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Old 06-22-2020, 02:49 PM   #1
William Cloud Hicklin
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New Tolkien book coming!

As in, actually by JRR Tolkien, not just about him.

The Nature of Middle-earth is a collection of late writings, in both the metaphysical and literal senses of the title: Tolkien's musings on the cosmology of his creation, as well as its biosphere. The collection, edited by Carl F. Hostetter (our own Aelfwine), was authorized by the late Christopher Tolkien before his death and can be viewed as a sort of 13th volume of The History of Middle Earth.

Scheduled for release in the spring of 2021.
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:11 PM   #2
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Outstanding! Long time to wait though....
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:00 AM   #3
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Ooooooooh....

Per this description, the "several texts detailing the lands, flora, and fauna of Númenor, and the lives of Númenóreans" sound particularly interesting, provided that doesn't just mean "the drafts of the UT 'Description'".

Hilariously, this page indicates they only revealed this was coming by accident. Oops!

So, the Expanded History of Middle-earth now includes:

-Unfinished Tales ('HoME 0'?)
-HoME I - XII
-The Index
-The collected Parma Eldalamberon
-Some or all of the collected Vinyar Tengwar (approx. issue 39 onwards)
-The History of the Hobbit, Parts 1 & 2
-The Nature of Middle-earth

I foresee lengthy arguments about which ones count in the numbering. This is going to make all my jokes about "it's in HoME XIII: The Weird Bits" very tricky, though I suppose I can replace them with "it's all in the Hostetter book".

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Old 06-23-2020, 05:51 AM   #4
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To which perhaps could be added The Chronology of the Lord of the Rings, hopefully to appear in Tolkien Studies before long.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:13 AM   #5
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To which perhaps could be added The Chronology of the Lord of the Rings, hopefully to appear in Tolkien Studies before long.
Oooooooh...

Can you share any more details on that? The title is intriguing, but could mean a lot of things.

hS
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for this information. Here, have some more of my money.

I'm with Huey on being excited about the additional details on Numenor.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:24 PM   #7
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Oooooooh...

Can you share any more details on that? The title is intriguing, but could mean a lot of things.

hS
During the later part of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien found that in order to keep all of his characters' movements synchronized - always with scrupuolus care to travel distances - he had to come up with a 'synoptic' time-scheme in multiple columns, which day by day related in brief what everyone was doing. In many cases this is stuff which never made it into print, since it was all happening offstage. That first chronology was replaced by a second as the story developed, and that by yet a third, which was done after the story was finished probably during the first phase of work on what became the Appendices. This is a fascinating document, never before published; and although I finished my annotated edition of it aeons ago I'm still struggling with the accompanying commentary-- not helped at all by Covid having locked down Marquette's archives.
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:05 AM   #8
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During the later part of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien found that in order to keep all of his characters' movements synchronized - always with scrupuolus care to travel distances - he had to come up with a 'synoptic' time-scheme in multiple columns, which day by day related in brief what everyone was doing. In many case this is stuff which never made it into print, since it was all happening offstage. That first chronology was replaced by a second as the story developed, and that by yet a third, which was done after the story was finished probably during the first phase of work on what became the Appendices. This is a fascinating document, never before published; and although I finished my annotated edition of it aeons ago I'm still struggling with the accompanying commentary-- not helped at all by Covid having locked down Marquette's archives.
Oooooooooooooh...

hS
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Old 06-26-2020, 04:53 PM   #9
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Here's a taste:

[Tolkien] began with linear time-schemes, that is, listing all of each day’s events in a single sequence. As the story grew in narrative complexity, however, these proved inadequate and therefore, as he began what is now Book V in October 1944, chronological discrepancies which had crept into the text led him to make a time-scheme in parallel columns, allowing him day by day to drive abreast the actions of his various groups of characters. This first ‘synoptic’ chronology, which Christopher Tolkien designated S, petered out as Book V developed during 1946 and was replaced by another, which I will refer to as S2. S2 remained the working chronology through at least April 1948 (there is a dated note) and almost certainly until after the completion of the story that summer, although the time-scheme itself breaks off after the Battle of the Pelennor. S2 then served as the vehicle for Tolkien’s conversion of the calendar, which had been the Gregorian throughout the writing of the book, to the new Shire-reckoning. The final Chronology, S3, was the third and last of these ‘synoptic’ schemes, written most probably toward the end of the first phase of work on the Appendices circa 1949-50, and definitely after the first draft of the narrative had been completed. Even at this time the chronology was not settled, and Tolkien altered things to his satisfaction in both the creation of, and later emendations to, S3 which in turn led to revisions in the text.

Each of the three synoptic time-schemes can be associated with a major chronological upheaval: S with the adjustments required in October 1944; S2 with the addition of a month passing while the Fellowship was in Lórien; and S3 with Tolkien’s postponement of the Battle of the Pelennor and the consequent reworking of all the many threads converging on Minas Tirith. A further major upheaval, carried out by corrections to S2 and embodied in S3, was the conversion of the calendar to Shire-reckoning. The end result was the published text of The Lord of the Rings and a chronology consistent at all points, save a few small oversights, with Appendix B, ‘The Tale of Years.’ S3 is the precursor to the very compressed ‘The Great Years’ section of Appendix B; the dates and events (almost) entirely accord with it and indeed many of the published entries read as if they were abridged directly from those given here. Although there almost certainly must have been an intermediate stage, none of the surviving draft texts of ‘The Tale of Years’ have any section comparable to ‘The Great Years,’ merely annalistic entries for 3018 and 3019, and if such an intermediate stage existed it is now lost.

The ready availability of Appendix B does not render this Chronology a mere draft or curiosity! S3 can be said to represent, despite its laconic mode, Tolkien’s most complete accounting of the incidents of the great tale, not only those related in the narrative but also those transpiring offstage. It was intended as a final version: ‘canonical,’ for those who like the term. It contains a very great deal of information not found in the Appendices which is of remarkable interest; this is especially the case with regard to actions and motivations which occur for the most part in the background during The Lord of the Rings. Only here, for example, do we learn that...
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:54 PM   #10
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I'm looking forward to this!
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
As in, actually by JRR Tolkien, not just about him.

The Nature of Middle-earth is a collection of late writings, in both the metaphysical and literal senses of the title: Tolkien's musings on the cosmology of his creation, as well as its biosphere. The collection, edited by Carl F. Hostetter (our own Aelfwine), was authorized by the late Christopher Tolkien before his death and can be viewed as a sort of 13th volume of The History of Middle Earth.

Scheduled for release in the spring of 2021.
I am really looking forward to this……
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:36 PM   #12
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To which perhaps could be added The Chronology of the Lord of the Rings, hopefully to appear in Tolkien Studies before long.
How can one avoid missing that ?
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:33 PM   #13
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I wonder if there's anything significant in here that hasn't been publisheded. I'm always up for more lore stuff but it seems like most of Tolkien's major writings are already out.
I'm still going to buy it though.

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Old 12-29-2020, 06:12 AM   #14
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I wonder if there's anything significant in here that hasn't been published. I'm always up for more lore stuff but it seems like most of Tolkien's major writings are already out.
I'm still going to buy it though.
Who can say? The level of one's interest in the book may depend on what in particular attracts one to Tolkien to start.
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Old 12-29-2020, 09:26 AM   #15
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This is all new material, not a repackaging. As CT said when HME XII came out, "The well is not quite dry. But I have gone on for long enough."
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Old 12-29-2020, 09:56 PM   #16
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This is all new material, not a repackaging. As CT said when HME XII came out, "The well is not quite dry. But I have gone on for long enough."
After this next book, how much unpublished material remains?
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Old 12-30-2020, 01:52 AM   #17
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This is all new material, not a repackaging. As CT said when HME XII came out, "The well is not quite dry. But I have gone on for long enough."
The news articles I've seen sort of imply it's a "History of the Unfinished Tales; my memory is that most of UT wasn't covered in HoME, so that certainly makes sense.

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Old 12-30-2020, 06:54 AM   #18
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The news articles I've seen sort of imply it's a "History of the Unfinished Tales; my memory is that most of UT wasn't covered in HoME, so that certainly makes sense.
UT has always been highly enjoyable reading for me, so I'm very much on board.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:27 AM   #19
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From the publisher's blurb:
Quote:
First ever publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s final writings on Middle-earth, covering a wide range of subjects and perfect for those who have read and enjoyed The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth, and want to learn more about Tolkien’s magnificent world.

It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. What may be less known is that he continued to write about Middle-earth in the decades that followed, right up until the years before his death in 1973.

For him, Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation. From sweeping themes as profound as Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to the more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!

This new collection, which has been edited by Carl F Hostetter, one of the world’s leading Tolkien experts, is a veritable treasure-trove offering readers a chance to peer over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder at the very moment of discovery: and on every page, Middle-earth is once again brought to extraordinary life.
And a statement by Carl H:
Quote:
I cannot yet speak to the contents in specifics, but let me dispel this speculation now. It is true that The Nature of Middle-earth will contain some primary material that was previously published in specialist journals; but the vast majority of the material is previously unpublished.
Note: The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor was frequently referenced by CT in HME; title notwithstanding, it's less about the geography than the names. Tolkien be Tolkien. (Excerpts were published in the linguistic journal Vinyar Tengwar)
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:38 PM   #20
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Looks like this won't release until June 2021, so a little delayed. I went ahead and placed a pre-order on Amazon.
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Old 05-03-2021, 06:12 PM   #21
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Tolkien

I was just thinking of this book, and how its timing (I was still thinking of "spring, 2021") would line up nicely with this mini-Downs revival, but, alas, a check of the release date now says September 2, 2021.

Mind you, I do enjoy a nice getaway book for Labour Day.
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Old 05-04-2021, 02:58 PM   #22
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I was just thinking of this book, and how its timing (I was still thinking of "spring, 2021") would line up nicely with this mini-Downs revival, but, alas, a check of the release date now says September 2, 2021.

Mind you, I do enjoy a nice getaway book for Labour Day.
We just need to keep this party going over summer
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:32 AM   #23
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Saw this a little while back and have just spent 20 minutes hunting it back down: an interview with Hostetter from July of this year, which discusses the book. Excerpts:

Quote:
Though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I started work on what would become The Nature of Middle-earth nearly 25 years ago, when I received a bundle of photocopies that Christopher Tolkien referred to as “late philological essays”. From this bundle I edited and published three texts in Vinyar Tengwar, that are also included (in more-or-less-differently edited form) in NoMe: “Ósanwe-kenta” (1998), “Notes on Órë” (2000), and “The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor” (2001). Some time after this, Christopher asked me to help the French scholar [Michaël Devaux] edit a set of late writings on Elvish reincarnation, which were eventually published in the journal La Feuille de la Compagnie vol. 3 in 2014, and will likewise be included in NoMe.
At long last, 'Owanwe-kenta' and 'Rivers and Beacon-hills' in accessible form! I've seen mention that the reincarnation writings have only been published in French before, so that's exciting. And - we have an abbreviation, straight from the editor's mouth. How appropriate that the last Christopher-era Tolkien book will be called (g)NoMe.

Quote:
I can say that The Nature of Middle-earth will appeal most to those who enjoy the descriptive and historical parts of Unfinished Tales, as well as those who enjoy Morgoth’s Ring.
Well, MR is the best of the non-narrative HoME books, so I'm with him there. From the way he talks in the interview, I think there's less chance we'll be seeing drafts, so those hints about Numenor in earlier press releases could well be new material rather than early versions of the 'Description'. Which would be cool!

Current publication date is still 2nd September this year (er... a month away!). Oddly enough, that's the same date, though a year earlier, as the Amazon series airs. ... okay, so it's the anniversary of Tolkien's death, that's slightly grim. HoME XII was published on the same date in 1996, so I guess there's a tradition to be followed.

hS
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:59 PM   #24
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A preview if the link works.


https://preview.aer.io/The_Nature_of...l=1&emailcap=0


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Old 08-04-2021, 01:07 PM   #25
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Ooh something to look forward too- I love Unfinished Tales perhaps best of all, which I know is a bit silly as it is dependent on the main texts but I love the minutiae and exploring vistas.

Incidentally am a little amused by references to HoME XIII -I bought the overall index so I already have 13 vols
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:31 AM   #26
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So what is that site? Because it doesn't seem to be connected to Harper Collins, and the preview is... pretty extensive. Which is cool, but... there's a month still before the book comes out, why can I read dozens of pages?

... also, why in those dozens of pages am I finding that Tolkien thought it was a good idea to keep Elvish women pregnant for nine Years of the Sun? That's just O.O.

hS
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:13 AM   #27
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Hmm. I didn't really take the time to notice. Someone posted it elsewhere and I posted it here.

I hope it's legal. I too was a bit surprised at the number of pages.
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:10 PM   #28
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Contents:

https://books.google.fr/books?id=MDQ...page&q&f=false

Galadriel and Celeborn!
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:42 PM   #29
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Weirdly, it initially showed me the full contents list, but has now trimmed it down to the first page... ANYWAY, the most intriguing looking ones were things like "Descriptions of Characters", "Dwellings in Middle-earth", and "Note on the Consumption of Mushrooms" (). Also "Note on Dwarvish Voices", which, I can't even imagine what would be in that.

The early sections seem to have a /lot/ of stuff on how he imagined the early reproduction rates of the elves, so I guess we'll conclusively be able to answer "were Finwe et al Unborn Quendi?"

(I can't remember what they were, but there were so many chapters which seemed to imply an answer to one of the Frequent Debates that I was surprised not to see "The nature of Bombadil and a precise physical description of balrogs" in there...)

hS
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Old 08-06-2021, 02:09 AM   #30
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I've uploaded an image of the contents list, in case Google Books mucks anyone else around. Some more intriguing ones:

-Parts of the 'Generational Schemes' are visible in the various previews, and include lists of precisely when the later generations of Quendi were born. I also saw a note that the first generation ("Seniors") refused to go on the Great March, which is fascinating. Looking forward to burrowing into the details.

-'Elvish Life-Cycles' might include some stuff about the mysterious second and third stages in which elves grow beards.

-'Beauty and Goodness' has the potential to be either really enlightening or really uncomfortable. Given the existence of Sauron, and of "looks foul but feels fair", I hope for the former.

-'Gender and Sex' is interesting, because even if it's Hostetter's wording, it implies a separation on Tolkien's part. Best guess is that he's talking about gender roles - ie, more on 'women make lembas and tend to do healing'.

-'Descriptions of characters' is seven pages long! Could it be a note to an illustrator, like the notes for the Baynes map? Will Tolkien actually describe any characters, or just go on about how they 'feel'?

-'Mind-pictures'? Colour me intrigued.

-'The visible forms of the Valar and Maiar' could be a second descriptive piece, or could be philosophical musings on what their substance was.

-'Note on Elvish Economy': clearly all those early Gnomish words like 'lawyer' and 'slave' are about to become very important!

-'Dwellings in Middle-earth' could be locations, or types of houses.

-'The Founding of Nargothrond' I love because Nargothrond.

-'Of the Land and Beasts of Numenor' is 11 pages long! A substantial description.

-'Note on the Consumption of Mushrooms' is undoubtedly the most important piece in the entire book.

-'Galadriel and Celeborn' is ten pages which will undoubtedly just confuse things the more. I'm betting Galadriel is now Finwe's daughter who sailed to Middle-earth and back before the Noldolante, and Celeborn is a Silvan elf from over the mountains who crossed them by himself to meet her because Fate.

-'Note on Dwarvish Voices' is only a page long, but, like... what could it say? It's be hilarious if it was just "Memo: the dwarves DO NOT sound like Disney's."

And I'm sure there'll be more once we actually get the book... only a month to go!

hS
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Old 08-06-2021, 08:02 AM   #31
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I'm hugely stoked for this.

Two intriguing tidbits from the preview are indications that it was Sauron, not Melkor, at the original Fall of Men, and that Ingwe, Finwe and Elwe were not first generation Elves, both of which have been long-standing personal deductions of mine, but until now with nothing explicit in any writing of Tolkien to back them up.
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Old 08-06-2021, 02:22 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
'Descriptions of characters' is seven pages long! Could it be a note to an illustrator, like the notes for the Baynes map? Will Tolkien actually describe any characters, or just go on about how they 'feel'?

My guess here is that it's JRRT's reaction to the characters from this map. We've had some bits already, but again,
just a guess of course.


Quote:
'Galadriel and Celeborn' is ten pages which will undoubtedly just confuse things the more. I'm betting Galadriel is now Finwe's daughter who sailed to Middle-earth and back before the Noldolante, and Celeborn is a Silvan elf from over the mountains who crossed them by himself to meet her because Fate.
Yikes. In my excitement I didn't notice it was ten pages.

Maybe the font is huge

Last edited by Galin; 08-06-2021 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 09-03-2021, 04:02 AM   #33
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Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
I received my copy late last night. Looking forward to getting into it.
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Old 09-04-2021, 01:01 PM   #34
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Swiped the last copy in the bookshop today and I'm, uh, already halfway through. There's a LOT in there. Are we
.. does the Downs do spoiler warnings or anything? I guess it's been a long time since there was last actual new Tolkien that could be spoiled!

hS
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Old 09-04-2021, 04:20 PM   #35
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There is some truly amazing stuff in here. No detailed comments yet, lest SPOILERS
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Old 09-04-2021, 04:47 PM   #36
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Just read the brief The Founding of Nargothrond!

Loved it!
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Old 09-04-2021, 05:29 PM   #37
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test


Aha! It works! Same code as for bolding, but replace the B with "spoiler". To read text, highlight it.

Cheers!
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Old 09-05-2021, 08:40 AM   #38
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All right: just to disturb the 'canonicity' applecart further: Gil-galad's name, in very late (ca 1969) writing, was Finwain. Which raises new questions about his parentage.

Another: the Great Eagles were, explicitly, Maiar in bird-form

And this: to answer long speculation, Cirdan was definitely not one of the "first Elves" who awoke beside Cuivienen, because all of that first generation refused to go on the Journey and became Avari
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Old 09-05-2021, 09:15 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
All right: just to disturb the 'canonicity' applecart further: Gil-galad's name, in very late (ca 1969) writing, was Finwain. Which raises new questions about his parentage.
Also Finellach in another text, ca. 1965 (Of the Lands and Beasts of Numenor), though apparently this was already in HoME XII. I'd interpret Finwain as Young Finwe.

There's so much in here! The evolution of the timelines and generations is a study in itself, though for 'canonicity' purposes there's one text which falls a decade later than the rest. Certain chunks of it are very much "The History of Unfinished Tales", and Hostetter makes it very clear where this is the case; but the bulk of it is entirely new.

I'm finding the most fascinating bits not to be the big picture stuff and the philosophy - though there's some that I will definitely come back to - but the little nuggets of trivia you stumble onto along the way. My favourites so far:

- Generational Schemes, p. 128 - the family tree of Ingwe! For the first time, we have his father Ilion - 4th gen descendent of Iminye - his wife Ilwen, and his son Ingwil, brother of Indis.

- Key Dates, p. 95 - that the Eldar at Cuivienen were watched over by the future Istari, with new names, plus Melian - 'the only woman, but the chief'.

- Beards, p 187 - that Radagast 'had only short, curling, light brown hair on his chin'.

- Hair, p. 186 - that Ingwe had curly hair! Presumably this carries over in some measure to his descendents. Oh, and Gil-Galad had silver hair - as William Cloud Hicklin says, up goes the applecart again!

- Elvish ages and Numenorean, p. 152 - that at one point, Tolkien considered making Galadriel Celeborn's second wife!

And it just goes on and on! The entertainment habits of the Numenoreans - what happened to Finrod when he was building Nargothrond - less embarrassing names for Elmo and Teleporno - there's so much in here. I love it. It's mad.

hS
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Old 09-05-2021, 04:28 PM   #40
William Cloud Hicklin
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William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
also, that Ingwe was Imin's great-grandson. And confirmation that Aragorn, Denethor, Boromir and Faramir were all genetically beardless. (Take that, Viggo's designer scruff!)
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