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Old 06-17-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
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Tolkien Industry

I found this blog post and thought it would be something worth posting about. What is ironic is part of it overlaps with Alatar's thread on forms. Really just a few lines overlap with that. It is mostly about the Tolkien Industry. I am not sure if this is the right board to post it on so if this needs to be moved then so be it.

Blog Post on Tolkien Industry
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:15 PM   #2
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I saw this, & agree with much of it. I used to be first in line for the many (many, many many) volumes of essays & analysis of Tolkien's creation, now I avoid them. As to the 're-issue' of Tolkien's books (eg I am as annoyed as the blog writer. There certainly are too many 'academics' churning out volumes of stuff about Tolkien, & running university courses on his work, 'revealing' the 'real meaning', or focussing on the 'original sources' of his work (which they often get wrong anyway).And when you buy a book you don't want to find a 'new, revised version, with extra material' popping up a few years down the line. The 'extra material' in new editions is a major issue with me. Apparently we are expected to pay for a new edition of a work we already have in order to get half a dozen (or fewer) pages of an previously unpublished letter or essay by Tolkien (which for some reason cannot be gathered together in a handy single volume.

My greatest gripe in this context though is the '50th Anniversary' edition of LotR. As a collector of 'nice Tolkien stuff' (in a very minor way - nothing serious: if I see something Tolkien related which appeals to me I'll buy it) I have three copies of the '50th' - the Harper Collins 'deluxe', the HC three volume set with Tolkien's original covers, & the Houghton Mifflin deluxe. However, I don't read that edition - because it contains '300-400' changes (all authorised by Christopher Tolkien, admittedly), many 'minor', some perhaps not The point is, when these 'authorised' changes were made JRRT was long dead, & we have no idea whether he would have authorised them - or made other changes entirely. I don't know what the motivation was behind these changes, which go far beyond fixing 'typos' (which would be entirely justified), in a work of fiction. The replacement of Tolkien's original index (a move on a far more significant scale than the revision of the Letters index, which is a non -fiction work) also rankles, as even the index in its original form was special, 'part of the package' of LotR - & it was authorised by JRRT. Altering any work of art after the artist's death is crossing a line which shouldn't be crossed. However, if you look at the copyright notice in the editions you will see that pre-50th anniversary the copyright was 'JRR Tolkien' after the changes it has become 'Copyright The Tolkien Trust'. If these changes/new index had been included in Hammond & Scull's Reader's Companion I would have welcomed them with open arms. As they are imposed on the text itself I do not.
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