The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > The New Silmarillion > Translations from the Elvish - Public Forum
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-15-2005, 04:40 PM   #1
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,294
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
General discussion about the verse material

Following the now well developed backward movement, the next projects at hand are the Story of Beren and Lúthien and the Narn I Chîn Húrin. In both of these we have to consider the inclusion of the verse material given in HoME III: The Lay of Beleriand. Aiwendil wished for such a discussion and I agree that it would be good to find some common ground how to deal with the verse material before we start on one of these projects. I hoped that Aiwendil would open this discussion, but since I have worked already with both Lays, it might be best if I give first my thought on the matter.

Since both cases are very different we should discuss them in terms. I will start with the Lay of Leithian:
As can be seen from the chapter-structure I used in my proposal I wish to include the complete Lay of Leithian recommenced in our Version of the Legends of the Elder Days. My reason for this is the fact that the Lay is most elaborated version of that story we have. In addition the recommenced Lay is relatively late (1951-52). Tolkien worked the story later, and he started even a prose Tale of the same detail as the Lay. But this prose version does not went fare and is not given since it is very close indeed to the Lay. The shorter Versions on which the text of Sil77 is based and which Tolkien wrote 1936 are also not given in detail in the HoME. Thus f we are not going to take the Lay our Version would basically be the one used in Sil77. This is not bad in itself but it shows how much we would lose by rejecting the Lay.
On the other hand we have some obvious problems with the Lay: All emendations are very difficult but in a poem they are even worth. Only in a very limited number of cases changes can be handled with by pure replacement or by cutting out some lines. In many cases even such simple things like the change of a reference to the Valar done in the poem by the word “gods” does lead to rewriting of one or two lines.
Our rules do allow us to make such changes for metrical reason and we have already tried them in the cases of The Lay of Eärendil and The Horns of Ylmir. But we also have already in these shorter poems experienced the difficulty of such an undertaking.
To be honest I don’t think it will be easy to adapt the Lay of Leithian. I have found 7 places were we must change the Lay to fit a later developed storyline and 12 places were I felt that some info from an other source would be good to expand the Lay (some of them from the older versions of the Lay, some single words that might be worked in easy, but some complete passages that might prove impossible). Last but not least I found 48 places were a changed nomenclature will force us to emend the poem (most prominent examples are “Thu”, “Gorthu” and “Gods”). But set against much more than 4000 lines which the Lay of Leithian has this is not overmuch. And I think it is worth the effort.

But any way, that are the facts and we are free to make our choice. Here are what I see as our options:
a) Skip all the Lay and take only the best prose version we can produce, with exception of Berens Song of Farwell which JRR Tolkien himself included in the QS.
b) Following Christopher Tolkiens lead and restrict our self to the Song-contest between Sauron and Felagund and Berens Song of Farwell.
c) Expand Christopher Tolkiens view and take up parts of the Lay that we feel are in a way separateable and need no or only minor up dating to expand a prose version.
d) Take the Lay as our basic text and update it were necessary.

As already said above I am for trying option d. If we fail in it, we will at least get some Idea of what can be done in an attempt on option c.


Now lets turn to the Narn I Chîn Húrin, or better to the part of the Túrin-Saga were the Narn in Unfinished Tales does not provide a basic text. Up to the point were Beleg starts pursuing the Orcs that had captured Túrin The Lay of the children of Húrin is no option for us at all. The Story line was changed greatly and with the Narn we have a text that is even more elaborated then the Lay. But form Belegs journey through Taur-nu-Fuin to the coming of {Flinding}[Gwindor] and Túrin to Nargothrond the Lay is the most detailed version of the story we have. And only in few places the details are clearly outdated (e.g. the placement and description of Nan-Dungorthed). Beyond that arrival at Nargothrond the Lay does provide some further details and nice expansion to the story, but it can not be take as single source since the relationship of Túrin and Finduilas and Gwindor are dealt with in greater detail in the Appendix of the Narn.

The options in this case are:
u) Skip all the Lay and take only the best prose version we can produce.
v) Take up parts of the Lay that we feel are in a way separateable and need no or only minor up dating to expand a prose version. (Such as Beleg shoting the wolf-wardens and then later his finding the point of Dailir his arrow with his hand.)
w) Taking in as much of the Lay as seems fit form the view of storyline and trying to update it were necessary. This will result in a version were extensive parts of verse will be interrupted by short sections of prose, which are necessary to bring the story to the later storyline.
x) Take all the parts of the Lay as before, but try to incooperate the prose sections that interrupt it into the meter of the Lay.
z) Take all the parts of the Lay as before, but skip the lines of the Lay and were ever it makes some sense introduce changes for grammatical reason, so that the character of the alliterative verses will be lost and the result reads as a prose text.
A mixture of option w, x and z is also possible of course.

Option w was my choice when I worked on Maedhros first draft for the Narn. This has the advantage that it can be cut back to option v or developed to version x or z if the result is not satisfying (which seems possible).
Out of my work I will give some numbers of changes, so that the amount of work can be seen that might be needed: I took up about 1500 lines into the text which were divided in 8 sections. The shortest sections is about 65 Lines and the shortest intermediate prose sections is about 3 sentences. I needed 102 changes for reasons of nomenclature and 21 minor changes within the verse for reason of a changed storyline.

After working with the poem I am not sire if we can manage option w. But I am still inclined that we should try that option and see what can be made in that way. A later development or cutback would then be easy, if once we come to the conclusion that option w will not go through.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2005, 02:54 PM   #2
Maédhros
The Kinslayer
 
Maédhros's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Formenos
Posts: 658
Maédhros has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via MSN to Maédhros
White Tree

Let me first begin by stating that I'm a huge fan of the Lays.

Concerning the Narn I Chîn Húrin, as it relates to our purpose, when I was doing my draft, I didn't consider the work on the Lay because the text that is provided in the Narn is later than that of the Lay of the Children of Húrin. I'm in the process of reviewing Findegil changes in the draft, and I have to say that the additions of the verse do in fact upgrade our work, I'm not sure that we can incorporate all the verse that he wanted (option w) but I think that we can work in that direction.

Regarding the Lay of Leithien and how it relates to our text. I'm unsure on to how much of the Lay material that we should use. Personally, I think that it is a little ackward to have such huge amount of verse, and in the end, have a little amount of prose. I think that I would like to use as much of the Lays as possible in this part too.
__________________
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."
Maédhros is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2005, 09:52 PM   #3
Aiwendil
Late Istar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,126
Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
As I see it, the real problem is Beren and Luthien. With Turin, we have only a relatively short section for which the Lay is the best source. But for Beren and Luthien, the Lay is a far more detailed and sophisticated telling than any prose version. To omit it completely - which, I'm afraid, is something we may be forced to consider - would be a loss comparable to omitting the entire Narn or the whole of the later Tuor.

Findegil provides a good list of options in both cases, but, at the risk of oversimplifying, I would say that we have three possible fundamental strategies:

1. Use the lays more or less in their entirety wherever they are the best source.

2. Mix verse passages with prose passages.

3. Use prose only.

Option 3 by no means necessarily implies the rejection of all the material from the Lays. There is the important matter of conversion to prose to be considered. One could, in theory, go so far as to produce prose versions of the lays in full. The problem with this is twofold: first, it involves a great deal of tampering with the text and second, the style that results from a more or less direct conversion from verse tends not to be "good prose". But one could certainly envisage this technique being used on a smaller scale. I am inclined to think it a good candidate for dealing with Turin. That is, for the section where Beleg rescues Turin from the Orc camp, we could simply write a prose version of the Lay and incorporate it into the basic (prose) text.

For Beren and Luthien I am very doubtful about using the lay as the basic text. We encountered serious difficulties even with the short poems we have dealt with so far - and considering the difficulty we frequently encounter in making alterations even to prose passages, I think that the necessary modifications to the lay may prove impossibly difficult. And even were we to commit to a "pure verse" incorporation of the Geste, we must necessarily switch to prose for the sections following the escape from Angband, since they were never reached in the lay. In a sense, then, we are already, at best, mixing verse and prose.

I see problems, then, no matter what we do. Perhaps the thing to do is to pick what look like some really troublesome spots and work on them, to get an idea of how difficult it would be to work the Geste in verse form.
Aiwendil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2005, 01:25 AM   #4
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,791
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
I hope you don't mind this intrusion, but I am very much looking forward to reading along on this next venture of yours.

Personally, I am hoping that as much of the verse as possible can be retained.

Thanks for all your hard work!

~*~ Piosenniel
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2005, 04:36 AM   #5
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,294
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
I personaly see the greater difficulty with the verse material in the course of the Narn.

But first lets look at the Lay of Leithain: If you look at the numbers of changes I provided it will be seen that in the Lay of Leithian I found about one passage that needed a change each 80 to 100 lines. And the points of trouble tend to gahter to gether in some "hot-spots". Thus we have long passages of the Lay were we need allmost no change at all. Of course there are also troublesome passages such as the encounter of Felagund and his company with Sauron, were a good deal of changes is needed. But I still think we can handle it. Our dealings with the shorter poems stears for me rather the hope that these changes can be done.
That the point were the Lay of Leithian breaks of would be a hard break in our narrative was clear from the start. And this can not be avioded by a rewriting of the verse material to prose. We can only avoid that if we would leave out any details given in the Lay. But that would contardict our overall goal. In addition a conversation of the whole Lay of Leithian into prose would in my view be much more difficult than to incooperate the necessary changes into the verse, and the result could be much more awakeward then a imperfect line here and there in such a long poem. I think further that we should not mix prose and verse more than necessary. This means in the case of the Lay of Leithian, that I would try to provide the whole story up to Carcharoth biting of Berens hand in verse form.
So I am for Aiwendils option 1. in that case.

Now lets take the Lay of the Children of Húrin: The numbers provided in my first post are much more dramatic here: We have about 1 change each 10 lines. The problem is in addition that the Lay is hopelessly outdated, so that in relation to the lenght of the passages much more changes for storyline reasons are necessary. What makes the situation even worth is the alliteration. Words or rather syllables that are part of the alliteration can not be changed easilly.
In my view Aiwendils option 1. is impossible here. What could be done in that way would be my option x, were all intrusions of prose that are necessary are reformed to verse. But that seemed even more difficult to me than editing the verses.
Thus in the case of the Lay of the Childern of Húrin it might be necessary to rewrite the verses to a prose text. We can consider this even for some parts only. At least that would allow us to avoid jumping from verse to prose and back too often. But I think that the starting point of such a work would be a version were we include the verse material and make the necessary changes. With that done we can see if the changes can be done within the verses or if we have to rewrite them to prose.

I think it would be good, to have that version of the Narn from Maedhros with my additions in the private forum soon, because it could be the starting point mentioned above. I will try to bring that out the next few day. I am working on the list of general changes right now, which is the final work for the privat-forum-version. What this version will provide is a kind of a maximum input from the Lay. Each addition is of course discussable if it is worth the efford. But it will at least give some idea of what we are discuss about. When I can follow up with a version for the public forum is not so clear. As the number of changes is great, to produce a version that covers them all but does not give the full text is much work and will take some time. In addition I would like to include some comments to the public version, which I left out in the private-version.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2005, 07:19 AM   #6
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,294
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Dear Piosenniel,

when I left my PC it came back to my mind that it would have been a good idea to answer your post, and not only that of Aiwendil and Maedhros.

Input from outside the active members is ever welcome even if it does no more than sowing interest in the results. These are the kind of messages that keep us working when our owne motivation is wanting. So do not minde to make an "intrusion" when ever you feel like doing it.

Beyond that I will now try to motivate you (and possibly other readers as well) to do even more. If we start the discussion of changes done in the verse material we would definitly be greatfull for every help that we can get. I do not speak of the arcane discussion of complicated cannon issues that will surely come in even in the course of the poems. Who ever is interrested in such discussion is invited to participat in them. But here I think of the changes for the reason of meter, alliteration and ryhming. For such discussion a Tolkien-new-be who has a likeing for Tolkiens poems is as good equipet as a Tolkien-fanatic that had read each published bit several times so that he does know them all by heart.

So please feel invited to add your voice to any discussion when ever you have something to say.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2005, 09:52 AM   #7
Aiwendil
Late Istar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,126
Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Piosenniel: I can but echo Findegil in welcoming your "intrusion" and urging you to join the discussion any time you have any comment at all.

Findegil: I agree that the best way to go with the Geste is to incorporate the whole of it in verse (option d), if it can be done. I fear that even such an apparently simple change as the updating of "Thu" may prove very problematic for both metre and rhyme. But I suppose there's nothing for it but to go ahead and try to work on the poem, and see how difficult it turns out to be.

Another issue with this approach is how (or if) we can introduce additions from other sources, besides mere changes. I'm not sure how many cases of this we'll run into. The one that occurs to me at the moment is a passage from "Ros" that tells that Luthien learned Beren's tongue after the escape from Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and gives a small bit of dialogue between them. This is the kind of thing that ordinarily we could just insert into the prose. But if we are keeping the Geste in verse, we have these options:

1. Omit it.
2. Insert a short piece of prose in the midst of the poem.
3. Formulate a verse addition.

None of those options seems entirely satisfactory to me.

As for the Narn: I see less of a problem here simply because the portion for which the highest priority version is in verse is much shorter. I don't see any particular reason that the alliterative verse would be more difficult to make changes to than the rhymed couplets of the Geste, but I agree that there would be considerable difficulty (though not necessarily insurmountable) in revising the passage and letting it stand as verse. Nonetheless, I think this is still a valid option that we ought to consider. Again, it seems to me that if possible, the best course is to include the whole section containing Hurin's rescue in verse; and again, it's the possibility that I doubt, not the mere idea of incorporating verse.

But I think another very promising option here is the conversion of the section into prose. It would be a delicate operation, to be sure, but I do not see any reason that it could not be done in principle.

In addition to the rescue from the Orc camp, there are a few details concerning Nargothrond in the lay that we may wish to add to the basic prose text (which I suppose here will be GA with additions from the Narn). In particular, I am thinking of the arrival of Turin and Gwindor and the feast held thereafter. So, if we opt to include these, we may be converting passages from verse to prose in any case.
Aiwendil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2005, 04:22 PM   #8
Maédhros
The Kinslayer
 
Maédhros's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Formenos
Posts: 658
Maédhros has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via MSN to Maédhros
White Tree

Quote:
Another issue with this approach is how (or if) we can introduce additions from other sources, besides mere changes. I'm not sure how many cases of this we'll run into. The one that occurs to me at the moment is a passage from "Ros" that tells that Luthien learned Beren's tongue after the escape from Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and gives a small bit of dialogue between them.
This looks to be very difficult but I would go with trying to transform the additions in verse form. (Not that I know how to do it). I think that overall it would be easier to do that than to transform the whole Geste into prose.

In the Narn I would as Aiwendil suggest try to transform the verse to prose (again I don't feel qualified for that) only in the parts that additions from others text are going to be made.
I think that we could advisable to only make the transformations from the least amount of lines possible in order to maintain JRRT exact words and to include the other parts. It would be quite beautiful to have the additons from the Lay where there is the description of Nargothrond.

Piosenniel: I'm glad that you have taken the time to read this stuff. I would really like if youwould comment on what you have read and gave us your thoughts.
I remember that someone called something like mark 12_15 or something, asked me for a portion of our work and never gave us the feedback.
__________________
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."
Maédhros is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2005, 05:18 PM   #9
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,294
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Posted by Aiwendil:
Quote:
I fear that even such an apparently simple change as the updating of "Thu" may prove very problematic for both metre and rhyme.
That's definitley true. But it will be about 50 lines (or maximum 100 if we consider a rhyming couple as a hole) in which there is a problem of such changes. If we try to make the Geste a prose text we have about 4000 lines to deal with.

Posted by Aiwendil:
Quote:
But I suppose there's nothing for it but to go ahead and try to work on the poem, and see how difficult it turns out to be.
That's exactlly what I think we should do.

About the addition you desiered from Ros: I did not consider that particular passage as jet, but I have tried to add a short passage from GA in the conversation of Felagund and Celegrom and Curufin. And I must say that I am not happy what I produced. If the groupe is not able to find some better solution, I think we will skip the passage in the end. But for the passage you would like to add I could see even a further option: we could add it in retrospect, since it is not bound up with some speciale point in the narrative.


Posted by Aiwendil:
Quote:
Again, it seems to me that if possible, the best course is to include the whole section containing Turin's rescue in verse; and again, it's the possibility that I doubt, not the mere idea of incorporating verse.
That does again mean that we have to go ahaed and see what can be done. (So the ball is in my field again since I am working at the text in the moment - well I made some succes today, but I started the public version and found some misses in the privat version so I need a further check, which is best done by doing the public version for the part taken from the Narn, which must be done some times any way. But from my feeling it is nearly done, so you might expact the text to be in the private froum.)

Posted by Aiwendil:
Quote:
But I think another very promising option here is the conversion of the section into prose. It would be a delicate operation, to be sure, but I do not see any reason that it could not be done in principle.
I agree that this option is much more possible in the case of The Lay of Children of Húrin. One point is that we have only about 1500 lines of which about 150 lines will be changed anyway and which are interuped by prose sections at 7 places. In addition I feel that the aliterative lines are much easier lost or overlook when they are not shown as such. But still I think it might be posible to rescue parts of the verse and I am not sure that the choice should absulute no verse or as much verse as possible. So if a stretch of verse looks still good after all changes are done to it, we should hold it. Even if in other places we reform the part of the poem to prose.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2005, 05:09 PM   #10
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,294
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
I have posted the first draft for the Narn text in the privat forum. The public version of it will still take some time.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2005, 06:15 PM   #11
Antoine
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 26
Antoine has just left Hobbiton.
Findegil,

I did long time ago, during the Tuor project time a complet draft for the narn.
Please PM me.

Regards
Antoine (coming back from Mandos Caves)
Antoine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2005, 09:46 PM   #12
Aiwendil
Late Istar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,126
Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Good to see you, Antoine.

Findegil wrote:
Quote:
But for the passage you would like to add I could see even a further option: we could add it in retrospect, since it is not bound up with some speciale point in the narrative.
True - but I would not count on this option presenting itself in every case.

Maedhros wrote:
Quote:
This looks to be very difficult but I would go with trying to transform the additions in verse form. (Not that I know how to do it). I think that overall it would be easier to do that than to transform the whole Geste into prose.
After having reviewed the Geste a bit, I'm beginning to agree. Not that it would be difficult to transform the Geste into prose - but it would involve too much "creative" editing.

I have looked briefly at the Narn material that Findegil posted and it does look to me like the long extracts in verse might work. I will write up some comments on the specific changes when I get a chance.
Aiwendil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2005, 01:58 PM   #13
lindil
Seeker of the Straight Path
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: a hidden fastness in Big Valley nor cal
Posts: 1,677
lindil has just left Hobbiton.
Greetings to all [esp Antoine and Pio],

I have never spent anytime considering the Narn issue, so I will pass over it. The Lay however I would like to cast a couple of things into the hat.

I would first off suggest a parallel text for the Beren & Luthien Chapter, as far as possible.

Leaving space in either column when there is no parallel material.

This preserves both sources and allows the reader to move back and forth w/ out missing either.

Examples of this can be found most readily in 'parallel gospels' and such. I imagine also one sees this in collegiate circles for many ancient texts w/ many variants.

Anyway I feel it is far and above the best way.

Option 2 in my world of preferences is 'C' add in material as it fits and seems not to distract from the flow of the story. CJRT did it brilliantly w/ the finrod vs. sauron scene.

- as always these days,

good luck!
__________________
The dwindling Men of the West would often sit up late into the night exchanging lore & wisdom such as they still possessed that they should not fall back into the mean estate of those who never knew or indeed rebelled against the Light.
lindil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2005, 01:45 PM   #14
Findegil
King's Writer
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,294
Findegil is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Posted by lindil:
Quote:
I would first off suggest a parallel text for the Beren & Luthien Chapter, as far as possible.

Leaving space in either column when there is no parallel material.

This preserves both sources and allows the reader to move back and forth w/ out missing either.
Do you mean this as a working procedure or as the final result? As final result, I think it will not fit our goal for the Translation from the Elvish.
Anyway, the Lay of Leithian and Of Beren and Lúthein is not the kind of sources that strice my as being very much appart. We have as jet in this project combined "silently" sources that were much more contradicting each other in deatil and in essential features of the story (like The Wanderings of Húrin and The Nauglafring).

Posted by lindil:
Quote:
I have never spent anytime considering the Narn issue, so I will pass over it.
That does baffle me completly. I ever imagined that the Narn read in combination with the missing parts of the story in the Sil77 was some kind of starting point for the project.

Respectfully
Findegil
Findegil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2005, 11:11 AM   #15
lindil
Seeker of the Straight Path
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: a hidden fastness in Big Valley nor cal
Posts: 1,677
lindil has just left Hobbiton.
Fin. in regards to your bafflement re: my opinion on the Narn. What I meant was that I had never considered it in any serious detail. That it needed to happen and that it would involve the grey annals, 77/99 and UT's Narn was a given. Just never pondered the details. Indeed it was however the first set of texts I conflated by switching back to the 77/99 when the UT Narn left gaps.

As for the parallel idea - It would make sense for a working basis IF you can overcome the technical difficulties of posting 2 columns here on the downs. Perhaps if it seems desirable to all, it could be done in some other format and shared offboard.
__________________
The dwindling Men of the West would often sit up late into the night exchanging lore & wisdom such as they still possessed that they should not fall back into the mean estate of those who never knew or indeed rebelled against the Light.
lindil 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 06:03 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.