Thread: Eriol/Aelfwine
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:27 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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What the frame work stories do is providing us with means of transmission of the stories from times/places were they are well remembered to our own time were we observe them as fresh and new. The frame work story always tries to generate some credibility for the main story. But what they do as well is generating a way of any version conflict observed in the main story. One cold look at these versions and connect them to a transmission path (given in the frame work story). As an example take the story of Numenore. Tolkien wrote with two very distinct perspectives: mannish 'Drowning of Andunie' and elvish 'The Fall of Numenore' and then he combined it to the 'Akalabeth' (please bear with me, if the titles are wrong, I am writing out of memory). And these versions are connected to the different frame work stories The Lost Road and The Notion Club papers.

Looking into real world history you will easily find the same: read an American book about the Vietnam War and the pick up one from Vietnam. Hopefully you could recognize that they are about the same historical event! And that event is still within living memory. Differences might become even greater the farther back in history you look.

The Lost Road and the Notion Club Papers are very easily combined as both speak about dream journey into the (imaginary) past. If one would accept that such journey are possible then it is more than probable that more than one pair of persons would go on such a journey to the same location (in time and space) and use similar 'steps'. And since they are different people setting down the story as they received it, the accounts would naturally be different. But then you will find a lot of people that would not agree with such a combination and argue that the Notion Club Papers were probably meant to replace the Lost Road frame work.

The Eriol / ∆lfwine story is more difficult, at least if we do not take the one version from the Lost Tales were ∆lfwine comes back with the ship without ever setting a foot on Tol Eresseš. One issue we have with it, is that we have even different versions of that frame story, once Erriol is bound into the Germanic background of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, once he is Anglo-Saxon himself fleeing from the Danish invasion in the time of Alfred the Great. Here again, if you like you could combine all these versions, seeing them as 'history' repeated. But again you would find people arguing with even more force that the one version did replace the other. And last but not least some people will tell you that all this was replaced by Bilbo's 'Translation from the Elvish'.

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