It is currently Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:18 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 60 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:52 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
This was mentioned by Al in Ulmo's thread, but it certainly should also have a thread of its own. There does seem to be some confusion about this book. The Tolkien Society announcement that Al posted (which think is reliable) suggests that it is simply a repackaging of all of the versions of the tale that have already been published.

http://www.tolkiensociety.org/2016/10/n ... d-luthien/

However, the description at amazon.co.uk says:

Quote:
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth.


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beren-L%C3%BAt ... 01M6YNE52/

I would love it if the amazon description was true, but I doubt that it is. Another article at the Guardian is more consistent with the Tolkien Society report:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/ ... nd-luthien

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:08 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
Some more details from Wayne and Christina:

https://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com ... d-luthien/

It sounds from this (quoting Harper Collin's press release)like Christopher originally tried to do a continuous and standalone story but found it impossible.

Quote:
To quote HarperCollins’ press release (thanks to David Brawn at HarperCollins for sending this and the cover art), Christopher Tolkien ‘has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.’

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Houghton Mifflin has the actual press release up:
http://www.hmhco.com/media-center/press ... nd-luthien

It says “In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted…,” which gives a much different connotation (suggesting success) than the blog’s excerpt.

It may be that “the original form” they are talking about is The Tale of Tinúviel, but it seems unreasonable to me that that it should be given as the main text, followed only by “passages…from later texts”. In The Tale of Tinúviel, Beren is a Gnome, not a Man; Lúthien is not named Lúthien; the other characters are named Tinwelint and Gwendeling and Melko and Tevildo; the lands are Artanor and Angamandi; there is no Celegorm or Curufin or Felagund or Nargothrond or Necromancer, but rather the humorous episode of the Castle of Cats. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very beautiful and fun story, and the only version that can be presented as a “continuous and standalone story,” but it really is a “proto-Beren and Lúthien” more than anything else. In other words, this (from the press release)…
Quote:
Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.

…really does not seem to describe The Tale of Tinúviel. Something doesn’t add up.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:19 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
I wish it were not the case, but I think it almost certainly true the "original form" that they are referring to is the Tale of Tinúviel that was part of the Lost Tales, despite the contradictions that you correctly point out, particularly the fact that Beren was not actually a mortal man in the original tale, simply as "lesser" elf.

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:23 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
What I would like to see as the starting point is the text that Christopher describes in The Lost Road as "QSI", which was the text that he had started to include in the Quenta when he realized it was getting too long. But since Tolkien abandoned that text it probably will not be a good starting point.

I'll be curious to see if he includes all six different B&L texts that mentions in The Lost Road.

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Yeah, the only way I can parse it is that the main body of the book, the illustrated portion, is the version from The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, followed by a long appendix by Christopher Tolkien exploring the further development of the story through “passages … from later texts”. (There is no suggestion that it includes the full texts.)

The only possible explanation for this approach that I can think of is that the publishers insisted, or Christopher was himself convinced, that it had to be (a) prose, and (b) complete.

Otherwise, it’s impossible not to conclude that ‘The Lay of Leithian’ is the masterpiece, the great and definitive version of this tale, which, even though it lacks an ending, is one of the longest and most substantive of all Tolkien’s Middle-earth writings. The more obvious solution would have been to supply a prose ending from the Silmarillion tradition (not at all unlike what was done to create a middle section for The Children of Húrin).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:21 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
I was in the middle of writing a longer post here when I came across this blog post by the great John Garth, who expressed my thoughts much more completely and cogently than I could.

https://johngarth.wordpress.com/2016/10 ... blication/

Though I do think it is most likely that the ink version of the original Tale will be the "original form" text referred to, I hold out some hope that the text that Christopher calls "QS II" in The Lost Road will be primary text. It would make more sense to me to start from there, and the comments in the publicity about Beren as a mortal man gives me some hope that that will be the case.

But I doubt it.

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:33 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Yes, it’s possible. Anything’s possible, honestly, as we have only the barest scraps of information about this publication, and we may be reading it too technically. It could be, as it were, the “original form” of the texts which were used to create Chapter 19 in the 1977 Silmarillion. Thus “the comprehensive work in which it was embedded” could just be the QS manuscript. The “later texts” could then mean the “Lay of Leithian Recommenced,” the “prose saga” based on that, and the Grey Annals. Thus “it developed new associations within the larger history” could refer to the expanded role of Sauron in the Gorlim episode, the appearance of Galadriel, that sort of thing.

We would at least be getting raw Tolkien texts which we didn’t actually ever properly get in HoMe. Still, I’m not sure why you so earnestly hope for this. it would be a poor man’s version of the story, condensed and already bereft of “aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy.” No Castle of Cats, no invasion of Doriath by Boldog, no details of any of Lúthien’s spells, just basically that ‘remote’ summary that everyone already so struggles with in The Silmarillion.

I know some will say that at least if it is between its own covers it can be the subject of literary criticism, and be a better gateway for casual readers than the full Silmarillion, and that is true.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:31 am 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 7912
Location: Ireland
I personally would be perfectly happy if they cobbled together the fullest possible narrative from all the texts available to fit the more or less final form, changing names where needed to make it cohesive.

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:05 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
I would be perfectly happy to have no "castle of cats". :kitty:

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:24 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
That was just one of the “aspects of the story … that were afterwards lost” that I could think of.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:10 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
Here is my controversial take. Much as I respect Christopher Tolkien, and as grateful as I am for all that he has done in bringing his father's work to us, I am not convinced that he is really the right person for this job. Setting aside the fact that he is 92 years old, his main focus is scholarly, not literary. What I think would best serve his father's legacy would be as full a telling of the Beren and Lúthien story that connects it to the Lord of the Rings tradition, with Beren as a mortal man and the main antagonist Sauron, the lord of Werewolves and chief servant of the first Dark Lord. The way to do that is to expand the version begun by Tolkien in the text Christopher labeled QS I on the same scale that Tolkien began it, and then add as appendices to that the fuller history. However, doing so would require someone with a high degree of literary talent -- someone like Guy Kay. Instead, it sounds like Christopher is taking the same approach that he originally planned with The Silmarillion before Kay talked him out of it. I doubt that many people outside of the hardcore fans are going to be that interested in a book that has the same evolving story in a bunch of different forms, starting with the archaic language of the Book of Lost Tales. In short, I think this might be a missed opportunity.

But time will tell.

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:32 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 7912
Location: Ireland
IAWV

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Unfortunately, there is a massive misconception among the public, that all the posthumous publications are completely Christopher’s invention, based on his father’s “notes”. Literally everyone I talk to who has not read beyond Hob+LR has this impression, and they wrinkle their noses and roll their eyes at the thought of reading “Christopher’s books.” (These are not even people who know about Gil-galad’s parentage or the Ruin of Doriath.) I fear Christopher has been beneath this cloud of scorn for a very long time, and has meticulously done everything he possibly can think of to combat it, to no avail. (If anything, UT+HME are strangely held in far greater suspicion than Sil+CH!) In one sense, perhaps it would make little difference at this point for him to be as “inventive” as he likes; on the other hand, I think being inventive goes against his instincts (he seems largely to regret The Silmarillion), and fears it would only be met with suspicion, and cast an even greater cloud on all his work.

I realize you’re saying someone other than Christopher should do it, but I don’t think he’ll give up custody of anything serious while he lives.

After he’s gone, who knows? Anything goes…


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
As an aside, since you keep bringing up Guy Kay: have you read many of his works, and if so, which would you recommend? Sailing to Sarantium looks right up my alley. And could you talk a bit about why you think he would be a good fit?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:27 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
Ulmo wrote:
Unfortunately, there is a massive misconception among the public, that all the posthumous publications are completely Christopher’s invention, based on his father’s “notes”.


Blame Brian Herbert. ;)*

As for Guy Kay, I actually haven't read any of his books. I just use him as an example since he worked on The Silmarillion (and I very much suspect had a much bigger role in the editorial invention that was done in places, primarily "Of the Ruin of Doriath," which I think is extremely well done, and is the blueprint for what I would like to see done here).



* You should tell all of the people that say to you that The Silmarillion is written by Christopher not his father that they should read my book to be disabused of that notion. But then, you have to read it first. ;)

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:07 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
I don’t agree about “Of the Ruin of Doriath.” If they were going to feel at liberty to construct a narrative basically from scratch, IMO they could have hewn much more closely to the story of Tolkien’s own The Nauglafring.

I see no reason why it the Nauglamír was changed to have already been made in Nargothrond, rather than constructed in Doriath specifically to house the Silmaril.

I think it’s strange that they thought Thingol had attained such stature as to become incapable of pettiness, when the plot of “Of Beren and Lúthien” still hinges on his petty behavior—even if he is kind of excused as having somewhat accidentally fallen under the Curse of Mandos. But that should be no less true in this tale, especially compounded by the Curse of Mîm. As The Hobbit puts it, “If the elf-king had a weakness it was for treasure” (p. 179). Noble character with a single flaw that becomes his downfall—classic Tolkien.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:47 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
As I note in Arda Reconstructed, in my opinion Christopher's real error was leaving out the bulk of the Wanderings of Húrin. Clearly, all of it could not have been included. However, as I state, "had Christopher incorporated more of this text, it might have been easier for him to avoid the inventions regarding the Nauglamír, because he could have included the outlaws that Húrin recruited, which would have helped him retain the story of the gold taken from Nargothrond, rather than change it so that Húrin, being, alone, was able to bring only one thing from the remnants of the hoard that Glaurung had left there."

That having been said, the story as written in the original Tale was not compatible with the full narrative as it existed. I'm not sure what you mean about Thingol being incapable of pettiness; he certainly displays plenty of pettiness (or, more properly, prideful arrogance and disdain), in his dealings with the Dwarves over the Nauglamír in the published text.

All three of us (you, Christopher, and I) agree that he "overstepped the bounds of the editorial function" (to use his phrase) in this chapter. However, there is no question that some invention was necessary here. I think it is telling, in a good way, that no less an eminence as Tom Shippey cites "Thingol's death in the dark while he looks at the captured Light" as an example of Tolkien's genius for creating compelling images, when in fact, that scene is completely an invention of the editors. My speculation is that that compelling imagery is due to Guy Kay's influence, though I have no evidence to support that.

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:04 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:30 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Another interesting angle about the publication of Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin as standalones is that it paves the way for movies on those topics (perhaps following a Fëanor-centric Silmarillion movie). Ironic that it is Christopher himself paving that way, though they won’t ever happen as long as he is alive!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:56 pm 
Offline
Feeling grateful
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 32715
I certainly expect that he will try to follow up with a Fall of Gondolin book.

_________________
Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 60 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group