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Old 10-14-2021, 10:07 PM   #1
Aiwendil
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'Time and Ageing' Sequence of Composition

I don't know that I'm the first to do this, but I spent a considerable portion of last night working through the texts given in part 1 of The Nature of Middle-earth and trying to work out the order in which the many "c. 1959" texts were written. This is very, very speculative, but this is what I've ended up with:

- The earliest text in the chapter is "The Valian Year" text 1 (I.1), dated from c. 1951.

- (XXIII, "A Fragment from the Grey Annals" presumably dates from the early 1950s, but is unrelated to the other texts in this section).

- Then we have "The Valian Year" text 2 (I.2), dated from 1957, where we have the introduction of the 144-year Valian Year.

- From c. 1958, we have XXII, "A Fragment from the Annals of Aman".

- Moving on to the c. 1959 texts, first we have a group of four texts that are distinguished by the fact that, as initially written, they lack any notion of a "growth-year" or a faster 12:1 rate of growth in Elves' early lives, except insofar as a shorter gestation is introduced. Instead, these texts present an idea of "quickening" of a quickening of the ratio in Middle-earth as the ages wore on. These are IX ("Time Scales and Rates of Growth"), X ("Difficulties in Chronology"), XI ("Ageing of Elves"), and XX ("Time and Its Perception"). Of these, we can conclude that X was written before XI, since the idea of changing Arwen's birth year to TA 341 is arrived at in X but taken as given in XI. I'm also inclined to place XI later than both IX and X because both IX and X still flirt with the idea of a long gestation period on something like the 144:1 scale, while XI only refers to a 9-year gestation. XI can also probably be placed later than XX, since XX starts from the assumption of an Awakening in VY 1050, as it is in AAm, before proposing changing that to an earlier date - whereas XI implies an Awakening earlier than 1050, since 1050 is proposed as a date for Finwe's birth. It is more difficult to determine the order of composition of IX, X, and XX, except possibly that since IX and X deal with issues of chronology, just as XI does, they closely preceded it. So I would guess the order of these texts is: XX - (IX, X) - XI

- Next I think we have IV and V, "Time Scales" and "Natural Youth and Growth of the Quendi". Both of these would seem to precede III ("Of Time in Arda"), as that was an aborted typescript apparently made after IV, V, and VI were collated. V, at least, also seems to precede XII ("Concerning the Quendi and Their Mode of Life and Growth"), since a statement about the typical age of "first begetting" appears ab initio in XII in the form it was revised to in V. Both of these texts, however, have a faster 12:1 growth year for Elves up to maturity, which would seem to place them after XX, IX, X, and XI. IV, however, has one somewhat puzzling instance of gestation being calculated on a 144:1 scale, which is probably a slip, but may suggest that it was written soon after that earlier group of texts.

- There is then a sequence of texts that I think must have been written in the order VII - VIII - VI ("The March of the Quendi", "Eldarin Traditions Concerning the Awakening", and "The Awakening of the Quendi"). VII must, I think, precede VIII because in VII we see ideas concerning the Awakening of the Elves being developed, which are then apparently implemented in VIII, which is really the first version of the "Cuivienyarna". VI, on the other hand, would seem to follow VIII, since it cites a legend, which Hostetter takes to be a reference to the text of VIII, indicating that that text was already in existence. There is little to go on in determining the position of this grouping as compared to the texts I've placed immediately before it (IV, V), and it is quite possible that they weren't written in a direct sequence, but that the composition of this group overlaps with the composition of those texts.

- III ("Of Time in Arda") must have been written after these because it is the abandoned typescript version of the collated set of IV, V, and VI.

- XII ("Concerning the Quendi in Their Mode of Life and Growth") is hard to place, but my best guess would put it somewhere around here. It would seem to follow (and be a revision of) V, because the revised version of the "first begetting" passage appears ab initio here. I would guess that it also follows the collation of IV, V, and VI, because if it had been in existence at that time, it would have been included in preference to V - and for this reason, it may also postdate III. But its close relation to these texts suggests, to me, at least, that it was written soon after them.

- Next I think we have XIV.2 and XIV.1 ("Calculation of the Increase of the Quendi", texts 2 and 1) in that order. Up to here, whenever we have references to dates in YV, those are not terribly different from the dates in AAm: Awakening and Finding of the Elves somewhere in the 1000s, destruction of the Trees and exile of the Noldor around 1495-1500. This scheme is followed in XIV.2, but in XIV.1 these dates are explicitly rejected in favour of an Awakening in 1386 and Darkening in 1728.

- Then we have the group of texts from XIII, "Key Dates". Four texts are given here, labelled 1, 2A, 2B, and 3. 3 appears to be the earliest, since its dates agree with those arrived at in XIV.1. 2A and 2B move to a new date-scheme, with Awakening and Finding in the 800s (VY). 2B explicitly mentions and rejects the older Awakening = 1050 dating, which might (perhaps) suggest that it is earlier than 2A. (The fact that the 1000s dating is mentioned here does not, I think, represent any reversion to that scheme). 2A and 2B appear to be drafts preceding text 1, and that text 1 follows 2A is seen in the fact that 2A has the ambassadors as just Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe; 1 has the same thing initially, but this was revised so that Imin, Tata, and Enel are the main ambassadors, with Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe as representatives of the young Elves. Two other texts, both very difficult to place, <i>might</i> also be placed here. Text 2 of XVII, "Generational Schemes", has dates that closely match those in XIII.2B, so it might be contemporary with it. And XV, "A Generational Scheme", has 6 Valian Years between the Awakening and the Finding, which exactly matches the dates in XIII.2A. So my best guess for the sequence of these texts is: XIII.3 - XIII.2B - XVII.2 - XIII.2A - XV - XIII.1.

- Then in XVI ("Note on the Youth and Growth of the Quendi"), the 12:1 growth rate is mentioned and rejected in favor of a 1:1 growth rate (again, becoming 144:1 after maturity), and, for the first time in these texts, a 1-year gestation period (though if "Laws and Customs among the Eldar" dates to 1958, this may represent a reversion to an earlier idea).

- That leaves as the final of the "c. 1959" texts, XVII.1 and XVII.3 ("Generational Schemes", texts 1 and 3), in that order. These texts use a 1-year gestation. I take it that XVII.3 follows XVII.1, since it is written on later pages of the same engagement calendar.

- The next text is XVIII, "Elvish Ages and Numenorean", dating from 1965, which changes the growth rate to 3:1, with a 3-year gestation.

- Finally we have three texts dating from the c. 1968-1969 period, XXI ("Notes on Elvish Time-Reference") and the two texts of XIX ("Elvish Life-Cycles").

Again, this is all just my attempt at deciphering the tangle, so it's quite plausible that I've gotten plenty wrong.
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Old 10-15-2021, 03:37 AM   #2
Huinesoron
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Oh yes. This (once any kinks have been worked out) is getting copied out and slipped in the front of the book. Let's see what we've got.

- I.1 - Hostetter is slightly unclear in the dating here, referencing amendments to the Annals of Aman. This is kind of true, in that the draft AAm (ie, the reworking of the Annals of Valinor) was amended to give the shorter VY; but per CT, the first proper AAm text is the 9.58-year one. So yes, 1951.

- There is an oddity in XX: it gives the date of the Awakening in VY 1050, matching the Annals of Aman, but introduces the idea of the March ending in VY 1450 (not 1133). I think this has to just be a slip - even after Tolkien switched the Awakening to VY 1000, he maintained the 1133 date.

- X clearly predates the note to IX: X states a gestation period of 900 months (100:1) and then corrects this to 10:1, which change was carried across to the note on IX. So we have IX - X - IX (note).

- I think XI must precede X. XI introduces the 10:1 growth-rate which X includes as written (partly to resolve the issue of Maeglin). The gestation period is actually a clue to this: footnote 10 to X says that it was written as 12 years, amended to 900 months, and then a second note corrects it to 8 years (which was then transposed into IX (note). So we have IX - XI - X - IX (note).

- IV is a bit weird. It states outright a gestation of 8 years, then launches into a description using 144-year growth-years. Worse, footnote 21 shows that it was originally written with a 1 sun-year gestation! Given the "what about Maeglin?" note at the end, I think this text as originally written has to precede XI; but the notes to it came in over the course of the IX-X-XI complex. I see no indication that IV includes the change to 100:1 in Beleriand, which appears ab initio in XX and IX; so we have IV - XX - IX - XI - X.

- With V, I can return to your order: it includes the ca. 9-year gestation adopted by the note to IX.

- VII, VIII, and VI (A) and (B) are complex. VI seems to be the first introduction of the Awakening in VY 1000, which places it before VII; but the "later Legend" note strongly implies that VI is later. Best guess is that VI.A [the second text in VI] was the first of this set, while VI.B was written specifically for collection in front of VII & VIII (it ends with "as shown also in what follows", referencing the March timeline). VI.A - VII - VIII - VI.B.

- In fact, I suspect VI.B was specifically written for inclusion in the larger piece assembled in III, "Of Time in Arda". That would put it immediately before III, as you say.

- XII is interesting, because it draws on both V and IV - it uses the "tortoises" passage from IV, for instance. Given that the title matches the one Tolkien added to IV when writing III, I think XII might be a replacement for the aborted III - ie, Tolkien went "hang on, IV and V should really be one text", gave up rewriting IV, and started over on a synthesis. So I agree with the placement.

- Concur on XIV and XIII 2-3. However, XIII.1 must come after the final generational scheme in XVII, as it adopts the birth-dates of Finwe et al from that text (among other details). XV must still fall before XVII.1, because the former gives far higher numbers of children in the earlier generations, while the XVII.3 schemes all follow XVII.1 in reducing this to 6 or fewer.

- XVI still falls between XV and XVII.1, so the final order for this set is XIII.3 - XIII.2B - XVII.2 - XIII.2A - XV - XVI - XVII.1 - XVII.3 - XIII.1

- And then I agree on the last few texts; I don't think there's any way of dating the '68-69 texts relative to each other.

So my current order is:

I.1
XXIII
I.2
XXII
IV
XX
IX
XI
X
V
VI.A
VII
VIII
VI.B
III
XII
XIV.2
XIV.1
XIII.3
XIII.2B
XVII.2
XIII.2A
XV
XVI
XVII.1
XVII.3
XIII.1
XVIII
XXI
XIX

A pictoral comparison. Basically, I've reshuffled the earliest 1959 texts, split VI, and moved XIII.1 to be the final timeline.

This is obviously not set in stone! I'm sure there's still room for improvement. (As a note I can't remember where it goes: the fact that IV originally had a 1-sun year gestation indicates that LaCE could well have been written before the '59s: Tolkien rejected the 1-year gestation for mathematical reasons, only to eventually readopt it.)

hS
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Old 11-14-2021, 04:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Oh yes. This (once any kinks have been worked out) is getting copied out and slipped in the front of the book. Let's see what we've got.

- I.1 - Hostetter is slightly unclear in the dating here, referencing amendments to the Annals of Aman. This is kind of true, in that the draft AAm (ie, the reworking of the Annals of Valinor) was amended to give the shorter VY; but per CT, the first proper AAm text is the 9.58-year one. So yes, 1951.

- There is an oddity in XX: it gives the date of the Awakening in VY 1050, matching the Annals of Aman, but introduces the idea of the March ending in VY 1450 (not 1133). I think this has to just be a slip - even after Tolkien switched the Awakening to VY 1000, he maintained the 1133 date.

- X clearly predates the note to IX: X states a gestation period of 900 months (100:1) and then corrects this to 10:1, which change was carried across to the note on IX. So we have IX - X - IX (note).

- I think XI must precede X. XI introduces the 10:1 growth-rate which X includes as written (partly to resolve the issue of Maeglin). The gestation period is actually a clue to this: footnote 10 to X says that it was written as 12 years, amended to 900 months, and then a second note corrects it to 8 years (which was then transposed into IX (note). So we have IX - XI - X - IX (note).

- IV is a bit weird. It states outright a gestation of 8 years, then launches into a description using 144-year growth-years. Worse, footnote 21 shows that it was originally written with a 1 sun-year gestation! Given the "what about Maeglin?" note at the end, I think this text as originally written has to precede XI; but the notes to it came in over the course of the IX-X-XI complex. I see no indication that IV includes the change to 100:1 in Beleriand, which appears ab initio in XX and IX; so we have IV - XX - IX - XI - X.

- With V, I can return to your order: it includes the ca. 9-year gestation adopted by the note to IX.

- VII, VIII, and VI (A) and (B) are complex. VI seems to be the first introduction of the Awakening in VY 1000, which places it before VII; but the "later Legend" note strongly implies that VI is later. Best guess is that VI.A [the second text in VI] was the first of this set, while VI.B was written specifically for collection in front of VII & VIII (it ends with "as shown also in what follows", referencing the March timeline). VI.A - VII - VIII - VI.B.

- In fact, I suspect VI.B was specifically written for inclusion in the larger piece assembled in III, "Of Time in Arda". That would put it immediately before III, as you say.

- XII is interesting, because it draws on both V and IV - it uses the "tortoises" passage from IV, for instance. Given that the title matches the one Tolkien added to IV when writing III, I think XII might be a replacement for the aborted III - ie, Tolkien went "hang on, IV and V should really be one text", gave up rewriting IV, and started over on a synthesis. So I agree with the placement.

- Concur on XIV and XIII 2-3. However, XIII.1 must come after the final generational scheme in XVII, as it adopts the birth-dates of Finwe et al from that text (among other details). XV must still fall before XVII.1, because the former gives far higher numbers of children in the earlier generations, while the XVII.3 schemes all follow XVII.1 in reducing this to 6 or fewer.

- XVI still falls between XV and XVII.1, so the final order for this set is XIII.3 - XIII.2B - XVII.2 - XIII.2A - XV - XVI - XVII.1 - XVII.3 - XIII.1

- And then I agree on the last few texts; I don't think there's any way of dating the '68-69 texts relative to each other.

So my current order is:

I.1
XXIII
I.2
XXII
IV
XX
IX
XI
X
V
VI.A
VII
VIII
VI.B
III
XII
XIV.2
XIV.1
XIII.3
XIII.2B
XVII.2
XIII.2A
XV
XVI
XVII.1
XVII.3
XIII.1
XVIII
XXI
XIX

A pictoral comparison. Basically, I've reshuffled the earliest 1959 texts, split VI, and moved XIII.1 to be the final timeline.

This is obviously not set in stone! I'm sure there's still room for improvement. (As a note I can't remember where it goes: the fact that IV originally had a 1-sun year gestation indicates that LaCE could well have been written before the '59s: Tolkien rejected the 1-year gestation for mathematical reasons, only to eventually readopt it.)

hS
A question. Could IV postdate III, due to the word OnnalķmŽ included in IV against OnnariŽ included in III?

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Old 11-17-2021, 03:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gondowe View Post
A question. Could IV postdate III, due to the word OnnalķmŽ included in IV against OnnariŽ included in III?

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Uh-oh.

There are three texts which seem to be heavily based on each other: IV (manuscript), III (typescript), and XII (manuscript). Our interpretation has been that Tolkien originally wrote IV, V, and VIII as separate texts. He then began to assemble them into a single typescript, as III (almost entirely based on IV), giving them their titles and numbers. Then, abandoning III, he switched to a synthesis manuscript, XII.

It's not entirely clear that III had a title typed on it - it may be a separate title page attached to the "Time in Arda" collection. If it didn't, we could theoretically have a sequence of [lost manuscript] > III > IV > XII.

There are some indications this might be true. A change of "100" to "90-96" in IV was not reflected in III, and of course there's onnariŽ . The first at least indicates that some of Tolkien's red-pen amendments post-date the typescript, which doesn't fit easily with the idea that they were amendments for the typescript.

And... IV feels "later". III has "Elves" and "Men", where IV has "Quendi" and "Atani". I can't easily imagine Tolkien stepping back from using the 'more technical' terms. In many places IV goes into more detail than III, and the only place I can find it having less detail is right at the start, when it drops the otherwise-unknown "the Valar are the soul of Arda" idea. (Compare the transition from IV to XII, where the latter almost doubles the length of some paragraphs; Tolkien liked to add stuff!)

Um.

Okay. All of that is quite subjective; "OnnariŽ" is concrete. Let's see where that takes us.

- "OnnariŽ" only appears in III. It's not even indexed.
- "OnnalķmŽ" appears in IV, V, XII, XV, XVII.
- "OntalķmŽ" appears in IV alone, as an alternative form of "onnalķmŽ".

A scenario where III was the earliest text would certainly explain this! But... I can't quite believe that Tolkien either lost/destroyed the very earliest version of III/IV/XII, or tried to write ab initio in typescript - with, as CH notes, red text used for Elvish words, very fancy, not what you'd do when drafting. Furthermore, CH's formatting strongly suggests that the typescript III was titled, on page, "OF TIME IN ARDA - I - The Quendi compared with Men". That section title and number were added as an amendment to IV; if IV was a rewriting of III, why would Tolkien do that?

As an alternative view... if Tolkien was trying to compress three or more sets of notes down into a single fair text, he might well have made it shorter on the way. He got two pages in, and then decided he didn't actually agree with what he was typing up any more! He pulled out a new piece of paper and began writing XII; by the time he got to the first mention of "OnnalķmŽ", he forgot that he'd ever considered changing it.

(XX does something similar, introducing a new date for the March which was immediately reverted to the original date.)

hS
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Old 11-20-2021, 01:55 AM   #5
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In any case it is true that the structure and explanations of CH are sometimes very vague. These texts may have a much greater degree of complexity than those presented to us CT in HoME but I miss this.
But it is very possible what you say in relation to my question. Tolkien may have forgotten that he had changed OnnariŽ

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