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 05-17-2015, 08:02 PM   #1
Aiwendil
Late Istar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,156
Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Pipe Scholarly Edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

With rather little fanfare (I assume, since I didn't hear about it at the time), a new edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was published last October, with extensive commentary by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, and including some texts that, as far as I know, were previously unpublished.

Has anyone read this yet? I picked it up the other day but haven't had time to peruse it yet.

Last edited by Aiwendil; 05-20-2015 at 01:35 PM.
Aiwendil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 07:37 PM   #2
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 9,012
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Haven't heard of this yet, but I'm curious about which new texts were published there.
__________________
"Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?" - Gandalf
She's Cobbling from beyond the DeadThread! That's next-level cobbling. ~hS, TIG CXV
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 12:37 AM   #3
Tar-Verimuchli
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 21
Tar-Verimuchli has just left Hobbiton.
If it's the pocket size version edited by Scull and Hammond, it has an introduction by the editors and a commentary. The new texts are the first few paragraphs of a Tom prose story, a poem about Tom and Goldberry originally published elsewhere called Once Upon A Time, and the poem An Evening in Tavrobel that it appears to be based on.

Last edited by Tar-Verimuchli; 05-19-2015 at 12:48 AM.
Tar-Verimuchli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 05:12 AM   #4
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 697
Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Thumbs up Worth getting if that's your interest

Aiwendil, I got the book you mentioned when it came out last October.

It reminded me of an edition I have of Marx and Engels' The Communist Manifesto, the commentry being far larger than the original text!

It is a small, attractive looking volume, with the dust jacket and inside the covers having a copy of Pauline Baynes' original artwork used on the dust jacket for the first edition.

Inside we first have the 'Introduction' by Mr. Hammond and Ms. Schull. It contains an overview of the debate on who or what Tom Bombadil is; the background to the book's publication, in terms of its contents and Ms. Baynes' illustrations, Tolkien being worried that some of the poems were old and not originally intended for LotR; and its reception, the book selling well for one of verse.

What follows are what was in the original book: Tolkien's Preface, the poems, and the Baynes illustrations.

Then we have a 'Commentary' by Hammond and Schull of over 150 pages, looking at each poem in turn, its background (including an earlier version if it was published earlier), and explanations of some of the words and phrases used.

There follows a gallery of 3 illustrations of the earliest examples of Tolkien's 'Elvish' alphabet.

Second last is an 'Appendix' in 2 parts. The first is a 3 paragraph fragment on Tom Bombadil, found among Tolkien's papers in the Bodleian Library; the second is 'Once Upon a Time' a third poem by Tolkien about Tom and Goldberry, published in a 1965 collection of poems and stories for children. Also in this part is the 1924 poem 'An Evening in Tavrobel', suggested as an ancestor of 'Once Upon a Time'.

The book then finishes with a bibliography.

In terms of whether this book is worth buying, I would say 'Yes', if you are interested in looking at the background to the material in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It is a nice-looking, nicely-sized, not expensive book, containing as well as the original material an introduction to and a long commentary on it as well as related materials from other sources.

I hope the above answers some of your queries, Aiwendil and Galadriel55.
Faramir Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 08:22 AM   #5
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 982
Galin has been trapped in the Barrow!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faramir Jones View Post
Then we have a 'Commentary' by Hammond and Schull of over 150 pages, looking at each poem in turn, its background (including an earlier version if it was published earlier), and explanations of some of the words and phrases used.
Interesting info, thanks Faramir.

With respect to the part of your post that I quoted, and although I'm guessing the answer is no, but do H&S look at all at the poem Tolkien was thinking of including (Kortirion), but did not include?

I am intrigued that JRRT was thinking of including the updated Kortirion poem, and if so, how it was to be taken from an internal pespective, as it then would have been part of the imagined "translated" corpus.
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 05:05 AM   #6
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 697
Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe An answer to your question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
With respect to the part of your post that I quoted, and although I'm guessing the answer is no, but do H&S look at all at the poem Tolkien was thinking of including (Kortirion), but did not include?
As a general answer to your question, Galin, pages 11-7 of the 'Introduction' deal with the issue of what poems were decided on for the book, including those that were rejected.

Specifically regarding 'The Trees of Kortirion', in a letter of 5th February 1962 from Tolkien to Rayner Unwin, already referred to by H and S in their Chronology, part of their Companion and Guide, pages 587-8, Tolkien said he had 'raked over' his collection of poems, and sent 4 more of them, including 'The Trees of Korthirion'. He singled out that poem, calling it 'too long and too ambitious and even if considered good enough would probably upset the boat'. He suggested that if 1-2 more poems were required, they be taken from those in LotR.

Unwin, in a letter of 12th February to Tolkien, one not referred to in the 'Introduction' but referred to on page 588 of the Chronology, listed the poems received from Tolkien, agreed that 'Kortirion' did not fit but thought that 1-2 poems from LotR could be included. A letter from Tolkien to him dated 12th April said that he had placed the 16 items 'in an order'. They were the final selection of poems published in the book.

I hope this is of assistance.

Last edited by Faramir Jones; 05-20-2015 at 05:10 AM.
Faramir Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 07:01 AM   #7
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 982
Galin has been trapped in the Barrow!
It does answer my question, thanks Faramir. I had done my own search for commentary about Kortirion in both letters and H&S's work (chronology and so forth), but it looks like there is no new commentary in the new book with respect to the specific question I wonder about.

I might buy it anyway! But even Tolkien's 'too long and too ambitious and even if considered good enough would probably upset the boat' doesn't necessarily speak to my question: "upset the boat" in what sense?

My question continues to be, if Tolkien considered the revised poem to be internal -- that is, a translation of some Middle-earthian author and not a reflection on Warwick by JRR Tolkien the poet --

... then who is the imagined author? And more importantly, what is this Kortirion... that the Edain built?
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 08:52 AM   #8
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 697
Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Question Too much of an effort?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
My question continues to be, if Tolkien considered the revised poem to be internal -- that is, a translation of some Middle-earthian author and not a reflection on Warwick by JRR Tolkien the poet --... then who is the imagined author? And more importantly, what is this Kortirion... that the Edain built?
Glad to be of assistance, Galin.

Your questions are very good ones. They provoked me to look again (after a long while) at the revised poem, published in The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, found in Chapter I, pp. 39-43 of my edition. Both are obviously closely related, the identity of the author being dependant on that of Kortirion, which is as you say, the more important question.

I don't think we can say, from the benefit of our present knowledge, who the author is. Perhaps something might later be found in Tolkien's papers. But from what we have, we don't know. Perhaps Tolkien intended it to be that way; because out of the verses that appear in the Adventures, the authorship of only 5 of the 16 is definitely given. Verse 3 ('Errantry') is Bilbo's, as is 5 ('The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late'); Verse 7 ('The Stone Troll'), is said to be Sam Gamgee's, as are 8 ('Perry-the-Winkle') and 12 ('Cat').

In his Preface, Tolkien said that the verses in the book were selected from those in the Red Book of Westmarch, which we better know as LotR. The selection was 'taken from the older pieces, mainly concerned with legends and jests of the Shire at the end of the Third Age', that 'appear' to be made by Hobbits, 'especially' by Bilbo and his friends 'or their immediate descendants'. Authorship was 'seldom indicated'. Those outside the narrative (i.e. the text) were 'in various hands and were probably written down from oral tradition'.

Perhaps Tolkien intended, as you said, to give 'Kortirion' an unknown author, which would in this case have been an unknown hobbit, using information on that city from various sources, like the unknown hobbit writing 'The Hoard' based on 'lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Númenorean'. But even in such a case, how could the subject matter of the poem fit in with the history of Middle-earth that was now 'fixed' in the published LotR, let alone in Tolkien's then unpublished writings of the First and Second Ages? I think that he was faced with the challenge of either completely revising the poem, or of making substantial revisions to what he had already written on Middle-earth, published and unpublished. (He'd already revised The Hobbit, to fit in with LotR regarding Bilbo, Gollum and the Ring.) It's fair to conclude, I think, that it might have been seen by him as too much of an effort, therefore it would be far easier to leave out that problematic poem.

I hope this makes some sense to you.
Faramir Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 11:27 AM   #9
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 982
Galin has been trapped in the Barrow!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faramir Jones View Post
(...) Perhaps Tolkien intended, as you said, to give 'Kortirion' an unknown author, which would in this case have been an unknown hobbit, using information on that city from various sources, like the unknown hobbit writing 'The Hoard' based on 'lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Númenorean'. But even in such a case, how could the subject matter of the poem fit in with the history of Middle-earth that was now 'fixed' in the published LotR, let alone in Tolkien's then unpublished writings of the First and Second Ages? I think that he was faced with the challenge of either completely revising the poem, or of making substantial revisions to what he had already written on Middle-earth, published and unpublished. (He'd already revised The Hobbit, to fit in with LotR regarding Bilbo, Gollum and the Ring.) It's fair to conclude, I think, that it might have been seen by him as too much of an effort, therefore it would be far easier to leave out that problematic poem.

I hope this makes some sense to you.
It makes sense to me. I guess what fascinates me is the seeming "almost" here, that Kortirion almost (even though I really don't know how close it came) makes it into the author-published corpus. Kortirion as a place is from older versions of the mythology, and if it had been published in this selection, it would have "survived" in some form or sense.

I think (memory) this was the general, very simplified evolution:

A) Kortirion actually becomes Warwick itself, as Tol Eressea becomes England.

B) Kortirion is a place in Tol Eressea, built by Elves, but is later not Warwick itself.

C) In this poem, latest version, Kortirion is built by the Edain, and there are fading Elves there.


You make a good point though, as with other poems in the collection, the accuracy of some things can be considered doubtful due to arguable whimsy (a troll baking bread for Perry-the-winkle) or to an incomplete knowledge of something historical, or even to an artistic take on something historical.

In other words, maybe we aren't supposed to place Kortirion in any specific place or time in Middle-earth. The Edain built it, and that's that... and Tolkien gets to have this poetry published, still connected to his larger work, as it once was but in a different way.

And still as a tribute to Warwick! But then, for whatever reason that it might upset the boat, it doesn't get in of course.

Or something! Thanks for the considered replies!

Last edited by Galin; 05-22-2015 at 12:22 PM.
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2015, 05:20 AM   #10
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 697
Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Thumbs up A nice discussion

We've had a nice discussion, Galin. It's made me think of going to see Warwick in the future...

I agree with your 'general, very simplified evolution' of Kortirion.

Despite, as you say, the lack of accuracy of some things in some of the poems, due to 'arguable whimsy', an 'incomplete knowledge of something historical', or an 'artistic take' on the same, there are still recognisable elements from actual events in these poems, such as 'The Hoard' being partly made out of elements of the tale of Túrin and Mîm the Dwarf.

At the risk of repeating myself, Tolkien may have realised that, if he included this particular poem in the Adventures, it would become 'canon', and necessitate a lot of work to fit it in to the 'accepted' narrative, as he had already done in revising 'Riddles in the Dark' in The Hobbit.

But as you rightly said, all this is speculation, in the absence of further information.
Faramir Jones 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 10:43 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.