across this infographic by Airyyn on deviantArt, which lays out exactly where in HoME the source line for each sentence of the published Silmarillion can be found - and which bits are editorial insertions by CT. It's sort of a neat distillation of the entire concept of Arda Reconstructed, and makes it brutally clear which chapters are 'Christopher-written'. (The ones that really pop out are the Valaquenta, 'Of Aul and Yavanna', 'Of Maeglin', 'Of Beren and Luthien' (I'm surprised by these two, I suspect they may be victims of a CT 'this text is the same as in the published book'), the first half of 'Of Trin Turambar', the bulk of 'Of the Ruin of Doriath' and 'Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin', and 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' (also I believe a 'same as published' document).)

hS
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Old 08-17-2018, 05:45 AM   #6
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I used Arda Reconstructed in my PhD research so I've read some of it. It's useful as a reference for distinguishing which bits are genuine J.R.R. Tolkien, which aren't, and where they came from, but it doesn't propose a "true" Silmarillion if I recall correctly. It's an interesting read and worthwhile if you want to be redirected back to works found in earlier History volumes which form the Professor's own final say on various matters he never got around to revising.
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:46 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the posts I will check out the links as well. I am interested in how much and what Christopher edited, i was unaware he did to large extent.
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:36 PM   #8
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What? No Priya Seth?
I can't rep you currently, but that was funny.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:06 PM   #9
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I should, perhaps, clarify that there's a fair amount of evidence for what JRRT intended the Silmarillion to look like, but too many people are willing to make sweeping claims for a 'true' version and that can lead down unedifying cul-de-sacs. At best, and for purely personal interest, you could put together a Silmarillion, but it it would be presumptuous to call it definitive. Even CRT wasn't completely satisfied with his treatment, having grown up with the stories and having had many opportunities to discuss them with their author. That's the reason to exercise caution.

Having said that, I'm very much in agreement with Huinesoron on the general structure intended by JRRT. It's a shame that the verse treatments are incomplete and from an earlier stage of revision, but it seems fairly clear that they were intended as self-contained compositions. The structure of the annals would break up a narrative, and the various essays and philosophical considerations are more commentaries on the Silmarillion than part of the thing itself.

In the end, though, I think it best to appreciate each work on its own merits. I find it entertaining to imagine them as fragmentary pieces from the same culture, embodying divergent traditions and forms.
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:46 PM   #10
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For myself, I think Tolkien's long poetic versions were to be part of Bilbo's three volume Translations from the Elvish, or at least The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien poems, two different kinds of poetry.


And, well, lots of other stuff

Also, I think (and if I recall correctly, this might echo Christopher Tolkien's opinion) that the Annals were merging in style and relative fullness with QS, and so a new Tale of Years, including the First Age, was going to step in there.
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Old 08-21-2018, 04:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
For myself, I think Tolkien's long poetic versions were to be part of Bilbo's three volume Translations from the Elvish, or at least The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien poems, two different kinds of poetry.
This actually makes a lot of sense, because Bilbo, much like Tolkien, was a poet. They both resort to poetry at the drop of a hat, so if you gave Bilbo a choice between translating the Quenta Silmarillion or the Lay of Leithian, there's no way he'd even hesitate in choosing the latter.

This also helps explain the sheer size of the Translations: Leithian would have come to at least 6000 lines in its later, expanded form (probably much more); at 30 lines to the page that's a good 200 pages right there, whereas the Quenta version of the story probably wouldn't pass 20.

A wonderful companion to Arda Reconstructed would be an in-universe book on what exactly made up the Red Book, but I'm not sure it could ever account for the fact that The Hobbit + LotR made up only 1/4 of the original length...

hS
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