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Old 11-05-2020, 01:34 PM   #58
Late Istar
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,156
Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
My objection comes down to my view that MT VI text is not a narrative; it's an outline for a new narrative that Tolkien never wrote. For me, this is a clear case for principle 2b, "proposed changes that do not clearly indicate the exact details that must be changed and how they are to be changed." That is, it tells us that Tolkien was going to re-write this material, but it does not give us any actual text to use. The phrases that, in the current proposal, we take from MT to effect this change are, in my opinion, not at all suitable to stand in a narrative. This is Tolkien writing in his own modern, colloquial voice, and there's no way that he would have considered describing Melkor as "isolated in enemy territory" or "swallowing a bitter pill" in an actual rewrite of this story.

Now, yes, it's true that we have explicitly said that we are not to be concerned about stylistic inconsistencies within our text. But when we hashed that out, we were talking about the differing styles of narratives written over the course of Tolkien's life. The key example we dealt with early on was the juxtaposition between the very different styles of the Lost Tales and of stuff like the later 'Tuor'. I don't think that this in any way obligates us to treat the text of notes or analyses written in Tolkien's own 'external' voice as if they are real narratives.

So, that's my main objection - that as I see it, we simply don't have a text that is suitable for taking up this new element of the story - and in trying to force MT VI to fill that role, we end up doing great damage to the text.

Now, for many of the other projected changes in MT, as we've discussed, I think the intervention required to achieve the change is much less, and in those cases and many others, we've used the expedient of taking a minimal amount of wording from a note or analysis and inserting it into a text. In some cases, I've been a bit uneasy about how much manipulation of the text is needed, but of course it's hard to draw a clear line between what is acceptable and what is too much. But for me, the situation with this story of the feigned submission of Melkor is clearly on the "too much" side.

Does that help explain my view on this?

Last edited by Aiwendil; 11-05-2020 at 05:23 PM.
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