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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:09 pm 
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I see V has now earned the right to be called the controversial author of Arda Reconstructed. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:32 pm 
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Say, rather, author of the controversial Arda Reconstructed. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Editors! :roll:

:hug:

Although I swear, I heard "controversial author" time and time again. :?

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:51 pm 
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River wrote:
You know, if a statistical analysis is that important, how about this...

Someone give me the data and I'll run the numbers. I don't think what's being fussed about is going to be that hard to pull out. The null hypothesis is that all minor characters were reduced, the alternative is the women took a harder hit. It should be a simple test to run, assuming you can come up with a method of quantifying a character reduction that everyone agrees on. I have never heard of running stats on a work of literature (beyond, say, the best-seller lists and such) but humanities isn't my field.


It can easily be done. The first step would be content analysis - which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc. Then we can simply add a dummy variable for "women character". A simple test to see if this variable is significant or not.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:54 pm 
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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:15 pm 
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Mahima wrote:
It can easily be done. The first step would be content analysis - which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc. Then we can simply add a dummy variable for "women character". A simple test to see if this variable is significant or not.


I don't think such an analysis would really have very much value. How do you give a ranking to the difference of removing the description of Galadriel as "valiant" compared to say removing a description of one of the male elves as "golden-haired". Even the same edit arguably could have a different effect on a female character as opposed to a male character. It would be so subjective that the result would be whatever you wanted to make it be. Which is exactly what I said earlier (and is exactly what happens in court cases all the time).

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:26 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Mahima wrote:
It can easily be done. The first step would be content analysis - which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc. Then we can simply add a dummy variable for "women character". A simple test to see if this variable is significant or not.


I don't think such an analysis would really have very much value. How do you give a ranking to the difference of removing the description of Galadriel as "valiant" compared to say removing a description of one of the male elves as "golden-haired". Even the same edit arguably could have a different effect on a female character as opposed to a male character. It would be so subjective that the result would be whatever you wanted to make it be. Which is exactly what I said earlier (and is exactly what happens in court cases all the time).


Well, yes. But also, no. It is subjective, but rules can be created and you can let software do the rest to make it largely objective. Plus, in content analysis, categorization / ranking / rule is usually done by judges not involved in the research at all. So you keep trying to remove researcher bias at every step, to make the results more objective.

Content analysis followed by statistical analysis is an accepted research method in the social sciences.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:41 pm 
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Yes, and manipulating that research method is standard in the legal field. I've seen too many such analyses done by competing highly qualified experts that resulted in diametrically opposite conclusions to be anything but suspicious of such things. Sorry.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:26 pm 
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Mahima wrote:
River wrote:
You know, if a statistical analysis is that important, how about this...

Someone give me the data and I'll run the numbers. I don't think what's being fussed about is going to be that hard to pull out. The null hypothesis is that all minor characters were reduced, the alternative is the women took a harder hit. It should be a simple test to run, assuming you can come up with a method of quantifying a character reduction that everyone agrees on. I have never heard of running stats on a work of literature (beyond, say, the best-seller lists and such) but humanities isn't my field.


It can easily be done. The first step would be content analysis - which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc. Then we can simply add a dummy variable for "women character". A simple test to see if this variable is significant or not.

Whoa. I had no idea...what else is this technique used for? Detecting plagiarism?

What sort of independent judges correct for bias? Is it computational or human?

And let this be a lesson to the rest of you in what happens when you say "statistical analysis" in front of sciency-types. :P

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:46 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
Editors! :roll:

:hug:

Although I swear, I heard "controversial author" time and time again. :?


You have, because plenty of authors are controversial in and of themselves.

I was just pointing out that Voronwë isn't one of these, in my estimation; I know few people well who are less fond of controversy for its own sake (controversy without mutual understanding as one of its goals).

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:06 pm 
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which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc.


Right. And the method for assigning numerical values to the above would be....what? It's like those "quality of life" rankings that somehow assign relative values to "acres of public parks" vs. "violent crime rate," "apples" vs. "oranges." Ultimately any such exercise tells us more about the study's author than the thing studied.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:11 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
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which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc.


Right. And the method for assigning numerical values to the above would be....what? It's like those "quality of life" rankings that somehow assign relative values to "acres of public parks" vs. "violent crime rate," "apples" vs. "oranges." Ultimately any such exercise tells us more about the study's author than the thing studied.


I agree. This is why the only interest "ranking" would have for me would be to compare Doug's hypothetical "rankings" to Carl's. And not because I'd put any weight on the resulting statistical analyses - I share Doug's law-driven skepticism on that point - but because it would illuminate for me where they most differ on CT's treatment of characters.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:47 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
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which would give a ranking of the removed parts in terms of extent of removal, importance to story etc.


Right. And the method for assigning numerical values to the above would be....what? It's like those "quality of life" rankings that somehow assign relative values to "acres of public parks" vs. "violent crime rate," "apples" vs. "oranges." Ultimately any such exercise tells us more about the study's author than the thing studied.


Actually, No. I can't imagine a single scientific study comparing public parks and violent crime in one category.

As I'd said before - yes, its subjective. And it can be made objective, to a certain extent. One of the most simple and rudimentary way to objectively analyze text is simply by a measure of "count". In business studies (River, I hope this answers some of your questions), for example, we content analyze annual reports / shareholder's letters for understanding a firm's orientation. The simplest measure is counting the no. of times specific phrases appear. As they are ordinal scales, absolute numbers mean nothing, but relative numbers can.

So, a simplest-simplest method could be to simply count the amount of text deleted for female vs. minor characters. Yes, this has flaws (lots) - but its objective. Then you could go on to counting number of characters. Then description text. And so on and so forth. And then create rules for text and categories....

However, at the end of the day, it is simply data. And as Prim'd said earlier, the role of a scientist is to interpret that data. V has interpreted it in one way. Somebody else could do it in another. That is what scientists do. But the objective data can give some validity. And its the job of the reviewer to check whether the interpretation is valid or not.

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 Post subject: Quality versus quantity
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:28 pm 
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I wonder if the issue isn't really the quantitative changes so much as the qualitative changes.

Word counts might help but I think what Voronwë was trying to get at was that the changes CT made to the female characters appear to diminish their importance on a qualitative level. And as Primula might know, qualitative research is much harder to conduct and extrapolate. In addition to being a bit on the "fuzzy" side. ;)

I'm not talking about changing hair color but the change to Galadriel from being "valiant" does affect how she is precieved.The overall effect is to relegate the female characters to mostly passive background roles when they did have a presence and influence of their own on the action.

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That's very much what I have been trying to say. Thank you, Andreth.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Andreth wrote:
I wonder if the issue isn't really the quantitative changes so much as the qualitative changes.

Word counts might help but I think what Voronwë was trying to get at was that the changes CT made to the female characters appear to diminish their importance on a qualitative level. And as Primula might know, qualitative research is much harder to conduct and extrapolate. In addition to being a bit on the "fuzzy" side. ;)

I'm not talking about changing hair color but the change to Galadriel from being "valiant" does affect how she is precieved.The overall effect is to relegate the female characters to mostly passive background roles when they did have a presence and influence of their own on the action.


Precisely.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:58 am 
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For instance, by excising the names of Glorfindel and Ecthelien from the story of Aredhel, CJRT was actually preserving the dignity of those characters. They're supposed to be among Turgon's greatest warriors, and they get scared off by a few spiders while Aredhel rides on alone? Much better if her retainers were nameless elf warriors. Saves face for our heroes who will later slay balrogs.

But even so, you could also contrast this with the fairly neutral excision of the names of the eagles who aren't Thorondor - Gwaihir and Landroval from LotR were in the source text, but not in the published version. Cutting them undermines the implied longevity of Great Eagles - was this intentional?

The Silmarillion, as published, has a lot of names in it. It doesn't help that characters like Túrin have about 10 names in the text, and all the place names are elvish, too. It is very much overwhelming to new readers, and cutting down on 'unnecessary' name-dropping was probably part of CJRT's editorial goal. He tried to make the story accessible without butchering it.

Yes, in places he stepped beyond a narrow (traditional) definition of editor, so that in some ways, he could be considered a co-author. Or at the very least, the role of editor is more like in a film, where you decide how a scene will play out, what gets cut, etc. Hardly limited to just "cleaning up" the text. But then he turned around and gave us HoME. That would be like Peter Jackson giving the fans all the unused footage and letting us make our own movies out of his material for LotR.

There aren't very many women on the family trees. Particularly of the Noldor. Tolkien did add some later, but admittedly they didn't have much to do with the story. So, CJRT didn't use them. I can certainly see all of this leading to a discussion of the role of women in the source materials by JRRT vs the role of female characters in the published Silmarillion.



But it would be hard to have that discussion here, in this environment. As yovargas pointed out, this is Voronwë's home turf, and these are his friends - people who know him in real life, and have been friends with him for years. Naturally, the discussion tends towards the cordial and informal. There is not much desire for the more harsh academic attack dog mode of discussion, where texts are torn apart with much feeling, though none of it personal. I'm not saying published authors shouldn't be subjected to that - it comes with the territory, of course - but that it doesn't often happen at home.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:49 am 
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MithLuin wrote:
For instance, by excising the names of Glorfindel and Ecthelien from the story of Aredhel, CJRT was actually preserving the dignity of those characters. They're supposed to be among Turgon's greatest warriors, and they get scared off by a few spiders while Aredhel rides on alone? Much better if her retainers were nameless elf warriors. Saves face for our heroes who will later slay balrogs.


That's a good point, Mith. Except (and this answers soli's earlier point using this as an example of a reduction of male characters), this is not really an example of Christopher excising something from the text. This was just a pencilled note on one of the typescript copies.

A more important point is that Christopher explains exactly why these names were not included (the very reason given by Mith). He makes no effort to explain so many of the edits that I question, particularly the ones that seem to reduce the role of female characters.

Quote:
But even so, you could also contrast this with the fairly neutral excision of the names of the eagles who aren't Thorondor - Gwaihir and Landroval from LotR were in the source text, but not in the published version. Cutting them undermines the implied longevity of Great Eagles - was this intentional?


Again, Christopher explains exactly why he made this decision, and why he later realized that it was a mistake. I do wish that he had given similar reasons for some of the other edits that I had such a hard time understanding.

Quote:
The Silmarillion, as published, has a lot of names in it. It doesn't help that characters like Túrin have about 10 names in the text, and all the place names are elvish, too. It is very much overwhelming to new readers, and cutting down on 'unnecessary' name-dropping was probably part of CJRT's editorial goal. He tried to make the story accessible without butchering it.


And I think for the most part he did a good job with an extraordinarily difficult task. Obviously, however, I do have some complaints.

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Yes, in places he stepped beyond a narrow (traditional) definition of editor, so that in some ways, he could be considered a co-author. Or at the very least, the role of editor is more like in a film, where you decide how a scene will play out, what gets cut, etc. Hardly limited to just "cleaning up" the text. But then he turned around and gave us HoME. That would be like Peter Jackson giving the fans all the unused footage and letting us make our own movies out of his material for LotR.


He certainly had the legal right to act virtually as a co-author. But he doesn't claim that mantle, and I don't think he wants to. Given the fact that the book reflected his father's biggest life's work, and that it is considered to be his father's work, I would think that a big part of his goal would have been to actualize his father's intentions, while still make the material accessible.

And yes, giving us HoMe was an incredible gift for which I will be eternally grateful. There is literally nothing like it.

Quote:
But it would be hard to have that discussion here, in this environment. As yovargas pointed out, this is Voronwë's home turf, and these are his friends - people who know him in real life, and have been friends with him for years. Naturally, the discussion tends towards the cordial and informal. There is not much desire for the more harsh academic attack dog mode of discussion, where texts are torn apart with much feeling, though none of it personal. I'm not saying published authors shouldn't be subjected to that - it comes with the territory, of course - but that it doesn't often happen at home.


You've expressed very well why I had a lot of trepidation at creating this open forum here, rather than simply creating a separate space for people to discuss the book. But I want people who are interested in the book to be able to come here and analyze the book, even criticize it (though I really don't think that "attack dog mode" is necessary or even productive). I hope that people will do so, and that people here give them the room to do so, and participate in those types of discussions too (though I certainly don't mind people defending me or the book, if that is in fact their opinions).

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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:00 pm 
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This citation was raised in another thread:

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However there is a change that he [Christopher Tolkien] made to this paragraph that is less explicable. In the source text (LQ §42), Finarfin's daughter Galadriel is described as "the most valiant" of the house of Finwë, as well as the most beautiful. For some unexplained reason, Christopher removed that description. Thus, even Galadriel (...) is somewhat diminished by Christopher's edits to the text.


(LQS I MR p. 177): 'A sister they had, Galadriel, the fairest lady of the house of Finwë, and the most valiant.' Does the line read that she was the most valiant of the house of Finwë, or the most fair and most valiant woman of the house of Finwë?


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 10:33 pm 
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Most likely the most valiant woman, as opposed to "the most valiant person of either sex" although it could be read either way. The way it reads in the published Silmarillion is: "A sister they had, Galadriel, most beautiful of all the house of Finwë" without any gender limitation at all.

I don't think it makes that much of a difference to the point that I was trying to make, which is that in the source material (at least as it is presented in Morgoth's Ring), she is described as both valiant and fair, whereas in the published text she is only described as beautiful (which is a synonym for "fair" but definitely not "valiant").

Edit to add: I agree, however, that I could have been clearer. That was at least partly a result of my effort to eliminate as many direct quotes as possible to make sure that I wasn't anywhere's close to infringing on the rights of the copyright holders.

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