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Old 11-21-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
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Beren and Lúthien - prose version?

I noticed in the Beren and Lúthien thread below that the editors have mainly relied on the Lay of Leithian directly for this story. While I certainly support an effort to update the Lay, it's pretty clear that the Silmarillion as a whole is supposed to be a prose work that is "summarized" from longer stories. It therefore seems jarring to have the Lay be the base text, particularly since it is unfinished. Why don't we use the Beren and Lúthien text based on HoMe V, clean it up some (CT admitted there were many passages that were "regrettably omitted from The Silmarillion) and then insert parts of the Lay, like we did with the Túrin story? If we do that, it will preserve more of the Silmarillion's character, and it means we could pick and choose from the best parts of the Lay (i.e. the parts with the best writing and the least editorial influence). I'd like to help with this as much as I can since Beren and Lúthien is one of my favorite stories. If need be, we could go back to the old Tale of Tinúviel to fill out the prose.
"Ye are my children. I have sent you to dwell here. In time ye will inherit all this Earth, but first ye must be children and learn. Call on me and I shall hear; for I am watching over you." —Eru Ilúvatar

Last edited by Tar-Telperien; 11-21-2009 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 11-22-2009, 02:36 PM   #2
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Hi, Tar-Telperien! Good to see you.

The issue of how to handle 'Beren and Luthien' was considered at some length a few years ago. I believe the thread with the most important discussion on this point was General discussion about the verse material. The point you make is a good one, and certainly there are arguments to be made (and indeed that were made) for using prose. However, I still think our decision to use verse for the majority of 'Beren and Luthien' was the right one, for these reasons:

- By far the most complete version of the story by Tolkien is the Lay of Leithien; using prose would have meant either omitting a very large amount of material or engaging in 'creative writing' to transform verse into prose.

- We are explicitly not trying to create the Middle-earth text called 'Quenta Silmarillion' (which certainly would include only the prose version) itself.

- Our primary goal is not to create a work with the greatest possible literary value but rather to create the most complete and 'correct' narrative possible. So the literary inelegance of switching back and forth between verse and prose is not of critical importance.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you want to try and create a strictly prose version, we'd all be very interested to read it!

Apologies to everyone, by the way, for another long period of inactivity. I am hoping to get back into things here in the next week or two.
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