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The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder
 9780874620184, 087462018X

Table of contents :
short title page......Page 1
title page The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder Edited by Wayne G. Hammond Christina Scull......Page 3
copyright page......Page 4
Table of Contents......Page 5
Editors’ Note......Page 7
Richard E. Blackwelder Scholar, Collector, Benefactor, and Friend Charles B. Elston......Page 9
The AB Language Lives Arne Zettersten......Page 13
History in Words Tolkien’s Ruling Passion T.A. Shippey......Page 25
Frodo and the Great War John Garth......Page 41
Towards Quite Unforeseen Goals Paul Edmund Thomas......Page 57
“And All the Days of Her Life Are Forgotten ”The Lord of the Rings as Mythic Prehistory John D. Rateliff......Page 67
What Did He Know and When Did He Know It? Planning, Inspiration, and The Lord of the Rings Christina Scull......Page 101
The Artistry of Omissions and Revisions in The Lord of the Rings David Bratman......Page 113
King and Hobbit The Exalted and Lowly in Tolkien’s Created Worlds Marjorie Burns......Page 139
Subversive Fantasist Tolkien on Class Difference Jane Chance......Page 153
Naysayers in the Works of Tolkien Sumner G. Hunnewell......Page 169
The Rhetorical Evolution of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” Michael D.C. Drout......Page 183
Working at the Crossroads Tolkien, St. Augustine, and the Beowulf-poet Matthew A. Fisher......Page 217
“Elvish as She Is Spoke” Carl F. Hostetter......Page 231
Teaching Tolkien Mike Foster......Page 257
Tolkienian Gothic Arden R. Smith......Page 267
Tolkien and the Idea of the Book Verlyn Flieger......Page 283
The Mainstreaming of Fantasy and the Legacy of The Lord of the Rings Douglas A. Anderson......Page 301
“Her Choice Was Made and Her Doom Appointed ”Tragedy and Divine Comedy in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen Richard C. West......Page 317
Special Collections in the Service of Tolkien Studies Wayne G. Hammond......Page 331
Notes on the Contributors......Page 341
Bibliography......Page 347
Index......Page 365

Citation preview

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004

Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004

Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder

Edited by Wayne G. Hammond Christina Scull

© 2006 Marquette University Press Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-3141 All rights reserved. www.marquette.edu/mupress/ Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Lord of the rings, 1954-2004 : scholarship in honor of Richard E. Blackwelder / edited by Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull. p. cm. Contains the twenty papers presented at the Marquette University Tolkien conference of the same name, 21-23 October 2004. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-87462-018-4 (hardcover : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-87462-018-X (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Tolkien, J. R. R. ( John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973. Lord of the rings— Congresses. 2. Tolkien, J. R. R. ( John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973.—Criticism and interpretation—Congresses. 3. Fantasy fiction, English—History and criticism— Congresses. 4. Middle Earth (Imaginary place)—Congresses. 5. Blackwelder, Richard E.—Appreciation. I. Blackwelder, Richard E. II. Hammond, Wayne G. III. Scull, Christina. PR6039.O32L6355 2006 823’.912—dc22 2006003227 The Marquette University Press gratefully acknowledges Houghton Mifflin and HarperCollins for their assistance with the publication of these conference proceedings.

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences— Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.

Table of Contents Editors’ Note............................................................................................. 7 Richard E. Blackwelder: Scholar, Collector, Benefactor, and Friend Charles B. Elston...................................................................................... 9 The AB Language Lives Arne Zettersten...................................................................................... 13 History in Words: Tolkien’s Ruling Passion T.A. Shippey........................................................................................... 25 Frodo and the Great War John Garth............................................................................................... 41 Towards Quite Unforeseen Goals Paul Edmund Thomas........................................................................... 57 “And All the Days of Her Life Are Forgotten”: The Lord of the Rings as Mythic Prehistory John D. Rateliff....................................................................................... 67 What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?: Planning, Inspiration, and The Lord of the Rings Christina Scull......................................................................................101 The Artistry of Omissions and Revisions in The Lord of the Rings David Bratman......................................................................................113 King and Hobbit: The Exalted and Lowly in Tolkien’s Created Worlds Marjorie Burns......................................................................................139 Subversive Fantasist: Tolkien on Class Difference Jane Chance...........................................................................................153



The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004

Naysayers in the Works of Tolkien Sumner Gary Hunnewell.....................................................................169 The Rhetorical Evolution of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” Michael D.C. Drout.............................................................................183 Working at the Crossroads: Tolkien, St. Augustine, and the Beowulf-poet Matthew A. Fisher................................................................................217 “Elvish as She Is Spoke” Carl F. Hostetter...................................................................................231 Teaching Tolkien Mike Foster............................................................................................257 Tolkienian Gothic Arden R. Smith.....................................................................................267 Tolkien and the Idea of the Book Verlyn Flieger........................................................................................283 The Mainstreaming of Fantasy and the Legacy of The Lord of the Rings Douglas A. Anderson...........................................................................301 “Her Choice Was Made and Her Doom Appointed”: Tragedy and Divine Comedy in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen Richard C. West....................................................................................317 Special Collections in the Service of Tolkien Studies Wayne G. Hammond...........................................................................331 Notes on the Contributors..................................................................341 Bibliography of Works Consulted......................................................347 Index.......................................................................................................365

Editors’ Note

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his volume contains the twenty papers presented at the Marquette University Tolkien conference of 21–23 October 2004, “The Lord of the Rings, 1954–2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder.” It has been published not only in honor of Dr. Blackwelder, but with financial assistance from the endowment he established at Marquette for the support of its important Tolkien collection in particular and of Tolkien studies in general. Charles B. Elston in his introductory essay recalls Dick Blackwelder’s friendship and generosity, for which many of the conference presenters have reason to be grateful. The fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of The Lord of the Rings provided the principal reason for the 2004 conference. The event was timed, however, also to celebrate the opening of the John P. Raynor, S.J., Library at Marquette, including splendid new rooms for Special Collections and Archives; and it was meant to renew the primacy of The Lord of the Rings as Tolkien wrote it, rather than as it was adapted and in some ways seriously altered for the cinema. Half of the conference participants chose to focus on The Lord of the Rings, and in their papers have added significantly to the scholarly literature concerning Tolkien’s masterpiece; while others usefully remind us of the larger body of Tolkien’s notable achievements, as a writer of fiction, a maker of language, and one of the leading philologists of his day. With the exception of Charles Elston’s reminiscence of Dr. Blackwelder, the papers in this collection are published in the order in which they were presented in October 2004. Each has been revised for publication by its author, to different degrees, partly in response to comments made by the conference audience; some include material which could not be read at Marquette for lack of time, or because it is best presented in print. The editors have called a few inaccuracies to the authors’ attention—ourselves not excepted—but otherwise have limited their attention to matters of format, citation form, and so forth, for the most part adhering to the recommendations of the Chicago Manual of Style. In those essays that include linguistic analysis, the convention of single quotation marks around definitions has been followed, with double



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quotation marks otherwise standard. Given an international body of scholars, it has seemed courteous to retain American or British English spelling according to the authors’ preferences. Also participating in the conference were the Rev. Charles Klamut and Ms. Nancy Van Caster, who made a presentation, “Teaching Tolkien at the Secondary Level.” Wayne G. Hammond, Carl F. Hostetter, John D. Rateliff, Christina Scull, and T.A. Shippey acted as moderators. The conference was under the general direction of Matt Blessing, Director of Special Collections and Archives in the Marquette University Libraries. Wayne G. Hammond Christina Scull Williamstown, Massachusetts September 2005

Richard E. Blackwelder Scholar, Collector, Benefactor, and Friend

Charles B. Elston

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wish to thank Matt Blessing for inviting me to speak at the outset of this conference in honor of Dr. Richard E. Blackwelder. This is a perfect opportunity to recognize the life and works of the man to whom an enormous debt of gratitude is owed. Without question, Dr. Blackwelder’s research, scholarship, collecting, and bequest to Marquette have had a profound impact on Tolkien studies. Dick, as he liked to be called by friends, was born in 1909 in Madison, Wisconsin. His father was a geologist, and the family traveled extensively, settling eventually in California. Dick met Ruth MacCoy in high school in Palo Alto; they were married in 1935. He received a B.A. degree in 1931 and a Ph.D. in Zoology in 1934 from Stanford University. During vacations, Dick traveled throughout the U.S., often by motorcycle. The first five years of his professional career were spent as an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution, where he was appointed to collect and classify beetles in the West Indies, and as Assistant Curator of Entomology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. From 1941 to 1955 the Blackwelders resided in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, where Dick held the position of Associate Curator of Insects at the U.S. National Museum. After a three-year teaching appointment at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, the remainder of his academic career was spent at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he served as Associate Professor and Professor of Zoology from 1958 until his retirement from teaching in 1977. He held the title of Emeritus Professor and remained active on campus for the next ten years. As an entomologist and zoologist of great breadth, Dr. Blackwelder authored, co-authored, and compiled close to a dozen books on taxonomy, animal diversity, and entomology, and contributed numerous

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articles to encyclopedias and professional journals. The recipient of many professional awards and honors, Dr. Blackwelder had a distinguished career as a scientist and educator. Then in 1978, at age 69, he discovered the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and his life changed—inexorably. He devoted the next twenty years to Tolkien studies and collecting Tolkien. His accomplishments in “retirement” are nothing short of astounding. Drawing on the scientific methodology he had mastered so well as a zoologist and on his experience as a curator, Dick began to develop a remarkable collection. He wrote to Marquette in August of 1980, introducing himself as “a recent convert to the works of Tolkien.” In typically understated fashion, he said:“I have spent much time in several projects of compilation and indexing . . . and may sometime have some materials to deposit in some appropriate place. . . . I would welcome anything you can tell me about your library’s interest in Tolkien, the nature of the collection, the staff, and any research being done or hoped for.” I responded with enthusiasm, Dr. Blackwelder visited the Archives in October, and a long and fruitful collaboration and friendship commenced. In 1982 a formal deed of gift was executed. The Blackwelder Tolkien Collection became the property of the University, but most of the collection remained in the possession of Dr. Blackwelder. The bulk of the material was not physically transferred to Marquette until 1998 and 1999. Dick also conveyed his intent to make the Department of Special Collections the principal beneficiary of his estate, and in 1987 he established the Tolkien Archives Fund at Marquette in support of Tolkien research materials. Dick and Ruth moved in 1986 from their home in southern Illinois across the Mississippi River to Chateau Girardeau, a new retirement community in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Although Ruth did not share her husband’s interest in Tolkien, she was supportive of his work. Ruth died unexpectedly in 1989. Dick maintained a separate apartment several miles from the Chateau where he established a study/library. Considerable space was needed to house his growing collection and to accommodate his research projects. He set up distinct work areas for various activities. There was another reason for his separate study: Dick loved cats and shared his Tolkien collection with numerous feline companions, most notably “Tapper,” who lived to age twenty and held the position of “Associate Curator.” The studio was a wonderful place

Charles B. Elston

11

to visit, where one was enveloped by Middle-earth. It was common for Dick to spend twelve hours a day at his study. Dr. Blackwelder loved words and language. In the early 1980s he completed two concordances of the names of characters, animals, and plants in Tolkien’s works. He spent four years compiling his magnum opus, a concordance of words in The Lord of the Rings. Published in 1990 by Garland Publishing, A Tolkien Thesaurus comprises 277 pages and represents a concordance of over 15,000 names and “active” words. Each occurrence of a word appears in the context of a full line and is keyed to the page numbers of commonly available editions. Tolkien Phraseology, a fifteen-page booklet that serves as an indispensable supplement to A Tolkien Thesaurus, was produced at Marquette in 1990. Dr. Blackwelder was also a regular contributor to Beyond Bree. His offerings ranged from “Morsels from Middle-earth” to his scholarly article, “The Great Copyright Controversy,” published in 1995. The Blackwelder Collection of bibliographic references is monumental in both scope and size. It is one of the largest bodies of secondary sources on Tolkien ever assembled. The value of the collection derives not only from its scale but also from its well-defined scheme of arrangement and the detailed information provided for each item, in conjunction with extensive indexing. The collection consists of ten linear feet of documents contained in 140 8½ × 11-inch three-ring binders. The library of books assembled by Dr. Blackwelder contains over 1,200 volumes, including many fine editions of Tolkien’s works, nearly all printings of the Ballantine paperbacks, and over 70 theses and dissertations. Dick shared his collection freely with other Tolkien scholars and sought their advice and counsel. He brought segments of his collection to conferences at Marquette in 1983 and 1987 to alert others to his methodology and to elicit reactions. He encouraged inquiries and regularly hosted scholars at his study in Cape Girardeau. Dick befriended Tolkien enthusiasts throughout the world and they, in turn, befriended him. Well-known and widely respected for his knowledge and generosity, he was a legend in his time. He provided literally thousands of pages of photocopies to other scholars. Dr. Blackwelder considered his collection-building to be a collaboration with Marquette—an institution with a library and archives program committed to open access and public service—where the resources he developed would be readily available to all. We referred to his collection in Cape Girardeau as the “Southern Branch” of the Marquette Tolkien

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Collection and to Dick as the “Curator of the Southern Branch.” Moreover, he served as a “field archivist” by encouraging other collectors to consider donations of Tolkien-related material. As an academic familiar with the administration of endowment funds and bequests, he was well aware of the benefits that his bequest to Marquette would bring in support of the Tolkien Collection and Tolkien studies more generally. He thoroughly enjoyed the 1983 public conference at Marquette at which he was an active participant. It led to many lasting friendships and a world of new insights. Accordingly, I am certain Dr. Blackwelder would be positively delighted that support from his bequest is making the present conference a reality. Soft-spoken and self-effacing, Dick was a tall man with a kind face and a generous disposition. He was in excellent health and had seemingly boundless energy. He enjoyed quiet conversations and loved to read passages aloud from The Lord of the Rings. This is one of my fondest memories of our time together during my semi-annual visits to Cape Girardeau. Over the course of twenty years, Dick and I became close friends. Time shared in his studio not only strengthened our friendship, but also opened to me a wealth of understanding and knowledge. In 1999, when advancing age made it increasingly difficult for Dick to drive, he made the difficult decision to dismantle his study and transfer his collection. He accepted his retirement from active Tolkien studies with characteristic grace. Just seven weeks before his death he had been living independently at Chateau Girardeau. He passed away in his sleep on January 17, 2001, twelve days prior to his ninety-second birthday. Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. “My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?” — The Lord of the Rings, bk. V, chap. 8

 

The AB Language Lives Arne Zettersten

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reatly honoured by having been asked to write this essay for the catalogue of the Tolkien exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art and to deliver the opening presentation at the Helfaer Theatre, I should like to emphasize that we are actually commemorating several anniversaries connected with Tolkien (1892–1973) this year. Not only were the first two parts of The Lord of the Rings published in England and the first part in the United States fifty years ago, but there are also some other background events and publications to be specially considered just now. Before I explain what the AB language is and how research concerning AB texts has developed since Tolkien coined the term AB in 1929, I want to provide some important information about additional remembrances of things past. The year 1904, a hundred years ago, was a very crucial turning-point for the then twelve-year-old Ronald Tolkien. Ronald’s father had died at Bloemfontein in South Africa in 1896, and after that year, from his fourth year onwards, Ronald’s upbringing and schooling had been in the hands of his competent mother, Mabel Tolkien. She taught him reading and writing, drawing and painting, calligraphy and languages like Latin, German, and French. Ronald Tolkien spent the summer of 1904 at Rednal, Worcestershire, with his diabetes-ridden mother and his younger brother Hilary. He was involved in constructing alphabets with codes for every letter in the English alphabet as early as this. It was during this summer that he wrote the remarkable code letter1 dated August 8, 1904 to the family friend, the Catholic Father Francis Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The letter, which is kept at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, ends with the following limerick:

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There was an old priest named Francis Who was so fond of “cheefongy” dances That he sat up too late And worried his pate Arranging these Frenchified Prances. As an example of his thinking in words and codes, we could look at the opening phrase of the letter: “M-eye deer owl-d France-hiss”, which is composed of the figure 1,000 ’ M, an eye, a deer, an owl, a map of France, and a hissing snake ’ “hiss.” Rednal was the place where Ronald later on constructed a new artificial language, called“Nevbosh” or“New Nonsense,” together with his cousin Mary, who lived in a neighbouring village. It only survives in the form of a limerick written about a hundred years ago and was published in Tolkien’s essay“A Secret Vice” from 1931, and in Humphrey Carpenter’s biography of Tolkien, with a translation: Dar fys ma vel gom co palt “hoc Pys go iskili far maino woc? Pro si go fys do roc de Do cat ym maino bocte De volt fac soc ma taimful gyróc!”  (There was an old man who said “How Can I possibly carry my cow? For if I were to ask it To get in my basket It would make such a terrible row!”) 2 Tolkien points out in his essay that Nevbosh was mainly based on English, but that many words had been changed or distorted. One can, for example, observe a simple systematic change in words ending on -ow. The word cow turns into woc by reversed order of letters, how is changed into hoc and row into gyroc, with an additional prefix gy-. Some influence from French words can be found in si ‘if ’ and vel ‘old.’ Tolkien also mentions in his essay that the dominance of his mother tongue English could give the impression of being a “code.” About this time of the year, a hundred years ago, Mabel Tolkien’s condition grew worse, and she died from her diabetes on November 14,

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1904. Well in advance she had agreed with Father Francis Morgan that he should act as the guardian of the two brothers in case of her death. From then on, we can talk about the main turning-point in Tolkien’s life. He was now parentless, had a Catholic father-figure as his guardian, had started to construct artificial languages, and went to a good academic school, where a teacher started early to introduce Beowulf and Chaucer to a most remarkable pupil. At my latest visit to the Bodleian Library, I held in my hand one of Tolkien’s old dictionaries, Chambers’s Etymological Dictionary. The copy looks rather thumbed and over-used. However there is a little note attached to the book, made by Tolkien in February 1973, saying that this dictionary had awakened his interest in Germanic philology and philology in general (around 1904). We cannot claim with any certainty that Tolkien had started at this stage on any early sub-creation of his secondary world or Middle-earth. It is not until 1910 that his first poem dealing with elves, “Wood-sunshine,” is recorded. But—maybe—Ronald had already started to form ideas that we might call embryonic stages of a planned secondary world not long after 1904, nearly a hundred years ago. Now over to a different anniversary. Seventy-five years ago, the intriguing AB language was identified by Tolkien in a famous essay, “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad”, published in Essays and Studies for 1929, which makes this year, 2004, even more remarkable as a Tolkien jubilee year. The following comment by Tom Shippey on Tolkien’s essay has been much quoted: “the most perfect though not the best-known of his academic pieces.”3 Tolkien was able to show in his essay that the scribes of MS Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the Ancrene Riwle, also called the Ancrene Wisse (’ A), and of MS Bodley 34, the Katherine Group (’ B), used a language and spelling nearly “as indistinguishable as that of two modern printed books.”4 Tolkien had hereby proposed the existence of a “new” Middle English literary standard, which he called AB. There are clear signs that literary standards had existed in Old English besides Late West Saxon. This is true of the Mercian type of dialect found in the Vespasian Psalter Gloss from the ninth century. There is an obvious continuity of writing traditions from this westerly part of England in Old English times to the West Midlands of England in the thirteenth century, where the AB language was located. Due to the fact that the Franciscans and the Dominicans are mentioned in the Ancrene

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Wisse, we may assume that the manuscript was written after the time when these two categories of friars arrived in England (1224 and 1221 respectively), most probably in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. The connections between the manuscripts of the Ancrene Riwle and those of the Katherine Group had been touched on by some previous scholars. It was, however, J.R.R. Tolkien who pointed out the close relationship in language and spelling, almost amounting to identity, between the Ancrene Wisse (A) and the Bodleian manuscript of the Katherine Group (B). Nowhere else in Middle English literature do we find two different manuscripts of two different literary works copied by different scribes that show such obvious similarities. It is clear that the two manuscripts must be connected in time and place. These unique circumstances led Tolkien to suppose either (i) that A or B or both are originals, or (ii) that A or B are in whole or part accurate translations, or (iii) that the vanished originals of A and B were in this same language (AB), and so belonged to practically the same period and place as the copies we have. The first possibility can at once be dismissed. Neither A nor B can be originals. Tolkien does not think that an accurate translation is credible. He firmly believes that the originals of A and B were written in the same language and spelling (AB) as the copies. He admits that the spelling suggests obedience to some school or authority. This school was the centre of learning where the AB language was taught, read, and written. Tolkien placed the AB language in the West Midlands, more specifically in Herefordshire. E.J. Dobson developed Tolkien’s research even further and concluded that Wigmore Abbey in north-west Herefordshire was the place of origin of the Ancrene Wisse. He further suggested that the author was “Brian(us) of Lingen,” a secular canon of Wigmore. Dobson proposed that the sentence “Inoh međful Ich am, þe bidde se lutel” ’ “I am moderate enough, who ask for so little” (fol. 117v) conceals a pun on Brian’s name (Latin bria ‘moderate’) and an anagram of Linthehum (‘of Lingen’).5 This type of conclusion based on a pun and an anagram would certainly have been to Tolkien’s liking, had he still been alive when it was put forward (in 1976). Dobson’s proposition has been doubted later on, and the localization now regarded as the most credible is the one based on the data of the Linguistic Atlas of Late Middle English (forthcoming). According to Jeremy Smith, the localization based on the Atlas is North Herefordshire or the southern tip of Shropshire.6

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The Ancrene Riwle (meaning “a rule or guide for female recluses”) is considered one of the finest pieces of prose from the early Middle English period. Its language is elegant and varied, rich in vocabulary and memorable phrases, full of wit and intricate allusions. It is the most cited text from medieval literature in the Oxford English Dictionary apart from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, although it cannot pride itself by the same universal renown as Chaucer’s masterpiece. It was originally written for three daughters of good family and solid learning who had withdrawn from the world to live a solitary life in contemplation and devotion. The anchorites or recluses often lived in small rooms or cells attached to a church. In some cases such a room had a little opening in the wall leading into a slit in the church wall (a so-called squint, also called hagioscope) to allow the anchorites to observe the side altar. The title Ancrene Riwle is not recorded as a phrase in any of the existing manuscripts, so one could point out that it has no medieval authority, as Ancrene Wisse (of the same meaning) has, being recorded on fol. 1r of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 402. The former title was decided to be used by the Early English Text Society. The tendency now is that more and more scholars prefer the latter title, Ancrene Wisse. The Katherine Group is a closely related group of five prose texts, most fully preserved in MS Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 34, namely, St. Katherine, St. Margarete, St. Juliana, Hali Meiðhad, and Sawles Warde. In 1962 Tolkien continued his AB language research by completing his edition of the Ancrene Wisse for the Early English Text Society, published by the Oxford University Press. A long-term aim of the Early English Text Society was to edit all seventeen manuscripts of the Ancrene Riwle, which started with the Latin and French editions in 1944. I had the pleasure and privilege of being a member of this group of scholars, who edited the various manuscripts between 1944 and the year 2000. Tolkien edited the most important of the versions, from which I learned enormously for my doctoral thesis published in 1965, and I completed three further manuscripts in the series in 1963, 1974, and 2000, the latter in cooperation with Bernhard Diensberg of Bonn. It is a pleasure to realize that the Ancrene Riwle project was finally completed just in time for the first film in the Lord of the Rings series. One of the reasons why I was asked to make the opening presentation at the Tolkien exhibition was that I had had the privilege of knowing Tolkien and working in the same field and editorial project for the Early English Text Society, Oxford, and seeing him more or less regularly

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through the whole of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, except for a few years when he lived at Bournemouth, until a few weeks before he died in 1973. The manuscripts of the Ancrene Riwle are listed below, including indications of the approximate datings: A: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS. 402. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle, Ancrene Wisse, edited from MS. Corpus Christi College Cambridge 402. Edited by J.R.R. Tolkien. Early English Text Society (EETS) O.S. 249 (London, 1962). Date: second quarter of the thirteenth century. C: London, British Library, MS. Cotton Cleopatra C. vi. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from B.M. Cotton MS. Cleopatra C. vi. Edited by E.J. Dobson. EETS O.S. 267 (London, 1972). Date: second quarter of the thirteenth century. F: London, British Library, MS. Cotton Vitellius F. vii. The French Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from British Museum MS. Cotton Vitellius F vii. Edited by J.A. Herbert. EETS O.S. 219 (London, 1944). Date: early fourteenth century. G: Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, MS. 234/120. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from Gonville and Caius College MS. 234/120. Edited by R.M. Wilson. EETS O.S. 229 (London, 1954). Date: second half of the thirteenth century. N: London, British Library, MS. Cotton Nero A. xiv. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from Cotton Nero A. XIV. Edited by Mabel Day. EETS O.S. 225 (London, 1952). Date: second quarter of the thirteenth century. O: Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. th. c. 70 (The Lanhydrock Fragment). The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from Cotton MS. Titus D. XVIII, together with the Lanhydrock Fragment, Bodleian MS. Eng. th.c. 70. Edited by Frances M. Mack and Arne Zettersten. EETS O.S. 252 (London ,1963). Date: first half of the fourteenth century. P: Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS. Pepys 2498. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from Magdalene College, Cambridge MS. Pepys 2498. Edited by Arne Zettersten. EETS O.S. 274 (London, 1976). Date: second half of the fourteenth century. R: London, British Library, MS. Royal 8. CI. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from British Museum MS. Royal 8 CI. Edited

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by A.C. Baugh. EETS O.S. 232 (London, 1956). Date: fifteenth century. T: London, British Library, MS. Cotton Titus D. cviii. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from Cotton MS. Titus D. XVIII, together with the Lanhydrock Fragment, Bodleian MS. Eng. th. c. 70. Edited by Frances M. Mack and Arne Zettersten. EETS O.S. 252 (London, 1963). Date: second quarter of the thirteenth century. L: Merton College, Oxford, MS. C. I. 5. The Latin Text of the Ancrene Riwle. Edited by Charlotte d’Evelyn. EETS O.S. 216 (London, 1944). Date: first half of the fourteenth century. This edition contains variant readings from the following manuscripts: Magdalen College, Oxford, Latin MS. 67, late fourteenth or early fifteenth century; British Museum Cotton MS. Vitellius E. VII, first half of the fourteenth century; British Museum MS. Royal 7 C.X., first half of the sixteenth century. S: Cambridge, Trinity College, MS. 883 (R.14.7). The French Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from the Trinity College Cambridge MS. R. 14. 7. Edited by W.H. Trethewey. EETS O.S. 240 (London, 1958). Date: late thirteenth or early fourteenth century. V: Bodleian, MS. Eng. poet. a 1 (MS. Vernon). The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle edited from Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Eng. Poet. a.1. Edited by Arne Zettersten and Bernard Diensberg. EETS O.S. 310 (London, 2000). Date: second half of the fourteenth century. The first scholar to analyze the stemma of the Ancrene Riwle in great detail was Eric Dobson in “Affiliations of the Manuscripts of Ancrene Wisse,” published in the Festschrift for Professor Tolkien on the occasion of his seventieth birthday in 1962.7 Yoko Wada in her Temptations from Ancrene Wisse (1994) provides an “extended stemma,” in which she illustrates Dobson´s views of the influence of the revised text from a lost copy, being a parallel to A, on V, L, and P. As Wada rightly observes, “no proper assessment of Dobson´s textual history or of his extraordinary comprehension and precise account of the early history of Ancrene Wisse can be undertaken, however, until these have been studied in the cold light of variorum texts of those parts of the work which can be so treated.” 8 In the course of the latter half of the twentieth century, Ancrene Riwle studies were characterized by a large scholarly output, due to a great number of highly interesting unsolved problems connected with author-

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ship, provenance, sources, stemmatic relations, vocabulary, style, monastic tradition, audience, etc. Towards the end of the twentieth century many new research areas came into focus, such as feministic readings of several AB texts. This is made clear by Bella Millett´s comprehensive annotated bibliography published in 1996 with the assistance of George B. Jack and Yoko Wada.9 Additional bibliographic material is also provided by Roger Dahood in his article “The Current State of Ancrene Wisse Group Studies” in Medieval English Studies Newsletter (1997), and by Robert Hasenfratz in Ancrene Wisse (2000).10 An excellent example of how clearly AB research has moved forward at the beginning of the new millennium, can be found in Yoko Wada’s A Compendium to Ancrene Wisse (2003); particularly the article by Richard Dance, called “The AB Language: the Recluse, the Gossip and the Language Historian,” provides new information on a number of issues connected with the AB language.11 Furthermore, there are many new possibilities regarding textual analysis that have been brought to light with regard to the use of modern electronic techniques. One such innovation has been introduced by a Japanese research group headed by Tadao Kubouchi. The Tokyo Medieval Manuscript Reading Group launched in 1996 a project for an “Electronic Corpus of Diplomatic Parallel Manuscript Texts as a Tool for Historical Studies of English.” Electronic Parallel Diplomatic Manuscript Texts of Ancrene Wisse (1997–2001) is their first undertaking.12 The final version of their Ancrene Wisse texts will contain, in computer-readable text-file form, all the relevant English manuscript texts. With regard to future directions in Ancrene Riwle studies, it would seem that rewarding paths are likely to be found in the ever-enhanced possibilities of hypertext software. Bella Millett, who is currently working on a critical edition of the Ancrene Wisse together with Richard Dance, has noted with approval a suggestion made by Bernard Cerquiglini that certain medieval works might profitably be studied with the aid of the computer’s inherent dialogic and multidimensional potentials, allowing the presentation of multiple versions of a text simultaneously on the screen. However she also admits that such an enterprise is likely to exceed the limited resources currently available to most academic institutions, but we may find hope in the increasing sophistication of many kinds of computers which are becoming more widely affordable and available.

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Cerquiglini’s idea of a possible hypertext edition of Ancrene Riwle harmonizes rather nicely with a notion of my own which I put forth about seven years ago in an article published in the Japanese periodical Studies in Medieval English Language and Literature.13 My own idea was to employ new computer technologies to create a multi-media version of the textual affiliations of Middle English manuscripts. I believe that it may be possible in the future to make use of virtual reality techniques and construct different scenarios for different versions of the Ancrene Riwle, simulating different dialectical regions and later versions. Naturally, the difficulties in aiming at virtual reality work are overwhelming. First of all, our basis for reconstruction is a series of literary texts in written form. These written manifestations would correspond to underlying phonemes but their reconstruction would imply a great deal of insecurity. Secondly, the financial backing needs to be quite enormous. To create programs for simulating Middle English dialects would, indeed, be time-consuming and costly. The gains from this theoretical project would on the other hand be most interesting from a pedagogical point of view. There would be versions in different dialects and intended for different audiences. What would actually be needed from Ancrene Riwle research in order to prepare for such a future and (at least at present) unrealistic scenario? It took fifty-eight years for the Early English Text Society to complete the series of diplomatic editions of the seventeen versions. I am myself responsible for extending this period of editing so far by working rather long on the final two editions. However, I should like to summarize what could be the desiderata of Ancrene Riwle research, if something nearing a virtual reality scenario is to be achieved. I base this concluding list of desiderata on my previous list published in the periodical referred to above. My view is that we need: 1. Further definite conclusions regarding the affiliations of the manuscripts of the Ancrene Riwle, based on all the edited manuscripts. 2. A full critical edition of the Ancrene Riwle. The first step towards this could be exclusive of the later versions. 3. A reconstruction of the evidence for:

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a) the exact localization of all the manuscripts; b) the origin of the tradition; c) the type of religious order; d) the original author; e) the definition and role of the AB language.

4. A completion of the linguistic atlas of Early Medieval English. 5. Further linguistic studies regarding: a. the relations between spelling and pronunciation in Middle English; b. the evidence of monastic material; c. word-geography; d. dialect boundaries. This rather daunting proposition should be contemplated in relation to all other electronic innovations like the use of hypertext software (Cerquiglini) mentioned above, the Electronic Parallel Diplomatic Manuscript Texts printed by the Tokyo Medieval Manuscript Reading Group headed by Tadao Kubouchi, The Concordance to Ancrene Wisse edited by Potts, Stevenson, and Wogan-Browne (1993),14 and the Middle English Compendium developed at the University of Michigan.15 The Middle English Compendium offers access to and interconnectivity among three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary (MED), a HyperBibliography of Middle English Prose and Verse based on the MED bibliographies, and a Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. It deserves to be noted here that Manfred Markus of the University of Innsbruck is engaged in the completion of a machine-readable corpus of the AB language.16 The aim of this project is to find out about the norms of the AB language and to make available a machine-readable corpus that scholars can use for a variety of purposes, for example comparative studies of all kinds. It is obvious that—with the wealth of new electronic tools like the above-mentioned new products—we can hope for speedy developments and continuations of exciting projects related to the AB language. We have a long way to go before we get a glimpse of my own—admittedly slightly unrealistic—proposition above, but it is a good idea to dream in

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the spirit of Tolkien and maybe one day get more pedagogical substance from the enigmatic notion, called AB. If that could coincide with the future publishing of the new critical edition of the Ancrene Riwle, announced by Bella Millet and Richard Dance, we would indeed do justice to Tolkien’s own supposition that the AB language would continue to attract attention and create a new “literature” of its own. It would also justify the comments by another of Tolkien’s pupils, Dr. Robert Burchfield, the eminent editor of the four-volume Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary (1972–86), who noted about Tolkien in the Independent Magazine for 4 March 1989: “Everything he touched turned to scholarly gold.”17 My own view is that this is true of his scholarly as well as his fictional writing. Since I come from the north of Europe and represent decidedly harsher climates than Tolkien’s beloved West Midlands of England, I should like conclude this essay by quoting one of Tolkien’s lesser known artificial languages, namely Arctic, the language spoken at the North pole according to Father Christmas in Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters (1976). Karhu, the Polar Bear, who invented a special alphabet from Goblin marks on the walls of the Cave-Bear’s caves, says in an appendix to this delightful book: Mára mesta an ni véla tye ento, ya rato nea, which is translated “Goodbye till I see you next, and I hope it will be very soon.”18 1. Reproduced in Judith Priestman, J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1992), 17. 2. Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien: A Biography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 36. 3. T.A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth, 2nd ed. (London: Grafton, 1992), 36. 4. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad,” Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association 14 (1929): 108. 5. See E.J. Dobson, The Origins of Ancrene Wisse (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 349–53. 6. See Bella Millet, with the assistance of George B. Jack and Yoko Wada, Ancrene Wisse, the Katherine Group, and the Wooing Group: Annotated Bibliographies of Old and Middle English Literature, vol. 2 (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1996), 11n7. 7. E.J. Dobson, “The Affiliations of the Manuscripts of Ancrene Wisse,” in English and Medieval Studies Presented to J.R.R. Tolkien on the Occasion of His

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Seventieth Birthday, ed. Norman Davis and C.L. Wrenn (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962), 128–63. 8. Yoko Wada, ed. and trans., Temptations from Ancrene Wisse, vol. 1, Kansai University Institute of Oriental and Occidental Studies, Sources and Materials Series 18 (Osaka: Kansai University Press; Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1994), 82. 9. Millet, Jack, and Wada, Ancrene Wisse, the Katherine Group, and the Wooing Group; see note 6. 10. Roger Dahood, “The Current State of Ancrene Wisse Group Studies,” Medieval English Studies Newsletter 36 ( June 1997): 6–14; Ancrene Wisse, ed. Robert Hasenfratz (Kalamazoo, Mich. Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2000), 38–54. 11. Dance, Richard, “The AB Language: The Recluse, the Gossip and the Language Historian,” in Yoko Wada, ed., A Companion to Ancrene Wisse (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2003), 57–82. 12. Tadao Kubouchi, et al., eds., Electronic Parallel Diplomatic Manuscript Texts of Ancrene Wisse (Tokyo: Tokyo Medieval Manuscript Reading Group, 1997–2001). 13. Arne Zettersten, “Editing the Ancrene Riwle for the Early English Text Society: Past Experience and Future Prospects,” Studies in Medieval English Language and Literature 12 (1997): 1–28. 14. Jennifer Potts, Lorna Stevenson, and Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, eds., Concordance to Ancrene Wisse: MS Corpus Christi College Cambridge 402 (Woodbridge, Suffolk: D.S. Brewer, 1993). 15. Middle English Compendium, see http://ets.umdl.umich.edu/m/ mec/. 16. Manfred Markus, “Getting to Grips with Chips and Early Middle English Text Variants: Sampling Ancrene Riwle and Hali Meidenhad,” ICAME Journal 23 (1999): 35–51. 17. R.W. Burchfield, “My Hero: Robert Burchfield on J.R.R. Tolkien,” Independent Magazine (London), 4 March 1989: 50. 18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Father Christmas Letters, ed. Baillie Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1976), [46].

History in Words Tolkien’s Ruling Passion

T.A. Shippey

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olkien remarked that one form of fantasy, which he called Chestertonian Fantasy, comes from seeing familiar things (like an ordinary word suddenly seen backwards) from an entirely new angle. It was a “wholesome enough” type of fantasy, he argued, and readily available, but of “limited power.”1 I quite agree with Tolkien’s general proposition, but I would add that if you want to see words and the meaning of words from a new angle, an excellent way of doing so is to look them up in a dictionary, or in a thesaurus like Richard Blackwelder’s invaluable Tolkien Thesaurus, which I shall discuss shortly: because such works have their words organized not according to sense or habit or ordinary collocation, but alphabetically, which in terms of semantics is as good as to say, at random. But when I say dictionaries, I do not mean mere foreign-language dictionaries, full of dubious equations between words and an overpowering smell of homework; nor yet ordinary reference dictionaries, full of the meanings of words which you know perfectly well already and recommendations about pronunciation which made excellent sense fifty years ago: no, I mean etymological dictionaries, and these spell wisdom. A very good example of such a dictionary is The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, edited by C.T. Onions.2 There is something surprising about this, for the first edition of this was not published till 1966, but Charles Onions was already well established at the Oxford English Dictionary in 1920, before Tolkien began to work there, and had indeed been there since 1905. He was born in 1873, almost twenty years before Tolkien, and died in 1965. His Dictionary of English Etymology, then, was very much a lifetime’s work, and a long lifetime’s at that. Onions was also the fourth of the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford, whom Tolkien guys affectionately in Farmer Giles of Ham,3 and there were other connections between the two men. Like Tolkien, Onions was a Birmingham

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man, and also in a way an Old Edwardian, though he did not go to the main branch of King Edward’s Birmingham but to one of the outer campuses, King Edward’s Camp Hill. I am also told (though this is pure oral tradition) that he did not like to be called Onions, but insisted on “On-aye-ons,” and that unlike Tolkien he retained a Birmingham accent through his life, and also some specialized local terms. I dare say he would have recognized the term “gamgee,” though it is not to be found in his dictionary, and I was told long ago that he never used the term “pavement,” still less “sidewalk,” but always said “horse-road”—or in his speech, “orse-rowd.” Be these matters as they may, his Dictionary of English Etymology (like its many predecessors) is a mine of pregnant suggestion, about words and about history. Take for instance the word fiction, on p. 353 of the Dictionary (abbreviated from now on as ODEE). Like fictile, the word which precedes it in ODEE—a word I have never till now used or heard used—it comes from the past participle stem of Latin fingere ‘to fashion,’ fingo fingere finxi fictum, with no medial -n- in the past participle form, from which is derived the noun fictio, accusative form fictionem, hence French fiction and our word fiction, all clear and predictable. Less apparently predictable—but just as predictable to those who know their etymology—is the native English cognate of it. Some may well ask, at this point, what a “cognate” is, and like Tolkien in Farmer Giles, I shall give the answer of the Four Wise Clerks (in other words the appropriate definition from the main Oxford English Dictionary, abbreviated from now on as OED).4 Cognate words are those “coming naturally from the same root, or representing the same original word, with differences due to subsequent separate phonetic development; thus, Eng[lish] five, L[atin] quinque, Gr[eek] pente, are cognate words, representing a primitive *pénke” (OED, 3:445). What is the English cognate of fiction, the word which has descended from the remote and unrecorded common ancestor of many European and Asian languages in one line to Latin fictio, and in another line to English? The native English word we are looking for is dough. Dough is the English word for ‘fiction,’ see ODEE, 286. This seems instantly implausible, because the two words do not look or sound like each other at all, in fact they hardly share a single letter. The first rule of etymology, you might say, is that words which look like each other cannot possibly be related in reality, while words which are so related certainly will not look like each other. But this does tell you something about the unexpected nature of reality, as it does about

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otherwise unrecorded history. In brief—and I take this explanation from Walter Skeat’s Principles of English Etymology, published in Oxford the year Tolkien was born5—Sanskrit dh- corresponds regularly to Greek th- and to Latin f-, but even more regularly to English d- and German t-. On the one hand we have Sanskrit dhughiter, Greek thugatyr, English daughter, German Tochter—the word is related to Hindi dudh, which means ‘milk,’ and according to Max Müller had as its original meaning “little milker,”6 which shows what daughters were once mainly useful for. On the other we have Sanskrit dhigh ‘to smear,’ Greek thigganein ‘to handle,’ Latin fingere ‘to mould,’ and Old English digan ‘to knead.’ This word, by the way, survives as the second element in modern English lady, Old English hlæfdige, “she who kneads the loaf,” which tells us what ladies were once mainly useful for. But disregarding all phonetic complexities, the equation thus set up between dough and fiction still makes a certain sense. “Fiction” is rather like “dough.” Neither of them are natural. They both take a good deal of work, and shaping, and kneading, and you also have to allow them to rise, and you have to put yeast into them—another interesting word, related to Sanskrit yasyati ‘to seethe or boil.’ All such information, so readily available now through the work of scholars like Mr. Onions, comes as a result of one of the great intellectual breakthroughs of world history, which I associate in particular with the work of Tolkien’s mighty predecessor in philology and fairy-tale, two things which are quite clearly connected, Jacob Grimm. I would put it like this and very briefly: Grimm’s Deutsche Grammatik of 1819 was the humanities equivalent of Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859, and in its way just as influential. Both works solved a problem which had been obvious since remote antiquity: why are languages different, why are species different? To these questions the only answers had been a kind of folk-tale, in the case of Darwin the story of Noah’s Flood, in the case of Grimm the Tower of Babel. In both cases there was a very great deal of evidence available for solving the problem, but it existed either in far parts of the world like the Galápagos Islands or North India, or else at levels of society beneath those of the educated classes: as Darwin said, among dog-breeders and pigeon-fanciers, as Grimm said among ammen und spinnerinnen,“old grannies and poor spinstresses,”7 of whom no educated male previously had taken any notice. Both great works were essentially evolutionary, both had an immediate impact, and both triggered enormous amounts of follow-up work. The real difference is

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that people have remembered Darwin, but almost completely forgotten Grimm, except as regards his spin-off collection of fairy-tales. Tolkien did not forget Grimm, and the question of etymologies, and what can be learned from them, was on his mind, I would assert, literally every day of his life. Let me say again that you can start this process from anywhere. I took fiction, which lead me to fingere, so let’s consider English finger—in the Birmingham pronunciation, “feenger.” Are these two words connected? No, of course not, see the first rule of etymology as given above! Onions suggests (ODEE, 357) that finger derives from the ancestral word for ‘five,’ which he gives as *pengqe, diverging rather from his colleagues’ solution given just above.8 This also gave us fist. One of the simpler bits of Grimm’s Law tells us that English f- corresponds to Latin p-, as in fish and piscis, or pellis and the word for skin which Tolkien uses only once in this sense, fell, “foul beast-fells.” Finger, then, finds a parallel in Latin pugnare ‘to fight,’ which perhaps also tells us something about ancient culture, or maybe about human nature. It is very tempting to go on like this, but I will summarize a truly prodigious amount of data as follows: The nineteenth century succeeded in recovering the underlying logic of sound-change. It would very much have liked to extend this to the underlying logic of semantic change, change of meaning, but in fact got stuck at the level of many individual flashes of insight, which could not be reduced to invariable law. Tolkien, by temperament and by professional training, was aware of the history of words at an almost visceral level: I would say that he never stopped thinking about it, because once you are aware of it, the data never stops flowing in, every time, for instance, you hear a new name. And this helps to explain what he meant when he said things like “the invention of languages is the foundation. The ‘stories’ were made rather to provide a world for the languages than the reverse.”9 Indeed I would suggest that just as Tolkien expended truly enormous effort in writing version after version of, say, “The Tale of Beren and Lúthien,” in different languages, from different perspectives, because he thought that a real traditional tale gained much of its power from being filtered down to us through many minds, many disagreements, many rejections—just so did he expend further enormous effort in

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providing not only samples of many languages, human and non-human, but also in making those samples relate to each other through complex and rigorous processes of change. What good was a language without a history? It would be like a day without sunshine. There was, of course, an element of “pedantry” in much of the effort so expended—“pedantry,” a word“of obscure origin,” so Mr Onions informs me, ODEE, 661, but probably a popular or half-educated formation from Latin paedagogus, the slave who accompanies a child to school, so a schoolteacher of relatively low rank. This is pretty much the status which language teachers have continued to occupy. Tolkien was well aware of this, perhaps even painfully aware of the low and sinking status of his branch of the profession, and consoled himself now and then by making little jokes about it. One self-image is the parson of Farmer Giles of Ham, remarkable for his book-learning and ability to read “epigraphical signs.” But does it do him any good? Should he not have guessed that the oaths of Chrysophylax the dragon were not to be relied on? “Maybe he did,” notes Tolkien. “He was a grammarian, and could doubtless see further into the future than others.”10 In our world grammarians are not notable for their ability to see into the future or for their practical abilities, indeed our modern grammarians—those who teach Rhet. and Comp. 101, who show freshmen how to use their spell-checkers and where to put apostrophes and semi-colons—these are I will not say the lowest of the low, but I can say often graduate students going through a phase of their career which they do not wish to prolong. So the joke in Tolkien’s “doubtless” remains as pointed as ever: though the parson-grammarian is in the end proved right, by reminding Giles to take some rope with him on his second expedition. Less successful is the philological herb-master of the Houses of Healing, who knows all the names for athelas and indeed a rhyme from Middle-earth’s equivalent of Grimm’s ammen und spinnerinnen, but does not actually have the herb or feel any need for it. He shows, in a rather prophetic way, how genuine knowledge can dwindle down to ancient lore, which is remembered but no longer felt to have any practical value. That is what happened, in the end, to etymology and to Tolkien’s own speciality, no longer taught anywhere within the English-speaking world of learning. Finally, I cannot help thinking of Gollum as a kind of Tolkienian self-image. The constant cross-checking of one language against another, of which I have given some fleeting examples above, led the

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etymologists into an obsessive concern, not with the forms of any one particular language but with the unrecorded forms of whatever it was they had all descended from. If you look, not at Onions’s Dictionary of English Etymology, but at successive “comparative dictionaries of the Indo-Germanic languages,”11 you will see that they are in a way all but unreadable, and almost unusable, because they are organized by roots, a root being, according to the OED (sense 15a), ‘one of those ultimate elements of a language, that cannot be further analysed, and form the basis of its vocabulary’ (14:88). Gollum too, you will remember, back when he was still Sméagol, lived in a family “ruled by a grandmother of the folk, stern and wise in old lore, such as they had.” And he followed in her footsteps in a way, being “inquisitive and curious-minded . . . He was interested in roots and beginnings.” But this potentially admirable interest leads to him no longer looking upward, and in the end he goes underground, thinking: “The roots of those mountains must be roots indeed; there must be great secrets there which have not been discovered since the beginning.” But Gollum is mistaken. As Gandalf says, “there was nothing more to find out, nothing worth doing.”12 It is a hard thing to say of one’s own subject, but this reminds me strongly of the sense which Tolkien must often have felt of an intellectual revolution being forgotten, slipping away, turning into a low-grade series of tests you had to bully the students through, and which most of the students—alienated by poor teaching and poor teachers—could not give up fast enough. Throughout his professional life Tolkien “fought the long defeat,” in Galadriel’s phrase,13 sensed the danger of becoming a Gollum, too interested in roots, as we say, to stop and smell the roses. How could the history of words be made to live again? Now I turn at last to Richard Blackwelder’s Tolkien Thesaurus.14 When I first encountered this, I must say that I thought, “well, what is the point of that? It is a typical hobbit-work, full of things we knew already, set out fair and square with no contradictions.” In this I misjudged it, because I failed to see how useful it is to have lists of words taken out of their immediate contexts and set down where they can be cross-referred in a different way. And I should not have misjudged it, because I should have remembered how much of Tolkien’s work, especially his early academic work, was in fact taken up with doing very much this sort of activity. He began by making the Glossary to Kenneth Sisam’s Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose, and while this was in a way a classic graduatestudent job, designed only to be useful, there is a great deal of work and

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thought in it.15 As there is in the ground-breaking and unprecedented glossary to his and E.V. Gordon’s edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which, NB, does not just give the meaning of words so you can translate them but also carefully gives the etymology of each one as well.16 Tolkien also clearly read with attention and applause W.E. Haigh’s Glossary of the Dialect of the Huddersfield District,17 and this indeed did show one way forward out of the Gollum-like obsession with roots and beginnings—which was, to see how those roots had flowered, to observe closely the connection between ancient words and entirely contemporary ones, contemporary ones, NB again, which tended to be ignored by the educated because they were now recorded at a lower social level than they wished to consider, by dog-breeders and pigeon-fanciers, ammen und spinnerinnen once more. Perhaps the real achievement would be, not only to work from root to flower, but also to work back again, from flower to root, and further, from dead leaf to living plant. And this would have particular force if one applied it not just to words and to philology, but to beliefs and to mythology. Tolkien’s very earliest academic works, which have I regret to say mostly sunk without leaving a trace in scholarship, are usually of this nature. He was trying to feel his way back along the language to the beliefs from which words must have sprung, though those beliefs were often, indeed usually, misunderstood even by the very people who first set them down. The author, or scribe, of Sir Gawain misunderstood the word woses.18 A succession of Anglo-Saxon scribes (and modern scholars right up to the dictionary-makers of the present day) failed to understand the word hearwan, cognate with carbo ‘soot.’19 The word eaueres in Middle English had been misread, so losing the point of an image of the underworld and the demons who live in it.20 The word dwarf had lost its proper and authentic plural until Tolkien re-introduced it, and words like elvish and etten had either lost their proper meaning or dwindled into remote dialects. But from such lost meanings and remote dialects one could regenerate the original concepts, as was the case with almost all of Tolkien’s imagined species, from hobbits to Balrogs. Turning again to Richard Blackwelder’s Thesaurus, I have found it repeatedly useful in locating and tracing both words and concepts. One thing it helps you to do is check your own suspicions. It struck me as both odd and significant that Tolkien rarely but occasionally uses the word“heathen” in The Lord of the Rings, an anachronism in Middle-earth because, you would think, only Christians use it. Looking at Blackwelder

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enabled me to check that he does indeed use it twice in that work, both times in connection with Denethor, which suggests that it is not an accidental anachronism, but a deliberate pointer. I felt fairly sure that Tolkien’s important word wraith was derived from the Anglo-Saxon writhan ‘to bend,’ and that this was an important word to the Inklings, creating besides the Ringwraiths Lewis’s parallel notion of the “bent eldil,” who is Satan. The verb writhan has become, in modern English,“to writhe,” and a glance at the Thesaurus shows that Tolkien uses that verb in perfectly normal modern style, past tense“writhed,” present participle “writhing.” But if the verb had been allowed to develop normally, we would say, not “writhe-writhed-writhed,” but “writhe-wrothe-writhen”; and Tolkien does indeed use that now irregular and very uncommon past participle twice,“writhen hills, writhen with age.” But I would never have found that confirmation, except by chance, without the Thesaurus. I used to say that Tolkien dropped the word goblin after he introduced the word orc, because he was not satisfied with its etymology—and I add that he hung on to the word gnome long after anyone would have told him he had to drop it, because he felt sure that sensible people would recognize its etymology.21 I was wrong about goblin, as the Thesaurus again revealed to me, with nine uses of the word in The Lord of the Rings. The Thesaurus also reveals, however, that the word tends to be used, in The Lord of the Rings, not by the wise and the long-lived, like Gandalf or Elrond, but by the hobbits:22 and hobbits, like modern English-speakers, are not good at etymology. The word is perhaps part of their low-style speech-mode, which attracts particular attention in Gondor and indeed in the Riddermark. Tolkien’s use of language, in short, is deep and consistent, and the Thesaurus helps you to trace it. I will conclude, though, by looking at some of Tolkien’s strikingly odd words, and time allows me to deal with only a couple. I have chosen them from extreme ends of the literary and social scale, elevated Rohirric and vulgar hobbitic. To start with the latter, Sam Gamgee twice uses the word ninnyhammer.23 At the top of the cliff in the Emyn Muil, when he suddenly remembers they’ve got a rope, he says, “you’re nowt but a ninnyhammer, Sam Gamgee,” and adds that that is what his father Hamfast used to call him. At the bottom of the cliff, when he thinks that he can’t get the rope down again, he adds: “Ninnyhammers! Noodles! My beautiful rope!” Now what, we may ask, is a ninnyhammer? This question, too, was put to the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford, by which I mean once again the Oxford English Dictionary, and I have

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to report that they replied evasively, saying only “(app[arently] f[rom] ninny, but the force of the second element is not clear.) A simpleton” (OED, 10:430). But Charles Onions must have thought again, for in the later Oxford Dictionary of Etymology he gives rather more detail, see ODEE, 611. It is characteristic of English, for no known reason, to “nunnate”: that is, to add an n- to the start of words, especially names, and especially the short form of names. Tolkien seems to have been amused by this, for in Smith of Wootton Major, the names of all the minor human characters are nunnated, Nokes, Ned—from Edward, Nan—from Ann, Nell—from Eleanor. Ninny is one of these words, and it is so to speak a familiar form of the name Innocent. It is as if people had once said, of someone, “he is an innocent,” then, mishearing or mispronouncing, “he is a ninnocent,” and then, abbreviating, “he is a ninny.” The word further becomes more pejorative with each alteration, so that in the end a ninny is someone who is unfit for practical purposes. Hammer, as the Four Wise Clerks concede above, is a little harder, but I would begin by observing—and Tolkien was punctilious about this too, though in a way which people rarely notice24—that over most of England, certainly including Tolkien’s own West Midlands, there is a tendency not to pronounce initial h-, and conversely to put it on words, in writing, where it has no business to be. So I suggest that the word would actually be “ninny-ammer,” and that this is what Sam and Ham Gamgee would actually have said. Now there is an Anglo-Saxon word amore, recorded only once, in a glossary, where it glosses Latin scorellus. We know the meaning of neither word, but the former survives also in the bird-name “yellow-hammer,” or “yellow-ammer,” and is no doubt cognate with modern German Ammer,“a bunting.” What Sam’s word is intended to convey, then, is first someone impractical, and then perhaps someone“bird-brained”—which is pretty much exactly what Sam at that moment feels about himself. I’d add that neither I, nor the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford, nor Onions in later life, could do anything with Sam’s “Noodles!”, though it certainly has nothing to do with the things you eat in Chinese restaurants.25 Tolkien was, however, not the only one to put the two words together, as one can see from a 1723 citation in the OED, under noodle, “the words ninnyhammer, noodle, and numskull, are frequently bandied to and fro betwixt them”; while there is also a certain point in a 1622 citation under ninnyhammer, which has some unknown person lamenting: “I might haue beene a scholler, learn’d my Grammar, But I haue lost all, like a Ninnie-hammer” (OED, 10:506,

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430). The unknown’s high valuation of grammar rather contrasts with Gaffer Gamgee’s doubts about the wisdom of Sam learning his letters, but they both seem to inhabit the low end of the social scale. At the other end of the social scale, meanwhile, we have the royal family of the Mark, just as much native English speakers as Gaffer Gamgee, but in a much more archaic and aristocratic mode. When she faces the Nazgûl, Éowyn shouts at it: “Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion!”26 Now what in the world is a dwimmerlaik? The last element offers no problem. It is Old English lac, which means ‘sport’ or ‘play,’ and is used in names like Guthlac and Hygelac. The pronunciation, though, shows the influence of the cognate Old Norse term leikr, with the same meaning, which survives in northern England as the usual word for “to play,” and is found both in the fourteenth-century poem Sir Gawain and in Haigh’s twentieth-century Huddersfield Glossary. How about dwimmer? According to the OED, the word is recorded in English, outside Tolkien, some five times only, and only in the two compounds dweomercræft (once) and demerlayk (four times). The word dweomercræft is recorded only from Layamon’s Brut, a work written in Tolkien’s home county of Worcestershire, close in both time and space to the Ancrene Wisse on which Tolkien worked for so many years, and like the Ancrene Wisse preserving many scraps of the native traditions of belief whose loss Tolkien so much regretted. The OED suggests (5:3) that the word means ‘jugglery, magic art,’ and derives from Old English gedwimer ‘illusion,’ or gedwimere, ‘juggler, sorcerer.’ I do not think that Tolkien would have appreciated the use of the word jugglery for ‘magic art’—like the definition of blunderbuss in Farmer Giles it smacks of the haughty rationalizing of the Victorian nineteenth century. His doubts would have been increased by the OED’s attempt to deal with demerlayk itself, 4:435–36. Once again this is defined as ‘magic, practice of occult art, jugglery,’ but the four citations given do not substantiate this particularly well. Two are again from Layamon, one of them referring to ways of being killed, “mid drenche oðer wid dweomerlace oðer mid steles bite.” Here dweomerlace could possibly mean ‘sorcery,’ and this is true also of one of the other citations, from a medieval Alexander poem in alliterative verse, which says: “All þis demerlayke he did bot be þe deuyllis craftis.” However the second Layamon quotation refers to “dweomerlakes song”; this could mean “song of sorcery,” but leaves open the possibility that a dwimmerlaik might be a thing or a person, not an abstraction. Meanwhile the last citation, also from a medieval allitera-

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tive poem, talks of “Deuinores of demorlaykes þat dremes cowþe rede,” where a “demorlayke” must be some kind of dream or nightmare. The intended meanings cluster in the area of the supernatural, but are not easily shepherded together in the way the OED suggests. Faced with apparent contradictions like this, Tolkien was all his life reluctant to dismiss any of the evidence (since he felt we had all too little of it), and even more reluctant to assume that the ancient authors had no clear idea of what they meant—a solution he thought too frequently seized on by arrogant modern critics. Though he was always very ready to accept that the ancient authors’ clear and sensible statements had been miscopied, misread, or misunderstood with the passing of the centuries. His response to this problem of language history can be pieced together with the invaluable help of Richard Blackwelder’s Thesaurus. If you consult this under dwimmer and dwimor, you will see that Tolkien uses the word seven times in The Lord of the Rings. Éowyn’s use of it to the Nazgûl has already been mentioned, but this is the last of the seven. We hear the word first from Éomer, who says of Saruman, “he is a wizard both cunning and dwimmer-crafty, having many guises.”27 At this point the word seems strange, and helps to characterize Éomer’s mode of speech as archaic but not entirely unfamiliar. Tolkien also has Éomer gloss his own word, so that dwimmer-crafty must mean something like ‘skilled in magic,’ though with a particular implication of being able to change shape, or change appearance. The next time the word is used, though, it comes from Gríma Wormtongue, who says that it is not surprising that they came through Lothlórien with the aid of Galadriel, “Sorceress of the Golden Wood,” for “webs of deceit were ever woven in Dwimordene.”28 Dwimordene is clearly the Riders’ word for Lothlórien, a place they all fear and distrust, Éomer included, if only through ignorance. The name could mean ‘valley of magic,’ but one should note the association with “webs” and “deceit,” which once again suggest veiling, illusion, shape-shifting. Gandalf picks the word up and repeats it twice, as if he is prepared to accept it, though not the interpretation placed on it. But the ominous nature of “dwimor” is confirmed by the place-name Dwimorberg, which Tolkien translates twice as “the Haunted Mountain.” By the time Éowyn comes to use the word dwimmerlaik, then, we have had a number of hints as to its meaning, though I would add one more piece to the jigsaw: the OED also cites a word dwalm, dwam, and glosses it as ‘a swoon, a fainting fit,’ though I

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have also encountered it with the meaning of ‘deep abstraction, a brown study.’ I think that Tolkien’s train of thought was something like this. The word comes from Old English gedwimer, etc., and if it had survived into modern English it would appear as dwimmer; the OED’s preference for demer in one of its entries is wrong, as one can see from its own citations. “Magic art” is, however, only one aspect of its meaning. It is in fact a word rather like shimmer or glimmer, with a root meaning of ‘being hard to make out, being on the edge of sight.’ People then associate this with ghosts, as in Dwimorberg, with deceit, as in Dwimordene, with shape-shifting, as in dwimmer-crafty, all of which have something to do with blurred or warped vision; and with dreams, in which people see things that are not there. The word implies a belief that the magic arts themselves depend on casting spells of illusion, which was famously the native belief of the North, as in the well-known account of Thor’s visit to Útgartha-Loki’s hall of deceptions in Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. What does Éowyn then mean, finally, by calling the Nazgûl dwimmerlaik? She may mean ‘creature of sorcery,’ which is true. Remembering the force of -laik, she may mean ‘sport of nightmare.’ The word hints also at the Nazgûl’s doubtful reality, seeming non-existence, as if he too is a creature of deceit and altered vision. It is in fact a dwimmery sort of a word, defined only, within The Lord of the Rings, by triangulation from a number of quite different perspectives, Gríma’s, Gandalf ’s, Éomer’s, Éowyn’s, and outside it by a similar process of guessing from a number of themselves doubtful or poorly-recorded uses. Tolkien’s various uses and compound terms do, however, several times remind us that the Riders as a whole inhabit an intellectual world quite different from ours, though at the same time, Tolkien would have insisted, quite literally cognate with it. There is of course a further and most extensive history of words in Tolkien’s Elvish languages, designed as they are to frame and corroborate the narrative history which is the many versions of “The Silmarillion.” It would take a great deal of work to decode, and I can only look on admiringly at the efforts and the results of scholars like Carl Hostetter. But there is an even more extensive history of words in the whole body of human languages, and it would take an effort at least of the proportions of that dedicated to plotting the human genome to decode this—though there is not the slightest chance, of course, of attracting anything like similar funding.

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As regards The Lord of the Rings itself, I would close by saying that it seems to me that one of the major sources of its continuing appeal, fifty years on, is the enormous range of its vocabulary—I think I would back Tolkien against Shakespeare any day, and certainly against any modern author—and along with that the extreme versatility of its narrative styles. Tolkien is often rebuked for being archaic, and he is, of course, with a whole range of odd or barely comprehensible words coming from the Riders, from Gandalf, from Elrond, from Treebeard. But he is also frequently highly colloquial, with the voices of Hamfast and Samwise Gamgee, and the other hobbits too, and this is very much part of philological tradition—philology, I may as well say, has always been a highly democratic tradition, quite unlike the increasingly haughty and confessedly élitist tradition of modernist literature (let alone postmodernist literature). Going back to Tolkien’s range of styles, one of the amusing things in his work is to hear the hobbits trying to change their speech, with Merry in particular trying to talk to Théoden King in a way which Théoden will accept and understand, and Pippin more awkwardly trying to talk in Gondorian fashion to Denethor. If I may end with a personal reflection, we often hear these days of the importance of getting rid of the literary canon, and of listening for the silenced voices of the past. But it is strange that the more we hear about “firing the canon,” the less variety there is in what is actually read in departments of humanities; and the more we listen for the silenced voices, the more we seem to hear only echoes of our own. Modern literature becomes a weary trawl for victim-groups to patronize (without the slightest intention, of course, of giving up élite privileges), while even medieval English literature is redefined as overwhelmingly metropolitan, literary, middle-class, bureaucratic—as if it had all been written by paid-up members of the Modern Language Association, something which no literary tradition could survive. As Tolkien pointed out in his “Valedictory Address” of 1959, the “misologists,” those who see no point in the study of words as words, they are in the ascendant:29 but only in the academic world and only in the humanities. Their views cut no ice with Tolkien, they cut no ice with working scientists like Dr. Blackwelder, and they have gained no credit with the general public. It is indeed a pity that the English-speaking academic world has seen it as a duty to extinguish philological study, marginalize linguistic study, and sharply restrict literary study. Nevertheless, all the efforts of the misologists very obviously failed to quench Tolkien himself, and his

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associates, devotees, and followers. Possibly, then, from the ashes a fire may be woken, and from the shadows a light may spring, as has happened with the unexpected and welcome benefactions of Dr. Blackwelder. I will not complete Bilbo’s rhyme, but I will offer it here as a good omen for the future. 1. Tolkien,“On Fairy-Stories,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (1983; repr. London: HarperCollins, 1997), 146. 2. Onions, C.T., with the assistance of G.W.S. Friedrichsen and R.W. Burchfield, The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966; rev. ed. 1969). 3. Farmer Giles of Ham, here cited in The Tolkien Reader (New York: Ballantine, 1966). On p. 15 Tolkien asks what a “blunderbuss” is, says that the question was put to “the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford,” who replied—and Tolkien then cites the OED definition of the word, only to prove it wrong. The “Four Wise Clerks” are clearly the four editors of the Oxford English Dictionary up to the date of Farmer Giles, Onions being one of them. 4. The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., prepared by J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). 5. W.W. Skeat, Principles of English Etymology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), 1:116. 6. Max Müller, “Comparative Mythology” (1856), in Chips from a German Workshop (London: Longmans, 1880), 2:26. 7. See respectively Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859), ed. J.W. Burrow (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968), 78–86; and Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 4th ed. (1875–78; repr. Wiesbaden: Fourier, 2003), 1:v–vi. 8. Comparative philology had continued to develop throughout Onions’s and Tolkien’s lifetimes. Early volumes of the OED, which first began to appear in 1884, often contain outdated etymologies and reconstructions: one of the strengths of the work as a whole has been its capacity for revision and improvement. 9. J.R.R. Tolkien, to the Houghton Mifflin Company, 30 June 1955, in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Selection, ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), 219. 10. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham, 32, 48. 11. For instance, August Fick, Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der Indogermanischen Sprachen, 3rd ed. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1874), or Alois Walde’s work with the same title, ed. Julius Pokorny (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1930). 12. The Lord of the Rings, 1 vol. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 51, 53, 54. Hereafter cited as LR.

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13. LR, 348. 14. Richard E. Blackwelder, A Tolkien Thesaurus (New York: Garland, 1990). 15. J.R.R. Tolkien, A Middle English Vocabulary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922). 16. J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, eds., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925). 17. See Tolkien, foreword to W.E. Haigh, A New Glossary of the Dialect of the Huddersfield District (London: Oxford University Press, 1928), xiii–xviii. 18. See Tolkien and Gordon, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, entry under wodwos, 208. The editors tactfully make no comment on the scribe’s error, but it can be deduced from the etymology they give for the word. 19. See J.R.R. Tolkien,“Sigelwara Land,” Medium Aevum 1 (1932): 183–96, and 3 (1934): 95–111. 20. See J.R.R. Tolkien,“The Devil’s Coach-horses,” Review of English Studies 1 (1925): 331–36. 21. See J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 1 of The History of Middle-earth (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983), 43–44. 22. Five times out of nine the word is either used by a hobbit or in an entirely hobbitic context. Gimli and Gamling the Rider also use the word once, the latter perhaps showing the connection between the Riders’ language and the ancestral speech of the hobbits. Twice it is used in general narration. 23. LR, 594, 596. 24. In the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a number of lines (such as 5, 136, 140) become metrically irregular unless one fails to pronounce written initial h-. In his translation of the poem, Tolkien carefully reproduced this peculiarity: a number of his lines also become metrically regular only with the “vulgar” or native pronunciation. 25. Other meanings of this word, as far as I can see all entirely unhelpful, include: “A trill or improvisation on an instrument. . . . To search for opals (in opal dumps or ‘mullock’) . . . to improvise or play casually on a musical instrument,” see OED, 10:506–507. 26. LR, 822. 27. LR, 426. 28. LR, 502. 29. J.R.R. Tolkien,“Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (1983; repr. London: HarperCollins, 1997), 224–40, see especially pp. 225–26.

Frodo and the Great War John Garth

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olkien, so often accused of escapism, conceded that fairy-stories did indeed portray or facilitate a kind of escape; but he pointed out that this, crucially, was the flight of the fugitive, not the deserter.1 Having fought in the British army during the First World War, Tolkien drew his metaphor from a code of honour in which, although it is treachery to desert your unit, it is an officer’s duty to try and escape from enemy captivity. As I have argued elsewhere, he had transmuted his own experience of war into myth by identifying the true enemy not as the Kaiser’s Germans, but as the forces of industrialism and materialism that found their cruelest expression in that war.2 Thus his own fairy-story, The Lord of the Rings, helps the fugitive reader to take flight from the dehumanizing and denaturing forces that he saw at their worst in the trenches. If the reader is escaping, however, it is with at least one eye staring back at tormented no-man’s-lands and fences of steel. In this paper I will be relating The Lord of the Rings to the work of other British writers who described their experience of war far more literally: Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Charles Carrington, the Somme novelist Frederic Manning—all of them soldiers—and official war correspondents who wrote for British newspapers. Tolkien was not responding directly to them—except, perhaps, en masse—but undoubtedly he was reacting to the same experience. Their war was the one that had challenged—some would say shattered—existing notions of what heroes are and how to write about them. In their writing, predominantly, soldiers are passive sufferers. Owen said that his poetry was not about heroes, declaring that English poetry was “not yet fit to speak of them”.3 His views formed the basis for an orthodoxy from the 1920s in which people no longer did speak about heroes, as if there were no such thing. However, Tolkien insisted in 1936: “Even to-day (despite the critics) you may find men . . . who have

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heard of heroes and indeed seen them” (my italics).4 His work presents versions of old-style heroism side-by-side with new versions that show the impact of the Great War. In The Book of Lost Tales, begun straight after his return from the Battle of the Somme, the warriors Beren, Túrin, and Tuor each appear to trace Tolkien’s own growth as a young man thrust unwillingly into war. But they are figures at one with their epic world, like the knights who loom as large as castle walls in a medieval picture. We know these heroes are going to be equal to all but the most outrageous challenges. Larger than life, they stood between Tolkien’s writing and his own experiences as a fairly ordinary soldier. Thankfully, his need to devise stories for his children serendipitously broke down the barrier. The demolition was carried out by someone distinctly less than hero-sized: Bilbo Baggins. In the course of composing Bilbo’s story in the early 1930s, I suggest, experience welled up again more freely, so that The Hobbit described the transformation of a fairly ordinary figure during a far-flung journey past the jaws of death and into battle. Its sequel, taking a more adult tone as the Second World War erupted, gave full expression to Tolkien’s long-buried memories of what it had been like to be a soldier in his own war. With its recurrent bouts of horror, danger, and discomfort, combined with exile and the erosion of old identities, it is a story of abject fear and pitiful humiliation, far from the heroic pattern. Hobbits, as Tolkien confessed, were versions of rural Englishry from the start of the twentieth century,5 a people who almost never rise from the ridiculous to the sublime. Apparently not up to facing real danger, they are insular, domestic, and prone to petty squabbles; easy to love and lampoon but difficult to admire and eulogise. But the more imaginative Frodo sometimes wishes an earthquake or dragons would wake up his “stupid and dull” fellows.6 Such dissatisfaction with ordinary life was a strong current in 1914, when the poet Rupert Brooke called his compatriots “half-men” spoiled by peace.7 We may also be reminded of Tolkien in his more outspoken letters. Yet war is no more welcome to Frodo Baggins than it was to Tolkien, who described the calamity of 1914 as “the collapse of all my world.”8 Realising his love of ordinary life too late, Frodo declares:“I wish it need not have happened in my time.”9 He is neither an aspiring hero nor a promising one. Like Tolkien,“a young man with too much imagination” who endured intense pressures to enlist while he completed his Oxford

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degree during the first year of war,10 Frodo fears exile and danger, and dreads his duty. He puts off the call, savouring an autumn remarkably like that of 1914: “perfect weather,” wrote the soldier-writer Siegfried Sassoon: “Never before had I known how much I had to lose. Never before had I looked at the world with any degree of intensity.”11 Frodo thinks he knows his place vis-à-vis the epic world: outside it. “I am not made for perilous quests,” he says. Tolkien later pokes fun at the very idea through the gossip Ioreth, who describes how Frodo “went with only his esquire into the Black Country and fought with the Dark Lord all by himself, and set fire to his Tower, if you can believe it.”12 You shouldn’t believe it—at least not literally. Frodo is a little man, in temperament Edwardian rather than feudal, and much of his journey lacks incident. He is heroic precisely because he is a little man taking on an outsized burden for the common good, like the volunteer soldiers of Tolkien’s generation—and because he discovers unlooked-for endurance and courage; or, as a soldier might have said approvingly in 1916, “grit” and “pluck.” It is in camaraderie that Frodo finds the key to endurance. “Captain Frodo and company,” as his companions names their hobbit-fellowship,13 cope in much the same way as soldiers. Songs repeatedly enliven the march, meals, or even bathtime, the soldier’s joy. Stoic humour and a kind of Shire-bound myopia allow them to cut gigantic terrors down to a manageable size, as when Frodo’s servant Sam Gamgee addresses the demonic spider Shelob as if challenging a surly hobbit to fisticuffs. Siegfried Sassoon saw a similar myopia in his own servant—or batman, in military parlance—observing: “his vigilance for my personal comfort was such that I could more easily imagine him using his rifle in defence of my valise than against the Germans.”14 “My Sam Gamgee,” Tolkien wrote,“is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself.”15 The relationship between Frodo and Sam closely reflects the hierarchy of an officer and his servant. Officers had a university education and a middle-class background. Working-class men stayed at the rank of private or at best sergeant. A social gulf divides the literate, leisured Frodo from his former gardener, now responsible for wake-up calls, cooking and packing. British masculine reticence and class-consciousness problematised the communications between batmen and officers, the odd couples of the battlefield. Tolkien maps the

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gradual breakdown of restraint until Sam can take Frodo in his arms and call him “Mr Frodo, my dear.”16 By then, the hierarchy is largely inverted. Frodo moves towards a childlike dependency: he presents the problems, Sam the solutions. In the First World War this process was far from atypical. Officers were given commissions for class reasons, not because they were experienced soldiers or leaders; whereas the privates and batmen often had the age, experience, and wisdom their official superiors lacked. C.S. Lewis, for example, had played Frodo to his sergeant’s Sam. “I came to pity and reverence the ordinary man: particularly dear Sergeant Ayres,” Lewis recalled. “I was a futile officer (they gave commissions too easily then), a puppet moved about by him, and he turned this ridiculous and painful relation into something beautiful, became to me almost like a father.”17 With the help of Sam’s homely chatter, Frodo even laughs on the edge of Mordor. “Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle-earth,” Tolkien notes.18 This is the kind of laughter that war correspondent Philip Gibbs believed acted as “an escape from terror, a liberation of the soul by mental explosion, from the prison walls of despair and brooding” on the Western Front.19 Once on the road, Frodo is forced almost immediately into urgent haste and the characteristic rhythm of his journey is soon established. It has four recurrent stages: an increasingly weary, fearful struggle to move forward; a violent, nightmarish encounter with death or its agents; escape from danger; and an interlude of rest and recovery. These might be the rhythms of the archetypal quest romance, but they are also the enforced stages of the soldiering experience in the First World War: the route march; the trenches; relief; and rest. On the march, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are blessed with speed and stamina that “should be sung in many a hall,” as Éomer remarks: they are man, elf, and dwarf, heroic figures on the edge of myth. By contrast, sub-heroic feet grow leaden as the hobbits trudge past the limits of their endurance. They are “bowed under their burdens,”20 like Great War soldiers in the Owen poem, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, / Knock-kneed . . . Drunk with fatigue.”21 The weight of a pack is a physical analogue to the weight of duty and fate—as is Frodo’s special responsibility, the Ring that grows into “a torment to his mind” and an almost unbearable “burden on the body.”22

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More debilitating to Frodo is the awareness that the Eye of the Dark Lord Sauron is looking for him. “It was that more than the drag of the Ring that made him cower and stoop as he walked.” Such an immense power of surveillance has no place in medieval epic, but nor does it fall into the same twentieth-century category as 1984’s Big Brother. Sauron is not yet the state jailor but the military enemy. The Eye sweeps the land for movement, while airborne observers scrutinise from above. Fear of surveillance becomes acute during the passage of the Dead Marshes, the“Noman-lands” and the“gasping pits and poisonous mounds” before the Black Gate of Mordor, landscapes Tolkien conceded were influenced by the devastation of the Somme battlefield.23 The urgent need to hide is pervasive in The Lord of the Rings. The heroes of old romance could charge out into battle, pennon flying, amid the blare of horns; and Tolkien allows a taste of this in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. But that spirit died in the trenches. For the new heroes, surprise is the key to success, concealment the key to survival. If the need to hide determined that the First World War would be largely fought from trenches, a soldier’s most arduous struggle was not against numbers of troops but against fear and despair. To combat demoralisation, a myth sprang up in 1914 that angels had interceded to fend off the German army during the British retreat at Mons.24 In the Ringwraith chief, Tolkien produces an anti-Angel of Mons. This “great black horseman, a dark shadow under the moon” brings panic to the men of Gondor; as Boromir says: “It was not by numbers that we were defeated.” Wounded by the chief ’s knife, Frodo drifts into a “dark dream” of listlessness and despair.25 Tolkien’s children once said that First World War recollections “formed the basis for the Black Riders” and that “in the fogs and smokes . . . the [German] horses appeared natural, while their riders did not.”26 Indeed, much that makes the Ringwraiths unique suggests the mark of Tolkien’s war. The shapeless gas helmets of 1916 also obscured the wearer’s face, causing breath to snuffle and speech to hiss. The Ringwraiths’ “long-drawn wail” that culminates in “a high piercing note” has much in common with the “shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells” described by Wilfred Owen, which arrived with what another writer called “a screaming shriek.”27 Frodo imagines“that endless dark wings were sweeping by above him, and that on the wings rode pursuers that sought him in all the hollows of the hills.” A presentiment of the flying Ringwraiths? Possibly not, at

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the time of composition, which long preceded the outlines that seem to mark their conception. I would suggest that the flying Ringwraiths were born of this single fleeting image, and furthermore that the image itself arose from a sensory combination of Somme terrors. The Times war correspondent, describing the battlefield on the eve of Tolkien’s first action, wrote that “in the darkness it seemed as if the heavens above were full of the whistle and flurry of invisible wings from the shells passing overhead.” Frederic Manning wrote that during artillery fire “the air was alive with the rush and flutter of wings; it was ripped by screaming shells.”28 An invisible “Black Breath” is blamed for the demoralisation the Ringwraiths inflict. In the lair of Shelob, enemy of light and beauty, of freedom, hope, imagination, and inspiration—the central impulses of Tolkien’s mythology—Frodo encounters another cloud of terror, “a black vapour wrought of veritable darkness itself that, as it was breathed, brought blindness not only to the eyes but to the mind, so that even the memory of colours and of forms and of any light faded out of thought.” The very air of the nightmarish Dead Marshes seems “black and heavy to breathe”; a “grey vapour” of fear flows from the Paths of the Dead; a fog surprises Frodo and company on the Barrow-downs “as if a trap was closing about them.”29 There are grounds to suspect that Tolkien was influenced by his experience of poison gas as he devised a symbolic shape for battlefield trauma, demoralisation, and despair. On the Barrow-downs, echoes of the Somme landscape are as strong as those of the Oxfordshire uplands. The terrain is chalk,30 demarcated by unidentified dikes or trenches—the remnants of old territorial squabbles. And here, in a haunted burial site, Frodo is first cut off from reality by waking nightmare. In the barrow-wight’s chamber, a hand reaches around a corner, walking on its fingers towards the long sword lying across the hobbits’ necks. In the strange green light, Frodo shakes off paralysis and hacks at the hand: “but at the same moment the sword splintered up to the hilt. There was a shriek and the light vanished. In the dark there was a snarling noise.” With these bizarre and enigmatic elements, the oddly inorganic phrase “the hand broke off ” and its queasy comparison to “a wounded spider” still wriggling in the earth, Tolkien approaches surrealism.31 The scene stands in stark contrast to the healthy, credible consistency he worked so hard to achieve elsewhere, but it chimes strongly with the disorientating chaos of modern battle. Manning de-

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scribed the “immense effort” required to move in action. When his unit was launching an attack, Edmund Blunden said he saw “good men . . . staring like persons in a trance across No Man’s Land, their powers of action apparently suspended.” Frodo’s inability to aid his stricken friends, the leaden pace, and the pale green light are particularly reminiscent of Owen’s description of a gas attack, and the sight through green-tinged gas helmet lenses of a gassed soldier.32 But Tolkien also associated surrealism with “morbidity or un-ease,” comparing it to the effects of a high fever in which “the mind develops a distressing fecundity and facility in figure-making, seeing forms sinister or grotesque in all visible objects about it.”33 He knew this condition well, having been hospitalised from the Western Front in 1916 with a case of trench fever that recurred through the rest of the war. The view through a gas-helmet seems to resurface in another nightmarish encounter with the dead. Frodo glimpses the corpses submerged in the Dead Marshes as if through “some window, glazed with grimy glass,” like the gas victim whom Wilfred Owen observed “Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, / As under a green sea. . . .”34 More effectively than the Barrow-downs, the Dead Marshes embody war’s ineffectual and pitiful waste. The submerged warriors are phantasms ascribed to necromancy. However, their real-world provenance would be apparent even if Tolkien had not acknowledged it. The battlefield dead lingered in soldiers’ memories, haunting Siegfried Sassoon even back in England: he saw them crawling towards his hospital bed, or lying on the pavement as he walked in London.35 Above the drowned phantasms strange lights flicker, some“like dimly shining smoke, some like misty flames flickering slowly above unseen candles” and others “twisted like ghostly sheets unfurled by hidden hands.”36 Evoking memorial candles, incense, and gravecloths through his medium of Symbolist fantasy, Tolkien creates a counterpart to Owen’s purely rhetorical parallelisms in “Anthem for Doomed Youth”: What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes. The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall. . . .37 Owen invokes familial pity and love to take the place of the candles and cerements the battlefield dead lack. But in Middle-earth, which is both

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an ancient world awaiting salvation and a benighted mirror of our time, the war dead have only empty mockeries for a memorial. Gollum calls the lights“candles of corpses”, evoking not only memorial lights inside a church but also the “corpse-candles” of British folklore: flames that appear in graveyards to portend a death.38 Doubtless aware of this, Tolkien originally planned for the hobbits to see a second and more disturbing vision in the marshes, which would be activated by moonlight, like a fit of lunacy. “The moon came out of its cloud. They looked in,” runs an outline. “But they saw no faces out of the vanished past. They saw their own. . . . Sam Gollum and Frodo looking up with dead eyes and livid rotting flesh at them.” Later, seeing Frodo turn a deathly green after Shelob’s attack, Sam was to recall the dead faces.39 To soldiers on the Western Front, half-inured to horror, the ubiquitous dead were strangely captivating reminders of their own fragile mortality. On the Somme battlefield (the day before Tolkien took the same route),40 Charles Carrington was guided like a sightseer to a hole where bodies lay looking “less human than waxworks”. “I was neither afraid nor unhappy,” he wrote, “but fascinated.” Edmund Blunden described the lure of an old Flanders village cemetery swallowed up by the battlefield: “Greenish water stood in some of those pits; bones and skulls and decayed cerements there attracted frequent soldiers past the ‘No Loitering’ noticeboard.”41 Tolkien embodies such ghoulishness in Gollum, who admits he has tried to touch the figures. Sam suspects this is so that he might eat them. Yet morbid fascination seems a more likely reason, considering that Gollum was once captured lurking there “peering in the water as the dark eve fell . . . covered with green slime.”42 When Sam discovers Frodo half in a trance with his hands dripping slime, the suspicion arises that he has not simply tripped over but, succumbing to a sickly allure, has also gone groping for the waterlogged forms. In a letter to his son Christopher, Tolkien summed up the whole experience of trench warfare with two words, “animal horror”; and always the miasmic clouds of fear in The Lord of the Rings force people down towards the level of beasts. The Ringwraiths’ cry strikes soldiers so that “into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war; but only of hiding and of crawling, and of death.” Philip Gibbs described something similar when he said that, during battle, soldiers became “primitive earth-men like human beasts.” He added that though

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they might wash off the mud and laugh away the horror, the mental scars endured.43 It is in such a direction that Frodo travels. Frodo’s guide and the yardstick of his degradation towards the sub-human is Gollum, who moves like a spider, frog, or squirrel. As the trio crawl through the mire, stinking and coated with slime, Sam concludes they will soon be “three precious little Gollums in a row.”44 As a literary figure, Gollum may claim descent from the water trolls of British or Germanic tradition, notably Grendel,45 but a Somme myth that commanded wide belief among the troops may also have helped to shape him. One account recalls dire warnings that no one should go alone past a certain point in the trenches for fear of the “wild men . . . who lived there underground, like ghouls among the mouldering dead, and who came out at night to plunder and kill.” Another account says these half-insane deserters from the armies of both sides would issue, “pale with a cellar dampness,” from “caves and grottoes under certain parts of the front line . . . to rob the dying of their few possessions.”46 Like the wild men of the Somme no less than Grendel, Gollum is an outcast haunting the dank, treacherous borderlands of civilization. The murder of his friend Déagol—whose name chimes with his own, Sméagol, as if they were brothers—brands Gollum with the mark of Cain, a mark borne by Grendel but equally by the wild men of the fratricidal European war. In Tolkien’s uncharacteristically physical portrayal, Gollum’s head is too big for his scrawny neck; he has a lolling tongue and “gobbling throat”47 and his clammy fingers paw and snap. He cackles and sobs in rapid succession, or cringes and flinches as if from unseen blows. All these features bear comparison with depictions of the victims of war trauma. Frodo is struck momentarily blind with terror on hearing the Ringwraiths’ wailing cry during a thunderstorm, a scene that closely evokes the sensory horrors of an artillery attack. This is a notably odd incident in its context, but blindness was one of the varied symptoms of the “shell shock” that struck men down in their thousands from the Somme onwards. Despite its name, shell shock was less likely to result from such a shell blast than from an aggregation of heavy bombardments and prolonged stretches in the battle zone. Similarly, Frodo’s repeated encounters do not inure him to terror and despair, but weaken his resistance.

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It is only thanks to Sam’s dogged companionship that Frodo resists madness, or at least defers it. But when Sam offers to carry his burden, Frodo sees him as a grasping orc. The Ring has taken over his perceptions and he starts to show signs of split personality. The parallels between Frodo’s condition and shell shock are striking. This is how the Times’ medical correspondent described the new nervous disorder in 1915: “He may be so affected that changes occur in his sense perceptions; he may become blind or deaf or lose the sense of smell or taste. He is cut off from his normal self and the associations that go to make up that self. . . . At night insomnia troubles him and such sleep as he gets is full of visions; past experiences on the battlefield are recalled vividly; the will that can brace a man against fear is lacking.”48 Frodo twitches uncontrollably. His sleep is “uneasy, full of dreams of fire”. Remembrance of a better life is erased. “No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me,” he says. In their place is an intense vision of the Ring revealed in all its symbolic power: “I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.”49 The immediate allusion, it would seem, is to the wheel on which Ixion was bound;50 but also, since Frodo carries it as a burden on his redemptive mission, the Cross of Christ. On Frodo’s Via Dolorosa Sam even bears the burden for him, Simon-like. Frodo expects to die saving the world; he abandons his weapons and refuses to fight. None of this is to say that Tolkien meant Frodo to represent Christ. In First World War writings, the comparison of suffering, self-sacrificial soldiers to Christ is routine. As the historian Paul Fussell says, it was hard not to see him as a fellow-sufferer, especially when he hung on so many crossroad calvaries—a scene echoed in the decapitated royal statue of Ithilien—and when the standard British army field punishment happened to evoke crucifixion. This punishment is one that Tolkien would certainly have seen; strikingly, the device of torment was not a cross but the wheel of an artillery-piece, upon which the soldier would be spread-eagled for hours.51 But Frodo’s “wheel of fire” suggests, finally, the wheels and furnaces of industry. The Ring, a device for magnifying power and achieving domination, is the arch-Machine.52 Though Frodo never sees a major battle, it is fitting that, carrying this symbol of the evils that Tolkien saw at their worst in the mechanised First World War, he should undergo the psychological traumas that soldiers suffered then;

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and that his progress should parallel what Tolkien had seen in them: the “ennoblement of the ignoble” through hardship and fear.53 On Mount Doom, Frodo neither dies nor achieves apotheosis. Instead we observe his delayed breakdown. As Tolkien commented,“he thought that he had given his life in sacrifice: he expected to die very soon. But he did not, and one can observe the disquiet growing in him. . . .”54 This is a tale written with a survivor’s insight into the sorrows that outlive war. The first sign of scarring is physical: his missing ring-finger, bitten off by Gollum. Like Beren’s loss of the hand in which he holds a Silmaril, a story written during or straight after Tolkien’s own war, Frodo’s amputation resonates with experience. To the Great War generation it was hard to avoid equating general victory with individual loss, often bodily: more than a quarter of a million Britons were wounded in a limb, 41,000 of them to the point of amputation.55 In Frodo this loss matches a personal loss of integrity: he regrets the destruction of the Ring. This anti-heroic regret tears the epic fabric; yet the reality of the First World War shows through. The Ring magnifies the very evils that fuelled the war—paranoia, desire for strength, fantasies of heroism—and Frodo’s regret is consonant with the most surprising sorrow to befall demobilized soldiers: grief that the war was over. War had brought simplicity, clarity, intensity, and the chance to be a hero. Homecoming brought disillusionment, confusion, and purposelessness. Fellowships were broken, while civilians could not comprehend the reality of the trenches and clung on to an antiquated idea of war. Soldiers who were maimed in body or spirit were likely to be patronised or ignored, though those who “cut a great dash,” as Frodo’s companions Merry and Pippin do on their return,56 might be treated as heroes. During the scouring of the Shire, Frodo intervenes only to save lives and remonstrate against violence. His desire for peace helps to cheat him of the honour he craves: a sharp irony that perhaps only a soldier of “the war to end all wars” could fully appreciate—particularly a soldier such as Siegfried Sassoon, treated in a mental hospital because he publicly denounced the war. Tolkien shows both sides of the coin: those whose story has been epic enjoy honour when they come home, but Frodo, whose journey has been a psychological nightmare, suffers neglect. At the end of 1918 the simple illusions of heroic victory were replaced by dour and complex reality. Those who had fought were irreversibly

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changed. Frodo’s consolatory view, as a misfit like many who returned from war, remains filled with personal pain. “I have been too deeply hurt,” he says. “I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”57 A final factor in Frodo’s breakdown is what Tolkien, in a later commentary, called “unreasoning self-reproach: he saw himself and all that he [had] done as a broken failure.”58 The Ring is gone despite his final efforts, while the world is not wholly mended. In more general terms Frodo may voice Tolkien’s feelings, as an officer invalided home while his Lancashire Fusiliers battalion was ultimately destroyed.59 Sassoon’s war also ended ignominiously, with a bullet wound for glancing over the trench parapet, but in his fictionalised autobiography he might have been describing Frodo’s state of mind: “inwardly I was restless and overwrought. My war had stopped, but its after-effects were still with me. I couldn’t sleep . . . my thoughts couldn’t escape from themselves into that completed peace which was the only thing I wanted. I saw myself as one who had achieved nothing except an idiotic anti-climax, and my mind worked itself into a tantrum of self-disparagement.”60 Frodo’s lasting desire is just such a “completed peace.” “Where shall I find rest?” he asks.61 The answer is a piece of wish-fulfilment: he is taken by enchanted ship to the Lonely Isle of the Elves. His journey into enemy territory over, Frodo finally earns something akin to the fairy-story flight from reality that Tolkien has so far eschewed. Yet this voyage to the Lonely Isle that he had originally conceived as a demiparadisiac England62 is a characteristic Tolkienian flourish. In 1916 the hospital ship Asturias had carried him back from the Somme in fever,63 ready to begin his mythology. Where he lets the curtain fall at the end of Frodo’s story, the faint image of his own voyage home may be discerned. Its undeniable poignancy resides, paradoxically, in our very knowledge that such “completed peace” is impossible in this life. An earlier version of this talk was presented at the 2004 Italian Tolkien Society conference, La Rivista, in Brescia, and appears in Italian in Mitopoiesi: Fantasia e storia in Tolkien, edited by Franco Manni (Brescia: Comune di Brescia/Grafo, 2005).

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1. J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983), 147–8. 2. John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (London: HarperCollins, 2003), 217–23, 287–313. 3. Wilfred Owen, The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen, ed. C. Day Lewis (London: Chatto & Windus, 1963), 31. 4. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin), 16. 5. J.R.R. Tolkien, to George Allen & Unwin, 12 December 1955, in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Selection, ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), 230. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1 vol. (London: HarperCollins, 1995), 61. 7. Rupert Brooke,“Peace,” in The Complete Poems of Rupert Brooke (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1934), 144. 8. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Michael Tolkien, after 25 August 1967–after 11 October 1968, in Letters, 393. 9. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 50. 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Michael Tolkien, 6–8 March 1941, in Letters, 53. 11. Siegfried Sassoon, The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), 219–20. 12. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 60, 945. 13. Ibid., 103. 14. Sassoon, George Sherston, 294. 15. Quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1977), 81. 16. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 889. 17. C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1955), 184. 18. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 697. 19. Philip Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told (New York: Harper, 1920), chap. 13, http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3317. Published in Britain as Realities of War (1920). 20. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 426, 194. 21. Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est,” in Collected Poems, 55. 22. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 914. 23. Ibid., 616, 617; J.R.R. Tolkien, to L.W. Forster, 31 December 1960, in Letters, 303. 24. The “angels of Mons” first appear in private correspondence of Brigadier-General John Charteris on 5 September 1914; see Jacqueline Simpson

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and Steve Roud, A Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 5–6. This preceded by three weeks the newspaper publication of Arthur Machen’s short story of revenant archers from Agincourt, “The Bowmen” (Evening News, London, 29 September 1914), which has erroneously been regarded as the inspiration for the myth; cf. Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 85–86; Martin Gilbert, First World War (London: HarperCollins, 1995), 58; and Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), 115–16. 25. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 239, 206. 26. Unsigned report by a Tolkien Society member of a conversation with Priscilla and Michael Tolkien in Amon Hen, no. 13 (October 1974): 9. The report contains several inaccuracies, and it is doubtful that German horsemen would make themselves so obvious, even in fog; but there were many other opportunities during the Great War to see riders looming in the darkness. 27. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 88; Owen, “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” in Collected Poems, 44; Denis Winter, Death’s Men: Soldiers of the Great War (London: Penguin, 1979), 116. 28. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 198–99; “Great Day on the Somme,” Times (London), 17 July 1916: 9; Frederic Manning, The Middle Parts of Fortune (London: Penguin, 1990), 7. For an alternative view of the flying Ringwraiths’ pedigree, see Dale J. Nelson, “Possible Echoes of Blackwood and Dunsany in Tolkien’s Fantasy,” Tolkien Studies 1 (2004): 177–79. 29. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 170, 702, 613, 768, 135. 30. Frodo watches “the white chalky path turn into a little river of milk” outside Tom Bombadil’s house, nestled in a shoulder of the Barrow-downs. The Oxford English Dictionary defines down principally as “the treeless undulating chalk uplands of the south and south-east of England,” but John Masefield’s topographical description in The Old Front Line (London: William Heinemann, 1917) aptly uses the words down and downland for the Somme upland. It is, in fact, part of the same Cretaceous chalk deposit as the Berkshire Downs and the Chilterns near Oxford. 31. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 138, 139. 32. Manning, The Middle Parts of Fortune, 7; Edmund Blunden, Undertones of War (London: Penguin, 1982), 98. 33. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” 159. 34. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 613; Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est,” 55. 35. Sassoon, George Sherston, 435, 453. 36. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 613. 37. Owen, “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” in Collected Poems, 44. 38. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 613; for the corpse-candle tradition, see the Oxford English Dictionary, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, etc., and for

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an example, Katherine M. Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-tales in the English Language, Part B: Folk Legends (London: Routledge, 1991), 2:507–8. 39. J.R.R. Tolkien, The War of the Ring, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 8 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 110; J.R.R. Tolkien, The Treason of Isengard, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 7 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 331. 40. Tolkien’s first journey into the battlefield is traced in Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 162–8; Charles Carrington (writing as “Charles Edmonds”) recounts his own in A Subaltern’s War (London: Peter Davies, 1929), chap. 2. 41. Carrington, A Subaltern’s War, 55; Blunden, Undertones of War, 56. 42. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 247. 43. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 18 April 1944, in Letters, 72; Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 805; Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, chap. 10 (http:// www.gutenberg.org/etext/3317.). 44. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 614. 45. And others less prone to roam on land, such as Lancashire’s Jenny Greenteeth and Yorkshire’s Peg Powler, via his antecedent, the sea-cave creature in Tolkien’s eponymous c. 1928 poem “Glip”; see J.R.R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, rev. and expanded ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), 119. I am grateful to Jessica Weinstein for pointing out parallels with Beowulf, lines 102–14. Significantly, Tolkien referred to Grendel “as well as one of troll-kind . . . also a parody of a man misformed by hate”; see Beowulf and the Critics, ed. Michael D.C. Drout (Tempe, Ariz.: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2002), 145. Gollum has previously been compared to Grendel by Verlyn Flieger in Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World, 2nd ed. (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2002), 152–53, and by Bonniejean Christensen in “Gollum’s Character Transformation in The Hobbit,” in A Tolkien Compass, ed. Jared Lobdell (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1975), 9. 46. H.M. Tomlinson, Waiting for Daylight (London: Cassell, 1922), 180–81; Osbert Sitwell, Laughter in the Next Room (London: Little, Brown, 1948), 9; see also Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, 123–24. 47. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 600. 48. “Battle Shock: The Wounded Mind and Its Cure,” Times (London), 25 May 1915: 11. 49. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 901, 916. 50. Ixion was bound by Zeus on a flaming wheel that rolled endlessly across the sky (a punishment for attempting to seduce Hera). Tolkien refers to the myth in his letter to Christopher Tolkien, 7 July 1944, in Letters, 88. 51. Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, 118–19.

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52. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 160; see also Patrick Curry, Defending Middle-earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004), 60–69. 53. J.R.R. Tolkien, to the Houghton Mifflin Company, 30 June 1955, in Letters, 220. 54. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Eileen Elgar, September 1963, in Letters, 327. 55. Joanna Bourke, Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War (London: Reaktion Books, 1996), 33. 56. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1002. 57. Ibid., 1006. 58. Tolkien, to Eileen Elgar, September 1963, in Letters, 328. 59. Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 247. 60. Sassoon, George Sherston, 654. 61. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 967. 62. For the Lonely Isle as England or the British archipelago, see J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 1 of The History of Middle-earth (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983), 25–27, and Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 107, 127–28, 145 (where Tolkien’s poem on leaving England for the Somme, “The Lonely Isle,” is reprinted), 259. 63. Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 205.

Towards Quite Unforeseen Goals Paul Edmund Thomas

A

theatrical trait thrived in J.R.R. Tolkien. Part of him enjoyed being a literary performer. This trait perhaps first exhibited itself at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where Tolkien performed spirited recitations from Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for his friends in the Tea Club and Barrovian Society and where, Humphrey Carpenter tells us, he astonished his schoolmates in the Debating Society by, on one occasion, assuming the role of a barbarian envoy to the Roman Senate and speaking in fluent Gothic, and, on another, speaking entirely in Greek.1 As an adult this theatrical trait doubtless enlivened his well-attended lectures at Leeds and Oxford, but it lived on perhaps more purely in the stories he told to and wrote for his children in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There were Bill Stickers stories, born from a notice on an Oxford gate that read “Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted,” and in which the evil Bill Stickers invariably avoided prosecution though he was avidly pursued by another public sign inspiration, Major Road Ahead. These stories were not written down, but others were: Roverandom, Mr. Bliss, and Farmer Giles of Ham. The “Father Christmas” letters and “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil,” though not prose narratives, also belong to this group. Three aspects of these stories and poems are important for my purpose here. First, they were told or written for family members whose appreciation and reactions Tolkien valued highly. Second, they are relatively lighthearted and humorous works: Humphrey Carpenter refers to them as jeux d’esprit.2 This second aspect stems naturally from the first because the stories were loving activities enjoyed by the family. Third, this group of works is largely unconnected to the prose and verse narratives of “The Silmarillion,” to which Tolkien had devoted serious labor since at least 1915. The most famous of the stories in this group is of course The Hobbit. Like the others, The Hobbit is, for the most part, lighthearted, and, like

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the others, it was written for his children. Unlike the other stories, The Hobbit was not finished for his children. This fact has significance in several ways. First, it reveals the importance of the relationship between Tolkien as storyteller and his children as the audience. Douglas Anderson, in his introduction to his splendid second edition of The Annotated Hobbit, describes the composition of the work in detail and relates that by January of 1933 the manuscript, which had reached the slaying of Smaug, was typed on Tolkien’s Hammond typewriter.3 Carpenter comments that this typescript “did not often leave Tolkien’s study, where it lay, incomplete and now likely to remain so” because “the boys were growing up and no longer asked for ‘winter reads,’ so there was no reason why The Hobbit should ever be finished.”4 Tolkien’s ceasing to write, which occurred simultaneously with the waning of his children’s interest, indicates that his children’s enthusiasm for the story was essential to Tolkien’s creative process: their interest maintained his own and happily spurred his imagination. Tolkien did not resume work on the novel until three years later when another person showed interest in it: Susan Dagnall of Allen & Unwin, who liked the typescript enough to urge Tolkien to finish the work so that Allen & Unwin could consider it for publication. Tolkien promptly did so. Chapter 13 and the last five chapters were probably written in the summer of 1936, and Tolkien submitted the complete typescript to Allen & Unwin in October of that year. Yet, Susan Dagnall and her employer, Stanley Unwin, were a different audience with different expectations than Tolkien’s children. Their interests were of course artistic but also commercial. The fact that Tolkien finished the novel for an audience of professional editors rather than for his immediate family has important and far-reaching implications, not only for The Hobbit, but also for The Lord of the Rings. Before turning to these implications, this three-year intermission in the writing of The Hobbit must be considered. The blunt question, what had changed and developed in Tolkien’s imagination in those years? is too big and multi-faceted for a short essay, but some useful generalizations can be made by surveying the other works that occupied him during the first half of the 1930s. Of course his work on “The Silmarillion” had continued: he had stopped working on The Lay of Leithian in 1931, but during these years he wrote drafts of the Annals of Valinor and Beleriand, the Ambarkanta, the Quenta Silmarillion, the Fall of Númenor, Ainulindalë, and other pieces; generally, these are the

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works published in volumes 4 and 5 of Christopher Tolkien’s History of Middle-earth. These works surely influenced the creation of The Hobbit, and its connection with “The Silmarillion” further distinguishes it from the other lighthearted stories Tolkien wrote for his children. As Tolkien said in a letter of 1938: “[The Hobbit] is not consciously based on any other book—save one, . . . the Silmarillion . . . to which frequent allusion is made.”5 Six months later, however, Tolkien stated in another letter that “Mr. Baggins got dragged against my original will” into the world of “The Silmarillion.”6 Tolkien emphasized this unintentional connection even more in several letters written in later years. For example, in 1964 he wrote: “The Hobbit was not intended to have anything to do with [the matter of the Elder Days]. I had the habit while my children were still young of inventing and telling orally, sometimes of writing down,‘children’s stories’ for their private amusement . . . The Hobbit was intended to be one of them. It had no necessary connexion with the ‘mythology’, but naturally became attracted towards this dominant construction in my mind, causing the tale to become larger and more heroic as it proceeded.”7 These statements are curious because they show Tolkien describing himself as unable to compose fiction from an imagination uninfluenced by“The Silmarillion.” But clearly he was able to do so: The Hobbit, composed by an author who must certainly be ranked among the most painstaking and careful writers of the twentieth century, could surely have been set in a fictional world other than Middle-earth, as Farmer Giles of Ham was. And while it is true that The Hobbit becomes larger and more heroic in the final chapters, and the influence of “The Silmarillion” grows towards the end of the book, Tolkien’s first allusion to his mythology appears in the very first chapter of the original edition, when Bilbo first meets Gandalf and says: “Dear me! . . . Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures, anything from climbing trees to stowing away aboard the ships that sail to the Other Side.”8 When Tolkien revised the novel for the 1966 edition, he deleted this overt reference to ships departing from Middle-earth and sailing for Valinor because such departures were generally reserved for Elves, but the allusion was there in the 1937 original, and it is evidence of Tolkien’s conscious choice to connect The Hobbit, albeit remotely, with the world of “The Silmarillion” from the very outset.9 So the question then becomes: why did Tolkien choose to make this story different from his other children’s stories by connecting it

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so closely with his mythology, most especially in the final chapters that were written in 1936 after the three-year break? The answer may be partly revealed by looking at another work on which Tolkien was engaged during 1936: his famous lecture on Beowulf, “The Monsters and the Critics.” Although Tolkien had achieved expert knowledge of Beowulf many years earlier, completing this lecture in 1936 may have forced him to articulate in concrete language the views he had long held about the poem, especially since he was attempting to defend the poem’s artistic merits against a critical tradition that tended to treat the poem as an artifact, and this may have had a significant influence on the final chapters of The Hobbit. Most notable perhaps are Tolkien’s comments on the Beowulf-poet’s technique of creating an impression of historical depth: “The whole must have succeeded admirably in creating in the minds of the poet’s contemporaries the illusion of surveying a past, pagan but noble and fraught with a deep significance—a past that itself had depth and reached backward into a dark antiquity of sorrow. This impression of depth is an effect and a justification of the use of episodes and allusions to old tales, mostly darker, more pagan, and desperate than the foreground.”10 Tom Shippey has described this technique of creating the impression of historical depth as“the literary quality that Tolkien valued above all.”11 Did this literary technique achieve this stature in Tolkien’s mind during the mid-1930s? I think that it did, and that Tolkien consciously made The Hobbit his experiment in using it, an experiment that produced such enriching results later in The Lord of the Rings.12 Tolkien used the phrase “impression of historical depth” in discussing The Hobbit in 1964: “The Hobbit . . . could really stand apart [i.e., from‘The Silmarillion’], except for the references (unnecessary, though they give the impression of historical depth) to the Fall of Gondolin . . . the branches of the Elfkin . . . and the quarrel of King Thingol, Lúthien’s father, with the Dwarves. . . .”13 The argument for pinpointing the mid-1930s as the period in which this literary technique became highly important to Tolkien in his own fictional writing is further supported by the fact that he began his first major effort in historical fiction during the same period: his unfinished time-travel story, “The Lost Road,” in which each successive historical dream vision enriches and deepens the significance of the foreground action. Tolkien’s choosing to use his mythology as the dark antiquity of sorrow to which the foreground story of The Hobbit would allude may

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be the primary reason why The Hobbit turned out so differently from Tolkien’s other children’s stories. The other obvious reason why The Hobbit stands apart from Tolkien’s other lighthearted children’s stories is its popularity, which has become staggering in recent decades, but was significant enough in 1937 that Stanley Unwin urged Tolkien to start a sequel when The Hobbit had been off the presses less than a month, which is astonishing and shows notable prescience on Unwin’s part. Tolkien was delighted, not least by the prospect of monetary gain and the leisure time it would buy him for writing: “Writing stories in prose or verse has been stolen, often guiltily, from time already mortgaged,” he wrote to Unwin in October of 1937, “I may perhaps now do what I much desire to do, and not fail of financial duty.”14 At the same time, Tolkien was “perturbed” at the idea of writing a sequel: “I cannot think of anything more to say about hobbits,” he told Unwin in the same letter. “But,” he went on, “if it is true that The Hobbit has come to stay and more will be wanted, I will start the process of thought.”15 Later in October, after another encouraging letter from Unwin, Tolkien said: “I will start something soon.”16 But he didn’t. Instead, he sent Unwin Farmer Giles of Ham, Mr. Bliss, The Lost Road, The Lay of Leithian, and a handful of “Silmarillion” texts in the hope that one of these might fill the immediate need and remove from him the burden of writing a sequel. When these were understandably rejected as having no resemblance to The Hobbit, Tolkien admitted to Unwin “I did not think any of the stuff I dropped on you filled the bill,” concluded “I think it is plain that . . . a sequel or successor to The Hobbit is called for,” and promised “to give this thought and attention.”17 “I promise to give this thought and attention”: it sounds more like a comment Tolkien would make to placate a doctor who told him he had to give up pipe-smoking than a statement of commitment from an inspired author on the brink of composing one of the great novels of all time. It is indeed a lovely irony that Tolkien did not want to write the book that became his masterwork and that his first act was an attempt to avoid doing so by thrusting at Stanley Unwin whatever manuscripts were close at hand. For even here, in this very letter, after promising to start on a sequel, Tolkien makes one more attempt to avoid writing something new by offering Unwin his Bombadil poems.18 Through this behavior, Tolkien the mythmaker temporarily became a mythic archetype: the reluctant hero who seeks to elude ineluctable destiny.

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Yet it is entirely understandable that he would not want to write a sequel: the conditions were all wrong. Tolkien was being asked to write a children’s story not for his own children but for Allen & Unwin, not for reading aloud in his own home but for publication, and not at a pace that moved with his own leisurely whims but at the pace of his publisher’s expectations for marketing a sequel. Unwin believed, quite rightly from a commercial publishing viewpoint, that it was important to strike again while the iron of The Hobbit’s popularity was still hot. Tolkien could not argue with this, and his attempts to avoid beginning a sequel had been thwarted. There was nothing left to do but write. He could not complain because his own success had brought him to that point. And exactly where was he? In sweetly ironic artistic circumstances: for the first time in his life, Tolkien was being compelled to treat with professional seriousness a form of narrative that he had always considered a lighthearted pastime, and the fact that this narrative form, the lighthearted children’s story, rather than one of his solemn-toned mythological works, proved to be the vehicle through which Tolkien was able to write not only his most significant and most serious work but also the work that effectively brought “The Silmarillion” to a conclusion is a truly wonderful irony. Christopher Tolkien reminds us of this when he says, in the foreword of The Return of the Shadow, that in 1937 The Hobbit’s significance for Middle-earth lay not in what it was but “in what it would do.”19 And Tolkien himself wrote in 1950, shortly after completing The Lord of the Rings, that The Hobbit “proved to be the discovery of the completion of the whole.”20 But that was 1950. In December of 1937, Tolkien had no such knowledge. In fact, though faced with writing a sequel, he had no coherent story ideas at all. Nevertheless, he started to write and before Christmas had completed a draft of the first chapter. But by mid-February of 1938 the initial creative impulse had dried up, and he told his publisher: “I have only the vaguest notions of how to proceed.”21 Ideas stirred again some days later and more composition followed, but by mid-July he was discouraged again: “The sequel to The Hobbit has remained where it stopped,” he wrote. “It has lost my favour, and I have no idea what to do with it.”22 In August he began once more and told his publishers that the work was “flowing along, getting quite out of hand” and progressing “towards quite unforeseen goals.”23 Tolkien’s impulsive bursts of composition, followed by creative impotence and a subsequent disliking of what he had written are clear signs of his uncertainty and his unplanned

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writing. He was literally writing his way into the Middle-earth of the Third Age, a journey of doubtful steps towards unforeseen goals whose distance he could not judge. Tolkien dealt with his uncertainty by turning to the familiar ground of “The Silmarillion,” which was where he wanted to be anyway. As he baldly revealed from a safe distance many years later: “They wanted a sequel. But I wanted heroic legends and high romance. The result was The Lord of the Rings.”24 The tone of triumphant defiance in this revelation throws new light on Tolkien’s curious remarks, made more than once to Stanley Unwin in 1938, about his inability to write imaginative fiction unconnected to “The Silmarillion”: remarks such as “the Silmarils are in my heart,” “the construction of an elaborate and consistent mythology rather occupies the mind,” “my mind on the story side is really preoccupied with the pure fairy stories of the Silmarillion . . . and I do not think I shall be able to move much outside it,” and “I cannot think of anything more to say about hobbits . . . but I have only too much to say . . . about the world into which the hobbit intruded.”25 Since we know Tolkien was capable of working outside his “Silmarillion” mythology and had done so successfully more than once during the 1930s, these remarks are essentially warnings. Without explicitly saying so, Tolkien was trying to warn Unwin that, despite the fact that Unwin desired a sequel in the lighthearted vein of The Hobbit, Tolkien intended to write something far more substantial, far more complicated, far more rich in imagination and allusion to his mythic history, and far more significant artistically, even if Tolkien could not say, in early 1938, what it was going to be. Through these months of uncertainty, the pressure supplied by his publishers, though vexing to him, proved a blessing in the long run because this new audience, unlike the original audience for his adventurous stories, had a power to keep him at his writing desk even amid his uncertainty. How much real pressure Allen & Unwin placed upon him is hard to gauge, but that Tolkien felt pressure to produce is clear. Had he not felt anxious about the work, he would not have made untenable promises about when the work would be finished, as he did more than once to Unwin. In October of 1938 he hoped to be finished “early next year.”26 In February of 1939 he said: “It is conceivable I could finish by June.”27 In December of 1939 he asked Unwin: “Will there be any chance of publication, if I can get it done before the Spring?”28 These statements are not deliberate falsehoods meant to placate his publisher;

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rather, they are sincere albeit hopeful expressions of intention based on Tolkien’s limited foresight of the end of his story. That Tolkien failed to meet the deadlines, by ten years as it turned out, shows how little he yet comprehended, even two years into the writing, where his imagination was going, how far he had yet to travel, and how unforeseen his goals really were. 1. Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien: A Biography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 46, 48. 2. Ibid., 166. 3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, rev. and expanded ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), 11. 4. Carpenter, Tolkien: A Biography, 180. 5. J.R.R. Tolkien, to the editor of the Observer, January or February 1938, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 31. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 6. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.A. Furth, 24 July 1938, in Letters, 38. 7. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Bretherton, 16 July 1964, in Letters, 346. 8. Tolkien, Annotated Hobbit, 39n17. 9. Ibid., 35, 49n17. 10. J.R.R. Tolkien,“Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 27. 11. T.A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), 170. 12. The concept of the One Ring, which Tolkien labored to develop in 1938, created fertile opportunity for alluding to the mythic history of Middle-earth because it is part of every age: the One Ring was forged in the Second Age by a Maia created prior to the First Age, and the destruction of the One Ring brings an end to the Third Age. 13. Tolkien, to Christopher Bretherton, 16 July 1964, in Letters, 346. 14. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 15 October 1937, in Letters, 24. 15. Ibid. 16. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 23 October 1937, in Letters, 25. 17. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 16 December 1937, in Letters, 26. 18. Ibid. 19. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the Shadow, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 6 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988), 7.

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20. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 145. 21. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.A. Furth, 17 February 1938, in Letters, 29. 22. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.A. Furth, 24 July 1938, in Letters, 38. 23. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.A. Furth, 31 August 1938, in Letters, 40. 24. Tolkien, to Christopher Bretherton, 16 July 1964, in Letters, 346. 25. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 15 October 1937, in Letters, 24. 26. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 13 October 1938, in Letters, 41. 27. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.A. Furth, 2 February 1939, in Letters, 42. 28. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 19 December 1939, in Letters, 44.

“And All the Days of Her Life Are Forgotten” The Lord of the Rings as Mythic Prehistory

John D. Rateliff

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y goal in this paper is to argue that Tolkien’s conception of his mythos as a legendary reconstruction of the lost past of our world gave depth and resonance to his tales, as well as great poignance. By placing Middle-earth on our own planet—distant in time but not in space—he willingly accepted certain restraints on his sub-creation, which both gave it focus and dramatically distinguish it from most modern fantasy. Since Middle-earth is destined to become the world we see around us today, every wonder he describes is doomed to pass away and indeed is presented not so much from the delight of the thing itself but so that we may mourn its passing. In a way, the whole epic of Middle-earth, from the Ainulindalë to the Restored Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, is the world’s longest line of dominos, set up with infinite care only to be knocked down: that is what it’s for. Tolkien creates in order to destroy, wringing a moving elegy from his imaginary world even as he engineers its passing.

Part I: “So Hard and Bitter” The title of my paper derives, of course, from the closing words of “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen,” one of the very final passages of The Lord of the Rings according to the story’s internal chronology, postdated only perhaps by Gimli and Legolas’s departure (itself the final entry in Appendix B, “The Tale of Years”1) and by the events described in the fragment “The New Shadow.”2 Noting that “it was not her lot to die until all that she had gained was lost,”3 Tolkien describes Arwen’s bereavement at Aragorn’s death and her own rapidly approaching consummation of mortality, her farewell to her children, and her decision to spend her final months alone in deserted Lórien:

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The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 “[W]hen the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea. “Here ends this tale, as it has come to us from the South; and with the passing of Evenstar no more is said in this book of the days of old.” [Appendix A, “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”]4

I have chosen this passage as the keynote for my paper because it seems to me to highlight one highly unusual aspect of Tolkien’s work that gets relatively little attention: his decision to set his tale in the real world but in an imagined prehistory. This is extremely rare in modern fantasy, even among Tolkien’s most slavish followers—a point to which we will return later. As a necessary consequence of that decision, every wonder he creates is predestined to be destroyed, every race and creature he invents doomed to fade into extinction, every city and culture to pass away utterly, leaving behind no discernable trace. Only a word or two,5 a few vague legends and confused traditions, a smattering of lines of nonsense nursery rhyme, and perhaps a single, battered book would remain to testify of a time when we shared this world with other folk: the elves and dwarves and goblins, and others we have utterly forgotten (e.g., ents and hobbits). Many have accused Tolkien of being too sentimental and softhearted—I’m thinking here of E.R. Eddison’s critique, described in Tolkien’s letter to Caroline Whitman Everett: “Eddison thought what I admire ‘soft’ (his word: one of complete condemnation, I gathered); I thought that, corrupted by an evil and indeed silly ‘philosophy’, he was coming to admire, more and more, arrogance and cruelty”6—not fully appreciating the cold-bloodedness required to build a fantasy world for the sole purpose of destroying it. Thus, when a reviewer claimed that all Tolkien’s characters“come home like happy boys safe from the War,” Tolkien retorted “it’s . . . untrue, isn’t it, that it’s a happy story. One friend of mine said he only reads it during Lent because it’s so hard and bitter.”7 Or, as Paul Kocher put it in Master of Middle-earth (still one of the best books on Tolkien, over thirty years later): [In] his epic Tolkien inserts . . . some forebodings of [Middle-earth’s] future which will make Earth what it is today . . . he shows the initial steps in a long process of retreat or disappearance by all other intel-

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ligent species, which will leave man effectually alone on earth. The greater elves are already going home to Eldamar, from which they will not return, while the lesser ones who remain sink into oblivion. Orcs shut themselves into their caverns under the mountains. . . . [H]obbits will retire from all communication with us, reduced in size, numbers, and importance. The slow reproductive rate of the dwarves foreshadows their gradual extinction, leaving behind them imperishable monuments of stone. Ents may still be there in our forests, but what forests have we left? The process of extermination is already well under way in the Third Age, and . . . Tolkien bitterly deplores its climax today.8

This close identification between his fantasy world and our modern world goes back to the very roots of Tolkien’s mythos, the so-called “mythology for England,” and remained a key element through his final jottings written more than fifty years later. Nor was the elegiac tone a later addition, layered onto an essentially lighthearted story; it was an essential element of the conception right from the start. They are the lost tales, the fragmentary sole surviving record of a forgotten history, the story of a people who are either dead, withdrawn from the world, or faded from view. While there are some comic touches (Melko and the pillars of ice; Melko’s pine-cone comets), The Book of Lost Tales is essentially the tragic story of a ruined people. To quote Tolkien’s own words when speaking of the Beowulf-poet, one of his major literary models,9 “telling of things already old and weighted with regret . . . he expended his art in making keen that touch upon the heart which sorrows have that are both poignant and remote”—words that could equally well be applied to Tolkien himself, as indeed Christopher Tolkien does in the foreword to the first volume of his History of Middle-earth series (The Book of Lost Tales, Part One).10

Part II: “The Inhabited World of Men” I have, I suppose, constructed an imaginary time, but kept my feet on my own mother-earth for place. I prefer that to the contemporary mode of seeking remote globes in ‘space’. . . . Middle-earth is . . . a modernization . . . of an old word for the inhabited world of Men. . . . Many reviewers seem to assume that Middle-earth is another planet! [Tolkien, to Rhona Beare, 14 October 1958, in Letters, 283]

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The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 The Lord of the Rings may be a “fairy-story”, but it takes place in the Northern hemisphere of this earth: miles are miles, days are days, and weather is weather. [Tolkien, to Forrest J. Ackerman, June 1958, commenting on the Zimmerman film script, in Letters, 272, italics mine] Those days, the Third Age of Middle-earth, are now long past, and the shape of all lands has been changed; but the regions in which Hobbits then lived were doubtless the same as those in which they still linger: the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea. [Tolkien, Prologue to The Lord of the Rings, 14, italics mine] I am historically minded. Middle-earth is not an imaginary world. . . . The theatre of my tale is this earth, the one in which we now live, but the historical period is imaginary. The essentials of that abiding place are all there (at any rate for inhabitants of N.W. Europe), so naturally it feels familiar, even if a little glorified by the enchantment of distance in time. [Tolkien, comments on W.H. Auden’s review of The Return of the King, early 1956, in Letters, 239]

Among the reams of Tolkien criticism produced in the last five decades, there has been surprisingly little emphasis placed on the simple fact that Tolkien’s Middle-earth is indeed our own world; this essential detail is generally acknowledged and then ignored. Indeed, one is reminded of what Owen Barfield called residual positivism, and H.P. Lovecraft the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents: critics accept Tolkien’s statement as true but do not bother to ponder the consequences, instead keeping the knowledge compartmentalized. Working within what we might call a teleological framework—a story with a definite predetermined end in sight—means Tolkien is not creating within a vacuum. By working within our own past, however fictionalized and elaborated, Tolkien committed himself to a world that would end up just like the present—from a multiplicity of wonders and speaking races (remembering his evocation of “one of the primal desires that lie near the heart of Faërie: . . . to hold communion with other living things”11) to a world in which we find ourselves profoundly alone. Late in life this decision would create for him many difficulties: for example, in the 1960 Hobbit, where he realized that the time-frame given in The Hobbit could not be reconciled with the Shire calendar given in Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings (a conundrum he never satisfactorily resolved).12

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Or, more significantly, when he came to reject the literal truth of his own cosmogonical legend about the creation of the sun and moon as the last fruits of the Two Trees of Valinor, or of the flat earth being made into a round globe at the time of the Downfall of Númenor, believing that these were no longer plausible enough for a modern reader to evoke the Secondary Belief necessary for Sub-creation. Yet he could not bring himself to abandon the stories that embodied those myths, or the later tales that depended upon them (for example, the origin of the Silmarils themselves, or the nature of the Evening Star, the germ-root and inspiration of his entire mythology). His solution, I think, as startling as it was brilliant, was to posit in The Notion Club Papers (c. 1944–46) that a change could come, so drastic that it changed not only the present and of course the future from that point on but even the past as well, so that the present now derived from a different past and the original past had no longer ever happened, being transformed from history—the things that actually happened—into myth; the things we remember that exist now only in legend and memory. Or, to put it a different way, after Númenor’s destruction the only way to reach the lost isle would be through memory: the old shape of the world existed henceforth only as a memory of earth.13 Tolkien had already explored in The Lost Road (c. 1936) the idea of accessing the past via the welling up of inherited memories (primarily through dreams) in the descendants of those who experienced the calamity first-hand. Now in The Notion Club Papers he added to this the power of the mythical past to directly and dramatically affect the modern world when the two are brought into contact, so that when two characters (Arry Lowdham and Young Jeremy) travel back to experience the sinking of Atlantis (or Downfall of Númenor, as Tolkien preferred to call it), the event explosively affects their own time in the form of the worst storm of the century, which“slew more men, felled more trees, and cast down more towers, bridges and other works of Man than a hundred years of wild weather,” with “[t]he centre of its greatest fury . . . hav[ing] been out in the Atlantic . . . its whole course and progress . . . something of a puzzle to meteorologists.”14 Clearly, evoking the Earth’s memory is a risky business. The past still exists, and things can escape out of the past into our present,15 just as one who knows how to find “the Straight Road” can travel a path that no longer exists in the modern world. Nor is this the only place in Tolkien where he hints that mythic worlds can affect the physical world of our reality—cf. for instance his references

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in “On Fairy-Stories” to “elven drama,” which are indistinguishable to a human mind from reality itself.16 In his dedication to the principle that Middle-earth is (or will become) our earth, Tolkien stands in stark contrast to most modern-day writers in the tradition he himself founded. Indeed, considering that Tolkien provided the paradigm for the modern fantasy novel, and the degree to which he is imitated (often slavishly) by those writing in the genre over the last fifty years, it’s significant that“world-building” has become one of the essential elements of his successors’ work, from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea and Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Land17 to the worlds of Tad Williams’ massive Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, David Eddings’ Belegariad, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, and the like, all of them fantasy worlds bearing more than a passing resemblance to Middle-earth but all clearly not set in our own world, however distantly in the past. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover are actually located on other planets circling other suns, being essentially old-school pulp science fiction disguised as fantasy, while Terry Pratchett’s Discworld comically reverses this by presenting a full-fledged fantasy cosmology (wherein a tiny sun circles his flat earth). Some are set in alternate Earths, like Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass or Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber or Guy Gavriel Kay’s loosely-linked series of stand-alone books beginning with Tigana (itself linked to the thoroughly Tolkienian Fionavar trilogy that preceded it). But while all these authors are writing more or less in “the Tolkien tradition” and on the surface seem to be following his example (often with such Tolkienian touches as maps, appendices, interpolated songs, and bits of invented languages), in their works the issue of linkage from mythic history to prehistory, so important to Tolkien, doesn’t even arise. Indeed, so obscured has this essential element in Tolkien become that Tolkien himself had to insist several times in letters and interviews on the real-world grounding of his tale. To find authors who, like Tolkien, are creating a wholly realized Secondary World set in the distant past of what will one day become our world, where indeed much of the point of the sub-created world is its explicit linkage to our own Primary World, it’s necessary to turn to one of his contemporaries, Robert E. Howard, and one of his most illustrious predecessors, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.

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The Conan stories of Robert E. Howard are, on one level, pure pulp hackwork, written at great speed for quick sale at cheap rates to an undiscriminating magazine audience. But if Howard was a hack, he was an honest hack who wrote with great verve that has never been successfully imitated, though many have tried.18 Like Tolkien, Howard set his stories in the distant past of our world, including very specific links between the two eras—for example, a subsequent drowning after the time of his stories converts the lowlands of Shem and Stygia into the Mediterranean basin (a fictional event very like the current realworld hypothesis for the catastrophic creation of the Black Sea, put forth over sixty years after Howard’s death), while “the mountains of western Cimmeria,” Conan’s homeland,“became the islands later known as England, Scotland, and Ireland”19—very like Tolkien’s early myths of the drowning of Broseliand/Beleriand and the creation of Luthany, or Britain. But unlike Tolkien, whose inspiration was fundamentally languages and legends, Howard’s mythic prehistory is obsessed with two motifs. The first is the noble savage—the more savage, the nobler, in his rather warped view; “civilization” and “civilized” are always pejorative terms in Howard’s lexicon. The second is racial: Howard was an enthusiastic devotee of the Aryan myth popular in his time—unlike Tolkien, who repudiates it in no uncertain terms in his letter to the German publisher Rutten & Loening Verlag, written only two years after Howard’s suicide (25 July 1938, in Letters, 37). Howard departed from most of his fellow racists in two details: he did not put much weight on “Aryans” (that is, Indo-Europeans) as the inventors of much of the world’s civilization,20 because he did not place much value on civilization per se, and he depicted the purest of all Aryan strains not as blond and blue eyed Scandinavians or Germanic Teutons but as dark-haired, blue-eyed “Aryan Celts,” by which he meant Irishmen—or, rather, Americans of Irish descent, like himself.21 For much of Howard’s Conan cycle, the fictional world is only a backdrop for the hero’s exploits, its peoples thinly disguised versions of familiar nations well-known to history (thus the “Shemites” are Arabs [the children of Shem: Semitic], the “Stygians” Egyptians, the Æsir Norsemen, and the Picts, well, Picts). But he transcended this crude correspondence when in 1935, just about the time he abandoned the Conan series,22 he wrote an 8,000-word essay, “The Hyborian Age” (complete with map), describing several thousands of years of his

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imaginary setting’s history, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the migrations of peoples, and the ultimate destruction of the era into a new dark age. While this reads rather like a bloody pulp version of The Lord of the Rings’ Appendix A, it ends with a section that reveals Howard’s real interest: the descendants of these imaginary peoples into historical time. Thus we learn that the Gypsies are part-Zamorian, part-Zingaran; the “Achaians [Greeks], Gauls, and Britons” were Æsir; the Sumerians a Hyrkanian-Shemitish mix, the Hyrkanians themselves ancestors of “the tribes later known as Tatars, Huns, Mongols, and Turks”; the Scythians descendants from an eastern offshoot of the Cimmerians, and so forth.23 So while Tolkien is concerned with the preservation of language, legend, and myth, Howard is mainly interested in racial (racist) theory, in the mixing of strains and the preservation of purity—Tolkien does not tell us who the descendants of the Númenóreans are today, other than that they walk among us, but Howard is explicit about the reconstructed family tree of races and peoples. A third writer who built up an antediluvian world which he developed at considerable length before describing its apocalyptic destruction is Mark Twain. Like Tolkien, Twain wrote a cycle of fantasy stories set in the mythical past of our own world, which he left in a fragmentary state and for the most part were only published posthumously.24 The Papers of the Adam Family, like Tolkien’s Red Book of Westmarch (and the older Golden Book of Tavrobel that preceded it), purport to be translations of very ancient diaries and memoirs set in a now-lost and almost wholly forgotten world, only fragments of whose history (much distorted by time) have otherwise come down to us. Just as Tolkien builds his prehistory out of fragments of folklore, legend, and archeology, so Twain constructs his from the extremely sketchy accounts in the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis. And just as Tolkien’s preoccupation is primarily heroic legends of the passing of an age and his beloved languages, so Twain’s is primarily satiric: he conceives of a pre-Babel antediluvian world, with its extremely long life spans and unified universal language, as having reached a very high level of civilization (“as it is called”), so that it bears a remarkable resemblance to the nineteenth-century America of his own day, complete with railroads, newspapers, a corrupt Congress, unjust wars, and even baseball. Through the diaries of Adam and Eve (and Satan) he tells about life in Eden; through the diary of Shem, about the final days of the old world before the Flood; through Eve’s autobiography, Methuselah’s diary, and

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the various writings of Reginald Selkirk (a.k.a.“the Mad Philosopher”) such as “Passage from ‘Outlines of History’ (suppressed)” and “Passage from ‘Glances at History’ (suppressed),” he depicts a world burdened with overpopulation (more than 5 billion people by the year 500 and a staggering 60 billion by the time of Adam’s death in 930) and beset with all the ills of modern civilization. Naturally, since Selkirk, as Twain’s spokesman, advances the Law of Periodic Repetition:“everything which has happened once must happen again and again and again.” Will this wonderful civilization of to-day perish? Yes, everything perishes. Will it rise and exist again? It will—for nothing can happen that will not happen again. And again, and still again, forever. . . . In time, [this civilization] will pass away and be forgotten. Ages will elapse, then it will come again. . . . Again it will pass away, and after ages will rise and dazzle the world again as it dazzles it now—perfect in all its parts once more.25

Thus Twain, like Tolkien, posited in his fantasy a world that had been swept away with hardly a trace, leaving behind an impoverished world that has become the world we know. However, both Howard and Twain are profoundly unlike Tolkien in that they do not consider the past better than the present. Each might express passing nostalgia—Twain for a time when we could meet Eve or Adam, our first ancestors, in the flesh; Howard for a time when a man could rage about, red in tooth and claw, without the troublesome restraints of civilization—but only Tolkien mourns the passing of the old world; he alone strikes the elegiac note.26

Part III: “Kortirion among the Trees”: A Lost Past And now is the end of the fair times come very near . . . all the beauty that yet was on earth—fragments of the unimagined loveliness of Valinor whence came the folk of the Elves long long ago—now goeth it all up in smoke. . . . So fade the Elves. . . . Memories faded dim, a wraith of vanishing loveliness in the trees . . . . Tavrobel shall not know its name, and all the land be changed, and even these written words of mine belike will all be lost. . . . [Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two27]

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Contrast the sentiment expressed in the preceding quote, written in 1920 to stand as the epilogue to The Book of Lost Tales, with these lines by one of Tolkien’s favorite fellow fantasists, Lord Dunsany, set down only four years earlier during the middle of the most deadly battle in history, the Battle of the Somme: I do not know where I may be when this preface is read . . . But it does not greatly matter where I am; my dreams are here before you amongst the following pages . . . [W]riting in a day when life is cheap, dreams seem to me all the dearer, the only things that survive. . . . [I] offer you these books of dreams . . . as one throws things of value, if only to oneself, at the last moment out of a burning house.28

A key element in Tolkien’s conception of Middle-earth as the legendary past of our world was what Tolkien in the essay“On Fairy-Stories” called Recovery: the restoration of a sense of wonder in everyday things—or, in this case, an appreciation of the wondrous history that might underlie what seem today very ordinary places. Writing many years after the fact to his friend, publisher Milton Waldman, Tolkien explained that part of the impetus for the creation of his imaginary world, in addition to his invented languages and his “passion . . . for myth . . . and for fairy-story, and above all for heroic legend on the brink of fairy-tale and history, of which there is far too little in the world,” was the desire “to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story—the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths—which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country.”29 His impetus for creating “a mythology for England”30 was, he said, his grief at the poverty of my own beloved country: it had no stories of its own (bound up with its tongue and soil), not of the quality that I sought, and found . . . in the legends of other lands. There was Greek [Homer, Hesiod, the tales of Theseus and of the Argonauts], and Celtic [the Mabinogion, the Tain bo Cuailnge], and Romance [by which I take it he means the Aeneid, Lays of Ancient Rome, and the like], Germanic [the legends of the Goths, the Burgundians, the Lombards, etc.], Scandinavian [the Eddas, some sagas], and Finnish [the Kalevala] . . . but nothing English, save impoverished chap-book stuff [e.g.,“Jack the Giant-Killer”]. Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world,

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but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English.31

That is, Tolkien rightly saw King Arthur as a British, or Welsh, myth and not an English one, while Beowulf, though a masterpiece of the English language, was nonetheless a Germanic story rather than a specifically English one; each fails one of his two tests, of being “bound up” in England’s“tongue and soil,” English and England respectively. Thus the Arthurian cycle while set in what is now England is definitely not an English story (the English are in fact the barbarians Arthur strives to defend his homeland against), while Beowulf ’s exploits may be retold in magnificent English verse but take place far, far away back in the old country; it is English but not of England. The Book of Lost Tales, then, was meant to remedy this situation by providing stories that were English in every sense of the term: both written in English and set in England; heroic tales poised between myth and history, and“mythic” in the sense that they would explain how our world came to be the way it is. Several prior critics—for example, Hostetter and Smith in their essay “A Mythology for England,” Jane Chance in her book Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England,32 etc.—have assumed that Tolkien meant his myth would have to incorporate elements from now-lost English legends. While this was certainly an important part of Tolkien’s schema, I think his words are more literal than they credit.33 As Christopher Tolkien noted in his commentary on “The Cottage of Lost Play”: “In his earliest writings the mythology was anchored in the ancient legendary history of England; and more than that, it was peculiarly associated with certain places in England.”34 Specifically, the cardinal fact (made quite explicit in extant notes) of this [earliest] conception is that the Elvish isle to which Eriol [the Wanderer] came was England—that is to say, Tol Eressëa would become England, the land of the English, at the end of the story. . . . Kortirion, the town in the centre of Tol Eressëa to which Eriol comes in The Cottage of Lost Play, would become in after days Warwick (and [the names] were etymologically connected); Alalminórë, the Land of Elms, would be Warwickshire; and Tavrobel, where Eriol sojourned for a while in Tol Eressëa, would afterwards be the Staffordshire village of Great Haywood.35

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That all these are places with which Tolkien felt a strong personal bond (Warwick was Edith Bratt’s home during their engagement, while Great Haywood is the village in which the newlyweds lived in the early days of their marriage; similarly Taruithorn, or Oxford, was their chosen home after the War) is biographically significant but beside the point. The very essence not just of trifles like “Goblin Feet” (originally titled “Cumaþ þá Nihtielfas”—i.e., “The Night-elves Come”36) and “Tinfang Warble” but also more substantial poems such as “The Grey Bridge at Tavrobel,” “Over Old Hills and Far Away,” and especially “Kortirion among the Trees” depends upon the identification of contemporary England with the legendary elvenhome: Eärendel shines over both, linking the two worlds. Faerie, disenchanted, had become mundane reality, but those who knew how to hear and see could still catch glimpses and echoes of the fey world that had withdrawn. In a way, Tolkien’s insight was precisely the opposite of Joseph Conrad’s. When in“Heart of Darkness” (1899) Conrad’s narrator Charlie Marlow looks out upon the Thames at night and says this also has been one of the dark places of the earth, it’s a cynical realization that where now there is civilization there once was savagery. But instead of a memory of darkness, Tolkien’s is an elegy to vanished light: “Tavrobel shall not know its name.” Though now “bare,” “stripped of its leaves,” forgetful and forgotten, Kortirion of the Elms somehow endures: “Unseen the Elves go by . . . The Elves are silent. But they do not die! . . . Here undefeated dwell/The Folk Immortal under withered elms,/ Alalminórë once in ancient realms” (“The Trees of Kortirion”). We should note that this poem was first written c. 1915 (as “Kortirion among the Trees”) as part of the first stage of Tolkien’s mythology, revised c. 1937 (that is, after he had put the final touches on The Hobbit and about the time he was beginning The Lord of the Rings), and revised again c. 1961–62 for possible inclusion in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil near the end of his career.37 Christopher Tolkien has said, on England’s having been first Tol Eressëa and later Luthany: “All this was to fall away afterwards from the developing mythology,”38 but I am not so sure. Even in its final form, “Kortirion among the Trees” could stand equally well as a poem from the Third/Fourth Age or from our own, the Seventh. And though much of this material was later deleted, so that Tol Eressëa, the Lonely Isle, became not an earlier name for Great Britain but a far-distant land, Tolkien never wholly abandoned this conception, and it remains perhaps the single most distinguishing feature of his world-building.

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Even when the specifics were removed, the key concept remained: that he was telling the story of very ancient deeds, “lost tales” that took place in a distant past but in his familiar beloved homeland. Furthermore, Christopher Tolkien warns us that details which drop out of the story during its long evolution are not necessarily rejected but sometimes merely omitted by means of compression.39 It can hardly be coincidence that as late as 1930, when writing the opening chapter of The Hobbit, Tolkien felt free to include not only references to Beren, Tinúviel, the Necromancer, and Mirkwood (Taur-na-Fuin) but also to the Gobi Desert, Hindu Kush, and “the Wild Wire-Worms of the Chinese” as part of Bilbo’s world.40 That same year (1930), when writing the Quenta (subtitled “the brief History of the Noldoli or Gnomes, drawn from the Book of Lost Tales”)—a major step forward in the “Silmarillion” proper that replaced the 1926 “Sketch of the Mythology,” which had in turn replaced The Book of Lost Tales as the prime prose “Silmarillion” text—Tolkien added “Ingolondë” as one of the names for Beleriand, a name retained in the 1937 Quenta Silmarillion. In Christopher Tolkien’s words, “it seems plain . . . that England was one of the great isles that remained after the destruction of Beleriand.” He also gives it as his opinion that “England still had a place in the actual mythological geography” in 1937.41 The implicit linkage of Ingolonde “Land of the Noldor” (or Angoloð, the Sindarin equivalent of “Noldor” or “Gnome”) with England, the land of the Angles, is a very characteristic Tolkienian linguistic doubling; cf. the Old English word orthanc (orthanc enta weorc “the cunning work of giants”) being given an Elvish etymology as well. The recent Mathew Lyons book There and Back Again: In the Footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien,42 for all its occasional breeziness, is probably nearer to grasping the essence of Tolkien’s “mythology for England” than those who delve into lost myths. The legend of Wade, now wholly lost, was an important inspiration for Tolkien when creating his myth of Eärendel, yet the streets and trees of Warwickshire were equally important. Tolkien scholarship of the last twenty-odd years has given much attention to one aspect while ignoring the other. We need a balance: both are important, and the combination of the two is what makes Tolkien Tolkien. Tolkien himself included “passing into history” as part of the equation (cf. above): that’s what roots the story in real-world experience and gives it relevance. Middle-earth is not a Neverland or a Narnia or

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even a Dunsanian Dreamland but the good green earth beneath our feet, when it was enchanted.43 But if the world survives, it survives diminished and forgetful, like a small market town that was once the center of its own (little) kingdom, as in this passage from Farmer Giles of Ham, describing the valley of the Thames: “The face of the land has changed since that time, and kingdoms have come and gone; woods have fallen, and rivers have shifted, and only the hills remain, and they are worn down by the rain and the wind. But still the name [Worminghall] endures . . .”44

Part IV: “A Solemn Thought”: Lost Tales, Lost Authors, Lost Language Of this author, nothing is now known. But he was a major poet of his day; and it is a solemn thought that his name is now forgotten, a reminder of the great gaps of ignorance over which we now weave the thin webs of our literary history. [ J.R.R. Tolkien, describing the so-called “Gawain-poet”45]

And here we return to our elegy theme, for a sense of loss is always pervasive in all Tolkien’s work, even so cheerful a tale as Farmer Giles of Ham or The Hobbit. As a medieval scholar and above all as a philologist, Tolkien was keenly aware of just how much we have lost of our cultural heritage: R.M. Wilson managed to fill an entire book just listing works we know about that no longer exist46—and this is just the things that got written down and does not even consider all the stories, folklore, and legends that existed only in oral form, or that perished without leaving a trace. Consider, for example, the three authors to whose work Tolkien devoted his professional life: the so-called“Beowulf-poet,” the“Gawain-poet,” and the equally anonymous author of Ancrene Wisse, brilliant writers whose names are forever lost to us and, in the case of two out of three, whose work survives only by happenstance. We have hundreds of surviving manuscripts from antiquity of Homer, and what are considered to be the complete works of Plato, and many manuscripts of Vergil’s Aeneid. Contrast this with Beowulf, universally acknowledged the finest work of Old English poetry, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, matched in Middle English literature only by Chaucer at his best, if at all. In each case the poem survives in a single copy, one manuscript. Both these

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solitary manuscripts in turn by luck survived the disastrous 1731 fire at Ashburnham House that destroyed or damaged roughly a quarter of the Cotton Collection to which they belonged; even the Beowulf manuscript itself was scorched along the edges and had already begun to crumble away before the first transcription was made from it, decades after the fire.47 We know that other works, possibly of equal or even greater merit, did not survive the chances of history—for example, only a single page of another Old English epic, recounting the disaster Tolkien called the Freswæl and telling in part the story of Hengest, the man who led the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain, survived to modern times, and even the original manuscript of that page has since disappeared, presumably destroyed.48 As a philologist, someone who was a master at puzzling out earlier forms of language and extrapolating from remaining fragments what they could tell us about our own forgotten past,49 Tolkien would have been particularly aware of the corrosive effect of time. In the words of linguist John McWhorter, an extinct language before the advent of writing is even more unrecoverable than an extinct life form. Life forms may leave their impressions as fossils, and technology gets ever closer to allowing us to someday at least partially resurrect ancient life forms through remains of their DNA. However, a language could not leave an“imprint” before writing existed, because an individual language is not encoded in a person’s genes. . . . The particular word shapes, grammatical configurations, and various irregularities that characterize any one language are the result of largely random accretions through the millennia, no more reproducible from basic human materials than the form of an individual snowflake is from the water droplets that it began as.50

For my own part, I would reverse McWhorter’s metaphor and compare our inability to re-create a wholly lost language to our inability to re-create a snowflake from the melted drop of water it became: all the structure, detail, and beauty that made it unique is forever lost. But would Tolkien have agreed with McWhorter’s bleak assessment? The indications are that he would not. Not only did he belong to an elder school of philologists, well documented in Shippey’s Road to MiddleEarth,51 who thought that by understanding and correctly applying Grimm’s Law and similar rules of sound-change they could re-create lost languages from their latter-day descendants (if any); Tolkien’s own

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reconstruction of Gothic, in which he wrote one of his finest poems (“Bagme Bloma,” a celebration of the beauty of trees), stands witness to his mastery of this method, which led from the creation of a fairly extensive proposed Indo-European vocabulary, to the still earlier IndoHittite or the parallel proto-language of Afro-Asiatic, to the current efforts of some linguists to reconstruct “Proto-World”: the original human language from which all others derive.52 In his professional life, Tolkien could go no further. But in his fantasy, which was always closely connected to and drew constant inspiration from his professional studies (to cite only three examples, his derivation of the Dwarf-names in The Hobbit from a list interpolated into The Elder Edda, or his modeling Bilbo’s stealing the cup on a parallel scene reconstructed by nineteenth-century scholars from the most badly damaged page of the Beowulf manuscript, or his creating a new myth to explain the obscure Old English name Earendel), he was able to go beyond that and speculate on means whereby truly dead languages, with no living speakers and which have left behind no physical trace, could be recovered. He even wondered if a language could lay latent in the descendants of its speakers until called to life again by the right circumstances, and wrote in all seriousness to W.H. Auden: “I daresay . . . linguistic tastes . . . are as good or better a test of ancestry as blood-groups.”53 This belief or idea was reflected in his fiction: the common theme of both Tolkien’s time-travel stories, The Lost Road and The Notion Club Papers, is the recovery of a lost language through dreams that transcend time, allowing a far-off descendant to “learn” a long-dead language, directly experiencing what had been known by his distant ancestors.54 Tolkien is not the only man to create his own language or script—from collaborative efforts like Esperanto and its lesser-known contemporaries to modern examples such as Klingon or Laadan (Suzanne Haldin Elgin’s so-called language-for-women) and solitary creations such as M.A.R. Barker’s Tekumel; it seems very likely that the so-called “Voynich Manuscript” represents a late-medieval private language and script by an unknown author,55 while Dr. John Dee’s Enochian seems to have been invented by Dee’s medium, Edward Kelley, for no better purpose than to gull the credulous old man. But it is deeply characteristic that, having created a new language, Tolkien would not present it as a modern-day competitor to English but as a lost language from the distant past. The languages he invented after neo-Gothic are new tongues, deriving elements from

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real world speech (Welsh, Finnish) but only as raw materials: they are creations, not re-creations. As in language, so in stories. Tolkien liked to say that he was not learned in fairy-stories and myths because he rarely read a legend without wanting to write a new one. Seen in this context, his “mythology for England” takes on a new meaning. His legendarium is not the lost English mythology56 but a substitute for it, having the same air, same tone, and same elusive quality as the best of what had been lost. Tolkien wanted to create a new story to take the place of the lost tales, that would have the same function and feel as the stories he would have cherished if only they had survived, if only they had come down to us. He wove in as many elements of the surviving fragments as he could—even Hengest himself became a son of Eriol the Wanderer in a version of his mythology57—but the essential purpose is to create something new out of the surviving fragments. One does not read Tolkien to learn about ancient English myth (though Tolkien’s readers do absorb a good deal of what Tolkien called his “linguistic wisdom,” whether they know it or not); we read Tolkien to experience something new that nevertheless has the quality of something ancient and immemorial. And Tolkien’s success is such that he not only revived the mythic mode of writing but stamped the old materials he reworked into something new, and those who follow him in the new genre he created, modern fantasy, absorb and transmit characteristically Tolkienian innovations without even realizing it: he did indeed create a new “mythology” (or at least mythical mode of thinking) not just suitable but deeply appealing for our time.

Part V: “We Make Because We are Made”: Tolkien’s Sub-creative Theology Blessed are the men of Noah’s race that build their little arks, though frail and poorly filled. . . .

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme of things not found within recorded time. . . . They have seen Death and ultimate defeat, and yet they would not in despair retreat. . . .

. . . We make still by the law in which we’re made. [ J.R.R. Tolkien, “Mythopoeia,” c. 193158]

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The question inevitably arises at some point: why bother? If all human languages are doomed to one day go extinct—McWhorter estimates that 90% of the languages spoken today will be extinct within a century, an unprecedented mass extinction that would have deeply saddened Tolkien, who once praised the multiplicity of tongues with the phrase “O happy sin of Babel!”59—if all authors are ultimately forgotten or their works lost or both, if all nations eventually end and their people are absorbed into later conquerors, why write at all? Yeats’ famous answer, in one of his final poems,“Lapis Lazuli” (1938), is simple:“All things fall and are built again, / And those that build them again are gay.”60 That is, we create for the sheer joy of creation—no matter what becomes of our art in the end, the act of artistic creation is a positive good in itself. Tolkien’s answer is somewhat different, but I think relevant to our topic in hand, and to fairly represent it requires a brief metaphysical, not to say theological, digression on the way to our conclusion. In his theory of Sub-creation, Tolkien posits that only God can create; mankind sub-creates. That is, the artist creates a world that is, within its fictional confines, as “real” to the mind of the reader as our material world is within its own. But Tolkien goes beyond this: though not a gnostic, he suggested that God prefers to work indirectly. Middle-earth (Arda) is not created by Ilúvatar but only made real by him: it originates as a piece of collaborative art, the music of the Ainur.61 All this might be dismissed as “merely” a Creation Myth (but only if we use “mere” in C.S. Lewis’s sense of what is basic, essential: “Mere” Christianity), did it not sync up so precisely with Tolkien’s little fable “Leaf by Niggle,” which presents in fictional form the same ideas as his sub-creationist manifesto, the essay “On Fairy-Stories” (with which Tolkien himself paired it in Tree and Leaf). Like the angels of the cosmogonical legend, Niggle is an artist (“a Leaf by Niggle has a charm of its own”62) who passes from Making (by which Tolkien means the re-arrangement of materials in the artist’s world—e.g., combining canvas and paint in such a way as to make a picture of a leaf blowing in the wind) to Sub-creation (the depiction through art of something not existing in the artist’s world, like the Tree of Amalion) and whose sub-creation is “taken up into Creation” and made real.63 The original painting on canvas is used to patch a roof (a small piece survives and is hung in a museum, but even this is eventually lost and both it and Niggle himself “were entirely forgotten in his old country”64), yet elsewhere Niggle’s imagined tree becomes a living

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three-dimensional Tree, the heart of Niggle’s Parish, where spirits of the dead can find peace and wonder and refreshment (in a word, Recovery). The poem “Mythopoeia,” which anticipates the key argument of “On Fairy-Stories” and which Tolkien quotes from within the essay, advances the related point that we create because we are created: it is a fundamental part of our nature (“We make still by the law in which we’re made”). One can even find Biblical support for Tolkien’s view that God grants Man a creative faculty and charges him to exercise it: “the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19, emphasis mine). This injunction to create, and God’s enjoyment of the result (“I will sit and harken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song”65), I think lies at the heart of what we may call Tolkien’s sub-creative theology. We often hear it asserted that Tolkien was a traditionalist in religion (in fact, a conservative Catholic66), but while absolutely true this is nonetheless not the whole truth. It would be truer to say that Tolkien believed everything the Church taught, and more. Thus, when rebuked by a fellow Catholic (Peter Hastings, manager of a local Catholic bookstore in Oxford) for “over-stepping the mark in metaphysical matters” by including elements in his story which were not strictly in accord with Church doctrine—for example, the reincarnation of the elves—Tolkien responded by setting down his position with great care. Throughout his letter to Hastings, Tolkien vigorously asserts his right as a sub-creator to explore avenues God himself had not used in creating this world—in the words of “Mythopoeia,” “. . . ’twas our right / (used or misused). That right has not decayed / we make still by the law in which we’re made”67—and instead argues that “liberation from the channels the creator is known to have used already . . . is . . . a tribute to the infinity of His potential variety, one of the ways in which indeed it is exhibited,”68 utterly rejecting the idea that “the channels known (in such a finite corner as we have any inkling of ) to have been used are the only possible ones, or efficacious, or possibly acceptable to and by Him!”69 Thus, for example, Tolkien allowing for a sentient race like the Elves to experience a longevity that approaches immortality70 as well as reincarnation within the world of time is not heresy, as Hastings had charged, but simply a proffered alternative—a thought experiment, if

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you like, but fleshed out and given sub-creative power. The same could be said of his depiction of a plural humanity sharing the Earth (Elves and Dwarves and Men and Hobbits): there’s no reason, theologically, why different beings of similar moral stature shouldn’t share the same planet, as they do in Lewis’s Malacandra (Out of the Silent Planet), or as they did historically during the period when Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons shared the earth. Tolkien was even willing to blur the line between levels of reality when he observed that “inevitably my [sub-created] world [i.e. Middle-earth] is highly imperfect . . . nor made wholly coherent—our Real World does not appear to be wholly coherent either; and I am actually not myself convinced that . . . even in ours there are not some ‘tolerated’ sub-creational counterfeits!”71 That is, our Primary Reality shows telltale traces of being a subcreated world, not the perfect place an omnipotent being could plan and execute but one flawed though full of beauty and wonder, worthy of being taken up into a divine plan and made real. To put the matter metaphorically, Tolkien’s position would seem to be that this world is a rough draft that will some day be destroyed and replaced by a revised and corrected final copy; it’s an author’s right and privilege to offer suggestions for additions and revisions which may or may not be taken up into the New Heaven and Earth. Thus, for Tolkien, the destruction of what we sub-create is no defeat. If it had value, that may be taken up into primary reality in some form, at some time; if not in this world then in the next. Nothing worth preserving is ever really lost. Just as a lost past may linger on in the Memory of the World, so too lost art still exists where it really counts, in the Mind of God. Niggle’s masterpiece is destroyed and his name utterly forgotten, but in the end this does not matter much; Niggle’s Parish survives. Once again Mark Twain provides a striking parallel in his 1907 work “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven.” Stormfield is surprised to find that, in heaven, Shakespeare is ranked far below a tailor from Tennessee by the name of Billings: That tailor Billings, from Tennessee, wrote poetry that Homer and Shakspere couldn’t begin to come up to; but nobody would print it, nobody read it but his neighbors, an ignorant lot, and they laughed at it. . . . [O]ne night when he was sick and nearly starved to death, they . . . crowned him [with cabbage leaves], and then they rode him on a

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rail about the village. . . . [H]e died before morning. He wasn’t ever expecting to go to heaven, much less that there was going to be any fuss made over him, so I reckon he was a good deal surprised . . .”72

Or, as Gerard Manly Hopkins put it, a writer’s desire to communicate, an artist’s desire to share his vision, may be frustrated in this world by the destruction of the painting or manuscript, or the death of the person who would most have enjoyed reading it. Tolkien definitely agreed, since he approvingly quoted Hopkins’ conclusion to C.S. Lewis, that “[t]he only just literary critic is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed.”73 And here we return to our main theme, the evocation of loss in Tolkien’s works. For despite the fact that he is often accused of being nostalgic or sentimental (“soft,” as Eddison unkindly put it), he is firm on this point: however heartbreaking to our human sensibilities, we must accept loss and decay as essential parts of the world—in short, “the Gift of Men.” To do otherwise is to fall into the error of the Elves, whom Tolkien in this context called “embalmers,”74 so in love with the past that they want to prevent the future from ever arriving—at least the future conceived of as different from the present. Their ideal would be for the past to continue into present time and beyond, continually enriched but never passing away. Tolkien himself certainly understood the appeal of this—a seductive ideal of more time, if not infinite time, to go on making things and doing things that Tolkien called “an expression of certain not wholly legitimate desires the human race has about itself ”75—which makes his ultimate regretful rejection of it all the more moving. “The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay (i.e., ‘change’ viewed as a regrettable thing), the preservation of what is desired or loved”—an error so fundamental that Tolkien likens it to a second Fall of the Elves.76 The Black Númenóreans want to live forever in a kind of infinite present, and the Elves want the past to last forever: both errors that seek to frustrate the ability of the future to contribute its own sub-creations. Wootton’s Smith, wiser, passes along the gift he has been blessed with, accepting mortality. Brendan discovers paradise, only to be told to go home and die. The Gift of Men is inexorable: time obliterates the past to prepare the space for the present, and the present passes away (bearing us along with it) to make way for the future: time and death are God’s method of providing us with space to

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create. The present is not a blank slate but an erased blackboard. The Elves cling to the past and so are swept away with it; in a fallen world, acceptance of the inevitability of death is the only way to pass beyond the world’s limitations, for Brendan or Niggle or Arwen. But if time and death are inevitable, in some sense forgetfulness is even harder to accept. In the words of Mathew Lyons, writing of Merry’s pity for the Púkel-men,“it is a peculiarly Tolkienish sentiment, this, the capacity to be profoundly moved by the idea of the distant, unknown, entirely lost past. Some might characterize Tolkien’s world . . . as being one of ‘remote, meaningless antiquity’, but that misses the point of Tolkien’s life’s work, which was precisely to restore to antiquity its meaning and identities. . . . [With the Púkel-men] we see Tolkien making room within his work to articulate the very emotion that drove him to create it in the first place.”77 Elsewhere, Lyons ties Arwen’s grave itself into this impulse. Speaking of the barrow-mounds in Berkshire (similar to the thousands of anonymous “Indian mounds” found throughout the United States) that inspired the Barrow Mounds and the Barrowfield at Edoras, he writes: [Arwen’s] green grave resting on Cerin Amroth until the end of time [is] part of the landscape long after she herself has been forgotten. In pre-literate societies . . . death and memory went hand in hand, since life could have no record but a burial site or a fistful of stories passed down from father to daughter, mother to son. . . . [S]uch grave-making is . . . a claim on eternity against the depredations of time, a plea for remembrance. . . . [T]he five hundred years and 16 generations of men that the mounds of Rohan mark . . . are as nothing to the elves. Yet elves and men such as these have been alike forgotten, have fallen out of memory: it is the central conceit of Middle Earth [sic]. . . . [T]he poignancy derives from . . . the simple absence of identity, as if such barrows, like the various national monuments to unknown warriors, stood for the sorrows of all the vanished peoples of the Earth.78

Conclusion: “So Arbitrary and Precious” [T]he past is so difficult to know—the survival of anything from it so arbitrary and precious—that any chance to rescue the merest fragment of it from oblivion should not be given up lightly. [Lyons, There and Back Again: In the Footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien, 60]

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[T]he story was drawn irresistibly towards the older world, and became an account . . . of its ending and passing away before its beginning and middle had been told. [Tolkien, Foreword to The Lord of the Rings, 9] The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. [ibid., 10]

In the end, Tolkien did not perhaps achieve his goal of creating the Mythology for England. Even his most precisely localized tale, Farmer Giles of Ham, originating before he wrote The Hobbit and published about the time he finished The Lord of the Rings, exists for most of his readers in a delightfully vague pseudo-medieval world not unlike many another modern fantasy. Relatively few among the hundreds of thousands who have read this story are aware that Thame, Worminghall, Oakley, and the Standing Stones are all real places within a twenty-mile radius of Tolkien’s home at the time. The very fact that most of the places visited in Lyon’s book—Cheddar Gorge, the Berkshire Downs, Sarehole Mill—have never been heard of by the vast majority of people who consider The Lord of the Rings their favorite book shows the degree to which Tolkien’s achievement transcended his original intent. Instead of “a Mythology for England,” he wound up creating a Mythology for Our Times, one that in its “applicability” (cf. the Foreword to The Lord of the Rings, second edition) could transcend not just geographic boundaries but linguistic and, increasingly, chronological ones: many who consider The Lord of the Rings “the Book of the Century” have never visited England, were not even alive when the books were first published, and may or may not speak the language it was written in (the number of languages and dialects it has been translated into now reaches thirty-eight,79 and the book recently won a poll in Germany where a quarter-million Germans chose it as their favorite piece of literature, beating out the Bible and Thomas Mann80). To quote Lyons a final time, “Tolkien was right to be wary about conceding . . . the relationship between real places and his imaginary ones, since it is the ambiguity of his world’s relationship to England that generates meaning, not its explicitness.”81 As I have argued above, I believe more of the specific correlations existed and remain than we

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are perhaps aware of, but I agree that Tolkien was wise to downplay this element in his later work, for the reasons he himself set forth in Note E at the end of “On Fairy-Stories” (a 300-word appendix that is the shrewdest analysis of his narrative method ever penned): Literature works from mind to mind . . . at once . . . universal and . . . poignantly particular. If it speaks of bread or wine or stone or tree, it appeals to the whole of these things . . . yet each hearer will give them a peculiar personal embodiment in his imagination. Should the story say “he ate bread” . . . the hearer of the story will think of bread in general and picture it in some form of his own. If a story says “he climbed a hill and saw a river in the valley below” . . . every hearer of the words will have his own picture [of the scene], and it will be made up of all the hills and rivers and dales he has ever seen, but specially out of The Hill, The River, The Valley which were for him the first embodiment of the word.82

Out of the England he knew and loved, Tolkien created Middle-earth, a sub-creation that has become beloved in its own right. Out of his “linguistic wisdom” and expert knowledge of prehistory and fragments of lost myth, he enriched it while simultaneously paying a silent homage to those who have, like the makers of the Púkel-men, gone before and vanished, leaving little or no trace. And if its deliberate vagueness about specific one-on-one correlations blunts the original impetus for his “mythology for England” it also grants his myth transcendence and “applicability,” just as its grounding in our world gives the story weight and gravitas and prevents it from being escapist in the negative sense. Instead, his evocation of the lost past evokes the human condition, “weighted with the presage of ‘bereavement,’” but “not bound for ever to the circles of the world.”83 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1 vol. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991), 1134. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, “The New Shadow,” in The Peoples of Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 12 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Harper­ Collins, 1996), 419–20. 3. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1099. 4. Ibid., 1110.

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5. A word or two: I am thinking here of Tolkien’s statement in a letter of June 1971 that the element ond ‘stone’ (Ond > Ondor > Gondor) derived from his having read as a child that ond ‘stone’ was one of only two words surviving from the Pre-Indo-European language of Europe, adding “I have no idea how such a form could even be guessed” (to Graham Tayar, 4–5 June 1971, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981], 410; this volume is hereafter cited in the text and notes as Letters, by page). Elsewhere I have found a suggestion that *ond- is itself Indo-European (Patrick C. Ryan, “Proto-Language ‘He’ and ‘It’: IE -l/-n Nouns,” initially published in Dhumbadji! 1, no. 4 [Winter 1994], posted at http://www.geocities.com/Proto-language/PERSPO3A.htm); but I have not been able to confirm this. It is not included among the Elvish/Indo-European “loan-words” in the section of An Introduction to Elvish, ed. Jim Allan (Hayes, Middlesex: Bran’s Head, 1978) devoted to Indo-European/Elvish parallels. 6. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Caroline Everett, 24 June 1957, in Letters, 258. 7. J.R.R. Tolkien, interview by Denis (i.e. Denys) Gueroult, British Broadcasting Corporation, Oxford studio, 1964 (i.e. 20 January 1965), issued as side 1 of Tolkien and Basil Bunting (Guildford, Conn.: BBC Cassettes, 1980). 8. Paul H. Kocher, Master of Middle-earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), 10. 9. As Tolkien conceived him, the Beowulf-poet was a learned man who wanted to preserve something of his country’s ancient legendry; a Christian who wrote about pre-Christian times; a man who preferred to tell stories of largerthan-life heroes fighting epic monsters rather than realistic accounts of wars between princes or the brutal struggles of his own day—cf. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” (delivered 1936, first published 1937). 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 1 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 5. 11. J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” in Tree and Leaf, ed. Christopher Tolkien (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), 19. 12. For more on the “1960 Hobbit,” Tolkien’s retroactive attempt to create a perfect fit between The Hobbit and its sequel, see my forthcoming book, The History of The Hobbit. 13. As Tolkien put it in his 1965 BBC interview, after the Downfall Númenor “lived then only in memory. It lived in time but not present time. . . . Númenor was drowned, and the Earthly Paradise removed, and so then you could get to Central America! . . . [T]he world became round.” This ties in closely with his phrasing a decade earlier in his letter to Milton Waldman: “Valinor (or Paradise) . . . [is] removed, remaining only in the memory of the earth” (probably late 1951, in Letters, 156). We find two other examples of the memory of what we would consider inanimate objects in Legolas’s words in

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Hollin: “[T]he trees and grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone” (Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 301), and in Ramer’s experience of the forlorn lost memories of a meteorite in The Notion Club Papers (Sauron Defeated, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 9 of The History of Middle-earth [London: HarperCollins, 1992], 181–83). Something similar may perhaps be glimpsed in Bombadil’s tales, since he is in effect a genius loci, or anthropomorphized spirit of the countryside; note that the four hobbits seem to experience his words more as shared memories than as told tales, experiences that predate any human or human-like occupation of the land: “[he] wandered into strange regions beyond their memory and beyond their waking thought, into times when the world was wider, and the seas flowed straight to the western Shore; and still on and back Tom went singing out into ancient starlight, when only the Elf-sires were awake. Then suddenly he stopped. . . . ‘When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless—before the Dark Lord came from Outside’” (Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 146). 14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lost Road, published in The Lost Road and Other Stories, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 5 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1987); Tolkien, The Notion Club Papers, Night 67, in Sauron Defeated, 157, 252. 15. Cf. C.S. Lewis, The Dark Tower (c. 1946, posthumously published in 1977), where this very thing happens when the Stingerman escapes into modern-day Cambridge. Tolkien himself noted that Lewis’s new story “seems likely to clash with mine”—i.e., in the sense of pre-empting his themes ( J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 18 December 1944, in Letters, 105). 16. Tolkien,“On Fairy-Stories,” 48–49. For another present-tense reference to the elves on Tolkien’s part, implying that they still share this world with us in some sense, see “On Fairy-Stories,” 61: “The human stories of the elves are doubtless full of the Escape from Deathlessness” (emphasis mine). Note that by this standard the tale of Tinúviel is the archetypical elven fairy-tale. 17. I would include Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar, except that its creation actually predates his exposure to Tolkien, deriving inspiration instead more from the work of Robert E. Howard and E.R. Eddison and existing less in its own right than as mere backdrop to the heroes’ exploits. 18. Most notably L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, who published a number of “collaborations” with Howard several decades after his death. Like August Derleth’s“collaborations” with H.P. Lovecraft, these usually consisted of the latter-day writer taking an idea from the earlier writer’s work and writing a whole new story around it, aping the original author’s style in the process and inserting some of his favorite motifs repeatedly. In four cases, de Camp took stories by Howard set during other eras (such as the Fall of Khartoum or the

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Northwest Frontier during the Indian Wars) and re-wrote them into a Conan story, claiming (mistakenly) that no one could tell the difference. Compare the pastiches of Tolkien’s work by Dennis McKiernan and Terry Brooks. 19. Robert E. Howard,“The Hyborian Age” (1935), in The Conan Chronicles, vol. 1, The People of the Black Circle, ed. Stephen Jones (London: Millennium Books, 2000), 22–23. 20. For a succinct dissection and rebuttal of that still-lingering view, see Martin Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, 2 vols. to date (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987–91), and Bernal, Black Athena Writes Back: Martin Bernal Responds to His Critics, ed. David Chioni Moore (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2001). 21. L. Sprague de Camp, Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy (Sauk City, Wisc.: Arkham House, 1976), 149. 22. Ibid., 160; Stephen Jones, “Afterword: Robert E. Howard and Conan: The Final Years,” in The Conan Chronicles, vol. 2, The Hour of the Dragon, ed. Stephen Jones (London: Millennium Books, 2001), 563. 23. Howard, “The Hyborian Age,” 23–24. 24. Twain even wrote a story about a land named Gondour (“The Curious Republic of Gondour,” 1870, first published in book form in 1919), which begins on a linguistic note (the first line being: “As soon as I had learned to speak the language a little . . .”). Unlike Tolkien’s more familiar Gondor, Twain’s is not a legendary kingdom of the distant past but a modern utopia which he holds up as a model for voting reform (the Gondourans allow not just universal suffrage and female suffrage but grant citizens additional votes for education and achievement). While we know this could not be the direct source for Tolkien’s name because of the Ond > Ondor > Gondor evolution already mentioned (see note 5), the similarity is nonetheless striking. Furthermore, Tolkien did know at least some of Twain’s work; Clyde Kilby, although not the most reliable of sources, was probably accurate when he reported being “pleasantly surprised” by Tolkien’s familiarity with Twain (Clyde S. Kilby, Tolkien and The Silmarillion [Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw, 1976], 30–31)—Clemens was, after all, enormously popular in England when Tolkien was growing up and had made a famous visit to Oxford to receive an honorary doctorate only four years before Tolkien himself started there as an undergraduate (Milton Meltzer, Mark Twain Himself: A Pictorial Biography [New York: Bonanza Books, 1960], 276–81). 25. Mark Twain, The Bible According to Mark Twain: Writings on Heaven, Eden, and the Flood, ed. Howard G. Baetzhold and Joseph B. McCullough (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995), 78. 26. For a more lighthearted vision of antediluvian days which Tolkien almost certainly read, see Hugh Lofting, Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1923).

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27. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 2 of The History of Middle-earth (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1984), 287–89. 28. Lord Dunsany, preface, The Last Book of Wonder (New York: John W. Luce, 1916), [v–vii]. 29. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 144. 30. The phrase is apparently Humphrey Carpenter’s (cf. Tolkien: A Biography [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977], 89) rather than a direct quote from Tolkien himself; if so, it is an extremely apt coinage. 31. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 144, emphasis mine. 32. Carl F. Hostetter and Arden R. Smith, “A Mythology for England,” in Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference 1992, ed. Patricia Reynolds and Glen GoodKnight, 281–90 (Milton Keynes: Tolkien Society; Altadena, Calif.: Mythopoeic Press, 1995); Jane Chance, Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England (1979; rev. ed. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001). 33. Especially since Tolkien was more eclectic than he has been given credit for in the sources he drew on for his mythology. The Norse mythology underlying the Eddas was certainly a major influence, but he also drew on Finnish myth (the Kalevala), Roman and Greek myth (a major overlooked source, as Robert E. Morse pointed out in his unfortunately inadequate chapbook Evocation of Virgil in Tolkien’s Art: Geritol for the Classics [Oak Park, Ill.: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1986]; we should not forget that Tolkien was a classical scholar when he first went up to Oxford, and the Valar of The Book of Lost Tales owe more to the Olympians than the denizens of Asgard), Egyptian (the journey of the sun and moon beneath the world through the Duat or Underworld), and the invented mythology described by Lord Dunsany in The Gods of Pegāna (1905). Tolkien’s mythology was not purely “Northern” either in plan or in detail; he simply drew his deepest inspiration from the things that interested him most and that he loved the most. I should note that the whole concept of “a mythology for England” has been challenged by some critics, who insist the idea was foreign to Tolkien’s intentions and cannot be supported by the available evidence. The most exhaustive summation of this argument can be found in Anders Stenström’s essay “A Mythology? For England?” in Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference 1992, ed. Reynolds and GoodKnight, 310–14, which argues that in Tolkien’s usage the word “mythology” could not mean his legendarium but only the small part of it devoted to describing world-creation. Unfortunately for this rather hair-splitting argument, in his seminal 1965 BBC interview with Denys Gueroult Tolkien repeatedly uses the term in precisely the sense Stenström denies, leaving no doubt that by“my mythology” he meant the entire sub-created history of Middle-earth.

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34. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, 22. 35. Ibid., 24–25. 36. Ibid., 32. 37. Ibid., 33–43. 38. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, 327. 39. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, 9. 40. See Rateliff, “The Pryftan Fragment,” in The History of The Hobbit, forthcoming. 41. Tolkien, The Lost Road and Other Writings, 253; J.R.R. Tolkien, The Shaping of Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 4 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1986), 174, 199. 42. Mathew Lyons, There and Back Again: In the Footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien (Wimbledon: Cadogan Guides, 2004). 43. Cf. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” 14. 44. J.R.R. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1949), 77. 45. J.R.R. Tolkien, trans., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978), 13. Tolkien considered the anonymous author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight “a man of thought and intelligence,” whose achievement was rivaled only by Chaucer’s masterpiece—by which he meant Troilus & Criseyde, not The Canterbury Tales. Specifically, he calls Sir Gawain and the Green Knight “the best conceived and shaped narrative poem of the Fourteenth Century, indeed of the Middle Ages, in English, with one exception only. It has a rival, a claimant to equality not superiority, in Chaucer’s masterpiece Troilus and Criseyde. That is larger, longer, more intricate, and perhaps more subtle, though no wiser or more perceptive, and certainly less noble” ( J.R.R. Tolkien, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” the W.P. Ker Lecture, 1953, in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien [London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983], 91, 105). 46. R.M. Wilson, The Lost Literature of Medieval England (London: Methuen, 1952). 47. For more on the Cotton Manuscripts and the disaster at Ashburnham House, see Andrew Prescott, “‘Their Present Miserable State of Cremation’: The Restoration of the Cotton Library,” in Sir Robert Cotton as Collector: Essays on an Early Stuart Courtier and His Legacy, ed. C.J. Wright (London: British Library, 1997), available online at http://www.uky.edu/~kiernan/eBeowulf/ ajp-pms.htm. 48. For more on the so-called“Finnesburg Fragment” and a detailed examination of this nearly lost tale, see J.R.R. Tolkien, Finn and Hengest: The Fragment and the Episode, ed. Alan Bliss (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983). 49. Cf. his tour-de-force discovery of an otherwise unrecorded literary tradition through an acute analysis of a few surviving religious works written

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in West Midland dialect, in “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad,” Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association 14 (1929), 104–26. See also Arne Zettersten, “The AB Language Lives,” in the present volume. 50. John McWhorter, The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language (New York: Perennial, 2001), 254. 51. T.A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983). 52. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Bagme Bloma,” in Songs for the Philologists, by J.R.R. Tolkien, E.V. Gordon, and others (London: Privately Printed in the Department of English at University College, London, 1936), 12. For more on Proto-World, see Richard Rudgley, The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age (New York: Free Press, 1999). For McWhorter’s strictures and skepticism about the project, see The Power of Babel. For a lucid discussion of Afro-Asiatic and its relationship with Indo-Hittite, see Martin Bernal, Black Athena, 1:11–17. 53. J.R.R. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in Letters, 214. 54. For more on these two tales, see my essay“The Lost Road, The Dark Tower, and The Notion Club Papers: Tolkien and Lewis’s Time Travel Triad” in Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, ed. Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2000), 199–218. 55. For an overview of various theories advanced regarding the Voynich Manuscript and their varying plausibilities, see Mary E. D’Imperio, The Voynich Manuscript: An Elegant Enigma (Walnut Creek, Calif.: Aegean Park Press, [circa 1976]). D’Imperio explores the idea of an invented script but not an underlying invented language as well; to any scholar of Tolkien’s invented languages, the possibility of the Voynich Manuscript being the result of an unknown author’s “secret vice” immediately suggests itself. 56.“These tales are ‘new’, they are not directly derived from other myths and legends” (Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 147). 57. Christopher Tolkien tells us that “when lecturing on Beowulf at Oxford” his father “sometimes gave the unknown poet a name, calling him Heorrenda” (Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, 323)—significantly, a name he wove into his own mythology as the son of Eriol the Wanderer (a.k.a. Ælfwine), the mythical compiler of the Book of Lost Tales itself. In Tolkien’s private schema, Heorrenda Halfelven was the younger half-brother of Hengest and Horsa, the two men who led the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England (The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, 290–92). This fictional addition to the royal house of the Jutes was deeply rooted in Tolkien’s own historical research on the historical Hengest: see Finn and Hengest: The Fragment and the Episode, Alan Bliss’s edition of Tolkien’s unpublished lectures and notes relating to Hengest’s story, as an example of his mastery of this material. As for Heorrenda, Christopher Tolkien notes that his father took this name from the Old English poem known variously as “Deor” or “Deor’s Lament” (preserved in the tenth-century Exeter

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Book); Deor himself shows up elsewhere in Ælfwine’s imagined family tree as the father of Ælfwine (i.e., Heorrenda’s grandfather). 58. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Mythopoeia,” in J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf, 2nd ed. (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), 99–100. The final line (italics mine) precedes the others quoted. 59. McWhorter, The Power of Babel, 257; J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 9 December 1943, in Letters, 65. 60. W.B. Yeats, “Lapis Lazuli,” in Selected Poems and Two Plays, ed. M.L. Rosenthal (New York: Collier Books, 1966), 160. 61. Cf. J.R.R. Tolkien, Ainulindalë, The Silmarillion, ed. Christopher Tol­ kien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 15–22. 62. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Leaf by Niggle,” in Tree and Leaf, 2nd ed. (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), 85. 63. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Peter Hastings, September 1954, in Letters, 195. For Tolkien’s own picture of a tree like Niggle’s, see the Tree of Amalion in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), 64. 64. Tolkien, “Leaf by Niggle,” 95. 65. Ilúvatar, in Tolkien, Ainulindalë, 15, emphasis mine. 66. Recently there have been a great many books on Tolkien from a religious perspective, most trying to claim him (with dubious results) as an Evangelical, or at least a fellow-traveler with the modern American Baptist-Pentecostal tradition; a favorite tactic is to quote C.S. Lewis, assuming that anything C.S. Lewis said can be taken as an expression of Tolkien’s opinion as well (a view not supported by Letters, to say nothing of “The Ulsterior Motive,” unpublished, in the Department of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford). A minority point of view, vigorously expressed by Joseph Pearce, seeks to stress Tolkien’s catholicity instead, going so far as to claim that only Catholics can truly understand Tolkien’s work (see, for example, Pearce’s foreword to Bradley J. Birzer, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth [Wilmington, Del.: ISI Books, 2002], ix–xiv). This seems ironic, given the care with which Tolkien (a deeply religious man) avoided any overt reference to religion in his work, that some among his admirers defy his wishes and seek to sabotage his achievement by imposing a single reading upon his story and stripping away the “applicability” he deliberately built into the text. 67. Tolkien, “Mythopoeia,” 51, emphasis mine. 68. Tolkien, to Peter Hastings, September 1954, in Letters, 188. For the distinction between Making and Creating (“the act of [God] that gives Reality to conceptions”), see the same letter, in Letters, 188, 190, where Tolkien also says of his work that “the whole matter from beginning to end is mainly concerned with the relation of Creation to making and sub-creation.”

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Note that John Wain, in his autobiography Sprightly Running (London: Macmillan, 1963), 182, describes C.S. Lewis as having put forth a similar argument. When Wain took the Inklings to task for their love of fantasy and argued that “a writer’s task . . . was to lay bare the human heart, and this could not be done if he were continually taking refuge in the spinning of fanciful webs,” he says that “Lewis retorted with a theory that, since the Creator had seen fit to build a universe and set it in motion, it was the duty of the human artist to create as lavishly as possible in his turn. The romancer, who invents a whole world, is worshipping God more effectively than the mere realist who analyses that which lies about him.” Clearly unconvinced, Wain concludes, uncharitably, that “looking back across fourteen years [i.e., from 1962], I can hardly believe that Lewis said anything so manifestly absurd as this, and perhaps I misunderstood him.” Typically, Lewis apparently did not reveal that he was merely expounding one of his friends’ ideas; Tolkien noted that he sometimes found his ideas being expressed by Lewis in somewhat “Lewisified” form (letter to Christopher Tolkien, 31 July 1944, in Letters, 89), and examples abound in Lewis’s essays and letters. Any reader of C.S. Lewis well versed in the work of Owen Barfield will recognize the same phenomena at work there as well. 69. Tolkien, to Peter Hastings, September 1954, in Letters, 189. Elsewhere, Tolkien was more terse: he wrote to W.H. Auden on 12 May 1965,“I don’t feel under any obligation to make my story fit with formalized Christian theology” (Letters, 355). While “intend[ing] it to be consonant with Christian thought and belief ” (ibid.), he was determined to follow the example of the Beowulfpoet and avoid anachronistic references to Christianity itself (for Tolkien’s interpretation of the Beowulf-poet, one of his role-models, as a Christian writer telling a story set in pre-Christian times, see note 9 above and his “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” [repr. Darby, Pa.: Arden Library, 1978], 20), especially since he thought that the Arthurian cycle’s“explicitly contain[ing] the Christian religion” was one of the things that disqualified it from serving as a mythology for England (Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 144). Note, in the BBC interview with Denys Gueroult, 1965, Tolkien’s analysis of the problem of using real-world gods in a fantasy pantheon: “The man of the twentieth century must of course see that you must, whether you believe in them or not, that you must have gods in a story of this kind. But he can’t make himself believe in gods like Thor and Odin. Aphrodite. Zeus. And that sort of thing”; and his emphatic declaration that “I couldn’t possibly construct a mythology which had Olympus or Asgard in it on the terms which people who worshipped those gods believed in. God is supreme: the Creator. Outside. Transcendent. The place of God is taken—so well taken that I think it really makes no difference to the ordinary reader—by the angelic spirits created by God, created before the particular time sequence which we call the

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World.” Unlike things, true religion and false religion and sub-created powers, must be kept separate in Tolkien’s artistic credo; an insistence on trying to bring them together, or impose one upon the other, destroys the sub-creative coherence of the fictional world. 70.“I had to use [the word] ‘immortal,’ but I didn’t mean they were eternally immortal, merely that they’re very longeval, and their longevity probably lasts as long as the inhabitability of the Earth” (Tolkien, interview with Denys Gueroult, 1965). 71. Tolkien, to Peter Hastings, September 1954, in Letters, 191. While Tolkien does not elucidate on what he means by these “sub-creational counterfeits,” from the context (a discussion of beings made by the Dark Lord in counterfeit of the Free Peoples) I suspect that he is speaking of something along the lines of C.S. Lewis’s Un-man, an idea which Lewis seems to have derived in turn from Dante’s Inferno. Cf. Canto XXXIII, where Dante meets in Hell someone he knows to be alive in the world above and is told that while the soul is already damned and in Hell the body, animated by a devil, is still walking around in the world of the living (Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy 1: Hell, trans. Dorothy L. Sayers [Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1949], 281–82). 72. Mark Twain, “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” in The Bible According to Mark Twain, 170. 73. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.S. Lewis, spring 1948, in Letters, 128; emphasis mine. 74. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 151. 75. Tolkien, interview with Denys Gueroult, 1965. In full, Tolkien remarked that ultimately we’ve only got humanity to work with; it’s the only clay we’ve got. And of course any races you make, if they’re speaking and thinking, are taken from certain parts of humanity as one knows it with slight alterations of emphasis. That’s all you can do, isn’t it? Of course the Elves are simply in a sense an expression of certain not wholly legitimate desires the human race has about itself. We should all, or at least a large part of the human race, would like to have greater power of mind, greater power of art—by which I mean that the gap between the conception and the power of execution should be shortened. We should like that, and we should like longer time if not indefinite time in which to go on knowing more and making more. 76. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 152, 151. 77. Lyons, There and Back Again: In the Footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien, 54. 78. Ibid., 70–72. 79. Armenian, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Faeroese, Finnish, French, German, Greek,

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Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Iranian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Marathi, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian. (My thanks to Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond for help with this list.) The Hobbit, of course, has been translated into even more languages; the number is now approaching fifty. 80. Krysia Diver, “Troubled Germans Turn to Lord of the Rings,” Guardian, 4 October 2004; http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/article/0,2763,1319107,00.html. 81. Lyons, There and Back Again: In the Footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien, 144. 82. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” 70. 83. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Roger Lancelyn Green, 12 December 1967, in Letters, 389; Tolkien, “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen,” in Appendix A, Lord of the Rings, 1100.

What Did He Know and When Did He Know It? Planning, Inspiration, and The Lord of the Rings

Christina Scull

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hen, in late 1937, at the request of George Allen & Unwin, Tolkien set out to write a sequel to The Hobbit, neither he nor his publisher anticipated that this would be a lengthy undertaking. But Tolkien was embarking on an enterprise that would take on a life of its own, and expand in length and scope beyond all expectations. The process by which Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings combined inspiration with hard and committed work, sometimes swift and sure, sometimes complicated and convoluted. To appreciate this, as revealed in The History of Middle-earth or more directly in the Lord of the Rings papers at Marquette, is to better appreciate Tolkien’s achievement in writing his masterpiece. In 1944 he wrote to his son Christopher concerning The Lord of the Rings: “the thing seems to write itself once it really gets going, as if the truth comes out then, only imperfectly glimpsed in the preliminary sketch.”1 In some chapters, such as “The Old Forest” (bk. I, chap. 6), he reached almost the final wording at a stroke. In 1956 he said: “I have no recollection of inventing Ents. I came at last to the point, and wrote the ‘Treebeard’ chapter [bk. III, chap. 4] without any recollection of any previous thought: just as it now is.”2 But more often he spent considerable time and labour in rewriting and often reorganizing the structure before he was satisfied.“Strider” in The Fellowship of the Ring, bk. I, chap. 10, was one of the most heavily worked chapters. When writing it for the first time Tolkien could not decide exactly how certain information should be given to the hobbits, and he actually developed two versions marked “Short” and “Alternative.”3 Another difficult stretch was the last three chapters of Book IV: he had already drafted much of these before he “realized” that it was one monstrous spider, Shelob, rather than a host of smaller spiders, who attacked Frodo and Sam, and that

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the story required that the last section of the secret path should be a tunnel rather than a stair. He wrote to Christopher about this section that “it is most exhausting work; especially as the climax approaches and one has to keep the pitch up: no easy level will do; and there are all sorts of minor problems of plot and mechanism. I wrote and tore up and rewrote most of it a good many times.”4 The latter was true even at the start. He decided to begin The Lord of the Rings with a long-expected party, echoing the unexpected party that begins The Hobbit, but he was uncertain whether Bilbo, or his son Bingo, or his adopted young cousin Bingo Bolger-Baggins should give the party and, indeed, which of them was to be the hero. He evidently planned that the hero would set out on a journey and experience adventures similar to those in The Hobbit, but for some time he had little idea what those adventures might be. On 17 February 1938 he wrote to Allen & Unwin that he had “only the vaguest notions of how to proceed. Not ever intending any sequel, I fear I squandered all my favourite ‘motifs’ and characters on the original ‘Hobbit.’”5 He noted a few ideas while working on the chapter, but nothing much came of the suggestion that Bilbo accompanied by three nephews might have adventures “troll-like” or connected with a “witch-house.”6 But another idea was to be more fruitful: that Bingo with two nephews should “turn S[outh]ward to collect Frodo Brandybuck. Get lost in Old Forest. Adventure with Willowman and Barrow-wights. T Bombadil.”7 Bingo did not expect adventures to happen until he left the Shire, and Tolkien almost certainly shared this view, for he described the metamorphosis of Gandalf into a Black Rider in his second chapter as an “unpremeditated turn.”8 He needed a reason for this sinister pursuit, and chose the ring that Bilbo had found in The Hobbit and had given to Bingo as a parting present. There is no suggestion in The Hobbit or the early versions of the first chapter of its sequel that this ring had any power or effect other than making its wearer invisible, and it played no part in either Bilbo’s or Bingo’s decision to leave the Shire, but contemporary notes show that Tolkien was beginning to wonder about it: “The Ring: whence its origin. Necromancer? Not very dangerous, when used for good purpose. But it exacts its penalty. You must either lose it, or yourself” and “Ring must eventually go back to Maker, or draw you towards it.”9 Tolkien developed these ideas, and not long after the encounter with the first Black Rider, the notion emerged in Bingo’s conversation with Gildor that the Black Riders were Ringwraiths sent by the Lord of

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the Rings to recover Bingo’s ring. From this beginning Tolkien slowly developed the significance of the Ring, the other Rings of Power, and the part Sauron had in their making—the foundation and impetus for the story of The Lord of the Rings. Christopher Tolkien has traced his father’s evolving ideas in great detail in The Return of the Shadow and The Treason of Isengard and found that it was not until the writing of “The Mirror of Galadriel” (bk. II, chap. 7), probably in the autumn of 1941, “that the final conception of the relation of the Rings of Power to Sauron emerged.”10 Events in The Lord of the Rings were often as much a surprise to Tolkien as they were to Frodo (as Bingo became) and the other characters. Tolkien wrote to W.H. Auden on 7 June 1955: I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than had Frodo. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlórien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there. Far away I knew there were Horse-lords on the confines of an ancient Kingdom of Men, but Fangorn Forest was an unforeseen adventure. I had never heard of the House of Eorl nor of the Stewards of Gondor. Most disquieting of all, Saruman had never been revealed to me, and I was as mystified as Frodo at Gandalf ’s failure to appear on September 22. I knew nothing of the Palantíri, though the moment the Orthanc-stone was cast from the window, I recognized it.11

In another letter he wrote to his son Christopher: “A new character has come on the scene (I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking into the woods of Ithilien): Faramir, the brother of Boromir.”12 It is hard to imagine what The Lord of the Rings would be like without any one of these unanticipated ingredients. The drafts show that Tolkien did not immediately identify the leader of the Rangers in Ithilien as Faramir, brother of Boromir. Frodo and Sam meet Falborn, a kinsman of Boromir, yet as Falborn tells of seeing Boromir’s body in the boat, he calls him “brother,” not “kinsman.” Christopher Tolkien comments:“It is as if he slipped without conscious decision into the rôle that had been preparing for him. What else could he be, this captain of Gondor so concerned with Frodo’s story and the fate of Boromir?”13 In the next draft the name Faramir replaced Falborn.

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The meeting with Faramir is not just another incident in the story: he provides some useful information about Minas Tirith and Gondor before the reader actually arrives there with Pippin, and shows that even with little hope, the men of Minas Tirith are doing their utmost to resist Sauron. Tolkien develops Faramir into a fully rounded character, and most readers come to feel the same affection for him as do the citizens of Minas Tirith. His firm adherence to doing what he feels is right and for the general good contrasts with Boromir’s failure to resist temptation, and his father Denethor’s narrow self-centred outlook. His healing of Éowyn’s mind and his winning of her love is not just a casual pairing off of the unattached. His recognition of Aragorn legitimizes the re-establishment of the kingship in Gondor. The development of Faramir from Falborn in the writing of The Lord of the Rings was simple compared with the evolution of Aragorn. When Tolkien first “met” Strider, or Trotter as he was then called, in the late summer of 1938, his first identification was mistaken, and it took him a long time to discover who Trotter “really” was. Bingo encountered at Bree not a man but “a queer-looking, brown-faced hobbit” wearing wooden shoes, and was wary about accepting him as a travelling companion until he was vouched for in Gandalf ’s letter; yet he found in his look and speech something “that seemed friendly, even familiar.” In the letter Gandalf describes Trotter as “a ranger [or] (wild hobbit)” and at this point even Tolkien, the author, may have known no more about him. But Bingo’s sense that something was familiar may indicate that Tolkien was already feeling his way towards a solution he would adopt and then reject. In the first draft for the chapter “Many Meetings” Bingo tells Gandalf: “I keep on feeling that I have seen Trotter somewhere before.” In a note at the end of this draft Tolkien asks: “Who is Trotter?” In the third draft Bingo not only feels that he has seen Trotter before, but “that I ought to be able to put a name to him, a name different to Trotter.”14 At this point, the identity of Trotter was one of several queries that Tolkien considered before continuing the story. He wrote: “Rangers are best not as hobbits, perhaps. But either Trotter (as a ranger) must be not a hobbit, or someone very well known: e.g. Bilbo. But the latter is awkward in view of ‘happily ever after’ [the sentiment expressed at the end of The Hobbit]. I thought of making Trotter into Fosco Took (Bilbo’s first cousin) who vanished when a lad, owing to Gandalf. Who is Trotter? He must have had some bitter acquaintance with Ring-wraiths

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&c.”15 Christopher Tolkien comments that this is “the first suggestion that my father, in his pondering of the mystery of Trotter, saw the possibility of his not being a hobbit.”16 In revisions and rewriting in the autumn of 1938 Tolkien considered the possibility that the Rangers were “the last remnant of the kingly people from beyond the Seas,” but then rejected this in favour of them being “unsettled folk (men and hobbits),”17 and left Trotter as both a hobbit and a ranger, but with no explanation why Frodo should find something familiar about him. Christopher Tolkien comments that apparently “the Númenórean origin of the Rangers was an idea that my father was considering in the drafts, but which he set aside when he wrote the text of the chapter and the subsequent narrative. Whatever the explanation, it is clear that the finished conception of the Rangers had a difficult emergence; and it is characteristic that even when the idea of the Rangers as the last descendants of the Númenórean exiles had arisen, and a place thus prepared, as it were, for Trotter, he did not at once move into that place.”18 Tolkien halted work on The Lord of the Rings at the end of 1938 and returned to it with new queries and outlines in August 1939. He now suggested that Trotter should be Peregrin Boffin, a favourite nephew of Bilbo who, influenced by Gandalf or by Bilbo’s stories, had run away from the Shire years before. He even wrote a partial revision of “A Longexpected Party” (bk. I, chap. 1) incorporating an account of Peregrin’s disappearance. In a continuation of “Many Meetings” (bk. II, chap. 1) Bilbo calls Trotter “Peregrin” and Frodo realizes who he is. Yet in the middle of writing this conversation Tolkien remarked: “?? Trotter had better not be a hobbit—but a Ranger, remainder of Western Men.”19 Despite this note, Trotter remained Peregrin Boffin and a hobbit in Tolkien’s first account of the journey south. Christopher Tolkien has suggested that his father may have been so used to the idea of Trotter as a hobbit that he was reluctant to make the change, and that it was only Trotter’s helplessness, as a being of small stature, during the abortive attempt to cross the Misty Mountains through the snows of the Redhorn Gate that led him to change his mind. Trotter, Christopher said, “is diminished from the rôle he had played in the narrative of the journey from Bree to Rivendell, in which, though a hobbit, he is set altogether apart from the others, a wise and resourceful leader of great experience in whom all their hope rests. Now, in these physical

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circumstances, and beside Boromir, he is one of the helpless ‘little folk,’ as Boromir says, ‘to be set on a pony.’”20 In the autumn of 1939 Tolkien again asked himself “Who is Trotter?” and suggested various answers: “a disguised elf and friend of Bilbo in Rivendell,” a Rivendell scout who pretended to be a ranger; or:“Trotter is a man of Elrond’s race, descendant of the ancient men of the north, and one of Elrond’s household. He was a hunter and a wanderer. He became a friend of Bilbo. He knew Gandalf. He was intrigued by Bilbo’s story, and found Gollum. When Gandalf went off on the last perilous quest Gandalf and Bilbo arranged with Trotter (real name Aragorn son of Aramir) to go towards the Shire and keep a lookout on the Road from East. . . . Aragorn pretends he is a Ranger and hangs about Bree.” Yet on the verso of this last, which had moved a long way to the final solution, Tolkien wrote: “Alternative function for Trotter. Trotter is Peregrin Boffin that Bilbo took away with him or who ran off with Bilbo,” and even began a brief narrative of that event which ends in mid-sentence. A list headed Final decisions, dated 8 October 1939, includes “Trotter is not a hobbit but a real ranger who had gone to live in Rivendell after much wandering,” which is not very enlightening, but a pencil addition “descendant of Elendil” opens new vistas. In a revision of the narrative of the journey to Rivendell, Frodo now met “a queer-looking, brownfaced Man” in the inn at Bree, and Gandalf identified him in his letter as “Aragorn son of Celegorn, of the line of Isildur Elendil’s son.”21 As immediately recognized by Frodo, this links him directly with the Ring, which had been cut from Sauron’s hand by Isildur after the victory of the Last Alliance. During a further revision in August 1940 the lines prophesying that “the crownless again may be king” were added to the poem in Gandalf ’s letter.22 Christopher Tolkien commented on this metamorphosis: I would be inclined to think that the original figure (the mysterious person who encounters the hobbits in the inn at Bree) was capable of development in different directions without losing important elements of his “identity” as a recognisable character—even though the choice of one direction or another would lead to quite different historical and racial “identities” in Middle-earth. So Trotter was not simply switched from Hobbit to Man. . . . Rather, he had been potentially Aragorn for a long time; and when my father decided that Trotter was Aragorn and was not Peregrin Boffin his stature and his history

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were totally changed, but a great deal of the “indivisible” Trotter remained in Aragorn and determined his nature.23

If Trotter had remained a hobbit, he might have led the Company as far as Parth Galen after Gandalf ’s fall, if Boromir had not claimed that right, but thereafter the story would have evolved very differently. Trotter the hobbit would not have had the authority to face and win the trust of Éomer, the right to use the palantír to challenge Sauron or to summon the dead, or the experience to plan strategy and to lead the army of the West. And, of course, there would have been no coronation. Also it is through Aragorn that The Lord of the Rings is most securely linked to Tolkien’s earlier writings and becomes a sequel not only to The Hobbit but also to “The Silmarillion” and The Fall of Númenor. He is kin to Elrond, and like him descended from many of the leading opponents of Morgoth and his lieutenant Sauron, in the First Age, both Elves and Men. Late in the writing of The Lord of the Rings Tolkien even decided that Aragorn should wed Elrond’s daughter, Arwen, and that their story should echo that of their First Age forebears: she, like the Elven princess Lúthien, would give up her immortality for love of a mortal man. This required only a few additions and changes to the existing narrative, for with rare exceptions we do not share Aragorn’s private thoughts, but see him and his reactions to events through the eyes of the hobbits, or for a short space through those of Gimli. Thus a first-time reader is probably as surprised as the hobbits when Arwen and her escort arrive at Minas Tirith. Tolkien, the author, of course knew more, and placed a fuller account of the story of Aragorn and Arwen in the Appendices. The progression of Falborn to Faramir, and of Trotter the hobbit to Aragorn the king among Men, are only two examples of inspiration coming to Tolkien, quickly or slowly, in the course of writing The Lord of the Rings. Another remarkable instance is the creation of Lothlórien: his vision of that realm seems to have arisen fully developed only as he reached its borders. But The Lord of the Rings was not entirely unplanned. Tolkien was sometimes able to see ahead with clarity, in the broad strokes of the tale if not in its details or its physical length. He constantly underestimated the length of what remained to be written, partly because of all the new ideas that came to him as he wrote, and because what he expected would take one chapter often took two, or even three. By early December 1938 he had taken over 300 manuscript

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pages to reach the beginning of “Many Meetings” (then Chapter 12) and thought that it would take at least another 200 pages to finish the book. To place this in perspective, the first edition of The Hobbit has 19 chapters and nearly 300 pages of text; the finished Lord of the Rings has 62 chapters as well as preliminary matter and over 100 pages of Appendices. What ideas did Tolkien have, in December 1938, for the 200 pages still to be written? A plot outline he made at the end of the preceding August, before writing “Fog on the Barrow-downs” (bk. I, chap. 8), is concerned mainly with the rest of the journey to Rivendell, but it ends with “Consultation of hobbits, with Elrond and Gandalf. The Quest of the Fiery Mountain.”24 Another note written not much later records Tolkien’s first ideas for a journey over the Misty Mountains, and down the Great River to Mordor and the Dark Tower, beyond which was the Fiery Mountain. He may have known more, but these were the only ideas for those 200 pages that he wrote down, or that have survived. In August 1939, before writing the first account of the Council of Elrond, Tolkien made various notes for the continuation of the story. Some concerned the chapters he was about to write. The notes are not always coherent or compatible, but they indicate that the Company of the Ring was to travel south along the Mountains, experience a snowstorm in the Red Pass, and travel through the Mines of Moria, deserted except for goblins. During the autumn of 1939 Tolkien expanded these brief notes for the beginning of the journey into two chapters and reached Balin’s tomb in Moria. On 19 December he wrote to Stanley Unwin that The Lord of the Rings had reached Chapter 16, he feared that it was “growing too large,” and he asked if there was any chance of publication if he could finish it before the spring.25 In the event, the story went no further for a considerable time. Although Tolkien long halted at Balin’s tomb, the notes he made the previous August, and a synopsis contemporary with the writing of “The Council of Elrond” (bk. II, chap. 2), looked further ahead. In the more immediate future he anticipated the loss of Gandalf. There is no evidence that he also knew at this stage that Gandalf would reappear later, but he certainly knew it before he began to write the Moria chapters. Although he knew that the Company would journey down the River Redway (later named the Silverlode), he made no mention of Lothlórien. Most of his ideas for what one might call the middle distance were much transformed when he came to write that part of the narra-

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tive. An August note,“Adventures with Giant Tree Beard in Forest,”26 is probably related to a brief account of Frodo, separated from the others, meeting Treebeard, a giant much taller than the tallest oak tree, who pretends to be friendly but is actually in league with the enemy. In the synopsis Tolkien decided that Treebeard should be friendly and would help raise the siege of Ond. The August notes also included references to Ond: to adventures with Stone-Men, to the City of Stone covered in ashes, and to a siege of the city in the land of Ond. Against the first of these notes Tolkien wrote years later: “Thought of as just an ‘adventure’. The whole of the matter of Gondor (Stone-land) grew from this note. (Aragorn, still called Trotter, had no connexion with it then, and was at first conceived as one of the hobbits that had wanderlust.)”27 Surprisingly, Tolkien’s ideas for the latter part of the story, though not fully focused, were more complete. He knew that Bingo or Frodo (he was hesitating between the two names) and presumably Sam would encounter Gollum, who would promise to reform and would guide them by secret ways through Mordor; he contemplated the idea that Bingo would be captured, and that Sam would rescue him; he knew that when Bingo reached the Fiery Mountain he would be unable to destroy the Ring, that Gollum would attack him, take the Ring and fall into the Crack, and the Mountain would then erupt. When Bingo returned to the Shire he would find it no longer peaceful and the Sackville-Bagginses in some way responsible for the strife. Bingo would make peace, and after living for a while “in a little hut on the high green ridge . . . one day he goes with the Elves west beyond the towers.”28 Probably in the autumn of 1941, as the Company emerged from Moria, Tolkien wrote an outline for the remainder of the story. At this point he thought that it would take only eight chapters to the destruction of the Ring and the celebratory feast, and a further four to the end of the book. The outline mentions Lothlórien very briefly, but deals more fully with the events that followed. Tolkien foresaw that, following a debate over which route to take, Boromir would try to take the Ring from Frodo; that Frodo would escape by putting on the Ring and set out for Mordor; and that the rest of the Company would be scattered. His ideas for events in the West were then still embryonic, and the adventures of the scattered Company were to occupy only three chapters. In one of these Merry and Pippin were to meet Treebeard, who would offer to take them to Rohan or perhaps to Minas Tirith. In the second Legolas and Gimli, returning north, were to meet Gandalf now clad in

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white and with new power after overcoming the Balrog. In the third Boromir and Aragorn were to be inside Minas Tirith under siege by both Sauron and Saruman. Aragorn would be chosen to succeed the slain Lord of Minas Tirith, and Boromir would desert to Saruman. The siege would be broken by Gandalf and Treebeard, and Gandalf with horsemen behind him would ride towards Mordor. In contrast to this, disregarding some ideas not taken up, the outline for Frodo and Sam’s journey to the fiery mountain was already close to the final story in many respects, but entries in a near-contemporary chronology allow only nineteen days from the flight of Frodo to the destruction of the Ring, compared to twenty-nine in the published book. The most significant difference in the outline, relative to the final text, is that Gollum’s secret way is close to the main entrance to Mordor in the north; and it was only during the writing of Book IV in 1944 that Tolkien moved the secret way further south and introduced the chapters set in Ithilien with the encounter with Faramir. The outline of later events includes a visit to Isengard on the way home. Gandalf tells Saruman “I am the White Wizard now”29 and breaks his staff—a foreshadowing of events in “The Voice of Saruman” (bk. III, chap. 10). On 7 December 1942, over a year later, and having taken eleven chapters (as published) to cover only part of the Western story, Tolkien wrote to Stanley Unwin that the book was very long “and in fact not really a ‘juvenile’ at all. It has reached Chapter XXXI and will require at least six more to finish (these are already sketched); and the chapters are as a rule longer than the chapters of The Hobbit.”30 At that time Chapter 31 was “The Palantír.” It took Tolkien nearly six years and another twentynine chapters to finish the narrative, thirty if the rejected “Epilogue” is included, and then several more years to revise the text and write the Appendices. It is interesting to observe that George Allen & Unwin did not in 1937, as might happen today between a publisher and a writer of fantasy fiction, ask Tolkien to provide an outline or synopsis of the Hobbit sequel he had agreed to write, then give him a contract and a deadline. Rather, they let him get on with it, only asked periodically how the work was progressing, and did not seem alarmed when his letters indicated that the new book would be much longer than its predecessor and probably more suitable for adults than for the intended juvenile audience. This was certainly the right way to deal with Tolkien. He needed to be left

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free to feel his way when writing. He was not an author who could write a set number of words per day, nor one who could set down and closely follow an outline for the whole work, or even always to adhere to a sketch for a chapter he was about to write—though he used outlines and sketches as frameworks on which to build as inspiration directed. As a writer, Tolkien was like his painter in “Leaf by Niggle,” constantly adding new and previously unforeseen branches to his Tree, The Lord of the Rings, and from these further ramifications in the story often developed, while the landscape of Middle-earth opened out as the story evolved. And just as Niggle took other pictures “and tacked them on to the edges of his great picture,”31 so Tolkien linked The Lord of the Rings with previously written works, “The Silmarillion” and The Fall of Númenor. It seems a miracle that a masterpiece can be born out of such a mixture of order and chaos; but as Stanley Unwin said of him, Tolkien was “one of those rare people with genius.”32 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 29 November 1944, in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Selection, ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), 104. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, to “Mr. Thompson,” 14 January 1956, in Letters, 231. 3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the Shadow, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 6 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), 148. 4. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 21 May 1944, in Letters, 81. 5. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.A. Furth, Allen & Unwin, 17 February 1938, in Letters, 29. 6. Tolkien, Return of the Shadow, 41. 7. Ibid., 43. 8. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 4 March 1938, in Letters, 34. 9. Tolkien, Return of the Shadow, 42, 43. 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Treason of Isengard, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 7 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 259–60. 11. J.R.R. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in Letters, 216–17. 12. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 6 May 1944, in Letters, 79. 13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The War of the Ring, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 8 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 147. 14. Tolkien, Return of the Shadow, 137, 154, 208, 210, 211. 15. Ibid., 223. 16. Ibid., 224. 17. Ibid., 331, 332.

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18. Ibid., 332. 19. Ibid., 393. 20. Ibid., 431. 21. Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 6, 7, 8, 42, 50. 22. Ibid., 78. 23. Tolkien, Return of the Shadow, 430–31. 24. Ibid., 126. 25. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 19 December 1939, in Letters, 44. 26. Tolkien, Return of the Shadow, 381. 27. Ibid., 379. 28. Ibid., 380. 29. Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 212. 30. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Stanley Unwin, 7 December 1942, in Letters, 58. 31. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Leaf by Niggle,” in Tree and Leaf (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), 76. 32. Quoted in Letters, 25.

The Artistry of Omissions and Revisions in The Lord of the Rings David Bratman

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hen I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, at the age of twelve, the experience was overwhelming. But I could not find anyone who either knew or cared about Tolkien in the deepest suburbs where I made my home. My dream, my goal in life, was that some day, somehow, I would find myself in a room full of people who had all read The Lord of the Rings and wanted to talk about it. Part of what makes The Lord of the Rings so overwhelming is the tremendous quantity and intricacy of linguistic, historical, and geographic detail that makes up Tolkien’s legendarium. Detail was, of course, Professor Tolkien’s business. He once wrote, “I like things worked out in detail,” and more strongly, “I am a pedant devoted to accuracy, even in what may appear to others unimportant matters”; even as a scholar, he “would always rather try to wring the juice out of a single sentence, or explore the implications of one word than try to sum up a period in a lecture, or pot a poet in a paragraph.”1 Detail was also the business of Dr. Richard E. Blackwelder, whom these proceedings are designed to honor: it is hard to feel anything other than overwhelmed in the presence of such works as Dr. Blackwelder’s monumental thesaurus of keywords in context from The Lord of the Rings.2 But both Prof. Tolkien and Dr. Blackwelder knew well that detail without meaning is sterile; it must be put at the service of a larger goal. Prof. Tolkien used his creative detail to build up a consistent, rich subcreation of wonder and delight to the glory of God. Dr. Blackwelder, exploring that work word-by-word for his Tolkien Thesaurus, found himself noticing many words, phrases, and passages from The Lord of the Rings that he wished to highlight as particularly beautiful, unusual, or varied, and compiled them into a collection of Tolkien Phraseology.3 Tolkien put great care into crafting his work on the small scale of words and phrases as well as on the large scale of plot and morality. His

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profusion of astonishingly creative imagination, and The Lord of the Rings’ framing as reliable history in the form of an ancient document merely translated by the author, gives it an air, even more than for most novels, of having been created in gleaming perfection. Tolkien’s own comments on the lines of “it writes itself ”4 have only encouraged this view. But it is quite mistaken, as the context of Tolkien’s remarks clarifies: time and patience were needed to get it to write itself, and achieving the final text was an exacting task and a struggle. The manuscripts preserved at Marquette University, and their publication in “The History of The Lord of the Rings” series, show the author as a fallible human who put together his imperfect invention as best he could, leaving us even more in amazement at the skill of his accomplishment. Whether in the opening chapters, which he traversed four times before achieving the final storyline, or in the later chapters, some of which were in close to final form as they first emerged from his pen, each draft shows innumerable stylistic changes and tightenings, as does the final text: decouplings of contractions, smoothing out of jumpy, disconnected passages, and so on: far more of this than the casual reader of the drafts may realize, unless a word-by-word comparison to the final text is made. Much has been, and much more will be, written studying the crafting of The Lord of the Rings in draft form, but my subject is what came afterwards: the rest of the story—the revisions Tolkien made after completing the text, and the possibly inadvertent alterations made in its final stages. In memory of Dr. Blackwelder, and in the spirit of his Tolkien Phraseology, I propose to look at small points and their literary impact on the larger whole. I am not a literary critic, capable of detecting distant echoes of alliteration and allusion, nor yet a dry textual scholar, one of the fine souls who have carefully examined each edition of The Lord of the Rings to check for textual discrepancies. My role here is to take the textual study of Christopher Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson, Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull, Steven M. Frisby, and others, and stand back to look at it from a medium distance. Changes in the text, however minor, bring up an important scholarly problem: establishing a definitive text for The Lord of the Rings. This is, by definition, a subject of scholarly minutiae. The Lord of the Rings is not a work like Hamlet or King Lear which exist in widely varying texts of equal authority (the traditional scholarly method of dealing with these two is to combine the variant texts of each, which is why the plays are

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so long); nor was Tolkien normally a writer like James Branch Cabell or the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams with a habit of making major revisions to already-published work. (He did make major revisions to The Hobbit, not all of which were published, but that is a special case.) Even counting the largest deliberate revisions, textual variations in The Lord of the Rings are so small, and spread over such a vast wordage, that the casual reader is unlikely to notice them. Indeed, even if one is looking for variations one is likely to miss them, which is one reason some of the typographical errors persisted as long as they did. The text of The Lord of the Rings is much more perfect than it was, due to strenuous efforts made by scholars over the last twenty years, but it is not completely perfect, and every new typesetting brings a new crop of errors. Tolkien’s publisher once sighed that it would take at least three centuries for The Lord of the Rings“to achieve typographical perfection.”5 Indeed, even the author may not notice errors. Which leads to our first subject: inadvertent changes in the text before publication. There were a great number of surprises for readers in the four volumes of draft texts of The Lord of the Rings that Christopher Tolkien published with commentary in 1988–92 under the collective title of “The History of The Lord of the Rings.” I discussed some of these in an article titled “Top Ten Rejected Plot Twists from The Lord of the Rings.”6 But to me, none of these abandoned plot points was as surprising as the discovery by Christopher Tolkien of a large number of miswordings and omissions in the final text of the book, revealed by the study of the earlier drafts. I was fascinated by this material, and compiled a list of all these errors, together with all remaining known typographical errors in the original typesetting of The Lord of the Rings after Douglas A. Anderson had corrected the text in 1987, and published it under the perhaps overambitious title of “A Corrigenda to The Lord of the Rings.”7 The idea was to use this data to approach a text more perfectly corrected to the author’s final intentions, as far as was humanly possible with the author unavailable to give a decision on points of interpretation or doubt. This goal raises some serious philosophical questions about scholarly textual editing which I did not pursue in introducing my corrigenda, nor do I propose to explore their background now. But I do wish to raise them. If an author gives his manuscript to a typist or the printer, who misspells or omits words—understandable human error, especially when dealing with handwritten material containing names in previously

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unknown languages (Tolkien complained that “the compositors always make mistakes in setting from my handwriting”8)—and the author does not observe this and correct it when reviewing the text, which then is printed, has the author therefore consented to the change? One’s initial impression is to say not. The author might merely be a poor proofreader of his own work, a very easy failing when one has been toiling over the creation for years. Certainly Tolkien was not a perfect proofreader, and some obvious typographical errors in the printed text escaped not only his eye but that of some subsequent reviewers of the text. An obvious example is Gandalf ’s recounting of Gollum’s mutterings: “‘What had it got in its pocketses?’ he said. ‘It wouldn’t say, no precious.’” So read current editions. But until only a few years ago that second sentence read “I wouldn’t say, no precious.” Which makes no sense whatever, but nobody caught it for a long time.9 But can we always be certain that the author did not mean to make corrections, especially when they are much larger and more obvious than this? It has actually happened that authors have found significant accidental alterations to their work and thought, “You know, it actually reads better this way. I think I’ll leave it.” This could be a serendipitous discovery that would never have occurred if the typist had not made the error. Interestingly, this makes the typist a minor, inadvertent co-author of the work. Diana Pavlac Glyer has written a study of the Inklings as a collaborative circle, a group who encourage and edit each others’ work in ways far subtler than what is usually called influence—for instance, when Charles Williams queried whether it would be appropriate for Treebeard to say “crack my timbers” in a draft,10 he was not trying to make Tolkien write more like Williams, but to help him discover his own way of writing. Glyer cites a book by Jack Stillinger, Multiple Authorship and the Myth of Solitary Genius, which shows how the standard texts of some of Keats’s poems were actually worked on by as many as seven hands, and that Keats knew and expected this would happen.11 Like W.B. Yeats, he was a poet who preferred to leave punctuation to editors—and, in his case, often wording as well. Tolkien actually accepted a publishing error as a fait accompli at least twice: first, most famously, when he sent a “specimen of re-writing” of chapter five of The Hobbit to his publisher in 1947 and was surprised to find it in page proofs for a new printing a few years later; his retroactive explanation in The Lord of the Rings for the two versions of the story of Bilbo, Gollum, and the Ring is one of his neatest and most ingenious

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pieces of sub-creation, but it is not something he had been expecting to use, for The Lord of the Rings as he had been writing it so far depended on the earlier version of The Hobbit. But he decided to accept the revision after it had been set into type, and he made changes in The Lord of the Rings to suit this.12 More minutely, when in preparing the second edition of The Lord of the Rings Tolkien wished to change the east–west extent of the Shire from fifty leagues to forty, the printer accidentally also changed the north–south extent of the Shire from “nearly fifty” to fifty without the “nearly.” This was not Tolkien’s intent, but he consciously accepted it.13 What, then, is “correct”? If we do count the changes noted by Christopher Tolkien as corrections, what difference does this make to the reading experience? In most cases, not a lot. The reader might not even notice that a change had been made, any more than numerous readers ever noticed many of the typographical errors in earlier printings, and from the reader’s perspective, we can apply the old saw: a difference that makes no difference is no difference. But that is no help to the person responsible for the text, who even when choosing between printing a comma or a semi-colon has to decide which one it will be. It may make no difference, but you cannot be sure it will not do so, and in any case you have to pick one or the other, and the choice must be informed by the best deduction of the author’s intent. A few of these changes have actually been incorporated into the authorized text of The Lord of the Rings beginning with the fiftieth anniversary edition of 2004. Nor should we forget those peculiarly attentive readers, of whom Tolkien has so many, who might observe even the smallest inconsistencies. Looking through the accumulative collection of these errors, I see them as falling basically into two categories. First, there are ghosts of earlier versions of the story overlooked during revisions made to bring previously-written chapters up to the current conception. For example, Merry reports there are six ponies stabled at Crickhollow, but the four hobbits only take five, one for each to ride and one for the baggage. Why? In the third phase of writing, the sixth pony was originally intended to be Odo’s. Odo changes his mind at the last minute and decides to stay behind. But in the final draft, Fatty Bolger, his replacement in this aspect, is never intended to go with the others. That does not mean there could not have been six ponies in the stable, but that was evidently not Tolkien’s final intention.14

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Other prominent ghost problems are geographic, and what made them prominent was the close analysis of the story’s geography made by Barbara Strachey for her military-campaign-style atlas of the events of The Lord of the Rings, Journeys of Frodo. This atlas and Robert Foster’s Complete Guide to Middle-earth were Christopher Tolkien’s principal guidebooks to determine readerly understanding of what the final text of The Lord of the Rings actually said when he was comparing it to the drafts. Strachey, who was working with her own enlargements of Christopher Tolkien’s own very small-scale maps of Middle-earth, found a few apparent discrepancies between maps and text, especially in volume one, and some of these turned out to be caused by ghosts.15 Some of the ghosts, such as the number of ponies, can easily be fixed by changing a word or two, but others, such a mishandling of the phases of the moon, or Legolas seeing smoke from a battle at a distance the day before the battle took place (Elves have foresight, but that is not what Tolkien means here: the date had been changed, and this reference evidently escaped detection), would require the author’s intervention for an authoritative reading.16 You cannot fix this one by just changing a number somewhere: the web of references is too tightly woven. So even if the author were here, it is entirely possible that he would have fixed these, or even the more straightforward errors, in a totally unexpected way. The other category primarily consists of simple omissions of wording occurring during the course of successive draftings, sometimes but not always in typescripts made by other hands than the author’s, which were not caught during subsequent review. I am struck by the touches of detail added by including these. When Strider tells the hobbits, “With Sam’s permission we will call that settled. Strider shall be your guide. We shall have a rough road tomorrow,” does not the last of these sentences seem oddly abrupt? It should: here there appears to be an amanuensis typist’s omission that, Christopher Tolkien tells us, “was never picked up.” Strider apparently should say, “Strider shall be your guide. And now I think it is time you went to bed and took what rest you can. We shall have a rough road tomorrow.”17 When Pippin first enters Denethor’s hall, he sees that “far above in shadow the wide vaulting gleamed with dull gold, inset with flowing traceries of many colours.” But this is only in the final typescript: in previous texts, the traceries are in the floor, which is “of polished stone,

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white-gleaming, inset with flowing traceries.” Christopher Tolkien believes this was a casual typing error, in which a line was skipped.18 I am inclined to accept this, as in fact in context a failure to include the floor in this detailed description is odd. “In those days” after the crowning of King Elessar, we are told, “the Companions of the Ring dwelt together in a fair house with Gandalf, and they went to and fro as they wished”; but, an omitted phrase adds, “Legolas sat most[ly] on the walls and looked south towards the sea.”19 This reinforces the scene in the previous chapter when Legolas sings of his longing for the Sea of which Galadriel’s message had warned him, and it foreshadows Frodo’s later similar longing. “There’s something of everything here” in Rivendell, Sam tells Frodo, who replies, “Yes, something of everything, Sam, except the Sea.” Nothing further is learned about Legolas’s sea-longing until in Appendix B we learn that he and Gimli finally sailed to the West.20 The words about Legolas were lost, “possibly unintentionally” Christopher Tolkien tells us, in the author’s own rewritten manuscript.21 The oddest thing (to my mind) that Aragorn ever says turns out, apparently, to be a typo in the printed text alone that was never caught. Finding a hobbit’s footprints in the orc-trail, Aragorn concludes,“Pippin’s, I think. He is smaller than the other.” No, it should be “smaller than the others,” i.e. all the other hobbits, even though he already knows that Frodo and Sam were not there. In a footnote, Christopher Tolkien agrees that the old printed text is obviously wrong: Aragorn “would not refer to Merry in such a remote tone.” Despite the certainty of the error, this was not corrected until after the 1994 edition.22 Christopher Tolkien’s most astonishing discovery relates to the Eärendillinwë, Bilbo’s poem of Eärendil which he recites in Rivendell. Apparently the author mislaid his final text of this poem and sent an earlier version to be published; when he found the later version some time later, he naturally presumed that it was an earlier version23—which shows that even the author is not necessarily a reliable source on what he wrote. Tolkien himself once wrote, years after finishing The Lord of the Rings, that the author “now seems to me only a remote friend.”24 That the published version well-known from The Lord of the Rings is not the author’s final text may seem alarming; it is less so when we consider the long history of the poem, begun over twenty years earlier as an early version of “Errantry” and slowly mutating into the Eärendil poem until only a single untouched line was left.25 Compared with that,

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the differences between the published version, what Christopher Tolkien calls text C, and the ultimate version, his text F, is tiny: to a poem of 124 lines, 8 new lines were added, 13 lines were largely or entirely rewritten, and another 10 had significant wording changes. There were also a few punctuation and spelling changes.26 The additional lines deal with the sons of Fëanor and with Elwing’s flight from them, but most of the changes are in the description of Eärendil’s gear: no longer are his ship’s lanterns of silver but the banners are sewn of it; nor is his habergeon now silver, but triple steel. One wonders if this is a move towards or away from resemblance to Bilbo’s mail-coat of mithril, a substance defined in the 1966 revisions to The Hobbit as “silver-steel.”27 Changes in the final lines remove last echoes of “Errantry” and its never-ending quest, changing the star of Eärendil into an eternal, timeless beacon: what had read “for ever still a herald on / an errand that should never rest” becomes “till end of Days on errand high, / a herald bright that never rests.”28 Most novels are never reprinted, so opportunities to alter the text never arise. But The Lord of the Rings was popular even in its original hardcover edition, and was reprinted numerous times. Changes in the text of the first edition between printings were mostly limited to corrections of clear typographical errors as they were discovered (a process that has continued through today, especially in review of the printer’s unauthorized hasty re-typesetting of volume one, the mere existence of which was not noticed by the publishers for many years), but at least one deliberate wording change, suggested by a letter from a reader, was made in the fourth impression of The Two Towers in 1956. Tolkien’s friend Father Robert Murray, who had been reading the book in galley-proofs and typescript, sent Tolkien letters commenting in particular on the spiritual aspects of the work. His letter querying the nature of Gandalf ’s death and resurrection arrived after proofs of The Two Towers had been passed, but the query made Tolkien note that, as “Gandalf really‘died’, and was changed,” his rejoinder to Wormtongue,“I have not passed through fire and flood to bandy crooked words with a serving-man,” was too weak. “Fire and flood,” he thought, should rather be an outright “death.” In the event, he settled on “fire and death,” and this became the final wording in later impressions.29 The impending publication of the unauthorized Ace paperback of The Lord of the Rings in 1965 led Tolkien’s authorized American publishers, Houghton Mifflin, to ask him to prepare revised editions of both The

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Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as copyright status for both was open to possible dispute. With a revised text, the books could be re-copyrighted with unquestionable legality. The problem was, what could he revise? For a meticulous sub-creator who had already devoted countless hours to the never-completed task of making “The Silmarillion” fit the published The Lord of the Rings, and who had already gone over The Lord of the Rings in manuscript and in proof stages numerous times to make it consistent, there was little that needed to be changed. Other authors faced with the task of revising novels have undone editorial changes or cuts, added additional chapters to enlarge the story, or rewritten the book with the greater skill of maturity, but none of these courses was open to Tolkien, who had not had cuts imposed by his editors, had written an entirely full story, and had done so in full maturity. With The Hobbit it was still possible to improve the sub-creation greatly, especially in the opening chapters, and to cut down on the intrusiveness of the narrative voice. While Wilderland had been fully developed in the later parts of the book, and remained essentially untouched by further development in The Lord of the Rings, the earlier chapters of The Hobbit in what had not yet been named the Shire and Eriador had remained untouched since publication in 1937, up to the revision of Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum. At the time Tolkien published The Hobbit, the geographical conception of this area was very vague, and would only develop in the furnace of work on The Lord of the Rings. So there was much scope for change. But Tolkien decided not to be too specific in the revision. He refrained from mentioning the Shire by name, nor did he add other details to his description of the journey through Rivendell, though he easily could have. For that matter, he could have written Bilbo meeting the ten-year-old Estel (later known as Aragorn) in Rivendell, as so many fanwriters have chomped to do—contrary to the dreams of some, Arwen was not there.30 But Tolkien was not a fanboy of his own work, and wisely refrained. Instead he preferred merely to change such wordings as were now clearly failures of tone. A classic example occurs in the dwarves’ argument over whether to investigate what turns out to be the trolls’ fire. In the first edition, the suspicious dwarves say: “These parts are none too well known, and are too near the mountains. Policemen never come so far, and the map-makers have not reached this country yet. They have seldom even heard of the king round here.”31 Having read the children’s style that Tolkien used in Roverandom, and knowing his continual

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connection of England with his mythology, one can see him envisaging Rhudaur, which we know from The Lord of the Rings is where they are, as something like the way he uses the Welsh mountains in Farmer Giles of Ham: a strange country full of giants or trolls or other fantastic creatures that you can get to from home if you only travel far enough. Bilbo’s home is in their country only long ago, the policemen are the ones the child reader has seen on the street, and the king is the same King George to whom they sing “God Save the King,” because children have no reason to think he is not king everywhere and at all times. In the revised edition the sentence about the policemen and mapmakers is changed to the wilder and darker “Travellers seldom come this way now. The old maps are no use: things have changed for the worse and the road is unguarded,” which also brings in the element of change and decay. But the king remains: unchanged in wording but utterly changed in significance, for he is now the long-departed but not forgotten King of Arthedain, who kept the king’s peace in these parts of the world in the distant past.32 This is a great example of Tolkien’s method of enlarging his story, of leaving the events untouched but vastly expanding their significance. The early chapters of The Lord of the Rings kept a number of stylistic echoes of the book’s origin as a simple sequel to The Hobbit, assimilating the Hobbit environment into the legendarium. But Tolkien deleted no sub-creational clashes akin to The Hobbit’s policemen from The Lord of the Rings, not even the unparalleled sapient fox.33 “The number of necessary or desirable corrections is very small,” he wrote.34 Textual revision of The Lord of the Rings was much lighter and less extensive in comparison to the size of the book than with The Hobbit. But he managed to make changes to fit his publisher’s needs, just as he had managed, after a fashion, to fit his publisher’s needs by beginning to write The Lord of the Rings in the first place. A rough count of the major changes in the various forms of the 1966 revision of The Hobbit, excluding minor changes of punctuation or wording and changes made in the second edition of 1951, shows about 65 sentences affected.35 A similar count for The Lord of the Rings, counting the text only and not the prefatory material or appendices, shows about 120 sentences affected, only twice as many in a text over six times as long.36 There are, however, far more minor corrections to The Lord of the Rings than to The Hobbit, about as many in sheer quantity as there are major changes. The revisions were very limited: to correct errors, rarely to recast thoughts. Tolkien was

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very reluctant to touch published material: see his tremendous efforts to fit “The Silmarillion” to the published The Lord of the Rings. Also, he was partial to the map as the true accurate source over the text. To look at these changes, I will conflate those made for the Ballantine revised edition of 1965, the Allen & Unwin second edition of 1966 (which except for the appendices is almost identical with the Ballantine), the Houghton Mifflin second edition of 1967 which follows the Allen & Unwin, and some additional changes made for the Allen & Unwin second printing in 1967. A few changes in the Ballantine appendix did not get copied to Allen & Unwin, for example the addition of Fatty Bolger’s sister Estella to the family trees as Merry’s wife, which did not appear until a later printing in 1966; and the relatively extensive Allen & Unwin second printing changes did not get copied to Houghton Mifflin or Ballantine. The text was reunified only with the 1987 edition. But tracking down the history of these various revisions is not my task here: the eager student who wishes documentation of these changes may consult J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography by Wayne G. Hammond with Douglas A. Anderson. Tolkien wrote in the Foreword to the second edition that “the opportunity has been taken of revising” the text, in the form of the correction of “a number of errors and inconsistencies”—Tolkien held that faults are not actual false statements, but omissions or misleading partial information—“that still remained . . . and an attempt has been made to provide information on a few points which attentive readers have raised.”37 The most attentive such reader was Rhona Beare. Tolkien’s letters to her are the source of several corrections. As was true of all revisions since the rewriting of “Riddles in the Dark,” however, the changes were not always seamless, nor did they catch all inconsistencies.38 The changes here are a kind of “last stage” to very extensive changes made in the drafting process. They differ only in this respect: that they came in after the author first thought he had finalized the text. Of the separate changes made, 80, some 30 percent of the total, are capitalization changes or minor punctuation changes such as hyphenization, usually capitalizing words that had not previously been so: Wizard, Stone (in references to the palantíri), House (as in House of Eorl), the adjective Elvish. Sometimes, however, a capitalization is removed, from house of Eorl when it refers to Meduseld, the building; from Lady as a term of direct address to Éowyn as distinct from her title.39 Lesser fantasy writers are often addicted to over-capitalization

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in an attempt to lend an air of portentiousness to their work. Tolkien has been criticized for this also, and to refer to the palantíri (an uncapitalized term in the revision) as the capital-S Stones is to emphasize their importance in this way. Tolkien’s removal of other capitalizations suggests that he was aware of this problem. But Wizards was a proper name and thus needed to be capitalized: he wanted to clarify that the Istari were a class of beings, not just whatever old wise men might be wandering around, the way that Gandalf initially appears in The Hobbit. Tolkien did not always achieve consistency in capitalization, but he aimed at capitalization of references to the total entity or of an individual as part of that entity, not to capitalize nonexclusive groups. Thus, Hobbits in discussing their nature as a race is capitalized; hobbits to refer to three or four of them passing by is not. This practice mirrors a grammatical distinction between plurals and collectives in the Elvish languages. The wizard as a synonym for Gandalf in conversational tags is left uncapitalized; generally it is capitalized when referring to wizards as a class, whether in singular or plural. But even this is not always so: when Éomer describes Saruman as “a wizard both cunning and dwimmer-crafty” it is uncapitalized; but when Treebeard answers Pippin’s question, “Who is Saruman?” by saying “Saruman is a Wizard . . . I do not know the history of Wizards” it is capitalized in the second edition.40 This might be explained by saying that, despite Treebeard’s protestations of ignorance, he unlike the far less learned Éomer knows that Wizards are a class; yet when Treebeard calls Gandalf “the only wizard that really cares about trees,” it is uncapitalized, though this might have been overlooked.41 A further 46 changes, some 19 percent of the total, are in the vexed question of the representation of Elvish sounds in the Latin alphabet. This was a problem with which Tolkien wrestled endlessly: in the last stages before publication of The Lord of the Rings he had decided, against his practice in composition, to represent the k sound in Quenya with the letter c: to, as he put it in Appendix E, spell it “as much like Latin as its sounds allowed.”42 He also applied this to Sindarin. This decision has unfortunately led to millions of readers who paid insufficient attention to the appendices to speak of Seleborn and even Sirith Ungol. Christopher Tolkien disagreed with his father’s policy: that is why Kirith has a K on his map.43 Any distress that Tolkien may have felt on this point has been shared by many other authors who have had their fictional names mispronounced: Ursula K. Le Guin, for instance,

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was considerably startled when she first heard her wizard Ged being called Jed, which sounded to her like the name of a moonshiner.44 In his late years Tolkien decided that the word orc (adapted phonetically from an Old English word for demon45), which he had been spelling that way for many years, should revert to the ork that he had used in a few places in The Book of Lost Tales; he did not attempt to apply this to The Lord of the Rings, but used ork frequently though not invariably in his late writings, and at one point made a definite decision to use the ork spelling in a published “Silmarillion,”46 though Christopher Tolkien in The Silmarillion opted for consistency with The Lord of the Rings. The change of the Quenya word omentielmo to omentielvo was part of Tolkien’s development of plurals in that language, though attempts have been made to explain it sub-creationally as a scribal correction of Frodo’s grammatical error.47 Most notorious of the spelling changes, however, is that of Galadhrim and Caras Galadhon, because the change from d to dh only appeared in the later printings of the Allen & Unwin edition and was not transferred to the Ballantine.48 There is, however, no change in pronunciation. Tolkien originally used d for voiced th because, as Christopher Tolkien reports that he wrote, “dh is not used in English and looks uncouth.”49 It was only after the second edition of The Lord of the Rings appeared that he changed his mind, and in this case he did attempt to make the change in the text. About 10 percent of the changes are corrections or clarifications of local geography, the bulk of these relating to the lane or path on which the three hobbits are walking when they have their second encounter with a Black Rider and then meet Gildor. In the first edition they are walking along the narrow road through the Green-Hill Country; in the second edition they have turned onto a lane branching off to Woodhall, and all references to this being a road have been changed to path or lane—except one: “Soon the road began to fall gently but steadily into the dusk.”50 The second edition changes help clarify where they actually are on the map. Other clarifications include the identity of Bamfurlong as the name of Farmer Maggot’s farm51 and some adjustments of the layout of the Black Gate.52 Tolkien wisely decided that he preferred Mathom-house over the French-derived museum as the term by which Gandalf speaks of the place where Bilbo deposited his mithril coat.53 Throughout the revised text, Tolkien pays greater attention to what might be called accoutrements. In the battle at Weathertop he adds references to Frodo dropping his sword and it lying under him, instead

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of leaving it unmentioned, and a reference by Bilbo to Frodo’s sword being definitely broken at the Ford is added prior to Bilbo giving Sting to him.54 Rhona Beare caught the oddity of Glorfindel’s horse being described as having a bridle and bit, when elves are elsewhere described as riding without any harness at all. Tolkien acknowledged that when he originally wrote this chapter he“had not [yet] considered the natural way of elves with animals. . . . I will change bridle and bit to . . . an ornamental headstall, carrying a plume, and with the straps [the horse’s bridle is still referred to later on] studded with jewels and small bells.”55 And so he did. Also in the same category could be placed added references to the sons of Elrond riding with the last army to the Black Gate and, after the war, with the Rohirrim traveling to their own land.56 Most of the changes in this category occur near the end of the book. The long formal descriptions, in the conversations at the Field of Cormallen among Frodo, Gandalf, and Sam, of the recovery of Galadriel’s gifts and the insistence that Frodo wear Sting to the banquet, are the most extensive entirely new additions to the book.57 Also in this category are references to Aragorn wearing the Star of the North at his coronation,58 and to the presence of Shadowfax at the Grey Havens. Some of these may be considered the clearing up of loose ends—after all, Sam’s box, his gift from Galadriel, would play a major part in the book’s closing, and readers might have wondered how it was recovered from the wreck of Mordor—but they may also be seen as examples of the softening and regularizing of the mythology that Tolkien turned to in his later years. That Shadowfax accompanies Gandalf to the West is mentioned in the unpublished Epilogue, in answer to a question asked by Sam’s children who want to know that everything came out all right.59 Tolkien was uncertain whether to add the fact to the published text. In January of 1965 he stated, apropos of this, that “I feel it is better not to state everything (and indeed it is more realistic),” but a reference to “a great grey horse” at the Havens appeared in the hardcover revised text a year later.60 A number of changes are designed to correct or clarify chronology or history. These range from matters as small as stating that the Entmoot was three, not two, days long, and having Treebeard state how many days it had been since he released Saruman, 61 to larger matters about what someone knew, and when they knew it. One such point of knowledge comes up when Frodo discovers that Gildor and his folk are Eldar. First-edition Frodo says: “I did not know

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that any of that fairest folk were ever seen in the Shire.” Second-edition Frodo is better-informed about the Elven kindreds: “Few of that fairest folk are ever seen in the Shire.”62 Some other changes regarding the Elves make them less flighty and more somberly detached. Of the first edition folk of Lórien, few “spoke any but their own silvan tongue”; in the second edition few “knew or would use the Westron tongue.”63 This makes them sound more aesthetically dismissive than ignorant, and it also evades the question of which Elven tongue or tongues they did speak. A similar point comes in the discussion of why Dwarves, rather than Elves, are Frodo’s chief source of information on the outside world during the years after the Party when Gandalf is gone. First-edition Elves are passing through the Shire, “passing and not returning; but they shook their heads and went away singing sadly to themselves.” Where they are going is not specified here. Second-edition Elves are less grieved and more detached, and they have a clear destination: “but they were leaving Middle-earth and were no longer concerned with its troubles.”64 Gandalf ’s explanation to Pippin of the history of the palantíri also has such changes, tending to increase slightly the amount that was known of their fate. “It was not known to us that any of the palantíri had escaped the ruin of Gondor,” he says in the first edition. “Outside the Council it was not even remembered among Elves or Men that such things had ever been.” In the second edition there is a bit more knowledge but also more neglect: “We had not yet given thought to the fate of the palantíri of Gondor in its ruinous wars. By Men they were almost forgotten.”65 Of even greater interest is a deletion from the beginning of the same chapter, where Gandalf is talking to Merry. Here the revised text has a small logical disconnection. Merry is feeling hurt over Saruman’s description of the hobbits as the “small rag-tag that dangle at [Gandalf ’s] tail,” and Gandalf soothes him. “Don’t let it rankle!” he says. “Be thankful no longer words were aimed at you. He had his eyes on you. If it is any comfort to your pride, I should say that, at the moment, you and Pippin are more in his thoughts than all the rest of us.” Before “He had his eyes on you,” something appears to be missing, possibly the word “But.” And indeed, that word was in the first edition, along with this sentence after “Be thankful no longer words were aimed at you”: “He had never met a hobbit before and did not know what kind of thing to say to you.”66 It might have made for more coherency if he had not: but Tolkien evidently decided that, given Saruman’s secret tradings with

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the Shire, such a supposition was not supportable. That the hobbits are “more in [Saruman’s] thoughts than all the rest of us” is undercut by an addition to the later conversation with Pippin, in which to Saruman’s worries about hobbits second-edition Gandalf adds: “Or that an heir of Elendil lives and stood beside me. If Wormtongue was not deceived by the armour of Rohan, he would remember Aragorn and the title that he claimed.”67 This fear of the heir of Elendil obviously should be mentioned, and to not address Wormtongue’s having been present at Aragorn’s arrival at Edoras obviously was a gap, but the addition slots in a little uncomfortably. One critical point of knowledge that had puzzled some readers is Gandalf ’s use of the phrase “I guess” in describing Gollum’s people to Frodo: “I guess they were of hobbit-kind.”68 One early reader took this in the modern meaning of a conjecture that could easily be wrong. Tolkien refused to accept this: Gandalf ’s phrasing“is in accordance with his character and wisdom. In more modern language he would have said ‘I deduce.’”69 Tolkien would by no means have changed Gandalf ’s word to “deduce” than he would have otherwise modernized the language, a process he abhorred. Perhaps it was having his attention drawn to the word in this way that caused him in the second edition to add the phrase “I guess” twice to Gandalf ’s deductions about the palantíri, once changing it from the much more speculative “I fancy.”70 In many of these cases one’s first reaction may be to think that Tolkien made the change for purely stylistic reasons. In fact, he tried to alter the overall tone of The Lord of the Rings very little, and there is usually a more concrete possible explanation for any change. Tolkien was very careful with his wording. We can see this care applied throughout the drafts, particularly in the four stages of the opening chapters, which were altered the most. The second edition is just one, or two, more fragmentary adjustments of the text like many others before. In fact there was very little stylistic adjustment to do: it had already been done in the drafting. “Hardly a word . . . has been unconsidered,” Tolkien wrote about the time he finalized the first edition text.71 Even what Christopher Tolkien calls“achieved” first drafts had considerable stylistic adjustment made to them later. Also, Tolkien’s conscientiousness made him cautious: despite massive changes that he made in the proof stages of The Hobbit, he tried to minimize the amount of actual resetting the printers would have to do, and he regarded The Lord of the Rings “far more jealously” yet.72

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One other matter that Tolkien carefully adjusted is the level of humor in the book. It is a common enough observation that The Lord of the Rings is much less humorous than The Hobbit—the flittery and fairy-like quality of the Elves in the earlier book is part of that difference—but contrary to Derek Robinson and other sourpuss critics, The Lord of the Rings is far from a humorless book.73 Two changes made in the second edition adjust the humor level: one adds, the other subtracts. They are both in Book Five. In an effort to emphasize Merry’s sense of helplessness while riding with the Rohirrim, Tolkien adds not one but three comparisons of him with what is said in the first instance as “just another bag that Dernhelm was carrying.” This phrase is part of one of the longest additions to the book: removing one phrase stating that Théoden “was not well pleased” with Merry’s presence, we now find that Merry is so small and insignificant in a large group that he is not even sure if Théoden knows that he is there; and the entire éored ignores him. Later when Elfhelm, the marshal, stumbles over him thinking him a tree-root, second-edition Merry replies, “I am not a tree-root, Sir, nor a bag, but a bruised hobbit.” The bit about the bag, not relevant to what Elfhelm is saying but obviously much on Merry’s mind, is a second edition addition. And when second-edition Elfhelm finishes explaining to Merry what is afoot, he adds one more sentence than he does in the first, a final dismissive command:“Pack yourself up, Master Bag!”74 No other such comparisons of a hobbit to a bag are made; even Bilbo talking to Smaug had only said that he came out of a bag, not that he was one himself, despite his surname. Of all the second edition changes, the one that has received the most attention is the removal of one sentence, spoken by Aragorn. Aragorn is sometimes thought of as a stuffy character, Arrowroot son of Arrowshirt, but this is not fair. Paul Kocher in Master of Middle-earth gives the most effective critical description of Aragorn’s humanity.75 And his least stuffy aspect is his glinty humor, a bit reminiscent of Gandalf ’s. It can be heavy in grim situations, as in his response to Butterbur’s “I wouldn’t take up with a Ranger”: “Then who would you take up with? . . . A fat innkeeper who only remembers his own name because people shout it at him all day?”76 (This line, by the way, did not enter until after the fourth stage of writing.) Or it can be light under less urgency: his sarcastic lecture about pipe-weed to Merry in the Houses of Healing, imitating the genuinely stuffy herb-master who had already irritated

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him, is a good example. Merry then apologizes for having drawn this out of him: “It is the way of my people to use light words.” And Aragorn replies: “I know that well, or I would not deal with you in the same way.”77 These are identical in the first and second editions. Yes, Aragorn is human: he is testy and even witty. And so is the grim Ranger in the first edition when he tells Legolas and Gimli that he had used the palantír to confront Sauron.“Did you say aught to—him?” asks Gimli fearfully. And Aragorn replies: “What do you fear that I should say: that I had a rascal of a rebel dwarf here that I would gladly exchange for a serviceable orc? . . . Nay, my friends, I am the lawful master of the Stone, and I had both the right and the strength to use it. . . .” That is in the first edition. In the second, that whole sentence about the rebel dwarf disappears. Did Tolkien think the caustic wit misplaced at such a serious moment? Maybe not: Aragorn’s riposte to Butterbur is certainly serious. Or is he simply more concerned with not allowing it to get in the way of a more important point: that Aragorn is no longer afraid that Sauron will discover him? Indeed, to reveal himself and thereby press the enemy is Aragorn’s purpose in using the Stone. For the replacement line in the second edition is “Did I not openly proclaim my title before the doors of Edoras?”78 This ties in with Gandalf ’s new observation to Pippin about whether Aragorn might be recognized by Wormtongue. The net effect is a slight lessening of the secrecy with which Aragorn travels at this period of the story. Changes in the Appendices in the second edition are extensive, but relatively limited in nature. Tolkien writes that there are some revisions of dates and some emendations of errors:79 he does not add that there are some additions as well, mostly having to do with Elvish history. More information on the sons of Elrond is added to the Tale of Years, for instance;80 and most interestingly there is an entirely new paragraph summarizing the background of the War of the Jewels, starting “Fëanor was the greatest of the Eldar in arts and lore, but also the proudest and most selfwilled,” and continuing through the alliance of the Eldar and the Edain, at which point the old text about the marriages of Lúthien and Beren, and Idril and Tuor, fits neatly in.81 Much more profoundly changed was the Foreword. Many who do not own copies of the first edition of The Lord of the Rings have never read its extremely interesting Foreword. The greater part of this is reprinted, for the historical record, in The Peoples of Middle-earth.82 What is striking about the first edition Foreword for a reader of the second edition

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is the complete difference in tone. The first edition Foreword takes the “I am just the translator and editor of this scholarly manuscript” position that Tolkien alludes to in the Prologue and uses openly in the appendices, especially in Appendix F “On Translation.” This is a pose adopted to facilitate the acceptance of the legendarium as sub-creation: to give it a historical provenance as an ancient manuscript that the editor must render and interpret for the modern reader. Here we find first referenced the Red Book of Westmarch, so reminiscent of rare Welsh manuscript compilations like the Red Book of Hergest, and allusions to its provenance: “compiled, repeatedly copied, and enlarged and handed down in the family of the Fairbairns of Westmarch, descended from that Master Samwise of whom this tale has much to say.”83 (Which does rather give away Sam’s importance from the start.) The pose is also a self-defense mechanism. Tolkien had exposed his heart to be shot at, as he put it when the book was about to be published,84 and the more he could disclaim responsibility for failings and attribute them to the nature of the manuscript, the more protected he would be. So we get this elaborate justificatory word on The Hobbit, intended to protect against literary failings as well as sub-creational glitches: “Bilbo was not assiduous, nor an orderly narrator, and his account is involved and discursive, and sometimes confused: faults that still appear in the Red Book, since the copiers were pious and careful, and altered very little.”85 One can see this attitude strongly in the introduction to The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, which erects a huge mock-scholarly apparatus, largely as a self-defensive denial that the collected verses have any merits as poetry: they are just hobbit-jottings of merely academic interest.86 It is not surprising that the author wrote privately that he had “lost all confidence” in these poems.87 Tolkien’s star as a poet had fallen far in this, his first published book of verse, from the hopeful days some forty-five years earlier when he had first submitted a collection of poetry to a publisher. But the pose as translator has one other element: a delight in whimsy. Tolkien had begun writing The Lord of the Rings with no higher purpose than to oblige his publisher’s desire for a second book in some open-ended Hobbit series to satisfy the Christmas trade for the following year. In the intervening years he had received many letters of appreciation and inquiry, and refers in the Foreword to his surprise and delight at finding “that so many people . . . share my interest in this almost forgotten history; but it is not yet universally recognized as an important branch

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of study.”88 (Not yet, in 1954.) Most whimsical of all is the dedicatory passage, which includes a bow “to my friends the Inklings . . . [who] have already listened to it with a patience, and indeed with an interest, that almost leads me to suspect that they have hobbit-blood in their venerable ancestry.”89 There is nothing like any of this in the second edition Foreword, which is completely serious and is entirely written from the perspective of a conscious creative artist who has attempted a work of literature. The self-defensiveness is still there, but it is couched in different terms: the perspective of a diligent but beleaguered literary creator, with a hostile, even snide, reaction to critics: “Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works.”90 In addition to sniping at hostile critics, Tolkien was trying to lay claim to his own work as a creative artist, having belatedly discovered through some painfully inept attempts at dramatization of The Lord of the Rings how naïve he had been in once planning to lay his legendarium out in the public domain for “other minds and hands” to rework and enlarge upon. 91 I think it was the first edition’s delight in whimsy that Tolkien most regretted when he came to revise the Foreword. He wrote that it was “a serious mistake” to confuse“real personal matters with the‘machinery’ of the Tale.”92 To pose as Bilbo’s and Frodo’s editor is part of that mistake, but more so is to imply, or even merely allude to, a hobbit ancestry to the Inklings. “That was, of course, absurd,” as Tolkien added to the revised edition of The Hobbit about the Tooks having had a fairy ancestress.93 While Tolkien continued to treat his creation as historical, and not as an imaginary world with no known connection to ours as many fantasy writers do, this marks the final abandonment of a personal connection between modern man and the ancient tales that goes all the way back to the mariner Eriol of The Book of Lost Tales, and most expressly includes the personal visions of lost Númenor given to modern men in The Lost Road and The Notion Club Papers. The latter of these was explicitly inspired by the Inklings, but the Tolkien of 1965 was no longer a Tolkien who could possibly consider completing those tales. But at the same time he deleted his original Foreword, Tolkien added to the Prologue a new “Note on the Shire Records,” covering in great detail exactly the sort of secondary world provenance information only alluded to in the first edition Foreword.94 However, though it is

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something any scholar of a genuine text could have written, it is like the rest of the Prologue impersonal, and does not invent editorial labors in rendering the text. What I have hoped to show here is that The Lord of the Rings was both a stable text and a mutable one to its author: mutable as he developed it, and mutable still in small detail, but remarkably stable in its general character and the vast bulk of its words. We may never achieve a perfect text of The Lord of the Rings for many reasons: the inherent imperfection of the sub-creation, the uncertainty of whether to restore changes in drafts, and above all the human ability to miss typos and create new ones. But we can increase our understanding of what the author wrote and why he wrote it, with the manuscripts kept at Marquette among our guides. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 174 (this volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page); J.R.R. Tolkien, to Charlotte and Denis Plimmer, 8 February 1967, in Letters, 372; J.R.R. Tolkien, “Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 224. 2. Richard E. Blackwelder, A Tolkien Thesaurus (New York: Garland, 1990). 3. Richard E. Blackwelder, Tolkien Phraseology: A Companion to A Tolkien Thesaurus ([Milwaukee]: Tolkien Archives Fund, Marquette University, 1990). 4. J.R.R. Tolkien, to “Mr. Thompson,” 14 January 1956, in Letters, 231. See also letter to Christopher Tolkien, 29 November 1944, in Letters, 104. 5. Rayner Unwin, foreword to J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography, by Wayne G. Hammond, with the assistance of Douglas A. Anderson (Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies; New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Books, 1993), vii. This volume is hereafter cited as “Hammond.” 6. David Bratman,“Top Ten Rejected Plot Twists from The Lord of the Rings: A Textual Excursion into the ‘History of The Lord of the Rings,’” Mythlore 22, no. 4, whole no. 86 (Spring 2000): 13–37. 7. David Bratman,“A Corrigenda to The Lord of the Rings,” Tolkien Collector, no. 6 (March 1994): 17–25. 8. J.R.R. Tolkien, to George Allen & Unwin, 22 July 1955, in Letters, 222.

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9. This error is documented in Hammond (see note 7), 97. The error still appears in the 1987 three-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), 1:67, but is corrected in the 1994 one-volume edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 56, of which I have the fifth printing. 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Treason of Isengard, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 7 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989), 419n2. 11. Diana Pavlac Glyer, The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, forthcoming); Jack Stillinger, Multiple Authorship and the Myth of Solitary Genius (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 25–49. 12. J.R.R. Tolkien, to George Allen & Unwin, 1 August 1950, in Letters, 141. 13. The change is documented in Hammond, 122. The revised text is in Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:14; 1994 ed., 5. 14. The problem is discussed in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the Shadow, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 6 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988), 326–27. The text was changed from“six” to“five” beginning with the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004), 107. 15. Barbara Strachey, Journeys of Frodo: An Atlas of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (New York: Ballantine Books, 1981), maps 6, 11, 13; Tolkien, Return of the Shadow, 202n, 298, 367–68n2; Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth: From The Hobbit to The Silmarillion (New York: Ballantine Books, 1978). 16. The moon issue is discussed in Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 179–80. The battle issue is discussed in J.R.R. Tolkien, The War of the Ring, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 8 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990), 5. 17. The problem is discussed in Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 78. The text was changed beginning with the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, 172. 18. The problem is discussed in Tolkien, War of the Ring, 288. The text was changed beginning with the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, 754. 19. J.R.R. Tolkien, Sauron Defeated, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 9 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 57. No change has been made in the text of The Lord of the Rings, where this passage may be found in the 1987 ed., 3:248; 1994 ed., 949. 20. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:234–35, 265, 378; 1994 ed., 935, 964, 1072. 21. Tolkien, Sauron Defeated, 57.

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22. Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 404n15. The change may be found in The Lord of the Rings, fiftieth anniversary ed., 424. 23. Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 102–105. 24. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Rayner Unwin, 25 May 1965, Letters, 356. 25. Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 84–105. 26. Compare Tolkien, Treason of Isengard, 103–105, with the poem in bk. II, chap. 1 of any edition of The Lord of the Rings, as the text has not been significantly changed. 27. Earlier editions had described the mail-coat as of “silvered steel” without using the term mithril, introduced in The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, rev. and expanded ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), 295n2. 28. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:249; Treason of Isengard, 105. 29. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Robert Murray, 4 November 1954, Letters, 201; Hammond 98. 30. “It is many years since I walked in Imladris,” Arwen tells Aragorn when they finally meet ten years later. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:339, 370; 1994 ed., 1033, 1064. 31. Tolkien, Annotated Hobbit, 69. 32. Ibid. Anderson in his annotation, however, maintains that the reference to the king “is probably not meant to refer to an actual personage.” 33. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:81; 1994 ed., 71. 34. Tolkien, to Rayner Unwin, 25 May 1965, in Letters, 356. 35. Revisions are listed in Tolkien, Annotated Hobbit. 36. It will be most useful to reference the following second edition changes to the pagination of the 1987 three-volume edition which first re-unifies the various traditions of changes. Its pagination is identical to that of the original second edition hardcovers and essentially the same as that of the first edition hardcovers. Systematic lists from which statistics were compiled are in Hammond. The main thread of Allen & Unwin revisions is listed at 122–36; the main thread of Ballantine revisions, essentially identical to these except in pagination, is listed at 107–18; the subsequent Allen & Unwin revisions are at 125–26, 128–30, and 136–37; and the subsequent Ballantine revisions to the appendices are at 118–19. 37. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:8. See also J.R.R. Tolkien, to A.C. Nunn, late 1958–early 1959, in Letters, 289. 38. Hammond, 23. 39. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:206, 3:56, 237; Hammond, 129, 136. These changes existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 40. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:39, 76; Hammond, 128. This change existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 41. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:69.

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42. Ibid., 3:391. 43. J.R.R. Tolkien, to H. Cotton Minchin, April 1956, Letters, 247. 44. Ursula K. Le Guin,“Dreams Must Explain Themselves,” in The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Susan Wood, rev. ed. by Ursula K. Le Guin (New York: HarperCollins, 1989), 47. 45. Tolkien, to Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954, Letters, 177–78. 46. J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 10 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), 414. 47. The development is put in grammatical context by Patrick Wynne, Arden R. Smith, and Carl F. Hostetter in their edition of J.R.R. Tolkien, “‘Words of Joy’: Five Catholic Prayers in Quenya (Part One),” Vinyar Tengwar, no. 43 ( January 2002): 6. An attempt at a sub-creational explanation is made by Helge Kåre Fauskanger, “The Quenya Corpus,” in Ardalambion: Of the Tongues of Arda, the Invented World of J.R.R. Tolkien, http://www.uib. no/People/hnohf/corpus.htm. 48. Instances are enumerated in Hammond, 126. These changes existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 49. J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980), 267. 50. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:86; Hammond, 123. 51. The name Bamfurlong identifies Maggot’s farm in Tolkien, “Bombadil Goes Boating,” in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from The Red Book (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962), 21. The name was added to The Lord of the Rings in the Allen & Unwin line of corrections in 1967, and appears in the 1987 ed. at 1:100; see Hammond 125. In the first edition of The Lord of the Rings, Bamfurlong is described as a place on the Road between Frogmorton and the Brandywine Bridge where the second edition has the geographically more plausible Whitfurrows, 1987 ed., 3:282; see Hammond 133. 52. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:247, 3:167; Hammond, 128, 136. Some of these changes existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 53. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:331; Hammond, 126. This change existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 54. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:208–209, 290; Hammond, 123–24. 55. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Rhona Beare, 14 October 1958, in Letters, 279; Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:221; Hammond, 124. 56. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:158, 248; Hammond, 131–32. 57. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:230–31, 233; Hammond, 132. 58. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:244; Hammond, 132. 59. Tolkien, Sauron Defeated, 123. 60. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Miss A.P. Northey, 19 January 1965, in Letters, 354; Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:310; Hammond, 133.

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61. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:170, 3:258; Hammond, 127, 132. 62. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:89; Hammond, 123. 63. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:374; Hammond, 126. This change existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 64. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:52; Hammond, 122–23. 65. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:203; Hammond, 129. This change existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 66. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:188, 193; Hammond, 127. 67. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:205; Hammond, 127–28. 68. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:62. 69. Tolkien, to A.C. Nunn, late 1958–early 1959, in Letters, 289–90. 70. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 2:189, 190; Hammond, 129. This change existed in 1967–87 only in the Allen & Unwin line. 71. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 160. 72. J.R.R. Tolkien to George Allen & Unwin, 3 April 1956, in Letters, 249. 73. Derek Robinson’s argument for a paucity of humor in The Lord of the Rings is “The Hasty Stroke Goes Oft Astray: Tolkien and Humour,” in J.R.R. Tolkien: This Far Land, ed. Robert Giddings (London: Vision; Totowa, N.J.: Barnes & Noble, 1983), 108–24. 74. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:104–105; Hammond, 131. 75. Paul H. Kocher, “Aragorn,” in Master of Middle-earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), 130–60. 76. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:180; 1994 ed., 165. 77. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:146; 1994 ed., 851–52. 78. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:53; Hammond, 131. 79. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:313n2. This note is removed from the 1994 and later editions. 80. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:375, 376; Hammond, 134. 81. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 3:313–14; Hammond, 133. 82. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Peoples of Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 12 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996), 25–26, 18n15, 12. 83. Ibid., 25. 84. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Robert Murray, 2 December 1953, in Letters, 172. 85. Tolkien, Peoples of Middle-earth, 25. 86. Tolkien, Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book, 7–9. 87. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Rayner Unwin, 12 April 1962, in Letters, 314. 88. Tolkien, Peoples of Middle-earth, 26.

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89. Ibid., 25. 90. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:6; 1994 ed., xvi. 91. Tolkien to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 145. Tolkien’s dismay at dramatizations is expressed in letters to Molly Waldron, 30 November 1955, Letters, 228; to Naomi Mitchison, 8 December 1955, Letters, 229; to Rayner Unwin, 19 June 1957 and 8 April 1958, Letters, 257, 266–67; and to Forrest J. Ackerman, June 1958, Letters, 270–77. 92. Tolkien, Peoples of Middle-earth, 26. 93. Tolkien, Annotated Hobbit, 30. 94. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1987 ed., 1:23–25; Hammond, 122.

King and Hobbit The Exalted and Lowly in Tolkien’s Created Worlds

Marjorie Burns

I

n 1965, in a BBC interview, J.R.R. Tolkien emphasized his commitment to inherited rule, claiming that no other system does better and that “touching your hat to the squire may be damn bad for the squire but it’s damn good for you.”1 There is no doubt that Tolkien meant—and meant emphatically—what he said about the squire. Tolkien was a man who believed in rank and hereditary rule, and he was quick to define the world—both this world and the world he created—in hierarchical terms. But it is also true that Tolkien often held contradictory views, and his individual or isolated pronouncements should not necessarily be taken as his final word. Though he was strongly attached to tradition and established forms of rule, he was also a Christian and a twentiethcentury man, a man who believed that honor and reward are owed to the meek, a man who claimed that The Lord of the Rings is “primarily a study of the ennoblement (or sanctification) of the humble.”2 There are ways, then, in which Tolkien sidesteps or undermines the hierarchical positions he was quick to promote, and ways in which he strongly advocates change. For Tolkien, however, modifications in status and recognition of the meek rarely come without some form of loss or without compromise, and recognition by itself rarely results in significant social change. “In God’s kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small,” Tolkien writes at the end of “On Fairy-Stories.”3 Yet God’s kingdom, as Tolkien describes it here, preserves the greatness of the great and the smallness of the small. In a 1955 letter, where he explains that hobbits provide for “ennoblement” though they are not “professionals,” Tolkien goes somewhat further. “Not that I am a ‘democrat’ in any of its current uses,” Tolkien adds, “except that I suppose, to speak in literary terms, we are all equal before the Great Author, qui deposuit potentes de sede et

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exaltavit humiles” (which is to say God “has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble”).4 Even here, however, a certain quibbling or discomfort with equity remains. Tolkien not only admits he is no “democrat” but somewhat diminishes his assertion of God’s beneficence by the insertion of “I suppose.” In his own cosmogony, hierarchical order clearly dominates. Eru, “the One” creates the Ainur, “the offspring of his thought.”5 Certain of the Ainur choose to become the Valar, and among the Valar there are seven Lords. In The Valaquenta Tolkien lists these lords “in due order,” placing Manwë first and Tulkas last (Silmarillion, 25). As the “highest and holiest” among Valinor’s great, as “the first of all Kings,” Manwë is the standard by which other kings and other Valar Lords are measured, so that Ulmo is affirmed in second place by being next to Manwë “in might” and Aulë is established as third through having “might little less than Ulmo” (Silmarillion, 39 and 26–27). Somewhat lower are the Maiar, who belong to the same order as the Valar but are of “less degree” (Silmarillion, 30). And among the Maiar is a sub-group, the Wizards (or Istari), with a hierarchy of their own, so that Curunír (Saruman) is placed before Mithrandir (Gandalf ), who comes before Radagast and other of the Istari “who went into the east of Middle-earth” (Silmarillion, 300). Like fractals that repeat themselves on a smaller and smaller scale, there are hierarchies within hierarchies and divisions that further divide. This pattern is equally present in other races and in other beings. Though Elves and Men together are “the Children of Ilúvatar,” Elves have superior capabilities and an initial edge. In Tolkien’s words, they have “enhanced aesthetic and creative faculties, greater beauty and longer life”; they are as well “the Firstborn,” while Men are “the Followers” (Silmarillion, 18).6 Moreover, among the Firstborn there are High Elves and lesser Elves, Fair Elves, Dark Elves, Elves of the Light, Elves of the Twilight, Green Elves, Grey Elves, Deep Elves, Sea-elves, and Wood-elves. And Men have their own divisions and individual kinds. As Faramir explains to Frodo and Sam, Men can be separated into “the High, or the Men of the West” (Númenóreans), “the Middle Peoples, Men of the Twilight” (peoples such as the Rohirrim), and “the Wild, the Men of Darkness.”7 Categorizing and ranking are as prominent among Tolkien’s villains as they are among his individual races or his ideal characters. Melkor, who was created the mightiest and greatest of the Valar, becomes Morgoth,

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“the Black Foe of the World,” the primary figure of evil (Silmarillion, 79). Morgoth is more powerful than Sauron, the Maia who serves him; but Sauron, in turn, is fittingly greater and more powerful than the Wizard Saruman. If we drop further down onto the Middle-earth plane, there are other villains, lesser and lower villains, with similar drives for power and the same basic flaws. The Númenórean king, Ar-Pharazôn, seeks excessive rights and immortality. In Rohan, the false counselor Gríma Wormtongue desires both Éowyn and control of the throne. In the Shire, Lotho Sackville-Baggins (or “Pimple,” as he is called) wants “to own everything himself ” and“order other folk about” (LR, 3:291). From Morgoth down to Pimple, each of these tyrants, or would-be tyrants, seeks more authority than his due; and in spite of what appears to be an initial increase in power, each is ultimately limited in his villainy and essentially acts out his story on an appropriate plane. Just as Gollum is restricted by his “stature” and acquires only limited power from his use of the Ring, Morgoth can never replace Eru; Sauron can never truly become “a king over all kings and as a god unto Men” (Silmarillion, 267), and Saruman, “plotting to become a Power” (LR, 2:76), will never be the equal of Sauron, the Dark Lord. Each is held back; each, in one way or another, is restricted by the nature of where he began. Yet each villain, each story, each hierarchical level, is linked to another. Sauron was once the servant of Morgoth; Saruman models himself on Sauron; Wormtongue aligns himself with Saruman; and Pimple, in hopes of greater Shire say, serves the Saruman/Wormtongue team. Within this hierarchy of villains, there are subdivisions as well. The orcs under Sauron and Saruman have their own internal divisions; the Nazgûl, enslaved by the Enemy, have their Nazgûl king. Even Lotho has his “gang of ruffians” (LR, 3:283). Tolkien’s emphasis, moreover, remains most consistently on the high; and words indicating supremacy are far more common in Tolkien’s vocabulary than words depicting the low. A glance through Richard E. Blackwelder’s Tolkien Thesaurus makes this immediately clear.8 Mighty, mightier, mightiest; high, higher, and highest; or great, greater, and greatest have noticeably longer listings than other adjectives. And almost without fail, Tolkien’s most visible and representative characters hold the highest ranking of their individual kind. Manwë is chief of the Valar and “vicegerent of Ilúvatar” (Silmarillion, 40); Aragorn is the “chief of the Rangers” (LR, 3:273); Tom Bombadil is “the Master”; Fangorn “the eldest and chief of the Ents” (LR, 2:164).9 The same is likely to be true of

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objects and animals. Shadowfax is “chief of the Mearas, lords of horses” (LR, 2:108). Roäc is “chief of the great ravens of the Mountain.”10 The Arkenstone cannot be improved upon. “There could not be two such gems,” thinks Bilbo,“even in all the world” (Hobbit, 201). This emphasis on superiority appears even when the race or order in question is itself not innately high. The Wild Men that Théoden and his party happen upon include Ghân-buri-Ghân, the “great headman” of his people and the spokesman for his kind. Among Wild Men, there is no one higher than Ghân-buri-Ghân (LR, 3:106). Antiquity goes hand in hand with supremacy. (Like mighty, high, and great, the words ancient and old are recurrent and strongly emphasized.) In The Hobbit, the thrush who brings Roäc to the Lonely Mountain comes from an “ancient breed,” a “long-lived and magical race” (194); Roäc, son of Carc, belongs himself to an “ancient breed” that remembers “the king that was of old” (218); and the eagles that rescue Bilbo and his party are members of “the ancient race of the northern mountains.” They are as well “the greatest of all birds” (93). In The Lord of the Rings, Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, are the “greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of Old Thorondor, who built his eyries in the inaccessible peaks of the Encircling Mountains when Middle-earth was young” (LR, 3:226); and Thorondor himself is the “mightiest of all birds that have ever been” (Silmarillion, 110). The Ent that Pippin and Merry chance upon is Fangorn himself, called “the Eldest”; and Shadowfax, some say, is descended from a sire that came from “West over Sea,” a belief that marks both the superiority of his line and its longevity (LR, 3:346). Antiquity in language is no less significant. Quenya (“a kind of ‘Elven-latin’” used honorifically) is the High-elven tongue. It is also the most archaic of the Elven languages, the closest to original forms.11 This same preference for what is mighty (or mightier still), great (or greater still), ancient (or most ancient of all) is equally apparent among Tolkien’s negative objects or powers and his negative characters. Though we have the Great Sea, the Great Lands, Great Eagles, Great Gates, and Boromir’s Great Horn, we also have the Great Eye (of Mordor), Great Danger, Great Darkness, and a Great Enemy. Melkor was originally the “mightiest” of the Valar. Sauron is “Sauron the Great,” Shelob, “Shelob the Great.” Saruman, who “was the eldest and came first,” is chief of his order (Silmarillion, 300). Even Gollum originally came from a “family of high repute” (LR, 1:62).

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For the most part those that are genuinely low in Tolkien’s invented worlds are bundled into plurals, into vassals, slaves, and ranks, as in “the ranks of the Southrons” (LR, 3:121); or they are absorbed into collective words, into hoard, chattel, gang, and troop. And typically what is lesser and least serves more to define what is high than to point to what is low. The Rings of Power are divided into the “lesser” and “Great Rings” (LR, 1:56); and just as the Númenóreans and Aragorn are affirmed in their superiority by references to “lesser” men (LR, 2:104, 3:365), the Great Rings are heightened by the existence of lesser rings, and Sauron’s Ring, the Great Ring itself (the Ruling Ring, the One Ring), is heightened even more. Since the world Tolkien chose to create is a strongly heroic one, this emphasis on the highest and the best should come as no surprise. Like the Beowulf-poet—whose warriors, weapons, treasure-hoards, necklaces, and halls are great, greater, or the best this world has seen—Tolkien gives us a world rich with superiority. Like the Beowulf-poet, Tolkien emphasizes the inherited position of his characters.12 And if superiority has been hidden, it will suddenly be revealed. A cloak is thrown back, hood and rags are cast away, and in an instant the individual in question (most often Gandalf or Aragorn) rises above all others, striking them with awe. When Gandalf first returns to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli after Moria, he grows “suddenly tall, towering above them” and weapons they hold are useless in their hands (LR, 2:97). When Aragorn draws his sword before Éomer and announces his titles and names, he not only seems suddenly to grow “in stature,” but a vision of “power and majesty” appears on his face and a “white flame” like a “shining crown” flickers on his brow (LR, 2:36). Even Frodo has his moment of rising tall like “a mighty lord” before Gollum, who suddenly seems to shrink (LR, 2:225). And yet Tolkien is not as limited as this top player propensity would seem to indicate. From the first he had hoped to create a “legend” that would range from “the large and ‘cosmogonic’” down to “fairy tale,”13 and his inclusion of the low is not merely a Shakespearean commitment to keeping the groundlings pleased. Tolkien’s preferences and intentions were more personal and more complex than this. “I love the vulgar and simple as dearly as the noble,” he wrote in 1956.14 Like the Tooks and the Brandybucks, he knew that he (and his readers) could not “live long on the heights,” that Lothlórien may be greatly appealing but so is the beer in Bree (LR, 3:146).

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The hobbits, of course, are Tolkien’s primary means of inserting a less lofty note into Middle-earth, particularly in The Lord of the Rings, and they serve Tolkien well. With the exception of the Sackville-Bagginses, hobbits are a people “abnormally . . . free from ambition or greed of wealth.”15 They have “hardly any ‘government,’” and their presence does much to break down barriers of class and rank as the story moves outward and away from the Shire (LR, 1:18). “So that is the king of Rohan!” says Pippin, after meeting Théoden. “A fine old fellow. Very polite” (LR, 2:164). Touches like this, though they soften the hierarchical edge, do not, however, change the order of how things are or how they ought to be. Théoden does admirably well in hobbit company, and the hobbits can speak of him (outside of his hearing) with colloquial ease, but his kingship is never unimportant and never merely ignored. This same awareness of position appears in all regions and realms and with all groups and kinds, so that not even among Tolkien’s honorable isolationists (Beorn, Treebeard, and Tom Bombadil); not even within his Fellowship, made up of high and low; not even through his hobbits, with their unpretentious, easy-going ways, does Tolkien ever let go of hierarchical concerns. His isolationists may seem initially to have escaped social restrictions and social demands, but each maintains a position of authority in the region where he lives. Beorn has his serving animals, who rightly know their place. Tom may not own “the trees and the grasses and all things growing or living in the land,” but he alone is “Master” within his Old Forest realm (LR, 1:135). And Treebeard (who like Tom is called the “oldest”) is the leader of the Ents and maintains an exact awareness of who is who and who belongs where through his “lore of Living Creatures.” The Fellowship, though based on a joining of the “Free Peoples of the World,” is itself affected by rank (LR, 1:289). No one doubts that Gandalf should head the others; and when Gandalf falls in Moria, Aragorn immediately assumes the role. “Come! I will lead you now!” Aragorn calls out. “Follow me!” (LR, 1:345). All do, and do so without questioning his proclaimed authority. This easy transference to Aragorn occurs even though (in Tolkien’s hierarchy of races) an Elf would normally come second among the Fellowship nine. The distinction here, however, is that Aragorn must reestablish Middle-earth’s kingship of Gondor and Arnor, and Tolkien therefore allows Aragorn a positional edge; he not only gives him a trace of Elven blood but has him fostered

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in Rivendell by Elrond himself. Legolas, on the other hand (though a full-blooded Elf and the son of a king), comes from Mirkwood, and Mirkwood Elves are more lowly placed among the Elvenkind. Nor are the hobbits free from societal layering. Rank and position may seem far less important than shared community, but hobbits still have well-defined class distinctions and hereditary roles. Like the race of Men, they are divided into three: Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides, and the Fallohides are allotted more status than the Harfoots or the Stoors. They are “taller and slimmer” and have fairer skin and hair; they are “more friendly with Elves” and are skilled “in language and song,” traits that are particularly evident in the Tooks, who have “long been pre-eminent” and who are accorded a “special respect” (LR, 1:12, 18–19). Moreover, these indications of hobbit status remain firmly in place throughout The Lord of the Rings—on the Middle-earth plane. Though Bilbo and Frodo are accepted into Valinor, their sailing to the West has no impact on hobbit society, just as Pippin and Merry’s acquisition of high-sounding titles (bestowed away from the Shire) causes no significant change. Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck begin high and end high, and their ranking back at home essentially remains the same. Among hobbits, only Sam, the gardener’s son, rises notably beyond the station to which he was born; but his mayorship is an elected position and not one to be passed automatically on to his sons. (It will take marriage and mixing with higher hobbit families before the line of Samwise Gamgee can permanently rise.) None of this is meant to suggest that Tolkien fails to acknowledge or advance those who deserve recognition or that he denies the importance of change. Life itself, as Tolkien well knew, depends upon adaptation, loss, and renewal; to deny the progression of life, the “unfolding of the story,” is “against the design of God.”16 And what is true of life is true of literature. What sort of tale would we have if—by the end—each player only went back to his designated place, like chess pieces returned to their starting square? Tolkien is therefore highly critical of those who are hostile to natural cycles or hostile to inevitable change; he is critical of the Númenóreans, with their “tombs and memorials,” their “cult of the dead,” and their desire for “endless life unchanging.”17 He is critical as well of Denethor, whose city is growing empty and falling into decay and who nonetheless would have everything remain (he tells Gandalf ) the way it was “in all the days of my life . . . and in the days of my longfathers before me” (LR, 3:130).

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Even the Elves approach this error. It is their “weakness” to grow “unwilling to face change.”18 Like Denethor, they do not wish to give up the supremacy they have held on Middle-earth. They want “to remain on the ordinary earth where their prestige as the highest people, above wild Elves, dwarves, and Men, was greater than at the bottom of the hierarchy of Valinor. They thus became obsessed with ‘fading’, the mode in which the changes of time (the law of the world under the sun) was perceived by them. They became sad, and their art (shall we say) antiquarian, and their efforts all really a kind of embalming—even though they also retained the old motive of their kind, the adornment of earth, and the healing of its hurts.”19 Therefore, in spite of his concern for the status quo and less than positive comments he makes about democracy,20 and in spite of his preference for the highest representative of every type and caste, Tolkien does find ways of breaking down social division, ways that depend upon more than open interaction or hobbit informality. Just as Christianity maintains hierarchical structures in heaven and on earth and yet is committed to rewarding the meek, Tolkien finds ways of holding true to tradition and still fulfilling the human urge to achieve, to earn recognition, to rise deservedly. And in the process of creating reward, Tolkien has much to say about those who misuse power, whether that power is inherited, bestowed, or gained by other means. I began by sharing with you Tolkien’s strongly-stated pronouncement about tipping one’s hat to the squire, mentioning as well that pronouncements (particularly isolated pronouncements) made by Tolkien should be treated cautiously. Let me now play fair with you and share the full BBC passage, the full exchange that led to Tolkien’s proclamation about hat tippers and the squire. In the middle of a discussion on Númenor and the curving of the world, the interviewer, Denys Gueroult, suddenly asks Tolkien whether, given the power, he would really “have created a world . . . so solidly feudal as The Lord of the Rings?” “Oh yes, very much so, yes,” Tolkien replies. “You mean feudal in the French sense? Hierarchal, rather. . . . Yes, I think so.” “That power should descend by a line of kings to their sons?” “Hereditary? Yes, yes . . . I don’t know about that, no. It’s a very potent story-making and motive thing, but how far one can say that it worked better than any other system in looking at the history of

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the world one doubts very much. It’s never been worse, at any rate, than the struggle for power that always ensues when you haven’t got some line of descent that can’t be questioned.” “You’re wedded to . . . this idea of power descending through blood or marriage?” “Yes, I’m rather wedded to those kind of loyalties, because I think (contrary to most people) that touching your cap to the squire may be damn bad for the squire but it’s damn good for you.”21

Removed from the isolation in which I first quoted Tolkien, his statement is far less assured. “Yes,” he says first, and then “no.” And the best Tolkien can say for hereditary rule is that it is never worse than what we get when power is up for grabs. Is he wedded to power “descending through blood?” asks Gueroult. “I’m rather wedded” to it, Tolkien replies, and that rather should not be ignored. There is even a touch of uncertainty in Tolkien’s expletive-intensified statement about showing deference to the squire. Hat tipping, he says, “may” be “damn bad,” for the squire, but may is not the same as certainty. Where certainty comes in is with the tipper himself; Tolkien has no doubt that deference is good for the one who performs the tipping: “it’s damn good for you.” Let me zero in a little further. Who is this “you”? Not the squire and not specifically Gueroult. Tolkien is directing his comments to a broader audience beyond the interview room. He is speaking, I would say, to thee and me, to all of us who are lesser in rank than his hypothetical squire, and he is cautioning us not to forget our place. The squire, however, is not cautioned; the squire, in fact, is not addressed at all. And yet Tolkien is fully aware of squirarchical risk and fully aware that those with inherited titles are not the only ones potentially harmed by the reception of deference. World famous authors, besieged by their fans, have their temptations too. “Even the nose of a very modest idol,” Tolkien once confessed about himself,“cannot remain entirely untickled by the sweet smell of incense!”22 Veneration and homage, he understood, lead easily enough to increased self-importance and to a wish for greater respect, greater control, or greater power still. “The most improper job of any man, even saints, . . . is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it,” Tolkien wrote in 1943.23 And his literature is exceptionally full of individuals who begin well enough, with god-given authority or unsought position, but who overreach themselves and deservedly fall. What comes next may seem obvious: a void has been created; a replacement must be

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found; and almost without fail, in Tolkien’s scheme of things, a decent representative of the same order or same social class steps in and fills the vacated slot both wisely and well (a pattern of restoration familiar to Tolkien not only in heroic and medieval literature but one that also dominated those nineteenth-century novels that appear to defend the poor). Younger brothers—from the Bible to fairy-tales—have long been obvious choices in situations of this kind. In Tolkien’s mythology, Melkor, the “mightiest of those Ainur who came into the World,” becomes Morgoth and falls; Manwë, who is called Melkor’s brother “in the thought of Ilúvatar,” rightly replaces him (Silmarillion, 26). In The Lord of the Rings, Boromir succumbs to temptation, allowing Faramir—scholar, warrior, long-overlooked son—to move into prominence;24 and Gandalf, in what might be called the Brotherhood of Wizards, becomes chief among the Istari after Saruman fails (a position that Galadriel from the first had hoped would be his). In every case, replacement comes from within the same order, leaving the order itself intact. This pattern of fall and replacement has several implications and solves several concerns. For one, it allows us to cheer for the underdog—a dog not necessarily very far under, but an underdog just the same—the way Faramir is an underdog to Boromir and considerably more likeable than his horn-blowing, overly-confident brother (who seems even to have usurped Faramir’s dream and journey to Rivendell). The same is true of those whose realms or inherited positions have been lost and are ultimately regained. Thorin, Bard, and Aragorn each reestablish what was there before. Each brings back the status quo ante, the previously existing state, by restoring a kingship or regaining a former rule. Aragorn earns a kingship that was always rightfully his; Bard regains a position appropriate to his line; and Thorin, grandson of a king, restores his people’s eminence by becoming King under the Mountain—if only temporarily. The pattern is most appropriate for Bard and Aragorn, who not only begin as individuals whose familial lines have lost a kingship and power but who first appear in subordinate situations or lowly guise—Bard serving in the shadow of the Master, and Aragorn (who belongs to the tradition of the not-yet-recognized, wandering king-to-be) as Strider, as a tattered ranger who first enters the story as a suspicious-looking, “weather-beaten” stranger in a “travelstained cloak” (LR, 1:168).

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But whether Tolkien is restoring a lost position or merely interchanging one top player for another of equal blood, something or someone must first be removed, and Tolkien plays out the removal of the overly ambitious and of those who misuse power or authority so often and in so many forms and at so many levels (from Melkor to Saruman to the Master of Lake-town) that the pattern comes close to suggesting a judgment on entitlement. At the very least, it is hard to imagine Tolkien did not find satisfaction in bringing about the descent of those who deserve to fall. We are—most of us in this world—fairly humble folks, and when the prideful are brought low, when unpopular bosses or bullies take a tumble, we are not at all displeased. If only for a moment, we can look righteously down on those who had held power and feel superior; and we can do so without resenting the office, the order, or the position itself. Our scorn (and exultation) is all directed toward the offending individual, toward the one who misused his rights and responsibilities. It is for this reason that Tolkien strongly emphasizes humility for those who earn reward. We like Bard all the more for seeming not to desire power, for the way in which he defers to the Master of Lake-town and carries out his duty “always in the Master’s name” (Hobbit, 215). We like Faramir all the more for his willingness to serve in Ithilien and his quick recognition of Aragorn’s role, and we like Aragorn himself all the more for his lack of arrogance, for denying he should be called “Lord Aragorn” and for saying“I am but the Captain of the Dúnedain of Arnor; and the Lord of Dol Amroth shall rule the City until Faramir awakes” (LR, 3:138). Such indications of humility are particularly important for Aragorn, who could easily rise too high to maintain our sympathy but who remains Strider to the hobbits even when he is crowned and who takes the name Telcontar (Strider) for the name of his house. But there is more still. There is yet another way in which Tolkien maintains hierarchical structure and allows for the humble and deserving to rise, and this can only work in a tale strongly based on mythology. What Tolkien does is to remove the highest existing ranks. At the end of the Third Age, the uppermost players are moving away—off the Middle-earth stage. This allows Tolkien once again (though more subtly) to follow the pattern of removal and replacement, the pattern of the older and firstborn departing and leaving room for those next in line. Once Gandalf and the “Firstborn” Elves return to the West, Aragorn and his line become the highest there can be—on the Middle-earth

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plane. And Aragorn, who already has some Elven ancestry, will bring a new infusion of Elven blood to his line by marrying Arwen Evenstar. In a sense, he and his descendants absorb something of Arwen’s higher power, and in doing so they gain what Tolkien calls “the only real claim to ‘nobility.’”25 This is clever of Tolkien. No one has tinkered with hierarchical order; it still firmly remains. But just as Eru’s choice to make himself“immensely remote” gave the Valar greater visibility and a prominence,26 Gandalf ’s and the Elves’ departure from Middle-earth allows Men to ascend, or appear to ascend. Though the Elves, under Sauron’s influence, once feared Men would be “usurpers,” their decision to leave Middle-earth is a decision made on their own. This means Mankind rises to the top without seeking disruption and without displacing Elf, Maia, or God. Those of higher power and greatest might still exist, but they are leaving the scene; and Mankind, for good or ill, can now inherit the earth. This is how Tolkien maintains the upper order and removes it as well. This is how he both stays true to tradition and makes room for change. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, interview by Denys Gueroult, British Broadcasting Corporation, Oxford studio, 20 January 1965; private transcription. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Michael Straight, probably January or February 1956, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 237. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 3. J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” in J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989), 66. 4. This passage from the Magnificat is cited on p. 215 in Letters and is translated from the Latin on p. 446n6 (letter 163). 5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 15. Hereafter cited in the text as Silmarillion. 6. See also J.R.R. Tolkien, to Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954, in Letters, 176. 7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 3 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), 2:287. Hereafter cited in the text as LR. 8. Richard E. Blackwelder, A Tolkien Thesaurus (New York: Garland, 1990). 9. Tolkien is also capable of using such terms ironically. The excessive use of Master in reference to the Master of Lake-town turns the title into mockery. In a similar way Chief is overly applied to Lotho in “The Scouring of the Shire”

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(The Lord of the Rings, bk. VI, chap. 8). In both these cases, however, Tolkien is ridiculing positions that are appointed or elected and not hereditary. 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again (London: Unwin Hyman, 1987), 218. Hereafter cited in the text as Hobbit. 11. Tolkien, to Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954, in Letters, 176. 12. Not only is Beowulf ’s lineage appropriately high, but Beowulf himself is the mightiest of warriors who are themselves mightier than most. Among men, the poem tells us, Beowulf is “the strongest of might in the time of this life.” See Beowulf, trans. Joseph F. Tuso (New York: W.W. Norton, 1975), 5. 13. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 144. 14. J.R.R. Tolkien, to “Mr. Thompson,” 14 January 1956, in Letters, 232. 15. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 158n. 16. Tolkien, to Michael Straight, probably January or February 1956, in Letters, 236. 17. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 155; and The Lord of the Rings, 2:286. 18. Tolkien, to Michael Straight, probably January or February 1956, in Letters, 236. 19. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 151–52. See also J.R.R. Tolkien, to Naomi Mitchison, 25 September 1954, in Letters, 197. 20. See, for example, Letters, 64, 107, 215, and 246. 21. Tolkien, interview by Gueroult. 22. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Sir Patrick Browne, 23 May 1972, in Letters, 418. 23. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 29 November 1943, in Letters, 64. 24. There is yet another way in which Faramir serves as a replacement character. As Aragorn moves closer to the throne, Faramir (an Aragorn figure down a peg or two) fills the Strider role. Like Aragorn, he begins in virtual exile as a woodsman dressed in green, and by the end he has married the woman Aragorn must reject. 25. Tolkien, to Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954, in Letters, 176. 26. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Robert Murray, 4 November 1954, in Letters, 204.

Subversive Fantasist Tolkien on Class Difference

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olkien’s conservative monarchism, Roman Catholicism, and even racism have all been singled out by critics over the past twentyfive years as possible reasons to discount the significance of his pastoral vision of the Shire and the secondary world of Middle-earth. Brian Rosebury has acknowledged, in his Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon, that “commentators in Tolkien, sensing his non-subscription to the secular-left consensus, and indifferent to his declared purposes, have found construing his work is a coded right-wing polemic even more helpful.”1 Pursuing the assumption that Tolkien’s personal commitments necessarily correlate with his creative practice, Fred Inglis, in an essay published in England over twenty years ago, argues that the Shire is an aristocracy. He states categorically, in “Gentility and Powerlessness: Tolkien and the New Class,” that Tolkien is “ineffably English, with England’s old and grim snobbery and stupidity, and England’s excellent idealism and high-mindedness. . . . Tolkien is no Fascist, but his great myth may be said, as Wagner’s was, to prefigure the genuine ideals and nobilities of which Fascism is the dark negation.”2 In the same volume, Nick Otty, in a witty essay titled “The Structuralist’s Guide to Middleearth,” determines that“the politics of Middle-earth are openly paternalistic (in so far as it is possible to be `open’ about paternalism. . . . So at the Council of Elrond, Aragorn reveals his paternal and selfless concern for all the lesser folk of Middle-earth (like a Tory cabinet minister, or a Platonic Guardian, or a mole-hunter in a John le Carré novel).”3 Further, says Otty, the Orcs are “swart” and “slant-eyed,” that is, “both black and oriental.”4 And in relation to class, “the Shire, for example, is an unreal agricultural community of gentle work-shy landowners with plenty of time to smoke and dream in their burrows. How the plenty of food in which they take such delight is grown, harvested, marketed, transported, etc. is never even hinted at. Almost the only workers mentioned

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are gardeners.”5 If the Hobbits are “gentlemen” and the Orcs “working class” (as they have been termed by John Carey in “J.R.R. Tolkien: An Audio Portrait”), what, then, is Tolkien?6 Presumably a paternalistic, right-wing, classist, racist, monarchist-Fascist. One way around these examples of critical subversion is to follow Rosebury’s rationalization that Tolkien in the epic romance assimilates twentieth-century history through his own experiences, so that whatever may seem political—for example, his support of Franco in Spain as reflected in his letters—is most likely mirroring his strong religious values as a Catholic (Franco was seen as a staunch supporter of Catholicism). This does not quite explain Tolkien’s classism and racism, although, Rosebury patiently continues, Tolkien’s attitude toward work is “close to John Ruskin’s; and not too remote from Marx’s. All the benign peoples in Tolkien have a distinctive kind of productive work. The hobbits are essentially farmers; the fact that Bilbo and Frodo have no occupation—except `burglary’ and writing books, neither of which ties them to one place—is a narrative convenience, like their being bachelors.”7 Fantasy, however, as John Clute and David Langford have aptly noted in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, is a subversive mode,8 and as Tolkien’s masterwork is a fantasy, we might expect some form of subversion in The Lord of the Rings. To understand how this might work, if we turn to Tolkien’s scholarship on the fabliaux of Geoffrey Chaucer, whose subversive humor was a topic for Tolkien in two of his best-known academic articles, we can glean some sense of the Professor’s interest in and concern for dismantling class differences through philology, if not through fantasy. In these articles, published in 1925 and 1934, Tolkien focuses on two of the Canterbury fabliau-tellers, both rogues and members of the Commons—the shipman and the reeve. First is a note on the description of the shipman’s horse in the General Prologue. In “The Devil’s Coach‑Horses,” published in the Review of English Studies in 1925, Tolkien argues that aver (West Midland eaver, from Old English afor and eafor), as found in the twelfth-century Hali Meiðhad,9 does not refer (as it seems to) to a rotting boar—which the devil appears to be riding—but instead, and almost equally irregularly, to a large cart horse.10 Tolkien relates his philological analysis back to Chaucer’s shipman in his conclusion: “The devil appears to have ridden his coach-horses like a postilion, but he was in worse case than Chaucer’s shipman who ‘rood upon a rouncy as

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he couthe,’ his steeds seem indeed to have been heavy old dobbins that needed all his spurring.”11 In the second article, the substantial seventy-page “Chaucer as a Philologist: The Reeve’s Tale,” published in Transactions of the Philological Society in 1934, Tolkien explores the dialectical features of the speech patterns of Chaucer’s two northern English clerks who come to mill corn at a very southern mill.12 These dialectical differences of the country bumpkins from the rural north enhances the triumph of their quiting (getting even with) the arrogant southern miller—who stole their corn after he had had his wife unleash their stallion to run after his mares. By later sleeping with both the miller’s wife and daughter—literally, next to or in the bed while he snores—the clerks enjoy a much richer and more satisfying revenge on the ignorant southern miller, who believes his wife, the bastard child of the parson, has social stature in the community because of this perceived “high” birth. Like Chaucer, Tolkien clearly sides with the youthful country bumpkins from the north and not with the deceitful and proud southern miller. In both these cases, Tolkien selects as subjects those Chaucerian figures whose very comic realism stems from their background as commoners. In the General Prologue portrait, the shipman is duped into buying a rouncy (a nag) because—while he knows about ships and the seas—he does not know about horses one rides on dry land. The northern clerics who are similarly tricked by the crafty southern miller (by pressing his thumb on the scale and having his wife unloose their stallion), on the other hand, use the miller’s regional stereotyping (classifying individuals by their speech patterns, as if speech represented the educational level or literacy of the man) strategically. The clerks accept the miller’s hospitality but, in fact, use the subterfuge of their apparent simplicity to swive the miller’s wife and daughter. Just as Chaucer satirizes the pride of the “highborn” wife of the miller in the Reeve’s Tale, Tolkien also similarly inverts the implied value system of the social hierarchy of the three medieval estates (aristocracy, clergy, commons). Superior social class, place of birth, or inherited wealth in Tolkien may or may not accompany true gentility, or gentilesse, as Chaucer describes literal and figurative courtesy in the Wife of Bath’s Tale in the speech of the Loathly Lady to her ignorant and boorish husband, the young knight, and in Chaucer’s short poem“Gentilesse.” In both Tolkien’s scholarship on Chaucer’s language and his reworking of Chaucerian class satires in his own fantasy, he expresses a sensitivity to

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class and racial or regional differences that arise in literary contexts. As Chaucer does in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, wherein certain members of the Commons, like the ideal humble Parson and his brother the Plowman, exemplify Christian ideals—in contrast to the hypocritical monk and friar and the manipulative summoner and pardoner—Tolkien also subverts classist presumptions and stereotypes and promotes virtue and charity. So in Tolkien’s proto-Marxist drama of “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son,” the old farmer educates the foolish young minstrel-dreamer Torhthelm, in a reversal of the initial relationship of Master Frodo and the servant Sam. Drawing on the class-consciousness of The Battle of Maldon in his own verse drama sequel, Tolkien inverts the nobility of the proud lord Beorhtnoth and the homely crustiness of the old follower Beorhtwald of Maldon in the old farmer Tidwald and the minstrel’s young son Torhthelm. Where class difference creates impassable barriers to communication, there is prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance, all of which lead to isolation, segregation, and ultimately the workings of evil, that is, displacement and discord. I would argue that Tolkien is neither a snob nor a Fascist in his own fantasies but, indeed, a subverter of those very class differences that so often characterize old English snobbery. Peace and harmony among members of different classes represent the utopian vision in which Tolkien most delights in three of his own fantasies: the fairy-stories of Farmer Giles of Ham (1949) and Smith of Wootton Major (1967)13 and the epic of The Lord of the Rings (1954–55).14 In Farmer Giles of Ham, it is the rustic Farmer Giles who occupies the role of the romance genre’s knight-errant and reveals his aristocratic nature, in contrast to the foppish, do-nothing knights of the king’s court. And in Smith of Wootton Major, it is the humble rustic, the smith named Smith, who knight-like learns how to navigate the threshold into the perilous realm of fäerie to fulfill a quest. In the third and most important work, the xenophobia and classist stereotypes of some of the old, narrow-minded, and provincial farmer Hobbits provide the seeds of suspicion, disapproval, and dislike that will blossom into the dark and Fascist domination of the town later on by the miller Sandyman and his cohorts Sharkey (the wizard Saruman) and Worm, in“The Scouring of the Shire.” To prove my point I would like to note—seemingly inappropriately—the class-driven colloquialisms of the illiterate rustics of the Ivy Bush and the Green Dragon at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings.

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The descendants of the Gaffer and Sandyman, Sam and Ted, share a conversation similar to that of their rustic fathers at the inn, the Green Dragon, when it nears the time for fifty-year-old Frodo to depart. Both Sam and Ted speak in a near-illiterate way, Sam using“ain’t” occasionally and Ted, dialect (“No thank ’ee” [LR, 43]). It is these inhabitants that Frodo describes as “too stupid and dull for words,” imagining darkly that “an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them” (LR, 61). This patronizing snobbery, while it does not last long in Frodo, is matched by a kind of lower-class “blackface” exaggeration on the part of Sam when he is discovered eavesdropping by Gandalf: “Lor bless you, Mr. Gandalf, sir!” he cries, explaining he was doing nothing. “Leastways I was just trimming the grass-border under the window” (LR, 62). And he then begs Frodo in terror (and mirroring the rustic Hobbits’ xenophobic and class-conscious culture) not to let Gandalf hurt him: “Don’t let him turn me into anything unnatural!” (LR, 62). Other rustic Hobbits speak equally ignorantly or childishly. Farmer Maggot and his wife, whom the smaller Fellowship of Hobbits meets at the edge of the Shire and whom in part—at least according to Frodo—represent initially a childish form of adversary to Frodo—but so also does the Gollum side of Sméagol in Book IV, when his speech fragments into the baby-talk of the Stoor Hobbit. In contrast, Sméagol tends to speak in complete sentences, using the first-person pronoun, and to reflect an upwardly mobile and socially aspiring Hobbit self who wishes to bond feudally with his master and “lord,” Frodo. It is not just that Sméagol has pledged himself as villein or serf to a manorial lord manqué and obligates himself almost chivalrously to his overlord—“a mighty lord”—when he swears upon the Ring of his master in a feudal parody of homage (in LR, 604): “‘We promises, yes, I promise!’ said Gollum. ‘I will serve the master of the Precious. Good master, good Sméagol’” (LR, 604). The oath in itself is a means to Sméagol’s reclamation of humanity (or Hobbitness)—his return to civilization and to urbanity and literacy as a mark of normalcy, the norm reflected in his use of whole and complete sentences with subject, verb, and object. Sméagol swears by the Precious not to return it to Sauron in Mordor, and it is this bond of honor in an oral contract that keeps him sane and whole: “From that moment a change, which lasted for some time, came over him. He spoke with less hissing and whining, and he spoke to his companions direct, not to his precious self. . . . [H]e was friendly, and indeed pitifully anxious to please. He would cackle with laughter and

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caper, if any jest was made, or even if Frodo spoke kindly to him, and weep if Frodo rebuked him” (LR, 604). As the farmer Hobbits and the servile Gollum speak ungrammatically and childishly (suggesting the seeming insignificance of their class), Tolkien also initially equates both Merry and Pippin with a literal Hobbit aristocracy. Meriadoc Brandybuck comes from Buckland, like Frodo’s mother Primula Brandybuck, and he has inhabited Brandy Hall, as have others of his Hobbit line for some time. Peregrin Took bears the family name of General “Bullroarer” Took (Bandobras, in the Red Book). This “son of Isengrim the Second” can ride a horse and mirrors the gentry in carrying genes of upper-class superiority (LR, 2; emended to “son of Isumbras the Third” in the 2004 ed.). When the Gaffer and Old Noakes view with suspicion the Brandybucks and Tooks of Buckland, it is only in part because these Fallohide Hobbits are different and “unnatural” in their affinities for traveling by water and for exploration and adventure. It is also because their difference resides in their upper-middle-class and actual aristocratic stature within the community, which the rustics fear as Otherness and potential arrogance and domination. What Tolkien appears to be doing is marking the conventional boundaries separating the social classes—as well as laying the ground work for the hero, of course, to emerge from our boorish Hobbits in his epic-romance. If we return to the exaggerated class differences at the very beginning of The Lord of the Rings, we mark an initial level of ignorance in both Frodo and Sam: the arrogance of the gentry and the upper middle class in Frodo and the self-effacing belittlement of the underclasses in Sam. Interestingly, neither really speaks that unnatural way again in The Lord of the Rings, as if they were here being used to stage the boundaries of class separation Tolkien will unravel by the end of his narrative. What is natural to Sam, despite his exaggerated common dialect, is his love of tales of Elves: “Lor bless me, sir, but I do love tales of that sort” (LR, 62). Indeed, when Gandalf promises him a punishment that involves going away with his master, Sam is described as “springing up like a dog invited for a walk” (LR, 63), a dehumanizing and exaggerated figure for the Hobbit who will end up as a mayor. If the first rustic scene provided the commons’ view of the “queer” upper classes, at least of Bilbo and Frodo, Gandalf ’s reaction to Sam mirrors the general medieval (aristocratic) view of the commons as thieving, lying, and dishonest.

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It is through rustics who behave heroically that Tolkien also subverts class difference. One purpose in the latter, especially, is to alert us to the dangers of stereotyping in class prejudice, which usually stems from a xenophobia based on fear and ignorance. A like prejudice is manifested in racism and sexism in Middle-earth, as I have discussed in “Tolkien and the Other: Gender and Race in Middle-earth.”15 What begins as disparagement of those from a different class, whether lower or higher, can serve also as the foundation of Fascism and domination by the powerful. Throughout this fantasy Tolkien consciously promotes an understanding of the individual by acknowledging the classist and racist boundaries erected by the ignorant and ill-motived who feel threatened by differences in the Other. Tolkien does so by beginning with the prejudices of his protagonists and their need for education. One of Frodo’s first educational experiences on his journey is an encounter with another member of the Commons, who teaches him that class differences do not signal moral inferiority. Farmer Maggot, a churl (freeman), is viewed as “trouble” by Frodo but as “a good friend to all the Brandybucks” by Pippin (LR, 89). Frodo, caught trespassing several times when he was a boy at Brandy Hall, fears Maggot because Maggot beat him and threatened to let his dogs eat him if it happened again. The privilege of upper class may have permitted Frodo’s trespassing, but the abusive behavior of Maggot toward the young Hobbit confirms Gandalf ’s image of the peasant as villein, villain and serf at the same time. Yet Farmer and Mrs. Maggot now kindly offer food and protection to the Fellowship (and along the way reverse the Shire image of the Bucklanders and their odd habits as “queer” and“unnatural”:“You should never have gone mixing yourself up with Hobbiton folk, Mr. Frodo” [LR, 92]). Farmer Maggot views with suspicion both the “outlandish folk” of Hobbiton and also the black riders he met who were looking for Frodo (LR, 93). His wife is even more protective of Farmer Maggot: “You be careful of yourself, Maggot! . . . Don’t go arguing with any foreigners” (LR, 94). Those outside the home boundaries surely are “foreigners,” aliens, “outlanders,” the Other—and therefore dangerous. But whether these aliens are different because of their origin of place, their class, or their race or family makes no difference either to the bourgeois orphan Frodo or to the uneducated underclass commoners, the Maggots. And that is Tolkien’s point: Frodo has found a friend where he harbored fear of an adversary, and the friend is a rural commoner,

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not an aristocratic Brandybuck or Took. Frodo will (pointedly) later call Mrs. Maggot (not without irony on Tolkien’s part) a “queen among farmers’ wives” (LR, 100, my emphasis). Interestingly, just as Bilbo and Frodo seem queer to the commons in the Shire because of their wealth, the aristocratic Bucklanders also seem queer and alien to them. The adventures Frodo has with Hobbits outside of the Shire involve both his and his Bucklander companions’ upper-class status and encounters with others’ perceptions of them, not so much worthy of respect as suspicious, unusual, or alien. Immediately following this adventure Merry takes them past Brandy Hall to an “oldfashioned countrified house” that Frodo has picked because it is out of the way and resembles a Hobbit hole more than a dignified hall. This more humble dwelling is not in fact Brandy Hall, which had been built by Gorhendad Oldbuck, who then changed his name to Brandybuck. As a measure of the Brandybucks’ importance, as Gorhendad’s family grew, so did Brandy Hall, until it came to have a hundred windows and to suggest a small country (LR, 96). Hence the country acquired the name “Buckland,” although “most of the folk of the old Shire regarded the Bucklanders as peculiar, half foreigners as they were” (LR, 96). But then the Hobbits of the Shire also view the Hobbits of Bree, farther on, as “Outsiders” of little interest, “dull and uncouth” (LR, 147). Is it class or just cultural or regional difference of any sort that invokes these narrow stereotypes? At a time when dark forces are gathering, this apparent class prejudice is not unusual behavior. At the West-gate of Bree, the gatekeeper finds it suspicious that Hobbits from the Shire are traveling at night—although he inquires politely about their business and their names—and he is met with resistance by Frodo, who, not liking his tone, informs him it is their business and not his (LR, 148). When the gatekeeper reminds him that asking questions at night is his business, what silences him is a patrician response from Merry: “We are hobbits from Buckland, and we have a fancy to travel and to stay at the inn here. . . . I am Mr. Brandybuck. Is that enough for you? The Bree-folk used to be fair-spoken to travelers, or so I had heard” (LR, 148). Merry assumes that the Bree gatekeeper has heard of the Brandybucks of Brandy Hall, and he further challenges the gatekeeper’s own Bree sense of courtesy, as if reminding him of appropriate etiquette under the normal circumstances. Yet even Butterbur at the Prancing Pony calls them “Outsiders,” travelers from the Shire (each region apparently marking those who are different from

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them in various ways). Where these differences are greatest outside the first two books and the ending chapters occurs in Rohan and then in Gondor, in the respective cases of Merry and Pippin, in Books III and V. In one latter instance of cultural and racial difference, the Men of Rohan, as epitomized by Hama’s cold eye, in Book III witness the arriving Fellowship splinter group of Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli skeptically; and in Book IV, another example of the same, Faramir of Gondor and his company protecting the Window on the West on the border of Gondor view the splinter Fellowship group of Frodo and Sam equally suspiciously. What Tolkien decries is condemnation of any sort of alterity as queer and “unnatural.” In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s disapproval of xenophobia gets played out through the Shire rustics’ fear of outsiders and the suspicion and fear with which Dwarves view the Elves; Elves, the Dwarves; and Men, other Men and strange creatures of all sorts, especially Hobbits. Tolkien’s solution to the problem of alterity in class, place of origin, or race is to create a composite hero who mingles differences ontologically. The Bagginses mix Fallohide with Harfoot—a kind of Everyman Hobbit that will prove to be the most heroic of all three branches because of the blending of differences.16 The Hobbits, with their three branches distinguished by regional differences and affiliations with other races—Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides—incarnate three medieval-like estates as well, although Tolkien’s heroes tend to come, at least in part, from the Fallohides, the loftiest of the branches. The stocky large-footed Stoors of the south associated with the Great River Anduin and “highlands and hillsides”—from which Gollum springs—are also “less shy of Men” (LR, 3), and, therefore, associated with them in their middling position in the hierarchy of being. The small brown beardless Harfoots live in the mountains of the west and like holes and tunnels, much like Dwarves, the species they most resemble; many of the Bagginses, as well as other members of the Shire, are Harfoots (the less attractive and more materialistic sides of Bilbo and Frodo).17 The Fallohides, the equivalent of Elves, come from the north; they are, like medieval aristocrats, skilled in song craft and hunting; and love trees and forests.18 Note Tolkien’s medievalized and aristocratic description in the Prologue of the Fallohides, from whom especially Merry and Pippin and, to a lesser extent, Bilbo and Frodo, derive:“Being somewhat bolder and more adventurous, they were often found as leaders or chieftains among clans of Harfoots or Stoors. Even in Bilbo’s time the strong Fallohidish strain

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could still be noted among the greater families, such as the Tooks and the Masters of Buckland” (LR, 3). That Tolkien in his works intends a level playing field for aristocrat, bourgeois, and commoner—whatever their social status or wealth—is clear from the interrelationships the Hobbit heroes all seemed to have maintained throughout their own lives (and, in the Prologue, those of their descendants). Tolkien takes care to pinpoint the initial aristocratic and manorial associations of Merry and Pippin while distinguishing from them the commoner Master Samwise Gamgee (and the bourgeois bachelor knights Bilbo and Frodo Baggins). Ordinary folk stay within their class, Tolkien suggests—unlike the extraordinary hero-Hobbits of The Lord of the Rings and the upwardly mobile miller Sandyman. For Sam represents the Horatio Alger of fantasydom, although Tolkien both identified with him and regarded him as “vulgar.” By means of education (and in particular through tales of the Elves), Bilbo may have simultaneously whetted Sam’s appetite to travel, to accompany his master Frodo, to behave at least as heroically as his master, en route to Mount Doom, and ultimately to lead the Shire as mayor upon his return. Through Sam’s rise from barely literate gardener he progresses, first, to comrade and companion of the Ringbearer and, then, to Ringbearerbearer as Frodo inches up Mount Doom. The metaphor of a leader as gardener is apt: Sam prunes the garden of the Shire as much as he fertilizes it with the magic of elanor he brings back from Galadriel. As mayor of the Shire he leads the community, long after, in the narrative as it is continued in the appendixes. Sam’s father reveals a potential similar to Sam’s (although it remains undeveloped), in the latter’s moral and intellectual progress, as do his two daughters, who transcend Sam’s own bourgeois position as mayor. In the conversation among the rustics that introduces the book, gardener Ham Gamgee (Sam’s father) defends Frodo and Bilbo to the miller Sandyman (whom he does not like), chiefly because Bilbo has been kind to him; consults him as an authority on growing vegetables; addresses him politely as “Master Hamfast”; and has taught his son Sam to read and write (LR, 22, 24). But the Gaffer reflects his own class background and culture in his resistance to Bilbo’s classlessness and egalitarianism when he warns Sam not to fraternize with the upper class: “‘Elves and Dragons! I says to him. Cabbages and potatoes are better for me and you. Don’t go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you’ll land in trouble too big for you, I says to him. And I might say it

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to others,’ he added with a look at the stranger [from Michel Delving] and the miller” (LR, 24). Sam’s two daughters also attain a loftier status in the community, one, by serving Arwen, the other, Lady Took, as a handmaiden; one takes up the pen to continue the writing of annals begun by Bilbo and Frodo and carried on by Sam.19 And yet Merry’s course leads upward to aristocratic heroism that will be long celebrated, whereas Pippin’s leads downward, in an indenture that marks the servant who must toil to repay the sum for which he has sold his freedom, his life. By giving the two more minor Hobbits the full aristocratic names of Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck, Tolkien plays with their figurative aristocratic status as Hobbit heroes. Peregrin, the name for a type of falcon, suggests the laws of chivalry and the code of the hunt that a nobleman must learn. Meriadoc—a name modeled on Gorbadoc, the figure central to the sixteenth-century aristocratic tragedy and the name of Old Master Gorbadoc, the father-in-law of Drogo Baggins (Frodo’s father)—reminds the astute reader of the social and political strata of an earlier time (LR, 23). The Brandybuck and Took representatives—Merry and Pippin—also reflect inversions of each other, and as foils dramatize change in class: Merry serves as a heroic thane to his lord, part of a comitatus ethic characteristic of Old English works of literature like the elegy “The Wanderer” or the epic Beowulf or the heroic chronicle entry “The Battle of Brunanburh.” But Pippin functions merely as a servant to a servant—Denethor, steward to the king of Gondor—and wears the livery of a noble household and who saves the family by acting as a messenger to fetch Gandalf at the moment the crazed Denethor places his unconscious son Faramir on his funeral pyre to burn with him. Tolkien emphasizes the drama of class mobility by repeating the same symbolic feudal ritual for all the Hobbits incrementally. When Merry pledges as a “kingsman” to King Théoden of Rohan and when Pippin, in a mirror image of that same scene, indentures himself as servant to the steward to kings, Denethor, we see replayed similar first estate/third estate feudal symbolism as between Gollum and Frodo in their contracts with each. But it is a feudal contract—no matter how it varies—that involves a superior and inferior member. Merry is inspired to heroism by Théoden’s regal demeanor and heroic behavior on the battlefield—and most especially by Éowyn-as-Dernhelm’s solitary resistance to the Lord of the Nazgûl, as displayed by her attack on him. Pippin, in contrast, is motivated by guilt and pride to serve the steward,

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in recompense for the loss in Book III of Denethor’s beloved son on his and Merry’s behalf. Certainly the motivation of both Hobbits comes from noble impulses, genes, and histories in their own families, whether of General Took, who was said to have married a fairy wife, or of the Brandybucks, named after the Brandywine River near the Old Forest and wealthy in the oldest sense of old money. Yet in each case the Hobbit disobeys his lord and steps out of his class and rank. That Tolkien applauds the inner nobility of Merry and merely approves of the dutiful debt-repayment service of Pippin is clear from the limitations placed on each Hobbit. Merry dons armor and joins the similarly disobedient Dernhelm on the battlefield. Pippin, wearing livery, disobeys Denethor’s order to stay there with him and instead runs away to Gandalf the wizard for help, as if to signify a lack of trust in his own ability to rescue Faramir on his own (as indeed Denethor has belittled him into feeling he should not). In the first case Merry’s disobedience (like Éowyn’s) has been foreseen in a prophecy that memorializes racial and gender difference—that no man (as, indeed, neither woman—nor Hobbit—is) can fell the lord of the Nazgûl. Ironically, Gandalf first introduces Pippin to Denethor as a Man, Peregrin Took, while Pippin decries this untruthful term of opprobrium, at least to him, and insists he is a Hobbit, a Halfling: “Man! Indeed not! I am a hobbit and no more valiant than I am a man, save perhaps now and again by necessity” (LR, 733). Or does Pippin mean that, as a Halfling, he is, in fact, a half-man? As if to be a man was the norm and a Hobbit is literally and metaphorically “half ”—less than—any man. One Hobbit—the heroic Merry who kills the Lord of the Nazgûl—is, indeed, essentially Not Man, or Noman, like Ulysses who deceives the Cyclops Polyphemus in the cave. The other Hobbit—the guilt-bound Pippin—is essentially not a Man, but a Halfling, a servant to a servant, Denethor, who imagines he should be king and, therefore, as a servant to a servant, No One, Nothing. Both trajectories, of course, are adumbrated by the epic (or false-epic) journeys of Sam and Frodo, who exchange places with one another in a reciprocal symbolic and symbiotic relationship of lord and servant (who leads whom on the path up Mount Doom?). Ultimately, at the end of the anti-quest, it is Frodo as its servant who bears the Ring back to its origin. Frodo is, of course, simultaneously the hero and lord commanding both his valet and gardener Sam and Sméagol his villein. Is Frodo an aristocratic lord when Sam carries him like a sleepy weary child at the

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end?—or a sack of potatoes? Is Sam not still a laborer who labors and serves? Just so is Gollum the reptilelike Stoor, who creeps along sniffing and snuffling and who masters—lords it over—the civilized Sméagol who serves both him and Frodo, and who seeks to educate him into civilized behavior and understanding. These are ironic impostures in each case. Where all four Hobbits resume the aristocratic romance behaviors they ape at the beginning is at the end, when they return to the Shire and find that the Shire is no longer a pastoral retreat for nobility and that their servants form but an industrialized community of entrepreneurial and middle-class horror. Saruman has degenerated to Sharkey (reminiscent of the fish-eating Gollum and the ignominious Worm). Both of them are affiliated with the factory-owned mill of Sandyman. Sad to say, it is the true bourgeoisie who dominate the community, the true nobility having abandoned the community. The burgher and the businessman join hands in the crassest land development one might imagine. I have argued in this paper that Tolkien sets up a grid of interlocking class and regional (place of origin) differences in the first book of The Lord of the Rings to show how stereotyping originates and why. At a low level such suspicion and intolerance are necessary for self-defense of the individual and the group: the community recoils from anything that is too different to protect it from change and accommodation, which might be dangerous. But later on, when each of the Hobbits has had an adventure as a stranger in a strange land, it becomes clearer that Tolkien is extending the boundaries of class and regional difference into those of racial and national difference. Being a Hobbit in a land of Men by nature leads to racial stereotyping and sometimes discrimination. Only in the most enlightened countries and cultures of Middle-earth are the inhabitants able to recognize nobility as cutting across race and national origin: the Elves of Lórien immediately recognize the nobility of the Fellowship and reward its members with appropriately chivalrous gifts. If enlightenment and civilization are predicated upon education, diversity of opinion, and acceptance of those who are Other, the opposite is also true: darkness and inhumanity couple in an atmosphere of fear, prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance.

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The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 The germ of this essay was originally delivered in different form as an invited classroom lecture, “Tolkien and Middle English Literature,” in Alfred K. Siewers’s “Chaucer and His Context” course at Bucknell University on April 27, 2003, as part of a larger symposium at Bucknell organized by Professor Siewers and titled “Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages.” This lecture was intended as a complement to my invited lecture at the same symposium on Tolkien and AngloSaxon literature that became “Tolkien and the Other: Gender and Race in Middle-earth.” I am grateful to Professor Siewers for the opportunity to begin thinking about this topic at this stimulating and insightful symposium.

1. Brian Rosebury, Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 160. 2. Fred Inglis, “Gentility and Powerlessness: Tolkien and the New Class,” in Robert Giddings, ed. J.R.R. Tolkien: This Far Land (London: Vision Press; Totowa, N. J.: Barnes & Noble Books, 1983), 39. 3. Nick Otty, “The Structuralist’s Guide to Middle-earth,” in Giddings, 154–78, here, 172. 4. Ibid., 173. 5. Ibid., 166. 6. John Carey, interviewed in J.R.R. Tolkien: An Audio Portrait, presented by Brian Sibley (London: BBC, 2001). 7. Rosebury, Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon, 161. 8. John Clute and John Grant, eds., The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (London: Orbit, 1997), s.v. “Perception” and “Fantasy,” respectively. 9. Tolkien also published an essay on this work and Ancrene Wisse in 1929, in “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad,” Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association 14 (1929): 104–26. He also later provided a preface for his student M(ary) B. Salu’s translation of The Ancrene Riwle and edited the same text for the Early English Text Society. See J.R.R. Tolkien, preface to The Ancrene Riwle, trans. M.B. Salu (London: Burns & Oates, 1955; Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1956); and J.R.R. Tolkien, ed., The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle: Ancrene Wisse, Early English Text Society 249 (London: Oxford University Press, 1962). 10. See J.R.R. Tolkien,“The Devil’s Coach-horses,” Review of English Studies 1 (1925): 331–36. 11. Tolkien, “Devil’s Coach-horses,” 336. 12. See also J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1934 study of the dialectical differences between the clerks of northern medieval England and a miller and his family of southern England, in “Chaucer as a Philologist: The Reeve’s Tale,” Transactions of the Philological Society (1934): 1–70.

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13. See J.R.R. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1949; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950); repr. in The Tolkien Reader (New York: Ballantine Books, 1966) and elsewhere; and J.R.R. Tolkien, Smith of Wootton Major (London: George Allen & Unwin; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967), repr. in Redbook, December 1967: 58–61, 101, 103–7, and elsewhere. 14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, originally published London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954–55, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954–56, later in numerous editions, some with corrections and emendations. The edition used for this paper is London: HarperCollins, 1994, repr. 1995, 1 vol., hereafter cited in the text as LR. 15. See Jane Chance, “Tolkien and the Other: Gender and Race in Middleearth,” in Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages, ed. Jane Chance and Alfred K. Siewers, 173–88 (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). 16. Tolkien begins by constructing a genealogy for Bilbo and Frodo that mixes bourgeois Hobbitness—from the Shire Bagginses—with chivalrous Tookishness (in Bilbo) and (in Frodo) unnatural explorer-like risktaking in the outlander/outlandish Brandybucks from Buckland. That this combination will lead to heroism—or at least anti-heroism—allows us to assume this as an ideal. It is not from the Shire Hobbits but from the “queer” and “unnatural” Brandybucks and Tooks, as the ancestors of Bilbo and Frodo from outside Hobbiton, that the Hobbit heroes have inherited their sense of adventure and epic mission. Bilbo, for example, called a “gentlehobbit” by the Gaffer, is described by Tolkien as being “very rich and very peculiar,” although his riches are nouveau rather than old family. His peculiarity, his difference, is regarded as “unnatural” by the rustic Hobbits in the Shire, particularly his lack of propensity for aging (LR, 22). His adopted heir Frodo, also his cousin, shares his birthday of September 22 and his last name, Baggins, as well as his Took ancestry on his mother’s side. Specifically, Primula Brandybuck was Frodo’s mother and Bilbo’s first cousin (that is, Primula’s mother was Old Took’s youngest daughter, just as Bilbo’s mother was Belladonna Took, the oldest of Took’s daughters); Drogo Baggins, Frodo’s father, was Bilbo’s second cousin. Not only are Bilbo and Frodo linked by ancestry and then by law, but the orphan Frodo was also brought up in Brandy Hall, where he presumably played with Merry (and perhaps Pippin) (LR, 23). Frodo seems as queer as Bilbo, as longing for adventure, and as close to Bilbo’s Took relatives through his “closest friends,” Merry and Pippin (LR, 41). 17. It is axiomatic that Bilbo and his cousin and nephew Frodo belong to the bourgeoisie of the Shire, the very wealth of Bilbo that was acquired through adventure at the Lonely Mountain the subject of endless gossip and scheming by his relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses. Yet Bilbo’s paternalism as a typical Victorian head of the household also expresses itself in his unconventional education of his gardener’s son, Sam Gamgee.

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18. In delineating the heroic aristocracy of the Fallohides, Tolkien cautions that these Hobbits were never explicitly warlike, although Bullroarer Took had participated in defeating the Orcs in the Battle of Greenfields, in S.R. 1147 (LR, 5). In the Shire only the richest and the poorest continued to live in holes, the poor Hobbits having “mere holes,” but the “well-to-do” more luxurious digs (LR, 7). But the Tooks of Great Smials and the Brandybucks of Brandy Hall both lived in peace in “one ancestral and many-tunnelled mansion” for many generations (LR, 7). The Tooks, so Tolkien tells us, had“long been pre-eminent; for the office of Thain had passed to them (from the Oldbucks) some centuries before, and the chief Took had borne that title ever since” (LR, 9). The Thain functions as master of the Shire-moot and as captain in times of muster and call-to-arms. Tolkien reminds us: “The Took family was still, indeed, accorded a special respect, for it remained both numerous and exceedingly wealthy, and was liable to produce in every generation strong characters of peculiar habits, and even adventurous temperament. The latter qualities, however, were now rather tolerated (in the rich) than generally approved” (LR, 9). But “The Took” is the title still given to the paterfamilias, just as a number might be added to a name of a descendant of an ancestor when necessary (for example, Isengrim the Second). In acknowledgment of another, Elven and creative Fallohide trait reflective of thoughtfulness and reverence for the past—that is, song craft and artistry—all the Hobbit heroes from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit either write books or collect manuscripts. Bilbo’s diary, the Red Book of Westmarch, provided the source for the War of the Ring and was housed at Undertowers. Copies of the Red Book were made for the “descendants of Master Samwise’s children” (LR, 14). A very important copy was written in Gondor by the greatgrandson of Peregrin Took, although kept in Great Smials. Further, Tolkien notes, “Since Meriadoc and Peregrin became the heads of their great families, and at the same time kept up their connexions with Rohan and Gondor, the libraries at Bucklebury and Tuckborough contained much that did not appear in the Red Book” (LR, 14). Meriadoc, in particular, is singled out as an author of books about Rohan and Eriador (although he had help from the Elves of Rivendell [LR, 15]); he is particularly interested in the relationship of Shire words with those of Rohan. In each case—Merry with Rohan and Pippin with Gondor—the heroism of the aristocratic Hobbit is preserved in heroic tales and learned treatises about the respective region with which each has been associated. Although Peregrin is not an author, he collects manuscripts of Gondor scribes. 19. I am indebted to several members of the audience at the Marquette conference for the information concerning Sam’s daughters.

Naysayers in the Works of Tolkien Sumner G. Hunnewell

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erhaps one of the most pleasing notes that the works of Tolkien sound is the ability to draw us into the story with characters with which we can find some association, whether it is the hominess of the hobbits, the valor of men and elves, or peculiarities of the dwarves. However, there are those others that have come to life because we really don’t like them, even if they reflect facets of our own personalities. Which one of us hasn’t taken credit for something he hasn’t done? How many of us ignore the trees that are all around us because we have more “useful” things to do? How many of us have stood outside the gates of Moria arguing the merits of entering it? At times we become naysayers but (generally) it is not our usual job. In Tolkien’s books there are naysayers, more than just the glass-half-empty crowd, but those characters that we want to move next door; that is, next door to people we do not particularly like. Naysayers are not just pessimists. Some speak out of a mingling of ignorance, provincialism, and skepticism. Some might have a gloomy disposition or they simply might not like the protagonist. Others of this ilk speak out of distrust and little wisdom. Some are scoffers and deriders but not only that; if that were the case, the butterfly of “Errantry” and Bill Ferny might be included. It is not a matter of someone speaking prophetic doom either. Otherwise nearly all of the characters in The Silmarillion might be included. With one or two exceptions, the naysayer is not a main character in Tolkien’s works, no Antagonist with a capital A. Why include naysayers at all, especially those that could be easily ignored and passed over? Tolkien placed them there because they add depth to the story, even if shallow depth in some cases. Tolkien masterfully uses these characters to present an array of opposing viewpoints. With a paragraph or two he reinforce themes of society’s lack of appreciation for the artist, a character’s lack of vision, a desire for one-upmanship, and the view that “usefulness” is the highest quality a person can have.

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Well then, like a cold pool, sometimes it is just best to jump in. . . . In The Hobbit, it does not take long to see that the dwarves have little confidence with their newfound Burglar, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. The hobbit, having had his death spoken of in a haughty (yet matter of fact) way by the great Thorin Oakenshield, finds himself on the floor uncontrollably shaking and hollering “Struck by lightning!” Glóin is our first naysayer: Humph! . . . Will he do, do you think? It is all very well for Gandalf to talk about this hobbit being fierce, but one shriek like that in a moment of excitement would be enough to wake the dragon and all his relatives, and kill the lot of us. I think it sounded more than fright than excitement! In fact, if it had not been for the sign on the door, I should be sure we had come to the wrong house. As soon as I clapped eyes on the little fellow bobbing and puffing on the mat, I had my doubts. He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!1

These words worm their way deeply into Bilbo’s psyche. Even though Bilbo has proven himself time and time again useful and less timorous then his dwarven counterparts, he still feels lacking. When he takes the cup from Smaug’s lair, he thinks, “I’ve done it! This will show them. ‘More like a grocer than a burglar’ indeed! Well, we’ll hear no more of that” (Hobbit, 228). Tolkien’s wonderful insight to “fill in the corners” of his stories and preserving continuity even years afterwards, gives us a glimpse into the trouble Gandalf had convincing the dwarven council to take Bilbo (one a week before the Unexpected Party) in the story of “The Quest of Erebor.” Gandalf explains to the dwarves that, besides stealth, one of the selling points of taking a hobbit along with them was that his smell would be unknown to Smaug. Here we find Glóin again having nothing good to say about hobbits: “What! . . . One of those simpletons down in the Shire? What use on earth, or under it, could he possibly be? Let him smell as he may, he would never dare to come within smelling distance of the nakedest dragonet new from the shell!”2 Gandalf defends the Shire-folk because he knows they do not haggle nor buy weapons, evidently Dwarvish virtues. In the same piece, haughty Thorin Oakenshield derides them as well. He feels that Gandalf is trying to make a fool of him to invite Bilbo to join them in their quest. Thorin has as much good to say about hobbits

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as Glóin, finding absolutely little worth in them because they “drink out of clay, and they cannot tell a gem from a bead of glass” (Unfinished Tales, 333). Hobbits are not Dwarves and have no Dwarvish qualities, so why invite one to join their party? It is not until they convince themselves that Bilbo is a mercenary, a professional thief, that they grant him at least some grudging respect. Little did Bilbo know that the dwarves had many reservations. As we well know, the dwarves’ hearts changed towards the little hobbit, which was good for Mr. Baggins and better for them. We travel from one end of the story to the other, to the East of East as Bilbo might say, to find our next naysayer, Bard the bowman. We first hear of Bard after Smaug flies south to attack Esgaroth. Bard was a dour man, the sort of person you would like to see move away from your neighborhood. He had the reputation of a crepe-hanger, a distrustful man, a prophesier of “anything from floods to poisoned fish” (Hobbit, 258). At this particular time when most of the populace are fools and believe the stories of rivers running with gold, and the astute Master of Esgaroth prefers to do what is politically expedient, it is Bard that possesses the pragmatism to rouse the Master and the archers of Lake-town. However, Bard is not selfless once Smaug is destroyed. It quickly comes to his mind that having the dragon’s gold, he would be able to rebuild Dale, his ancestral home. Also, he is more distrustful and less wise than the Elven-king, questioning Bilbo’s motives with the Arkenstone and he is willing to attack the dwarves of the Iron Mountains upon their arrival to the Lonely Mountain while he has the advantage. However, unlike many of the naysayers in Tolkien’s works, Bard accomplishes something good, as by his hand the dragon is slain and many of Lake-town’s inhabitants are saved from the oncoming winter through his decisive leadership. We leave Middle-earth for a while to travel to the Middle Kingdom and acquaintances of its most famous inhabitant, Farmer Giles of Ham. Chief of these “persons of importance”3 were the blacksmith and the miller. Perhaps Tolkien’s driest humor is in play when he introduces the blacksmith of Ham. Here we see a man here who would give Bard a run for his money. He is introduced as “a slow, gloomy man, vulgarly known as Sunny Sam, though his proper name was Fabricius Cunctator. He never whistled at his work, unless some disaster (such as frost in May)

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had duly occurred after he had foretold it. Since he was daily foretelling disasters of every kind, few happened that he had not foretold, and he was able to take credit of them. It was his chief pleasure; so naturally he was reluctant to do anything to avert them” (Farmer Giles, 35). The miller, who will be discussed in a moment, wants to make sure the Giles is on his way to hunt the dragon and he enlists the blacksmith to make the good farmer some chain mail: “You don’t know what you are talking about,” said the smith, growing cheerful. “If it’s real ring-mail you mean, then you can’t have it. It needs the skill of the dwarfs, with every little ring fitting into four others and all. Even if I had a craft, I should be working for weeks. And we shall all be in our graves before them,” said he, “or leastways in the dragon.” They all wrung their hands in dismay, and the blacksmith began to smile. [Farmer Giles, 36]

Giles forces the dragon into the village of Ham for the first time and the parson exacts a price and a feast date for his return (St. Hilarius and St. Felix’ day), you can wager that the smith will have something to say, and he does: “No good ’ll come of it, mark my words,” said he.“A worm won’t return, say what you like. But no good will come of it, either way.” . . . The blacksmith shook his head as he went back to his smithy. “Ominous names,” he said.“Hilarius and Felix! I don’t like the sound of them.” [Farmer Giles, 47–48]

On the momentous day the wily worm reneges on his promise and does not return to Ham—that morning when the townspeople gather, the parson notes that Tailbiter stays sheathed and the blacksmith lets out a laugh. By midday, the blacksmith was walking about whistling and when midnight struck and the appointed day was over, their disappointment was deep. The blacksmith was delighted. “I told you so,” he said. [Farmer Giles, 52–53]

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Later the blacksmith portends that Giles may not come back from his dragon quest, and later, while Garm loudly laments the going of Giles: The blacksmith heard the howls. “A bad omen,” he said cheerfully. Many days passed and no news came. “No news is bad news,” he said, and burst into song. [Farmer Giles, 55]

The miller is skeptical about Giles’ deeds and more interested in putting the farmer in his place. As the parson is the encourager in the story, the miller is the farmer’s foil or “bosom enemy” (Farmer Giles, 30), ever trying to put him on the spot. He is more than happy to share the farmer’s hospitality (and beer) after the episode with the giant, but once the farmer is getting more attention, the miller sees things as they are and does everything to call the farmer’s bluffs. He becomes a naysayer because he has no faith in the farmer’s newfound prowess, and sways the opinions of the townspeople in hopes that Giles will end up in hot water or fall on his face. The miller is the one who diverts the attention from the ineffective knights to Farmer Giles, while the dragon approaches Ham. It is he who suggests that the farmer is as good as a knight and worthy to hunt the dragon and gets the town to rally around the idea. That night, Giles “kicked the dog, and hid the sword in a cupboard in the kitchen. Up till then it had hung over the fireplace” (Farmer Giles, 30). As the dragon approached and the townspeople locked themselves in, the parson found that the King’s sword was the legendary Caudimordax and tries to get townsmen approach the farmer for help but “only the miller was really willing. To see Giles in a real fix seem to him worth the risk” (Farmer Giles, 34). It is soon after that the miller enlists the blacksmith to make Giles his mail coat and the miller also finds an iron frame of a helmet to be used as well. It is interesting to note that when Giles successfully drives Chrysophylax into Ham for the first time, the miller is conspicuously missing. When the dragon arrives laden with booty the second time, the miller and the blacksmith have very little to say. Tolkien’s companion piece to “On Fairy-Stories,” “Leaf by Niggle,” shows us an entirely different naysayer. In this case, it is Niggle’s entire society, who finds nothing of worth unless it has some practical use, very much akin to the dwarvish outlook on hobbits. Art for art’s sake

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is frivolous. The society’s best representative is Niggles’ neighbor, Mr. Parish, whose name lends itself to both Church and Government: When Parish looked at Niggle’s garden (which was often) he saw mostly weeds; and when he looked at Niggle’s picture (which was seldom) he saw only green and grey patches and black lines, which seemed to him nonsensical. He did not mind mentioning the weeds (a neighborly duty), but he refrained from giving any option of the pictures. He thought this was very kind, and he did not realise that, even if it was kind, it was not kind enough. Help with the weeds (and perhaps praise for the pictures) would have been better.4

And so it goes, there is a lone temporal voice in the whole story who finds any value in Niggle’s painting and that is the schoolmaster, Atkins, “who was nobody of importance” (“Leaf by Niggle,” 110). Councillor Tompkins represents the worst of Niggle’s society, more than willing if he were in power to have the state execute Niggle rather than have him waste his time with something as trivial as art. As he explains to Atkins, Niggle’s art was useless and so was Niggle’s life. “No practical or economic use,” said Tompkins. “I dare say he could have been made into a serviceable cog of some sort, if you schoolmasters knew your business. But you don’t, and so we get useless people of his sort. If I ran this country I should put him and his like to some job that they’re fit for, washing dishes in a communal kitchen or something, and I should see that they did it properly. Or I would put them away. I should have put him away long ago.” “Put him away? You mean you’d have made him start on the journey before his time?” “Yes, if you must use that meaningless old expression. Push him through the tunnel into the great Rubbish Heap: that’s what I mean.” [“Leaf by Niggle,” 110]

As covetous as old Chrysophylax, Tompkins even obtains Niggle’s house for his own. From the story of an artist in the recent past we go to an artisan of the far past and the story of another smith, but not like Sunny Sam. In Smith of Wootton Major there is only one person we can consider being a naysayer. Of course, that is Nokes. Not fit to be anything more than a helper in the kitchen, he is awarded the position and title of the

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Master Cook. Nokes is provincial and simple in his outlook in life and most of the people of the Wootton Major “had become like Nokes.”5 He also saw more in himself than the townspeople did, not that he was unimaginative but his imagination seems not to have gotten past his own reflection. “He had always wished to become Master Cook, and had never doubted that he could manage it. For some time, when he was alone in the Kitchen, he used to put on the tall white hat and look at himself in a polished frying pan and say: ‘How do you do, Master. That hat suits you properly, might have been made for you. I hope things go well with you’” (Smith, 10). Nokes isn’t really a bad sort but takes advantage of Alf ’s skills and often takes credit that is not due to him. When Nokes finds the fay star, he dismisses Alf because Nokes will not accept or even make the attempt to understand the difference between “Faery” and “fairy.” To Nokes, funny and Faery are one and the same: . . . “That’s funny!” he said as he held it up to the light. “No, it isn’t!” said a voice behind him, so suddenly that he jumped. It was the voice of Prentice, and he had never spoken to the Master in that tone before. . . . “What do you mean, young fellow?” he said, not much pleased. “If it isn’t funny what is it?” “It is fay,” said Prentice. “It comes from Faery.” Then the Cook laughed. “All right, all right,” he said. “It means much the same; but call it that if you like. You’ll grow up some day. Now you can get on with stoning the raisins. If you notice any funny fairy ones, tell me.” [Smith, 12–13]

As time goes on, his self-worth inflates at the same rate as his belt. It is not until the end of the story and his encounter with Alf that Nokes is confronted with the truth, and he does not like it one bit: “Goodbye, Master!” said Prentice, shutting the box with such a snap that the cook opened his eyes again.“Nokes,” he said,“your knowledge is so great that I have only twice ventured to tell you anything. I told you that the star came from Faery; and I have told you that it went to the smith. You laughed at me. Now at parting I will tell you one thing more. Don’t laugh again! You are a vain old fraud, fat, idle and sly. I did most of your work. Without thanks you learned all that you

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The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 could from me—except respect for Faery, and a little courtesy. You have not even enough to bid me a good day.” “If it comes to courtesy,” said Nokes, “I see none in calling your elders and betters by ill names. Take your Fairy and your nonsense somewhere else! Good day to you, if that’s what you’re waiting for. Now go along with you!” He flapped his hand mockingly. “If you’ve got one of your fairy friends hidden in the Kitchen, send him to me and I’ll have a look at him. If he waves his little wand and makes me thin again, I’ll think better of him,” he laughed. “Would you spare a few moments of the King of Faery?” the other answered. To Nokes’s dismay he grew taller as he spoke. He threw back his cloak. He was dressed like a Master Cook at a Feast, but his white garments shimmered and glinted, and on his forehead was a great jewel like a radiant star. His face was young but stern. “Old man,” he said, “you are at least not my elder. As to my better: you have often sneered at me behind my back. Do you challenge me now openly?” He stepped forward and Nokes shrank from him, trembling. He tried to shout for help but found that he could hardly whisper. “No sir!” he croaked. “Don’t do me a harm! I’m only a poor old man.” The King’s face softened. “Alas, yes! You speak the truth. Do not be afraid! Be at ease! But will you not expect the King of Faery to do something for you before he leaves you? I grant you your wish. Farewell! Now go to sleep!” [Smith, 57–58]

Although not as moving as the confrontation of, say, Gandalf and the Lord of the Nazgûl at the Gates of Minas Tirith, it is still a strong episode. Not that the King has no pity. Earlier he called the old Master Cook “poor Nokes” because the King realizes that the cook is simple and his mind limited to tradition and the familiar. The Silmarillion, as dark a tale as Tolkien has told, has very few naysayers. Not that it does not have its share of prophesiers, woe-laden characters, and the ever-present cheerful Mandos and Túrin but even in this story of the long defeat of the Elves, there appear only two by my reckoning and they are minor characters. As men of the house of Bëor and Marach streamed into Beleriand, many settled to the east of Doriath in Estolad. And ere long some of the men dissented and wished to leave that land and they held a great council. There Bereg, grandson of Bëor, spoke against the men friendly to the Elves and blamed the Elves for all evil that befell them. In an

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interesting twist Tolkien presents a doppelganger, who seems to be Amlach, grandson of Marach. He chimes in: All this is but Elvish lore, tales to beguile newcomers that are unwary. The Sea has no shore. There is no Light in the West. You have followed a fool-fire of the Elves to the end of the world! Which of you has seen the least of the Gods? Who has beheld the Dark King in the North? Those who seek the dominion of Middle-earth are the Eldar. Greedy for wealth they have delved in the earth for its secrets and have stirred to wrath the things that dwell beneath it, as they have ever done and ever shall. Let the Orcs have the realm that is theirs, and we will have ours. There is room in the world, if the Eldar will let us be!6

Even as it was found later that it was not Amlach that spoke these words, they were still in the hearts of the people. Bereg took many of his followers to the south and those who followed Amlach took another leader and returned back to Eriador. In this little episode Tolkien reinforces a theme many of his fantasy stories: faithless men do not trust the Elves and shun them. Tolkien not only has it in for millers but also miller’s sons, and this time in the character of Ted Sandyman. Sandyman spars with Samwise Gamgee in The Green Dragon years after the Long-expected Party. All of Sam’s stories of dragons and tree-men and elves sailing into the West have been dismissed by Ted as “fireside-tales,” “children’s stories,” and “old tales.”7 He is scornful to Sam and often takes verbal jabs at all of Sam’s supposed nonsense. To Ted Sandyman, if you have not seen it, it cannot be true. No one in the Shire had seen an elf sailing westward or a dragon, and only Halfast Gamgee had espied a walking elm tree. Sandyman and most of his pub mates are provincial, comfortable in what they know, ready to ridicule anyone who does not see the world through their eyes. Tolkien’s most important naysayer is Boromir. Not that Boromir is an evil man. He is a Captain of Gondor, loved and respected by the people there: “he was a man after the sort of King Eärnur of old, taking no wife and delighting chiefly in arms; fearless and strong, but caring little for lore, save the tales of old battles” (LR, 3:337). Fearless and strong he is throughout his service as part of the Fellowship. That cannot be denied.

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He is so focused on the preservation of Gondor against the rising tide of Mordor that he refuses to listen and understand the implications of using the Ring: “The Men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit; but they may be beaten down. Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory!” When he is rebuked by Elrond, he is doubtful and responds “So be it” (LR, 1:281). Who is the first to speak out against going into Moria once it is proffered to the whole Company after the failure of attempt on the Redhorn Gate? “It is a name of ill omen,” says Boromir. “Nor do I see the need to go there. If we cannot cross the mountains, let us journey southwards, until we come to the Gap of Rohan, where men are friendly to my people, taking the road that I followed on my way hither. Or we might pass by crossing the Isen into Langstrand and Lebennin, and so come to Gondor from the regions nigh to the sea.” This time it is Gandalf who reprimands him, “Did you not hear what I told you of Saruman? . . . the Ring must not come near Isengard, if that can by any means be prevented.” Gandalf again corrects Boromir’s impression of Moria when comparing it to the Dark Tower. “You speak of what you do not know, when you liken Moria to the stronghold of Sauron” (LR, 1:309). Boromir is also the first to say that he will not enter Moria unless the vote of the whole Company is against him. Boromir does not fare better when they approach the eaves of Lothlórien. As Aragorn leads the Fellowship onward, Boromir stood irresolute and did not follow. “Is there no other way?” he said. “What other fairer way would you desire?” said Aragorn. “A plain road, though it led through a hedge of swords. . . . Against my will we passed under the shades of Moria, to our loss. And now we must enter the Golden Wood, you say. But of that perilous land we have heard in Gondor, and it is said that few come out who once go in; and of that few none have escaped unscathed.” [LR, 1:352]

Upon Amon Hen, as Boromir tries to convince Frodo of the merit of the Ring traveling to Minas Tirith, it is the halfling’s turn to set Boromir in his place. The Captain of Gondor says: “Minas Tirith will fall, if the Ring lasts. But why? Certainly, if the Ring were with the Enemy. But why, if it were with us?” Frodo replies: “Were you not at the Council?

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. . . Because we cannot use it, and what is done with it turns to evil” (LR, 1:414). It becomes obvious in Boromir’s speech on the slopes of Amon Hen just how little he has learned after months among the elves of Rivendell and the members of the Fellowship. He speaks of “these elves and halfelves and wizards” and that the men of Gondor do not “desire the power of wizard-lords” (LR, 1:414). The Ring has perverted his thought and soon his ideas move from the greater good to his own good. “. . . The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!” Boromir strode up and down, speaking ever more loudly . . . his talk dwelt on walls and weapons, and the mustering of men; and he drew plans for great alliances and glorious victories to be; and he cast down Mordor, and became himself a mighty king, benevolent and wise. . . . [LR, 1:414]

Tolkien shows him to be just as thick-skulled as Ted Sandyman. He declares the quest a folly, echoing some comments made at the Council of Elrond. Also, just as Sandyman has no vision outside of the confines of his little piece of the Shire, Boromir cannot see beyond the borders of his beloved land. Boromir becomes a naysayer because he has learned little; little about the people of the world around him and (most importantly) little about the perils of the Ring. It’s not necessary to travel far to find the next naysayer, Gríma, son of Gálmód. In the grand scheme of things, Gríma is a very small character and does not appear often in The Lord of the Rings. He is, however, so maleficent and loathsome that he sticks out like a sore thumb. He is betrayer, thief, and villain as well. At the time we meet him, he is the counselor of Théoden, but also on the payroll of Saruman. Gríma is ever trusted by the King of Rohan in his dotage and gainsays all but what will serve the white wizard best. When Gandalf arrives, he chides him: And even now we learn from Gondor that the Dark Lord is stirring in the East. Such is the hour in which this wanderer chooses to return. Why indeed should we welcome you, Master Stormcrow? Láthspell I name you, Ill-news; and ill news is an ill guest they say. . . . What aid have you ever brought, Stormcrow? And what aid do you bring now? . . . you will seek aid rather than render it. Do you bring men?

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The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Do you bring horses, swords, spears? That I would call aid; that is our present need. Three ragged wanderers in grey, and you yourself the most beggar-like of the four! [LR, 2:117–18]

Wormtongue is deceitful, and all that he wishes Gandalf would do to bring succor to Rohan, he is not willing to do himself when given the choice by a renewed Théoden. And, in the end, the naysayers often (but not always) reap their just rewards. Of the Dwarves Glóin and Thorin, Glóin plays a part as an emissary to the Council of Elrond and is father to Gimli. Of Thorin & Co. he is one of few dwarves of Durin’s kingly line to be alive at time of the crowning of Elessar. Thorin, of course, does not survive the Battle of Five Armies. However, he repents at the end of his life for all of his misdeeds towards Bilbo and then dies in peace. Bard rebuilds Dale, and “all the valley had become tilled again and rich, and the desolation was now filled with birds and blossoms in spring and fruit and feasting in autumn” (Hobbit, 316). He does not seem to have been harmed by his bad humor. Perhaps he became beloved of his people once Dale was resettled, and so much so that the later inhabitants of Dale took their name from him. The last we hear is that during the War of the Ring “nowhere are there any men so friendly to us [dwarves of the Lonely Mountain] as the Men of Dale. They are good folk, the Bardings” (LR, 1:241). Off to the Little Kingdom now. What of our blacksmith, Sunny Sam? The ever thoughtful Giles outlaws “unpleasant prophecy” and the smith becomes a something more suited to his disposition, an undertaker. The miller adapts (after Giles gets the last laugh and makes milling a royal monopoly) by becoming “an obsequious servant of the crown” (Farmer Giles, 76). We travel to Niggle’s Parish and find that Parish has been given mercy by the “Second Voice” and finds himself before the Great Tree. We do not know the fate of the hateful Councillor Tompkins or any of the others of Niggle’s land that cannot appreciate anything but useful things. One wonders if in his unrepentant state if Tompkins and his kind would ever come to see the Tree and enjoy Niggle’s creation. Old Nokes receives a Faery (not fairy) tale ending to his story. He becomes “old Rag-and-Bones”. And what has Nokes learned from the experience, meeting the King of Faery himself? “King o’ Fairy! Why, he

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hadn’t no wand. And if you stop eating you grow thinner. That’s natural. Stands to reason. There ain’t no magic in it” (Smith, 59–60). What of our men from Estolad? Amlach repents the words (even though they were not spoken by him) and puts himself under the command of Maedhros. His men choose another leader and return to Eriador. Bereg gathers his men to the tune of a thousand and heads southwards. Neither group of men is heard from again. Dear old Ted Sandyman. The hobbits find him (as Sam says) “wall propping” when they approach Bag End to oust Lotho Sackville-Baggins. The miller’s son chides Sam: “I thought you’d gone off in one o’ them ships you used to prattle about, sailing, sailing” (LR, 3:296). Ted’s fate is unknown after the death of Saruman. He passes out of history as we know it. Looking at some of Tolkien’s naysayers, it begs the question: would many of the tales be the same without them? For the most part, I would say a qualified Yes, but we would have a poorer tale. Do we really need to know about the argument of the men in Estolad? Could not Ham’s Smith be just a smith, who went about his job and did what he was asked? Why bother having Sam argue with Ted in the pub (surely more interesting things are happening)? In many cases, Tolkien introduces depth to the story, humor, and the strengthening of main and ancillary characters by placing many unforgettable people in our path. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966), 26. Hereafter cited in the text. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Quest of Erebor,” in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980), 333. Hereafter cited in the text. 3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950), 18. Hereafter cited in the text as Farmer Giles. 4. J.R.R. Tolkien,“Leaf by Niggle,” in J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965), 91. Hereafter cited in the text. 5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Smith of Wootton Major (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967), 22. Hereafter cited in the text as Smith. 6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 145. 7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 3 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967), 1:53–54. Hereafter cited in the text as LR.

The Rhetorical Evolution of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” Michael D.C. Drout

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R.R. Tolkien’s famous 1936 British Academy lecture,“Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” was written and revised over a period of at least several years, most likely, in my view, beginning in 1934 and concluding with Tolkien’s revisions to the carbon typescripts after the presentation of the lecture on November 25, 1936.1 The original impetus almost certainly was a series of Oxford lectures, and the A-Text of Beowulf and the Critics reads very much like a script for oral delivery. There are specific references to Oxford (for example, the phrase “in the hands of students trained in this scholarly Oxford school”)2, and the pacing and discursiveness of the argument is not only more appropriate to oral delivery, where a speaker may slide effortlessly from topic to topic, but also indicative, I think, that Tolkien was finding the argument as he was writing it rather than presenting a set of completed thoughts. Christopher Tolkien’s discovery of some notes on what he calls “Oxford paper” inside J.R.R. Tolkien’s personal copy of W.P. Ker’s The Dark Ages supports my deduction (not a very controversial or original one) that Ker’s book was the original impetus for the lecture.3 These notes—which I received from Christopher Tolkien too late to include in my edition of Beowulf and the Critics— show that Tolkien was concerned that Ker was wrong about both the historical value of Beowulf and the literary importance of the dragon—two of the elements of the argument that are present through all the drafts of Beowulf and the Critics. Elsewhere I have argued that in answering Ker’s criticisms of Beowulf, Tolkien ended up reconfiguring the entire field of Beowulf criticism as an unanticipated conclusion: once Tolkien had convinced readers, and himself, that Beowulf was a unified work of art, critics were forced to accept the monsters as integral to the poem; therefore the monsters must be legitimate topics of poetry and worthy of serious scholarly consideration.4 But although I believe the underlying argument of

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Tolkien’s essay to be logically inescapable, I also recognize that even the most formally perfect argument will not be effective if it is not capable of convincing its readers. Thus the need for rhetoric. In the rest of this paper I hope to show how Tolkien’s rhetoric evolved to the eventual end that “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” is not only logically sound but also rhetorically persuasive. I refer throughout the rest of this essay to this paper’s appendix, “The Structural Evolution of ‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics’” (for the sake of simplicity I have left out the minor, intermediate changes of Tolkien’s corrections to the carbon typescript—these would come between the B-Text and the published essay). Examination of the sigla I have used to indicate discrete elements of the argument shows the larger structural changes Tolkien made in revising the essay. Note first that the opening pages are very close to being completely consistent between all three versions. Tolkien begins with the Reverend Oswald Cockayne and his criticisms of Joseph Bosworth—Tolkien is making a bit of a joke in terms of his own occupancy of the Rawlinson-Bosworth Professorship. He then brings up Archibald Strong’s translation of Beowulf and soon moves to the allegory of the rock garden, which evolves into the allegory of the tower.5 The Babel of Voices makes its appearance, but the Fairy Godmothers are missing. Although in the final version most of the discussion of Archibald Strong has disappeared, the basic structure and the various literary tableaux—Cockayne criticism, allegory of the tower, Babel of Voices—is in place. As Christopher Tolkien notes, in his fiction, J.R.R. Tolkien also composed in a similar fashion: “. . . scenes emerged at once in the clear and memorable form that was never changed, but their bearing and significance would afterward be enormously enlarged.”6 Tableaux, such as the fight with the Ringwraiths at Weathertop, were composed before—sometime long before—they were incorporated into the main plot line of the story.7 These tableaux, the images, structure, and most of the actual language, remained the same even after significant revision of all of the other elements. I believe Tolkien also worked this way in his academic work, thus indicating a consistency between the two types of his writing that is not always accepted in the criticism. Appendix I illustrates how much of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” was in fact present in the A-Text: all capital-letter sigla in the published essay column are pieces that were substantially written in the first draft.8 Note that the beginning of the essay undergoes substantial cutting and revisions (sections B–I)

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and that the end of the essay (H3–W3) is mostly unchanged, although Tolkien added substantially to the end of the A-Text in writing the BText9 and also added to the end of the B-Text in writing the published version.10 Tolkien stitched together and rearranged these rhetorical set pieces in various ways until the entire argument fell into place,11 just as he kept the fight at Weathertop through the various evolutions of hobbit characters, Trotter/Strider, and the changes in the characteristics of the Black Riders. One of the most important pieces of revision Tolkien did was in either cutting completely or removing to the appendices a great deal of material. For instance, in the A-Text of Beowulf and the Critics, Tolkien spends significant time summarizing—in a very funny and tendentious manner—Archibald Strong’s and J.J. Jusserand’s arguments about Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons. This he cuts almost completely. He also spends page after page doing a detailed analysis of the words for God in Beowulf, of Grendel’s various names, of the words dom and lof, and of lines 175–88. All of these go into the appendices to the lecture, although conclusions that Tolkien drew from his work on the words for God are also scattered throughout the other discussions. Likewise, Tolkien’s explication of the history of Beowulf criticism— which is almost entirely taken from James Earle’s The Deeds of Beowulf with only minimal changes12—mostly disappears from the final version. In essence he has done what is stereotypically done in conference papers: he presents arguments without bothering with evidence. But the difference between “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” and many other papers is that Tolkien had in fact compiled all of the detailed back-up material that he could use to support his arguments. Thus we get in “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” the same “feeling” that we get from The Lord of the Rings: that there is enormous depth behind the argument, the “vast backcloths” that Tolkien famously described and which have been noted by so many critics.13 In both cases, this impression is true: there is enormous depth of argument and detail, but Tolkien wisely chose to present the big picture, the exciting narrative, rather than the details. Another of Tolkien’s techniques in the published essay is also akin to his fictive technique: his use of very subtle literary reference throughout the work. In Tolkien’s fiction this subtle reference is often hidden, since he refers, through the use of borrowed language (as Gergely Nagy has shown) to his own poems, often poems that were not published until

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The History of Middle-earth and perhaps even to some poems that were never given final form.14 In “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” Tolkien does this by pseudo-quoting in particular W.P. Ker and to a lesser extent R.W. Chambers. For example, in both the A- and B-Texts of Beowulf and the Critics, Tolkien quotes W.P. Ker’s Dark Ages: “he goes home to his own Gautland, until at least the rolling years bring the Firedrake and his last adventure.”15 In “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” this becomes: “Slowly with the rolling years the obvious (so often the last revelation of analytic study) has been discovered: that we have to deal with a poem by an Englishman using afresh ancient and largely traditional material.”16 The sentence after the introductory adverbial clause was mostly written in the A-Text; Tolkien adds Ker’s language at the final stage of revision. The phrase “rolling years” serves to invoke Ker, but only for an audience who knew Ker’s book well. This technique has a different rhetorical effect now than it did when Tolkien wrote the essay: nearly all of Tolkien’s hearers and readers in 1936 could catch the similarity of language to Ker, Chambers, and others and would understand the use of the borrowed and modified language as a kind of subtle replacement for the footnote: more elegant, and thus perhaps more convincing. Now, paradoxically, the language seems to us to be first Tolkien’s and only later, upon further study, that of the earlier scholars. On the other hand, the real rhetorical high notes of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” such as “Death comes to the feast,” “man, each man and all men and all their works shall die,” and “until the dragon comes” are indeed Tolkien’s original creations. In the earlier drafts of the essay Tolkien uses yet another rhetorical technique, one which he—wisely, I believe—dropped from the final versions of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” He speaks in the voice of the poet: The history of the Danes, and Frisians, and Geats has often been treated before, and well-handled—you have surely heard the poems? In any case the gentle and learned had, in my day. I chose a tale that touched on these things, and dealt with it in rather a new fashion, somewhat elaborately. . . . I put Beowulf in the centre, because my poem is about him. Do not blame me, but time and your ancestors who have reduced the ancient poetry of England to such a few fragments. I was well enough esteemed in my time, but Beowulf was not my only poem, nor was I the chief Anglo-Saxon poet ancient or modern. There were many

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good poems that were then well-known, though I never saw a copy of them or heard of them being written down. . . . You do not think much of trolls and dragons? Then our tastes differ, and living a thousand years later does not prove without further argument that your taste is superior. You are too sophisticated, and many of you have read too much too carelessly. I do not think most of you have seen the point of it all, or caught the significance of the dragon. Yes, I know, I have heard it said by more than one úþwita of yours that it is monsters in both halves that is so disgusting. One they could have stomached more easily. But that is nonsense. I can see the point of asking for no monsters—only in that case do not bother with my poem, for it is not that sort of poem. There is something to be said for none. Also something for the situation in Beowulf. But nothing at all for mere reduction in numbers. It would really have been preposterous, if I had recounted Beowulf ’s rise to fame in commonplace wars in Sweden or Frisia, and had then ended him with a dragon. Or if I had told of his cleansing of Heorot and brought him to death and defeat in a Swedish invasion! If the dragon is the right end for Beowulf—and I will not argue that any more—then Grendel is the right sort of beginning. They are creatures of similar orders, symbols (not allegories, my good sir) of a similar kind, and of like significance. Triumph over one is balanced by defeat by the other. And the Grendel-feat comes at the right moment: not in the earliest youth (though the nicors that I alluded to show from the beginning that Beowulf is not just an ordinary hæleþ on a strictly historical scale), and not during the later humdrum of recognized ability and carrying out of early promise, but in the first moment, which does come in the lives of remarkable men, when men look up with surprise and see that a “hero” has unawares leaped forth in power. The placing of the dragon is inevitable: a man can but die upon his death-day.17

The material from “it is monsters in both halves that is so disgusting” to“upon his death-day” appears in the published essay, but it is no longer in the voice of the poet; Tolkien takes up the pseudo-poet’s assertions and makes them his own. That Tolkien was originally writing from a different point of view in this section may explain some of the power and conviction in the essay’s tone, described by Shippey as giving the impression that“no one, friends or descendants or maybe even contemporaries, had understood Beowulf but Tolkien.”18 Certainly the Beowulf-poet is the only one who could speak with such conviction about Beowulf; Tolkien’s adoption of his persona caused him also to adopt his authority. Note

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that many of the assertions that Tolkien makes here—that the poem was just one of many, that the poet should not be expected to deal with the historical material that is most interesting to certain critics, that the dragon and Grendel are appropriate to Beowulf—are among the most critically contentious issue of Beowulf scholarship. Tolkien rolls right through them, without many of the hesitations and equivocations that the problems of scholarship force upon a writer. Here, in the voice of the poet, he seems to have gotten caught up in his writing. But kept in exquisite balance with this lyrical impulse we can also see the old, hard-core philologist and trained scholar at work. By cutting and redistributing the argument, Tolkien took what must have been a very persuasive lecture technique for Oxford students and revised it so that it would be rhetorically effective with a very different audience. The decision to eliminate the voice of the poet, or the mocking of Jusserand, are reasoned, careful decisions—and certainly correct. As was the deletion of the two dragon poems, which puts one in mind of the beginning of “A Long-Expected Party,” when the narrator points out that the hobbits invited to Bilbo’s special farewell feast“rather dreaded” Bilbo’s remarks because“he was liable to drag in bits of what he called poetry.”19 It is obvious that Tolkien thought“Iúmonna Gold Galdre Bewunden” (later republished as “The Hoard”) was a good poem, and it is also interesting that he had kept it with the manuscript of Beowulf and the Critics for some time until he removed it, I surmise, to revise and publish it in the Oxford Magazine.20 I think it was an astute choice to leave the poem out of the published essay—it shows that Tolkien knew his audience and how they were likely to react differently than his students, who, one guesses, would have very much enjoyed his reading of the poem. Now I want to turn to one of Tolkien’s seemingly small revisions between the B-Text and the published lecture. I believe that in fact this small change illustrates a great deal about Tolkien’s revision process and also shows in part why “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” has proven to be so persuasive over so many years. I should first note, though, that there is a rather knotty textual problem that I have not yet unraveled: the Alfred passage from Beowulf and the Critics also appears, in slightly different form, in manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, Tolkien A28. I hypothesize that the composition followed this order: Beowulf and the Critics A, Beowulf and the Critics B, Tolkien A28, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”; and that A28 may have been

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composed without Beowulf and the Critics B in front of Tolkien. But more work on the manuscripts needs to be done before this surmise can be substantiated. In any event, this passage comes after Tolkien has finished speaking in the voice of the poet: If Alfred had perished in old age in actual battle with the Danes, and by the sacrifice of his life in some desperate assault had­ achieved a victory that saved his stricken people for the moment, and had been buried among lamentation and the boding of final ruin not far off—then a poet might have arisen who told first of Ashdown, when Alfred, not yet king, left his brother and charged up the hill to the bitter fight about the thorn-tree, achieving great victory, and who then passed to his last campaign and his dying battle, while he introduced allusively (or omitted) all the rest of Alfred’s long life and achievements and the traditions of his royal house. To any one but an historian in search of facts and relative chronology this would have been a fine thing, an heroic elegiacal poem in the ancient English manner—already perhaps a little enlarged owing to the greater and more impersonal import, transcending the mere fortunes of the house of Wessex, of the struggle in which Alfred was engaged. It would be much better poetry than a verse narrative chronicle, however spirited, or steadily advancing of his birth, deeds, battles and death in due order and proportion. This mere arrangement would give it already a greater significance than any straight account of one man’s deeds: the contrast of youth and achievement with sacrifice, defeat and death. But even so it would still not be so large as the rise and fall of poor “folk-tale” Beowulf with his “incredible and childish” monsters. You would have to turn your Danes into dragons for that.21

Let us put this thought experiment in context: among many other things, King Alfred saved England from the Vikings and developed a program of vernacular literacy. But when Alfred was a young man, he was only the youngest of five brothers and not obviously a candidate for kingship. In 871 Alfred’s brother Athelred was king and Alfred and Athelred led armies against the Vikings at Ashdown. According to Alfred’s biographer, Asser, Athelred refused to go into battle until his priest had finished saying Mass. So Alfred had the choice of either retreating or attacking the Vikings. He chose to attack, and, fighting, “like a wild boar,” defeated the Vikings near a solitary thorn tree on the battle plain. The entire Viking army was put to flight.22 Tolkien here is saying that Beowulf, when he comes to Heorot, is like Alfred before

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Ashdown: he has great potential, but no one knows it until after that battle at the thorn tree (or the defeat of Grendel). To make Alfred’s story parallel to Beowulf ’s, Tolkien then has to imagine Alfred dying in a great battle against the Vikings, losing his life but temporarily saving England, just as Beowulf dies in the battle against the dragon and—temporarily—saves his people. When Tolkien gets to the published version of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” he replaces Alfred with another English hero, Oswald: Let us suppose that our poet had chosen a theme more consonant with “our modern judgement”; the life and death of St. Oswald. He might then have made a poem, and told first of Heavenfield, when Oswald as a young prince against all hope won a great victory with a remnant of brave men; and then have passed at once to the lamentable defeat of Oswestry, which seemed to destroy the hope of Christian Northumbria; while all the rest of Oswald’s life, and the traditions of the royal house and its feud with that of Deira might be introduced allusively or omitted. To any one but an historian in search of facts and chronology this would have been a fine thing, an heroic-elegaic poem greater than history.23

Oswald is even less familiar outside of Anglo-Saxon studies than Alfred. The historical context is pretty straightforward: in 634 (or so), a pagan king, Cadwallon of Gwynneth, had been terrorizing Northumbria, which ended up being divided into two kingdoms, Deira and Bernicia. Oswald, who had been in exile, returned to Northumbria from the monastery on Iona and, in one of the great upsets of all time, defeated Cadwallon at the battle of Heavenfield. Supposedly Oswald set up a large wooden cross before the battle. Oswald was then able to unify Northumbria’s two kingdoms and bring St. Aidan from Iona to Lindisfarne to convert the kingdom to Christianity. Eight years later, Oswald was killed in battle with Penda of Mercia at Oswestry in Shropshire.24 Now this is a much better parallel to the way Tolkien interpreted the Beowulf story. Like the young Alfred and the young Beowulf, the young Oswald leaps onto the stage with a dramatic victory, but unlike Alfred, who dies in bed, Oswald is killed in a dramatic battle against a horrible foe. The difference, of course, is that Beowulf kills the dragon, while Oswald’s death is part of a larger defeat and the longer-term defeat

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of his people. Tolkien’s revision of the Alfred comparison is of a piece with his views on allegory and appropriateness of parallels, which he also discusses in the introduction to Pearl.25 Tolkien thought that stories or events should only be related to each other if there are detailed and specific points of similarity. The Alfred story would only fit with Beowulf with the invented death in battle of Alfred; the Oswald story works for the most part because the parallels are closer.26 The change from Alfred to Oswald is consistent with every other revision Tolkien makes in “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” and is why I called this process of revision“rhetorical evolution”: Tolkien’s argument at each step becomes more efficient and more accurate—he communicates the same idea with fewer words, and the argument is more closely tailored to the minds who will be receiving it—in this case Tolkien’s audience for the British Academy lecture. Let me conclude with just a few words about the soaring rhetorical conclusion to the published essay. Here Tolkien writes: “Yet it is in fact written in a language that after many centuries has an essential kinship with our own, it was made in this land, and moves in our northern world beneath our northern sky, and for those who are native to that tongue and land, it must ever call with a profound appeal—until the dragon comes.”27 Compare the B-Text version:“it has nonetheless its own individual character and peculiar solemnity which no comparisons can take away, its own ancient cadences of verse, and its own thought. To recapture such echoes is the final fruit of scholarship in an old tongue (and it is the most honourable object—rather than the analysis of an historical document) fruit that is good for all to eat if they may, but which can be gathered only in this way. For such reasons ultimately do we study ‘Anglo-Saxon.’”28 I yield to no one in my enthusiasm for the study of Anglo-Saxon, and I agree with Tolkien’s sentiments, but I think it is also very clear that the published conclusion is far more powerful for the simple reason that it reaches beyond scholarship and encompasses—depending upon how one interprets the dragon—a wider view of the importance of Beowulf in the world. And yet Tolkien does not leave Beowulf behind—he ties it intimately to the very large-scale problems that are invoked by the dragon. This same process, of finding a way to talk about the very big picture without ever abandoning the detailed small picture, is characteristic of all of Tolkien’s writing and is in part one of the reasons why all of his writings are at once utterly individual and utterly applicable.

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Appendix The Structural Evolution of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” In the following table each three-column grouping indicates one of the major texts, Beowulf and the Critics A, Beowulf and the Critics B, and the published “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” Each discrete piece of the argument has been given a siglum (denoted S; choices are, of course, subjective and somewhat arbitrary). Sigla are repeated when the element of the argument is repeated. Thus the piece of text labeled “A” is repeated in similar form in all three texts and so is given the siglum A each time it appears. Sigla in the A text are written as capital letters A–Z, followed by capital letters followed by numbers. Thus the A-Text is given sigla A–Z, A1–Z1, A2–Z2, A3–Z3. When substantial revision was made to a section of the essay between versions, it is noted by a bracketed, lower-case letter. Thus R(b) indicates that section R of the A-Text was revised in the B-Text and B(c) indicates that section B of the A-Text was revised in the published essay. New additions in the B-Text are labeled with lower-case Roman numerals; new additions in the published version are labeled with lower-case Greek letters. Page numbers (denoted P) refer to, respectively, Beowulf and the Critics, ed. Drout (for both A- and B-Texts), and the 1971 British Academy reprint of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.”

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A-Text

B-Text

Published

Description

P

S

Description

P

S

Description

P

S

A

Rev. Oswald Cockayne, set up about not reading the books about AngloSaxon.

31

A

Rev. Oswald Cockayne, set up about not reading the books about AngloSaxon.

79

A

Rev. Oswald Cockayne, set up about not reading the books about AngloSaxon.

3

B

Passing over criticism, wants to talk about Beowulf as a thing in itself.

31 –32

B

Passing over criticism, wants to talk about Beowulf as a thing in itself.

79 –80

B (c)

3–4

C

Brief invocation of Ker and Chambers, moving to the intro to Archibald Strong’s translation and Chambers’ introduction.

32

C

Brief invocation of Ker and Chambers.

80

Passing over criticism, wants to talk about Beowulf as a thing in itself “swich a lewed mannes wit. . . .”

Į

4

i

Fairy godmothers.

80

Wants to discuss Grendel and the Dragon.

ii

80

E1

Allegory of the rock garden.

32

Origin of Beowulf studies with Wanley; “egregium est exemplum.”

4

D

E

Babel of voices.

33

i

Fairy godmothers.

4

F

Problems with compendia of literary history.

33

Nearly all censure, and much praise, of Beowulf has been due to belief it was something it is not or to wishing it was something else.

Thorkelin.

4

D

81

C (c)

34

Strong’s translation and comments.

4–5

Strong’s plot summary.

Allegory of the Rock Garden (tower enters interlinearly on revision).

F1 (c)

E

Babel of voices.

81

G

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H

Story can’t be judged from summarized plot.

34

C1

Babel includes “small beer” without attribution.

81

I

“Story is trivial enough, a typical folktale.”

35

F

Problems with compendia of literary history.

81 –82

Biggest problems: main interest is not literary, and Beowulf is historical document.

35

G

Strong’s plot summary.

82 –83

H

Story can’t be judged from summarized plot.

83

Attacking historical document fallacy, discussing the fact that there is no Teutonic literature, but critic would like some, so Beowulf is made to make do.

36 –37

I

“Story is trivial enough, a typical folktale.”

83

Biggest problems: main interest is not literary, and Beowulf is historical document.

83

Illustrates with Shakespeare example: can’t say largest body of medieval poetry is in Shakespeare even if he was influenced by medieval poetry.

37

Attacking historical document fallacy, discussing the fact that there is no Teutonic literature, but critic would like some, so Beowulf is made to make do.

84 –86

J

K

L

J

K

J

Biggest problems: main interest is not literary, and Beowulf is historical document.

5

K

Attacking historical document fallacy, discussing the fact that there is no Teutonic literature, but critic would like some, so Beowulf is made to make do.

5

vi

Olrik, Panzer, Stjerna, Nerman (only Nerman mentioned in C).

5

ii

Nearly all censure, and much praise, of Beowulf has been due to believe it was something it is not or to wishing it was something else.

6

D (c)

Allegory of the tower.

E (c)

Babel of voices.

6–7 7

Michael D.C. Drout “Beowulf is then the only poem of any length which has come down to us of the early heroic poetry of the English.”

37

Also by an author and a thing in itself.

37

O

Mentions Heorrenda and Wéland.

37

P

Beowulf belongs not to “Teutonic heathendom,” but to a special time, a special temper, and a special man.

38

Period: note that all AngloSaxon history is not the same uniform thing from Aidan to Stigand.

38

M

N

Q

195 Illustrates with Shakespeare example: can’t say largest body of medieval poetry is in Shakespeare even if he was influenced by medieval poetry.

86

“Beowulf is then the only poem of any length which has come down to us of the early heroic poetry of the English.”

86

Also by an author and a thing in itself.

86

O

Mentions Heorrenda and Wéland.

86

P

Beowulf belongs not to “Teutonic heathendom,” but to a special time, a special temper, and a special man.

87

L

M

N

v

Jabberwocks and tulgey wood.

8

Q1 (b)

“We have to deal with a poem by an Englishman using afresh ancient and traditional material. . . .”

8

W1 (b)

Now on to Ker, quote from Dark Ages. Quotes “ellor gehworfen on Frena wære.”

8 –10

W

Problem: the poem is apparently not quite as good as it seems.

10

Y1

Chambers’ Widsith, Ingeld and Froda; disproportion of Beowulf.

10

Z1

Wilderness of dragons and Book of St. Albans.

10

A2 (b)

There are only two dragons that really count.

10 –11

I (c)

Comments on the “wild folk-tale.”

11

196 R

S

T

U

V

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Beowulf refashions memories of primeval Teutonic forest and Scandinavian seas in the great day of the AngloSaxon spring.

39

Strong says heathen deities have for the most part vanished before the editing of the Christian reviser.

39

Tolkien says no heathen deities at all, except the name of Ing. Wyrd is not a god, but the master of gods and men.

39

Background of humanity is heathen. Background of Christianity is heathen.

39

Move from Strong, towards “sanity,” and to Chambers’ foreword.

40

Q

R (b)

S

Period: note that all AngloSaxon history is not the same uniform thing from Aidan to Stigand.

87 –88

Beowulf refashions memories of primeval Teutonic forest and Scandinavian seas in the great day of the AngloSaxon spring. Memories caught and colored in the shells and amber of tradition and refashioned by a jeweler of a later time. . . . AngloSaxon Christian spring.

88

Strong says heathen deities have for the most part vanished before the editing of the Christian reviser.

88

X

“Folk-tale is a good servant but a bad master.”

11

Y

“Why class Beowulf as an epic, however well conducted? And who has legislated for what should be the main stuff of any poem?”

11 –12

ȕ

Quote from Girvan.

12

C2

If Milton did “Jack and the Beanstalk” in excellent blank verse.

12

P2 (c)

Cynewulf author of Andreas, Guthlac had dignified verse. A line is better in Beowulf than in other AngloSaxon poems, even when it’s the same line. The theme.

13

H (c)

Story can’t be judged from summarized plot.

13

Michael D.C. Drout Problem: the poem is apparently not quite as good as it seems.

40

X

“Folk-tale is a good servant but a bad master.”

40

Y

“Why class Beowulf as an epic, however well conducted? And who has legislated for what should be the main stuff of any poem.”

40

Started with representative bit of criticism, but I’ve almost let some cats out of the bag. Let’s start over and go back over the history of Beowulf criticism.

40 –41

Won’t survey it all, but will just give those dictated by chance and memory. Cites Earle.

41

W

Z

A1

197 Tolkien says no heathen deities at all, except the name of Ing. Wyrd is not a god, but the master of gods and men.

88 –89

Background of humanity is heathen. Background of Christianity is heathen.

89

V (b)

Move to Chambers’ foreword.

89

W

Problem: the poem is apparently not quite as good as it seems.

89 –90

X

“Folk-tale is a good servant but a bad master.”

90

Y

“Why class Beowulf as an epic, however well conducted? And who has legislated for what should be the main stuff of any poem?”

90

T

U

R1 (c)

Allegories of sun, season, sea.

14

L1 (c)

Dissection kills myth.

15

E2

Chambers fights on poor ground defending Ingeld.

16

H2 (c)

Dragon is perhaps too much draconitas, not enough draco.

16 –17

M2 (b)

Heroic lays: Maldon.

17

O2

We can see hæleð walk under heaven, eormengrund, garsecg. Transcends astronomy. He is a man, and that for him and many is a sufficient tragedy.

18

Q2 (c)

Death comes to the feast. . . . Light is foil to the dark. No, dark is foil to the light.

18

S2

Long quote from Chambers, “Heroic Age.”

19 –20

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Four big questions: poetic merit vs. historical document; Christian or heathen; medley, an accretion; or a constructed whole; finally, folktale usurping the epic.

41

Goes after the “small beer” comment, which he attributes to Chesterton.

41

Mentions students trained at Oxford; Chaucer quote.

42

Origin of Beowulf studies with Wanley; “egregium est exemplum.”

42

F1

Thorkelin.

43

G1

Grundtvig— one of the greatest single names in the history of Beowulf criticism.

43

B1

C1

D1

E1

Started with representative bit of criticism, but let’s start over and go back over the history of Beowulf criticism.

90

Four big questions: poetic merit vs. historical document; Christian or heathen; medley, an accretion; or a constructed whole; finally, folktale usurping the epic.

91

iii

Historical document fallacy has several causes.

91

C1 (b)

“Small beer” remark still attributed to Chesterton, but book is identified as by Shane Leslie.

91

D1 (b)

Mentions students trained at Oxford.

91

S1 (b)

First focus on Ker.

92

Z (b)

B1

Q1 (bc)

Beowulf was composed in the age of Bede.

20

viii

Beowulf a product of fusion; Northern courage, last word of the Northmen before their entry into the larger world of Southern culture.

20 –21

ix

Northern gods are on the right side, but it is not the side that wins.

21

T2

Christianity plus the northern makes the medieval.

21

U2 (c)

Beowulf was by a learned, Christian poet. He knew that the old days were heathen.

22

Michael D.C. Drout H1

Sharon Turner and problems with.

44

I1

Quotes Earle: proper names excepted, this had nothing to do with Beowulf.

44

J1

Conybeare, Illustrations.

44 –45

K1

Kemble— accurate scholarship began. Discusses Kemble’s edition.

45

Now to Germany or scholars trained there and writing in German; materials of criticism rather than criticism; understanding a man by dissecting his person.

45

M1

Criticizes dissection; Wolf and Lachmann.

46

N1

Quotes Earle’s criticism of German approaches.

46

L1

199 T1

Digression to mock Jusserand.

92

U1

Long Jusserand mocking up to “Old Celtic Tales!” “Christ and Wéland.”

92 –96

V1

Now on to Cain, there was a chance for a real critic.

96

D1 (b)2

Chaucer quote from Parliament of Fowls.

96

iv

Historical document fallacy may be caused by people not believing that people of today can’t take pleasure in the main story of Beowulf.

97

E1

Origin of Beowulf studies with Wanley; “egregium est exemplum.”

97 –98

F1

Thorkelin.

98

B3

The monsters are the foes of the Gods; the monsters would win; and in the heroic siege and the last defeat alike men and Gods were in the same host. Contest on the fields of time is doomed to defeat.

22

C3

Beowulf: poet looks back on the past and sees that all that man can accomplish ends in night.

23

E3

Author knew the common tragedy of inevitable ruin; pessimism as to the event combined with an obstinate belief in the power of the doomed effort.

23

D3

Grendel is not yet a medieval devil.

23 –24

200

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Older scholars are at their best on things like Widsith.

46

P1

Chambers’ Introduction starts with Klaeber, Lawrence.

46

Q1

Quote from Chambers (original gives instruction to quote) followed by “we are face to face with a poem by an Englishman circa 725– 750!”

46 –47

Criticism of Grendel as symbolic of sea, Beowulf symbolic of sun.

48

We can turn now to the polymaths. Chambers is the most technical and the best, but first focus on Ker.

48

Digression to mock Jusserand.

48 –49

O1

R1

S1

T1

Grundtvig —one of the greatest single names in the history of Beowulf criticism. Adds Grundtvig’s verse on Bülow.

98 –99

Sharon Turner and problems with.

100

Quotes Earle— proper names excepted, this had nothing to do with Beowulf.

100

J1

Conybeare, Illustrations.

101

K1

Kemble— accurate scholarship began. Discusses Kemble’s edition.

101

L1

Now to Germany or scholars trained there and writing in German; materials of criticism rather than criticism; understanding a man by dissecting his person.

102

G1 (b)

H1

I1

Y2 (c)

Alcuin quotation.

24

V2

It was the English temper that preserved much of tradition of the past to interweave with southern learning.

24

X2 (c)

It’s good that Gallic intolerance didn’t win out.

24

xii (c)

Virgil “multa putans . . . ”

25

A3

Comparison with the Cyclops, who is a monster but under divine protection. Contrasts between Greek and Northern Gods.

25

xxiv

Earmsceapen on weras wæstmum.

25

G3 (c)

We have no mythological treatments of this idea in English.

25

Michael D.C. Drout U1

V1

W1

X1

Y1

Z1

A2

Long Jusserand mocking up to “Old Celtic Tales!” “Christ and Wéland.”

49 –51

Now on to Cain, there was a chance for a real critic.

52

Now on to Ker, long quote from Dark Ages.

52

Two points: radical defect and at the same time dignity, loftiness in converse, the wellwrought finish.

52 –53

Chambers’ Widsith, Ingeld and Froda; disproportion of Beowulf.

53

Wilderness of dragons and Book of St. Albans.

53

There are only three dragons that really count.

53

201 M1

Criticizes dissection; Wolf and Lachmann.

102

N1

Quotes Earle’s criticism of German approaches.

102

O1

Older scholars are at their best on things like Widsith.

102

P1

Chambers’ Introduction starts with Klaeber, Lawrence.

102 –3

v

Jabberwocks and tulgey wood.

103

S1 (b)2

General criticism: W.P. Ker’s Epic and Romance.

104

vi

Olrik, Panzer, Stjerna, Nerman.

104

R1 (b)

Criticism of Lachmann and Müllenhof, Müllenhof mentioned.

104

F3 (c)

Dominant motive is courage apprehended mystically as valuable in the war of Gods and men against their common enemy in Chaos and Darkness.

25 –26

M3

We have thus in Beowulf an historical poem or an attempt at one. Poet had knowledge of Caedmonian poetry, particularly Genesis.

27

H3

People seek dom and lof.

28

O3

Beowulf is not an actual picture of historic Denmark and Sweden in A.D. 500.

28

xv

Virgil, “Saturni gentem. . . .” “Alas for the lost lore. . . .”

29

R3

Structure of the poem: A 1–2199, B 2200– 3182.

29 –30

202

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Very well then, Beowulf is not a wellconducted epic. It must be something else.

53

If Milton did “Jack and the Beanstalk” in excellent blank verse.

53

D2

Heroic verse more important, say some.

54

E2

Chambers fights on poor ground defending Ingeld.

54

F2

Refuse King Lear because it is founded on a silly folk-tale?

55

G2

H. Rider Haggard’s Eric Brighteyes is as good and as heroic as many heroic stories from the past.

55

Dragon is perhaps too much draconitas, not enough draco.

55

B2

C2

H2

“We have to deal with a poem by an Englishman using afresh ancient and traditional material. . . .” Beowulf was composed in the age of Bede.

104 –5

W1 (b)

Now on to Ker, quote from Dark Ages. Quotes “ellor gehworfen on Frena wære.”

105

X1

Two points: radical defect and at the same time dignity, loftiness in converse, the wellwrought finish.

105 –6

Chambers’ Widsith, Ingeld and Froda; disproportion of Beowulf.

106

Wilderness of dragons and Book of St. Albans.

106 –7

There are only two dragons that really count.

107

Q1 (b)

Y1

Z1

A2 (b)

T3

Old Tale was not told first by our author. Link to Bear’s Son Tale.

30

U3

Always thinks it’s a defect for Beowulf to go to Denmark, but this is remedied when he comes home to end up fighting the dragon.

30 –31

V3

All the tragedy in Beowulf is contained 1888–end.

31

W3

Contrast of youth and age in Hrothgar and Beowulf.

31

xvi (c)

Elements of the poem are in harmony— expanded discussion.

32 –33

xvii

Beowulf is not telling Hygelac’s fall or even the life of Beowulf.

33

Michael D.C. Drout Symbolism is near the surface of the narrative, but it doesn’t burst through.

54

J2

Dragon is not an idle or silly tale.

54

K2

Quote “Iúmonna Gold.”

56 –57

L2

Quote Lewis poem.

57 –58

M2

Heroic lays: quote from Maldon.

59

N2

In Beowulf all the tone, etc., of the short lays is put together in one poem.

59

We can see hæleþ walk under heaven, eormengrund, garsecg. Transcends astronomy. He is a man, and that for him and many is a sufficient tragedy.

59

I2

O2

203 xx (c)

Voice of the poet is removed, but content is the same.

33

xxi

If the dragon is the right end, then Grendel is the right beginning.

34

xxii

Oswald hypothetical (changed from Alfred).

34 –35

xxiii

Líxte se léoma ofer landa fela; Grendel maddened by the sound of the harps.

35

109

xxv

Like the echo of an ancient dirge . . . an echo of an echo.

35 –36

Dragon is perhaps too much draconitas, not enough draco.

109 –10

Ȗ

Final paragraph to “until the dragon comes.”

35 –36

Symbolism is near the surface of the narrative, but it doesn’t burst through.

110

į

Appendix A: Grendel’s Titles.

36 –38

Appendix B: Lof, Dom, Hell, Heofon.

38 –45

Dragon is not an idle or silly tale.

110

Very well then, Beowulf is not a wellconducted epic. It must be something else.

107

If Milton did “Jack and the Beanstalk” in excellent blank verse.

107

Problems with “myth” versus folktales, versus heroic epic.

108

D2

Heroic verse more important, say some.

109

E2

Chambers fights on poor ground defending Ingeld.

H2

I2

B2

C2

vii

J2

H3

We know nothing of pagan eschatology.

204

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Thus no accident that tone of high and theme so low. Theme is deadly serious. Cynewulf author of Andreas, Guthlac had dignified verse. A line is better in Beowulf than in other AngloSaxon poems, even when it’s the same line. The theme.

59

Q2

Death comes to the feast. . . . Light is foil to the dark. No, dark is foil to the light. Poet was on a besieged island, and he knew it.

59 –60

R2

Now it’s here that Cain becomes important. Cuts right to the heart of the Christian/ heathen controversy.

60

P2

K2

Quote “Iúmonna Gold.”

110 –12

J3

Cites Earle and lof in Beowulf.

L2

Quote Lewis poem.

113 –14

K3

M2 (b)

Heroic lays: quote from Maldon. Expanded.

114

Comparison Hrothgar’s sermon and the Seafarer.

L3

O2

We can see hæleþ walk under heaven, eormengrund, garsecg. Transcends astronomy. He is a man, and that for him and many is a sufficient tragedy.

115

Difference in Christian and heathen —long excursus on individual lines, wyrd, metod and God in Beowulf.

Thus no accident that tone of high and theme so low. Theme is deadly serious. Cynewulf author of Andreas, Guthlac had dignified verse. A line is better in Beowulf than in other AngloSaxon poems, even when it’s the same line. The theme.

115

P2

Appendix C: Lines 175– 88. N3

Lines 179– 88 suspect.

45 –47

Michael D.C. Drout S2

Long quote from Chambers, “Heroic Age.”

60 –61

T2

Christianity plus the northern makes the medieval.

61 –62

U2

Beowulf was by a learned, Christian poet (mentions Aldhelm). He knew that the old days were heathen. Avoidance of anachronism is deliberate.

62 –63

It was the English temper that preserved much of tradition of the past to interweave with southern learning.

63

Paulinus of Nola, Sulpicius Severus, Wulfram, Wilfrid, Radbod.

63 –64

V2

W2

205 Q2

Death comes to the feast. . . . Light is foil to the dark. No, dark is foil to the light. Poet was on a besieged island, and he knew it.

115 –16

R2

Now it’s here that Cain becomes important. Cuts right to the heart of the Christian/ heathen controversy.

116

S2

Long quote from Chambers, “Heroic Age.”

116 –17

viii

Beowulf a product of fusion; Northern courage, last word of the Northmen before their entry into the larger world of Southern culture.

119

ix

Northern gods are on the right side, but it is not the side that wins.

119

206

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X2

But it’s good that Gallic intolerance didn’t win out.

64

T2

Christianity plus the northern makes the medieval.

119 –20

Y2

Alcuin quotation, shows even monks could preserve ancient tradition.

64

x

120

Z2

Old Gods disappeared because their going was not disastrous to the theme.

65

Ælfric and Sigelhearwan; earlier age not less learned than age of Eadgar and Æthelred II.

U2 (b)

120 –21

A3

Comparison with the Cyclops, who is a monster but under divine protection. Contrasts between Greek and Northern Gods.

65

Beowulf was by a learned, Christian poet. He knew that the old days were heathen. Avoidance of anachronism is deliberate.

xi

Woden and Þunor in England.

121 –22

V2

It was the English temper that preserved much of tradition of the past to interweave with southern learning.

122

Michael D.C. Drout The monsters are the foes of the Gods, and the monsters would win; and in the heroic siege and the last defeat alike men and Gods were in the same host. Contest on the fields of time is doomed to defeat.

66

Beowulf: poet looks back on the past and sees that all that man can accomplish ends in night.

66

D3

Grendel is not yet a medieval devil.

66

E3

Author knew the common tragedy of inevitable ruin; pessimism as to the event combined with a obstinate belief in the power of the doomed effort.

67

B3

C3

207 W2

Paulinus of Nola, Sulpicius Severus, Wulfram, Wilfrid, Radbod.

122 –23

X2

But it’s good that Gallic intolerance didn’t win out.

123

Y2

Alcuin quotation, shows even monks could preserve ancient tradition.

123 –24

Z2

Old Gods disappeared because their going we not disastrous to the theme.

124

A3

Comparison with the Cyclops, who is a monster but under divine protection. Contrasts between Greek and Northern Gods.

124

xii

Insertion of long quotation from Virgil.

124 –27

xiii

Difference between Greek and Northern gods.

127

208

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F3

We know nothing of pagan eschatology. Dominant motive is courage apprehended mystically as valuable in the war of Gods and men against their common enemy in Chaos and Darkness.

67

B3

The monsters are the foes of the Gods, and the monsters would win; and in the heroic siege and the last defeat alike men and Gods were in the same host. Conest on the fields of time is doomed to defeat.

127 –28

G3

We have no mythological treatments of this idea in English.

67

C3

129

H3

People seek dom and lof; “limited immortality”

67 –68

Beowulf: poet looks back on the past and sees that all that man can accomplish ends in night.

I3

Beowulf’s trust was in his own power and might.

68

D3

Grendel is not yet a medieval devil.

129

E3

J3

Cites Earle and lof in Beowulf.

68

129 –30

K3

Comparison Hrothgar’s sermon and the Seafarer.

69

Author knew the common tragedy of inevitable ruin; pessimism as to the event combined with a obstinate belief in the power of the doomed effort.

Michael D.C. Drout L3

Differentiation in Christian and heathen —long excursus on individual lines, wyrd, metod, and God in Beowulf.

69 –74

M3

We have thus in Beowulf an historical poem or an attempt at one. Poet had knowledge of Caedmonian poetry, particularly Genesis.

74

N3

Lines 179– 88 suspect.

75 n1

O3

Beowulf is not an actual picture of historic Denmark and Sweden in 500 A.D.

75

Pagan theme, man upon earth and his final defeat in which he received dom.

75

P3

209 F3

We know nothing of pagan eschatology. Dominant motive is courage apprehended mystically as valuable in the war of Gods and men against their common enemy in Chaos and Darkness.

130

G3

We have no mythological treatments of this idea in English.

130

H3

People seek dom and lof; “limited immortality.”

130 –31

I3

Beowulf’s trust was in his own power and might.

131

J3

Cites Earle and lof in Beowulf.

131 –32

K3

Comparison Hrothgar’s sermon and the Seafarer.

132

210

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Grendel becomes more devilish. Dragon remains more elemental.

76

Structure of the poem: A 1–2199, B 2200– 3182.

76

S3

Final movement, 3137 to end, a great piece of poetry, with only what came before it.

76– 77

T3

Old Tale was not told first by our author. Link to Bear’s Son Tale.

77

Always thinks it’s a defect for Beowulf to go to Denmark, but this is remedied when he comes home to end up fighting the dragon.

77

All the tragedy in Beowulf is contained 1888–end.

77

Q3

R3

U3

V3

L3

Differentiation in Christian and heathen —long excursus on individual lines, wyrd, metod, and God in Beowulf.

133

133 –37

M3

We have thus in Beowulf an historical poem or an attempt at one. Poet had knowledge of Caedmonian poetry, particularly Genesis.

137 –38

N3

Lines 179– 88 suspect.

138 n3

xiv

Mentions Völuspá and Wessobrunner Gebet.

138

O3

Beowulf is not an actual picture of historic Denmark and Sweden in 500 A.D.

139

xv

Virgil, “Saturni gentem . . .” “Alas for the lost lore . . .”

139

Michael D.C. Drout

211

W3

Contrast of youth and age in Beowulf and Hrothgar.

77

R3

Structure of the poem: A 1–2199, B 2200– 3182.

139 –40

X3

Special connection between Beowulf and Andreas: links both to missionary epoch.

77

W3

Contrast of youth and age in Beowulf and Hrothgar.

140

S3

140

Y3

Ac ðu Hroðgar . . .

78

Z3

In final conclusion . . . trails off.

78

Final movement, 3137 to end, a great piece of poetry, with only what came before it.

T3

Old Tale was not told first by our author. Link to Bear’s Son Tale.

140

U3

Always thinks it’s a defect for Beowulf to go to Denmark, but this is remedied when he comes home to end up fighting the dragon.

141

V3

All the tragedy in Beowulf is contained 1888–end.

141

212

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 X3

Special connection between Beowulf and Andreas: links both to missionary epoch.

141

Y3

Ac ðu Hroðgar ...

142

xvi

Elements of the poem are in harmony.

142

xvii

The voices of ghosts as the ages lengthen.

142

xviii

That the dragon dies is important to Beowulf, but it is not a war to end war, a dragon fight to end dragons. In the end Beowulf dies and so does the hope of his people.

142 –43

xix

There may have existed verse dealing with feuds and Swedish wars.

143

xx

Voice of the poet.

143 –44

Michael D.C. Drout

213 xxi

If the dragon is the right end, then Grendel is the right beginning.

144

xxii

Alfred hypothetical.

144 –45

xxiii

Líxte se léoma ofer landa fela; Grendel maddened by the sound of the harps.

145

xxiv

Earmsceapen on weras wæstmum.

145

xxv

Like the echo of an ancient dirge . . . an echo of an echo.

145

xxvi

For such reasons ultimately do we study “AngloSaxon.”

146

214

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 I would like to thank Matt Blessing for assembling such a stimulating conference and the various participants for their helpful and challenging questions. Thanks also to Angel di Tomasso, Raquel M. D’Oyen, and Rhys and Mitchell Drout whose help and patience made both conference and paper possible.

1. J.R.R. Tolkien,“Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” originally published in Proceedings of the British Academy 22 (1937): 245–95; cited from J.R.R. Tolkien, The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 5–48. For a more detailed discussion of the dating, see J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, ed. Michael D.C. Drout (Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2002), xv–xix. 2. Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 42. 3. Christopher Tolkien, personal communication. For “Oxford paper” see J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lays of Beleriand, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 3 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985), 81. For W.P. Ker’s The Dark Ages (London: Blackwood and Sons, 1904) as the impetus for “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” see Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 6–7. 4. Michael D.C. Drout,“How the Monsters Became Important: The Logical and Rhetorical Development of ‘The Monsters and the Critics,’” in Fabelwesen, mostri e portenti nell’immaginario occidentale, ed. Carmela Rizzo, 1–23 (Torino: Edizione dell’Orso, 2004). 5. For more discussion of the allegory and its evolution, see Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 10–19, and T.A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth, 2nd ed. (London: Grafton, 1992), 42–45. 6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the Shadow, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 6 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988), 69–70. 7. Ibid., 188–89. 8. A J K W X Y Y1 Z1 C2 E2 O2 S2 T2 V2 A3 B3 C3 D3 E1 E3 H3 J3 K3 L3 M3 N3 O3 R3 T3 U3 V3 W3. I have only noted the sigla of those sections that are essentially unchanged through all three revisions. 9. xvi xvii xviii xix xx xxi xxii xxiii xxiv xxv xxvi. 10. g. 11. I believe that my siglum g, the conclusion of the published essay, may originally have been composed in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Tolkien A28, and then combined with the B-Text of Beowulf and the Critics to complete the published essay. I cannot yet prove this conjecture, however. 12. To be fair, this was for the purpose of lecture, not for the published version; for the published version Tolkien removed this material or re-cast it in his own words.

Michael D.C. Drout

215

13. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 144–45; Shippey, Road to Middle-earth, 91–106. 14. Gergely Nagy,“The Adapted Text: The Lost Poetry of Beleriand,” Tolkien Studies 1 (2004), 21–41. 15. Ker, Dark Ages, 252–53. 16. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” 8. 17. Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 143–44. Note that “The placing of the dragon is inevitable: a man can but die upon his death-day” appears to be in contradistinction to some of Tolkien’s claims in his “Ofermod” essay. I discuss this problem in more detail in a forthcoming essay. 18. Shippey, Road to Middle-earth, 44. 19. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 3 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986), 1:36–37. 20. For the poems, see Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 56–58 and 110–14; for a discussion of some textual problems associated with them, see Beowulf and the Critics, 199–205n160. The text of “Iúmonna Gold Galdre Bewunden” was originally missing from the manuscript of Beowulf and the Critics, but Christopher Tolkien provided me with copies of what would have been folios 147 and 148, which were removed from the original manuscript when his father readied “Iúmonna Gold” for publication in the 1937 Oxford Magazine. 21. Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 144–45. 22. Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge, eds. and trans., Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (New York: Penguin, 1983), 79–80. 23. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” 32. 24. Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 81–83. 25. An introduction that seems to be disregarded by many critics who have written on Tolkien and allegory; J.R.R. Tolkien, trans., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo, ed. Christopher Tolkien (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975). 26. I do not want to belabor the obvious, but it seems to me that this kind of point-for-point comparison is why Tolkien rejected, with a point-by-point refutation, the idea that The Lord of the Rings was an allegory of World War II, a theory that so many insisted—and keep insisting—on; see Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 6–7. 27. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” 36. 28. Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics, 146.

Working at the Crossroads Tolkien, St. Augustine, and the Beowulf-poet

Matthew A. Fisher

I

n a widely quoted letter written in 1953 to Fr. Robert Murray S.J., J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”1 Several years later, he wrote to Deborah Webster:“And there are a few basic facts, which however dryly expressed, are really significant. . . . Or more important, I am a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories), and in fact a Roman Catholic.”2 In his 1981 study England and Always, Jared Lobdell wrote: “I can find no work on Tolkien that gives due weight to the four most obvious facts about the author’s life. . . . Plainly stated, the four facts are 1) that Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, and therefore grew to manhood in the years before the Great War; 2) that he was a philologist . . . 3) that he was a Roman Catholic. . . .”3 As it turns out, England and Always really didn’t focus that much on Tolkien as a Catholic, although one section did focus on Tolkien as a Christian. In any event, Lobdell’s words no longer ring true, as numerous books and articles have now been published that focus on potential relationships between Tolkien, his Catholic faith, and The Lord of the Rings. In “Tolkien’s Catholic Imagination,” Jason Boffetti writes: It is not surprising, he [Tolkien] admits, that the character of Galadriel—a created being endowed with radiant beauty, impeccable virtue, and powers of healing—resonates with the character of our Blessed Mother. . . . Nor could Tolkien deny that the Holy Eucharist appears in The Lord of the Rings as the waybread (lembas), given by the elves to the hobbits to eat on their journey. . . . As an author, Tolkien believed that his stories did in a limited and literary way what a priest does at the consecration: They present us with Christ and the entire story of creation and redemption through common

218

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 elements of the world—in this case Middle-earth—which is shot through with the Truth of all Truths.4

Joseph Pearce, in his article “True Myth: The Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings,” writes: It is, therefore, not merely erroneous but patently perverse to see Tolkien’s epic as anything other than a specifically Christian myth. . . . Catholic theology, explicitly present in The Silmarillion and implicitly present in The Lord of the Rings, is omnipresent in both, breathing life into the tales as invisibly but as surely as oxygen. . . . Ultimately, The Lord of the Rings is a sublimely mystical Passion Play. The carrying of the Ring—the emblem of Sin —is the Carrying of the Cross. The mythological Quest is a veritable Via Dolorosa.5

In another article, titled “Tolkien and the Catholic Literary Revival,”6 Pearce places Tolkien as an important part of the English Catholic literary revival that Pearce sees beginning with John Henry Newman and continuing through G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and Graham Greene. But is the Catholic nature of The Lord of the Rings as straightforward, as direct a reading, as individuals such as Pearce and Boffetti would have us believe? Is the underlying theme of The Lord of the Rings the Passion of Christ? Listen to Tolkien’s own words in various letters he wrote: [writing to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951:] But an equally basic passion of mine ab initio was for myth (not allegory!) and for fairy-story, and above all for heroic legend on the brink of fairy-tale and history, of which there is far too little in the world (accessible to me) for my appetite. . . . I was from early days grieved by the poverty of my own beloved country: it had no stories of its own (bound up with its tongue and soil), not of the quality that I sought, and found (as an ingredient) in legends of other lands. . . . Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world, but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English; and does not replace what I felt to be missing. For one thing, its“faerie” is too lavish, and fantastical, incoherent and repetitive. For another and more important thing: it is involved in, and explicitly contains the Christian religion. For reasons which I will not elaborate, that seems to me fatal. Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution

Matthew A. Fisher

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elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary “real” world.7 [writing to W.H. Auden, June 1955:] I wrote the Trilogy as a personal satisfaction, driven to it by the scarcity of literature of the sort that I wanted to read. . . .8 [writing to Joanna de Bortadano, April 1956:] I do not think that even Power or Domination is the real center of my story. It provides the theme of a War, about something dark and threatening enough to seem at that time of supreme importance, but that is mainly ‘a setting’ for characters to show themselves. The real theme for me is about something much more permanent and difficult: Death and Immortality: the mystery of the love of the world in the hearts of a race “doomed” to leave and seemingly lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race “doomed” not to leave it, until its whole evil-aroused story is complete.9 [writing to Rhona Beare, presumably October 1958:] But I might say that if the tale is “about” anything (other than itself ), it is not as seems widely supposed about “power”. Power-seeking is only the motive-power that sets events going, and is relatively unimportant, I think. It is mainly concerned with Death, and Immortality; and the “escapes”: serial longevity, and hoarding memory.10 [writing to C. Ouboter, April 1958:] As for message: I have none really, if by that is meant the conscious purpose in writing The Lord of the Rings, of preaching, or of delivering myself of a vision of truth specially revealed to me! I was primarily writing an exciting story in an atmosphere and background such as I find personally attractive. But in such a process inevitably one’s own taste, ideas, and beliefs get taken up. . . . I said, or meant to say, that the “message” was the hideous peril of confusing true “immortality” with limitless serial longevity. Freedom from Time, and clinging to Time.11

The last letter I quote contains an important phrase: “But in such a process inevitably one’s own taste, ideas, and beliefs get taken up.” Given the importance of his Catholic faith to Tolkien, it should come as no surprise that elements of Catholicism were taken up into The Lord of the Rings. Yet the above passages from Tolkien’s letters present a clear statement that the major theme of The Lord of the Rings was Death and

220

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004

Immortality, and that he was trying to tell a story he liked. This leads me to question if, in fact, we really do Tolkien justice if we view The Lord of the Rings—as Pearce wrote—as simply a “sublimely mystical Passion Play. The carrying of the Ring—the emblem of Sin—is the Carrying of the Cross. The mythological Quest is a veritable Via Dolorosa.” My comments should not be taken as a veiled statement that the approach Pearce, Boffetti, and others advocate is completely wrong and should be dismissed entirely. But I think we would be wise to remember Tolkien’s words about the difference between allegory (purposed direction under the control of the author) and applicability (a process entirely under the reader’s control). As Tolkien wrote in a letter to Herbert Schiro in 1957, “that there is no allegory does not, of course, say there is no applicability. There always is.”12 Applicability rests in the freedom of the reader to connect the story at hand to the experiences and questions central to his or her own life. As such, applicability is something that is decided by each reader on an individual basis. Clearly readers like Pearce and Boffetti see a great deal of applicability in The Lord of the Rings to the Catholic faith, and I will not challenge or dismiss the right of readers to focus on such applicability. But we must be clear that applicability as discerned by the reader is not the same as authorial intent. Likewise, I’m inclined to question how appropriate it is to place Tolkien as part of a Catholic literary revival that includes the likes of Newman, Chesterton, and Belloc. These other authors were concerned in large part with demonstrating how orthodox Christianity, particularly Catholicism, was universally valid and contained tenets that transcended limits of time and effectively countered modern secularism, subjectivism, individualism, belief in progress, and various forms of totalitarianism. The whole tone of Chesterton’s spiritual writings has always struck me as fundamentally different in tone that Tolkien. Newman’s own journey to the Catholic Church was driven by his reading of the early Church Fathers and his attempt to demonstrate that the Church of England was in fact a legitimate successor to the early Church rather than simply a creation of Henry VIII. Reading Tolkien’s letters, we encounter a man passionate about language, the power and insight of myth, and questions of death and immortality. These are not issues that, at least in my own study, I’ve seen associated with the other individuals that Pearce identifies as part of this Catholic literary revival.

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Let me return to the words of Tolkien with which I began this essay: “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. . . . And there are a few basic facts, which however drily expressed, are really significant. . . . Or more important, I am a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories), and in fact a Roman Catholic.” Clearly, his life as a Catholic was a central part of how Tolkien saw himself. How might we approach this question of possible relationships between Tolkien’s Catholic faith and The Lord of the Rings? Part of the difficulty is that the Catholic tradition is a particularly broad one, containing a diversity of groups such as Ultramontanists, Benedictines, Franciscans, Jesuits, the intellectual tradition exemplified by John Henry Newman, Catholic Workers, etc. To develop a clearer sense of where in this broad river of tradition Tolkien might best fit, let me suggest that we may benefit from using as a starting point that giant of the early Church, Augustine of Hippo.13 Augustine, born in 354 CE in Algeria, was the son of a pagan father and Christian mother and was brought up as a Christian but was not baptized. He studied rhetoric in Carthage and later studied with the Manicheans (a Gnostic heresy that we will return to in a moment) before moving first to Rome and later to Milan to teach rhetoric. It was in Milan that he came under the influence of Ambrose, which led to his conversion and baptism in 386–87. That experience was later described by Augustine in his Confessions. He returned to Africa in 388 CE, was ordained a priest in 391 CE, and four years later ordained the bishop of Hippo, a position he held until his death in 430 CE. Besides The Confessions, his most important works include sermons on the Gospel and Epistle of John, The Trinity, and The City of God. To provide an overview of his thought that does justice to the richness and depth found there and its subsequent impact on the Church would take far more length than is possible in this essay. So let me focus on two of the areas where Augustine made seminal contributions, largely through his defense of orthodox Christianity against several heresies: a theology of the church and sacraments, and a theology of human nature and grace.14 Augustine’s contribution to a theology of church and sacraments came about through the Donatist controversy. During the time of the Emperor Diocletian, an edict was passed that ordered the demolition of churches, outlawed all Christian books, and required that these books be burned. Individuals who turned over books to Roman authorities

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for burning were known as traditores (“those who handed over”). After the Edict of Milan made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, those who had turned over Christian books to the authorities and had been labeled traditores desired to return to the Church and in at least one case were ordained to the priesthood subsequent to the Edict of Milan. The group known as Donatists (after one of their leaders) maintained that only those who had not renounced the faith for a period of time, those who remained pure and sinless, constituted the church and that a sacramental act (such as baptism or the Eucharist) administered by one who had been a traditor was invalid and had no meaning. In essence, the holiness of the Church as a whole came solely from the holiness of individual members. In response, Augustine maintained that the Church’s holiness was rooted in Christ, not in its members. As such, the church was a “mixed body” composed of both saints and sinners. The holiness, or lack thereof, of an individual—even an individual serving as a priest and presiding at a sacrament such as the Eucharist—had no consequence for the validity of the sacrament in question or the holiness of the Church overall. The efficacy of a sacrament in bestowing grace was and is rooted in the person who instituted the sacrament, Jesus Christ. Listen now to words Tolkien wrote to his son Michael in 1963: The devotion to“learning”, as such and without reference to one’s own repute, is a high and even in a sense spiritual vocation; and since it is “high” it is inevitably lowered by false brethren, by tired brethren, by the desire of money, and by pride . . . the far higher devotion to religion cannot possibly escape the same process. It is, of course, degraded in some degree by all “professionals” (and by all professing Christians), and by some in different times and places outraged; and since the aim is higher the shortcoming seems (and is) far worse . . . the precious wine must (in this world) have a bottle, or some less worthy substitute. For myself, I find I become less cynical rather than more—remembering my own sins and follies; and realize that men’s hearts are not often as bad as their acts, and very seldom as bad as their words. . . . . . . I think I am as sensitive as you (or any other Christian) to the “scandals”, both of clergy and laity. I have suffered grievously in my life from stupid, tired, dimmed, and even bad priests; but I now know enough about myself to be aware that I should not leave the Church (which for me means leaving the allegiance of Our Lord)

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for any such reasons: I should leave because I did not believe, and should not believe any more. . . . . . . Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choosing a shuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children . . . open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to Communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a Mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand. . . .)15

Let me turn now to Augustine’s theology of human nature and grace. Augustine’s thought in this area was motivated by his attempt to counter another heresy in the Church, Pelagianism. Pelagius, a British monk, maintained that human liberty was autonomous and that humans, created free by God, could not live without that liberty. Therefore human free choice was the sole determinant of our actions. Since sin could only be a result of conscious choice by a human, we are fundamentally good and our free will can suffice to keep us sinless. God made human nature and only demands of it what it can endure, therefore “since perfection is possible for humanity, it is obligatory.”16 From the Pelagian perspective, the teaching and example of Christ assist our power to do good, but the actual willing and doing are exclusively in human hands. In short, Pelagianism was the most extreme form of justification by merit alone. Augustine’s response was that, while he affirmed natural human freedom, he saw human free will as something that was incapacitated or weakened through sin. The Manichean position (which Augustine had studied early in his life) saw matter as evil, evil as inherently a part of creation, and Christianity as a path that could free people from their bondage to the physical world and allow them to enter a purely spiritual world. In contrast, Augustine saw evil as a direct consequence of the misuse of human freedom. For him, the origin of evil was in the satanic temptations in the Garden of Eden, with those satanic temptations having their root in the fall of Satan. The Augustinian perspective is one that focuses on the fallenness of human nature. As sinners, we are seriously ill and unable to diagnose our own illness. We have no control

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over our own sinfulness, and we are born with a sinful disposition as part of our nature and an inherent bias towards acts of sin. Augustine saw Divine grace as being necessary to restore and heal free will. Grace, the word itself linked to the idea of “gifts,” is an unmerited/ undeserved gift of God that we may be healed, forgiven, and restored. One example used by Augustine to illustrate the unmerited nature of grace was the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, where the vineyard owner chooses to pay the workers the same amount regardless of what time they started working in the vineyard. There is, in Augustine’s thought, a certain tension between grace and merit. On the one hand, Augustine clearly saw that Christians were obligated to live their lives in certain ways, to make every effort to insure that certain values were exemplified in their words and actions. On the other hand, grace was a gift from God, not something that we can “earn” by our words and actions. Again, listen to the following passages from Tolkien’s letters: [writing to Christopher Tolkien, April 1944:] No man can estimate what is really happening sub specie aeternitatis. All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labours with vast power and perpetual success—in vain: preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in. So it is in general, and so it is in our own lives. . . . But there is still some hope that things may be better for us, even on the temporal plane, in the mercy of God.17 [writing to Christopher Tolkien, May 1944:] A small knowledge of history depresses one with the sense of the everlasting mass and weight of human iniquity: old, old, dreary, endless repetitive unchanging incurable wickedness. All towns, all villages, all habitations of men—sinks! And at the same time one knows that there is always good: much more hidden, much less clearly discerned, seldom breaking out into recognizable, visible beauties of word or deed or face—not even when in fact sanctity, far greater than the visible advertised wickedness, is really there. But I fear that in the individual lives of all but a few, the balance is debit—we do so little that is positive good, even if we negatively avoid what is actively evil.18 [from drafts to Peter Hastings, September 1954:] To conclude: having mentioned Free Will, I might say that in my myth I have used

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“subcreation” in a special way . . . to make visible and physical the effects of Sin or misused Free Will by men.19

Based on the similarities that I’ve just outlined, I suggest that it may be helpful to describe Tolkien as an “Augustinian Catholic.” By using this term, I don’t mean to suggest that Tolkien consciously intended to base his fictional works on the teachings of St. Augustine. Rather, there is evidence for a clear affinity between Tolkien’s thought and the theological tradition that originated with the Bishop of Hippo. Let turn now to the third person in the title of this essay, the Beowulfpoet. We all know the central role that Beowulf played in Tolkien’s professional life and the attention that he gave this poem. In his essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” Tolkien states: Let us by all means esteem the old heroes: men caught in the chains of circumstance or of their own character, torn between duties equally sacred, dying with their backs to the wall. . . . In these [heroic lays] (if we had them) we could see the exaltation of undefeated will, which receives doctrinal expression in the words of Byrhtwold at the Battle of Maldon. But though with sympathy and patience we might gather, from a line here or a tone there, the background of imagination which gives to this indomitability, this paradox of defeat inevitable yet unacknowledged, its full significance, it is in Beowulf that a poet has devoted a whole poem to the theme, and has drawn the struggle in different proportions, so that we may see man at war with the hostile world, and his inevitable overthrow in Time. . . . Beowulf is not, then, the hero of a heroic lay, precisely. He has no enmeshed loyalties, nor hapless love. He is a man, and that for him and many is sufficient tragedy [emphasis by Tolkien].20

Tolkien then looks at“the theory of courage, which is the great contribution of early Northern literature,”21 focusing on how the intersection of pagan and Christian worlds have influenced the structure of the poem and giving us “a poem from a pregnant moment of poise, looking back into the pit, by a man learned in old tales who was struggling, as it were, to get a general view of them all. . . . He could view from without, but still feel immediately and from within, the old dogma: despair of the event, combined with faith in the value of doomed resistance.”22 Tolkien continues to explore this theory of courage in the essay “Ofermod” that

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accompanies the play “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son,” where he writes: The words of Beorhtwold [see my note 23] have been held to be the finest expression of the northern heroic spirit, Norse or English; the clearest statement of the doctrine of uttermost endurance in the service of indomitable will. . . . For this “northern heroic spirit” is never quite pure, it is of gold and an alloy. . . . Thus Beowulf (according to the motives ascribed to him by the student of heroic-chivalric character who wrote the poem about him) does more than he need, eschewing weapons in order to make his struggle with Grendel a “sporting” fight: which will enhance his personal glory; though it will put him in unnecessary peril, and weaken his chances of ridding the Danes of an intolerable affliction. ... . . . It was heroic for him [Beorhtnoth] and his men to fight, to annihilation if necessary, in the attempt to destroy or hold off the invaders. It was wholly unfitting that he should treat a desperate battle with this sole real object as a sporting match, to the ruin of his purpose and duty. Why did Beorhtnoth do this? Owing to a defect of character, no doubt; but a character, we may surmise, not only formed by nature, but molded also by “aristocratic tradition”, enshrined in tales and verse of poets now lost save for echoes. Beorhtnoth was chivalrous rather than strictly heroic. Honour was itself a motive, and he sought it at the risk of placing his heorðwerod, all the men most dear to him, in a truly heroic situation, which they could redeem only by death. Magnificent perhaps, but certainly wrong. Too foolish to be heroic. And the folly Beorhtnoth at any rate could not wholly redeem by death. . . . . . . We learn, 3076–83, that Wiglaf and the Geatas regarded any attack on the dragon as rash, and had tried to restrain the king from the perilous enterprise. . . . But the king wished for glory, or for a glorious death, and courted disaster. There could be no more pungent criticism in a few words of “chivalry” in one of responsibility that Wiglaf ’s exclamation oft sceall eorl monig anes willan wraec adreogan, “by one man’s will many must woe endure”.24

Think for a moment about Tolkien’s comments. In “Ofermod” he points out the flawed nature of this Northern theory of courage, a theory that demands a certain level of conduct even though the outcome will be

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failure. Think about the view of human nature presented by Augustine, that no matter how noble our conduct the outcome will be failure. Augustine never suggested that it was not important to act in a noble or good manner, rather that our inherent bias towards acts of sin will result in failure (or worse) being the outcome of our efforts. There is an intersection here of two similar views of human conduct, an intersection that is clearly reflected in the actions of many characters in The Lord of the Rings. Hence the image that I used for the title of this essay: “Working at the Crossroads.” Let me ask one final question: What does Tolkien bring to this work at the crossroads? Is he simply carrying on with these two views, one from the North and one from Augustine, or does he add anything of his own insight? I believe the latter is the case, and that Tolkien’s own insight focuses, in part, on two themes. One theme is related to the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer “lead us not into temptation.” In a letter to Miss J. Burn in July 1956, Tolkien wrote: If you re-read all the passages dealing with Frodo and the Ring, I think you will see that not only was it quite impossible for him to surrender the Ring, in act or will, especially at its point of maximum power, but that this failure was adumbrated from far back. He was honored because he had accepted the burden voluntarily, and had then done all that was within his utmost physical and mental strength to do. He (and the Cause) were saved —by Mercy: by the supreme value and efficacy of Pity and forgiveness of injury. . . . I think rather of the mysterious last petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. A petition against something that cannot happen is unmeaning. There exists the possibility of being placed in positions beyond one’s power. In which case (as I believe) salvation from ruin will depend on something apparently unconnected: the general sanctity (and humility and mercy) of the sacrificial person. . . . No, Frodo “failed”. It is possible that once the ring was destroyed he had little recollection of the last scene. But one must face the fact: the power of Evil in the world is not finally resistible by incarnate creatures, however “good”; and the Writer of the Story is not one of us.25

The same points are made in another letter written at the same time to Michael Straight, the editor of the New Republic. In yet another letter,

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written to Amy Ronald in 1956, Tolkien makes the point that “in this case the cause (not the ‘hero’) was triumphant, because by the exercise of pity, mercy, and forgiveness of injury, a situation was produced in which all was redressed and disaster averted. . . . Of course, he [Tolkien is referring to Gandalf ] did not mean to say that one must be merciful, for it may prove useful later—it would not then be mercy or pity, which are only truly present when contrary to prudence.”26 The second theme is alluded to in other essays in this volume, particularly the one by Marjorie Burns. It is the idea of lifting up the lowly, the meek, the earthy and humble folk. Again, from a letter Tolkien wrote in 1955 to W.H. Auden: “I myself saw the value of Hobbits, in putting earth under the feet of ‘romance’. And in providing subjects for ‘ennoblement’ and heroes more praiseworthy than the professionals; nolo heroizari is of course as good a start for a hero, as nolo episcopari for a bishop. Not that I am a ‘democrat’ in any its current uses; except that I suppose, to speak in literary terms, we are all equal before the Great Author, qui deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles.”27 A note at the end of Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien gives the English translation of this Latin phrase as “who has put down the mighty from their seat and exalted the humble.”28 Thus the last sentence is revealed to be from the Magnificat, the words of Mary recorded in the Gospel of Luke as she responds to her cousin Elizabeth’s words of wonder at her visit, and one of the most important canticles used in Christian liturgy (particularly Evening Prayer). It is the ultimate liturgical statement of turning things upside down: My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

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As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.29

So I will close with this thought. Tolkien, while clearly “working at the crossroads” of Northern courage and the theology of Augustine, also incorporated his own insights regarding two other questions: how our own actions may profoundly alter the outcome of a time when we are led into temptation greater than we can bear and the potential of earthy, humble individuals to accomplish truly heroic actions in situations where defeat appears inevitable. The artistry with which Tolkien accomplished all this is such that I see him standing at that crossroad as one among equals with the Beowulf-poet and St. Augustine, and one who in his own way and time transformed and continues to transform as many lives. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Robert Murray, 2 December 1953, in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 172. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Deborah Webster, 25 October 1958, in Letters, 288. 3. Jared Lobdell, England and Always: Tolkien’s World of the Rings (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1981), vii. 4. Jason Boffetti, “Tolkien’s Catholic Imagination,” Crisis 19, no. 10 (2001): 34–40, http://www.crisismagazine.com/november2001/feature7.htm. 5. Joseph Pearce, “True Myth: The Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings,” Catholic World Report 11 (2001), http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/ Igpress/2001-12/dossier.html. 6. Joseph Pearce, “Tolkien and the Catholic Literary Revival,” in Tolkien: A Celebration, ed. Joseph Pearce (London: Fount, 1999), 102–23. 7. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 144. 8. J.R.R. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in Letters, 211. 9. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Joanna de Bortadano, April 1956, in Letters, 246. 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Rhona Beare, presumably October 1958, in Letters, 284. 11. J.R.R. Tolkien, to C. Ouboter, 10 April 1958, in Letters, 267. 12. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Herbert Schiro, 17 November 1957, in Letters, 262. 13. The overview of Augustine’s life that I provide draws largely from his entry in David Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 5th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

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14. My presentation of Augustine’s thought in the areas of a theology of the church/sacraments and a theology of human nature/grace draws much from material found in chap. 12 and 15 of Alister E. McGrath’s Christian Theology: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997). 15. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Michael Tolkien, 1 November 1963, in Letters, 337–39. 16. The quotation from Pelagius is found in McGrath, Christian Theology, 428. 17. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 30 April 1944, in Letters, 76. 18. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 14 May 1944, in Letters, 80. 19. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Peter Hastings, September 1954, in Letters, 195. 20. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics,” in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984) 17–18. 21. Ibid., 20. 22. Ibid., 23. 23. The words of Beorhtwold, as incorporated by Tolkien into his play “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son”, are the following:

Heart shall be bolder, harder be purpose, more proud the spirit as our power lessens! Mind shall not falter nor mood waver, though doom should come and dark conquer.

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son,” in The Tolkien Reader (New York: Ballantine Books, 1966, 60th printing), 19. 24. Ibid., 21–27. 25. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Miss J. Burn, 26 July 1956, in Letters, 251–52. 26. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Amy Ronald, 27 July 1956, in Letters, 253. 27. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in Letters, 215. 28. Tolkien, Letters, 446, note 6 for letter 163. 29. Luke 1:46–55, King James Version.

“Elvish as She Is Spoke” Carl F. Hostetter

I

n July 1954, as he put it to a friend, J.R.R. Tolkien “exposed [his] heart” to the world.1 What Tolkien meant here by his “heart” was of course The Lord of the Rings, the first part of which was published that month, now fifty years ago. For with the publication of The Lord of the Rings Tolkien first gave full public expression to what had until that point been an essentially private, invented world, invested with a private, invented history and mythology that were formed by Tolkien’s profoundest and most intimate thoughts on nothing less than fallen Man’s relationship not only with the world as it is, but with the world as it might have been, with his Creator, and with his own unfallen self. But if the publication of The Lord of the Rings laid bare this storyteller’s heart to the world, it can and should also be noted that the story itself, by Tolkien’s own account, carried within itself a deeper heart still: that of the language maker, expressed most fully in Tolkien’s two chief invented Elvish languages, Quenya and Sindarin, exemplars of which are found throughout The Lord of the Rings. As Tolkien wrote in response to an early review of the novel: The invention of languages is the foundation. The “stories” were made rather to provide a world for the languages than the reverse. To me a name comes first and the story follows. I should have preferred to write in “Elvish”. But, of course, such a work as The Lord of the Rings has been edited and only as much “language” has been left in as I thought would be stomached by readers. (I now find that many would have liked more.) But there is a great deal of linguistic matter (other than actually “elvish” names and words) included or mythologically expressed in the book. It is to me, anyway, largely an essay in “linguistic aesthetic”, as I sometimes say to people who ask me “what is it all about?”2

And again, a few years later in a letter to his son Christopher: “Nobody believes me when I say that my long book is an attempt to create a

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world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real. But it is true. An enquirer (among many) asked what the L.R. was all about, and whether it was an ‘allegory’. And I said it was an effort to create a situation in which a common greeting would be elen síla lúmenn’ omentielmo, and that the ph[r]ase long antedated the book.”3 This may seem hyperbolic; and to a certain extent it is.4 But it is certainly true that Tolkien’s linguistic invention long predated his mythological narratives, and that indeed the narrative and novelistic forms of his sub-creation grew out of, draw upon, and are infused with historical, legendary, and mythological matters that were first given expression in the preceding course of Tolkien’s language-making.5 The most pervasive element from Tolkien’s invented languages to be found in The Lord of the Rings lies in the nomenclature, both personal and geographical, in particular of the characters, peoples, and lands encountered outside the Shire, and more particularly still of the Elvish characters and places, and of those most closely aligned with them, such as the land and people of Gondor. It is no mere chance that a large percentage of the elements and words entered by Tolkien in the various lexicons he made over the years were employed, and indeed often transparently were invented in order to be employed, in the formation of proper names in the narrative. Neither is it a mere chance that this proportion of nomenclatural elements in Tolkien’s lexicons increased during the writing of The Lord of the Rings. A second and far smaller class of exemplar is found in the few instances—all too few, the Tolkienian linguist will lament!—of actual speech in Quenya and Sindarin, occurring almost entirely in the form of laments, hymns, poetry, spells, oath-taking, and cries made de profundis, and mostly therefore of a poetic or otherwise markedly formal nature.6 Significantly, there is nothing at all of what might remotely constitute “conversational Elvish” to be found in the novel.7 The closest we have to such is the prose letter in Sindarin from Aragorn to Samwise that was given in the (rightly) excised “Epilogue” to The Lord of the Rings, and even this shows a certain marked formality, at least as judged by the string of royal titles that forms its opening, and from the formal character of Tolkien’s accompanying English translation.8 One might reasonably ask: why, given the self-professed centrality of his invented languages to the legendarium, did Tolkien make so little use of them in terms of composition, and even less so of dialogue, within his

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narrative? Many of his characters, after all, would have been speaking in one form of Elvish or another frequently; and Tolkien himself said that he would have preferred to write his book entirely in Elvish. So why, then, are we not given even so much as a few paragraphs of actual Elvish conversation? There are a number of answers to this question, not least the one Tolkien himself gave in the letter quoted above: that his readers could hardly have been expected to stomach long passages in an utterly foreign language, and that as a consequence at least some of the language element had been edited out. But in connection with this explanation it must be noted that, judging from the surviving manuscripts and typescripts, there is no evidence of substantial amounts of Elvish ever having been edited from the book: in fact, we see that more Elvish was put into the book in the course of rewriting than had originally been in it. It may likewise be noted that if Tolkien ever made any attempt at composing Elvish narrative for his novel, it has apparently not survived. But even if this entirely practical concern for reader interest were set aside, I believe that there would have remained an obstacle to extended Elvish narrative composition far more fundamental and no less practical: namely, that Tolkien himself was neither fluent in either of his two chief Elvish languages, nor himself able to compose in them with anything like the facility that would be required to produce substantial amounts of Elvish narrative. That is, at least not in anything less than geologic time, since on most occasions that Tolkien did set about to compose a poem in one of his invented languages, or allowed himself to digress into discussion of Elvish forms and terms encountered in the course of his extended essays or letters on topics in Middle-earth, there resulted a flurry of new invention, reconsideration, and change in the languages; so that essentially every attempt made by their own creator to “use” the Elvish languages ran up against not only the incompleteness of the languages, but also Tolkien’s restless aesthetic.9 Indeed, it seems plain that it was never Tolkien’s purpose either to fix and finalize his invented languages, or to make them“usable” in narrative or in any other prosaic or quotidian application, even by himself; or to describe them in such a way and bring them to sufficient completion that they could be learned and used by others as a living speech. To see this, and to understand the implications it has for any efforts to use the Elvish tongues as a medium of casual written communication, to say nothing of any effort to make them into spoken languages, we must

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first briefly look at what was Tolkien’s own stated purpose in inventing his Elvish languages, and at the form this invention took.

The Purpose of the Languages The clearest statement we have from Tolkien as to his purpose in inventing his Elvish languages is in his famous letter of 1967 to Mr. Rang, where Tolkien writes that “it must be emphasized that this process of invention was/is a private enterprise undertaken to give pleasure to myself by giving expression to my personal linguistic ‘aesthetic’ or taste and its fluctuations.”10 It is important here to note three things about this statement. First, that Tolkien describes his linguistic inventions as occasioned by and intended for the expression of his personal aesthetic and the satisfaction of his private pleasure, and thus without any intent to make Quenya, Sindarin, or any of his languages into spoken, auxiliary, or otherwise “useful” languages, least of all for use by anyone else. Consequently, unlike, say, Esperanto, which was created, formulated, and released to the public with the specific intent of facilitating its use and development by others as an auxiliary language, the Elvish languages exist solely because they satisfy and express Tolkien’s own, personal linguistic aesthetic. To the extent that others found pleasure in the glimpses of that expression provided by the publication of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien was no doubt quite gratified. But this in no way implies that Tolkien meant for others to “develop” his languages, his personal expressions, into a “useful” form, or into any other form than his own. Another comment from the same letter, though made specifically in criticism of attempts by Mr. Rang and others to find supposed primaryworld sources and hidden meanings in Tolkien’s Elvish nomenclature, seems to me fully applicable as well to attempts to “supplement” or “complete” Tolkien’s languages with forms and for purposes that were not Tolkien’s own. Tolkien writes: “These seem to me no more than private amusements, and as such I have no right or power to object to them, though they are, I think, valueless for the elucidation or interpretation of my fiction. If published, I do object to them, when (as they usually do) they appear to be unauthentic embroideries on my work, throwing light only on the state of mind of their contrivers, not on me or on my actual intention and procedure.”11 Similarly, an earlier objection by Tolkien to the misguided efforts of translators of his work to reinterpret

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or otherwise alter his own carefully devised system of nomenclature seems applicable to efforts to recast his languages to other purpose: “I wonder why a translator should think himself called on or entitled to do any such thing. That this is an ‘imaginary’ world does not give him any right to remodel it according to his fancy.”12 Second, it is to be noted that Tolkien describes his linguistic invention—here in 1967, more than a dozen years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, and more than fifty years after he first began the creation of the Elvish languages—as an ongoing process: he says that it both was and still is undertaken for his personal pleasure. This is a key statement because underlying and reflecting it is the consequent reality that Tolkien’s languages were no more fixed at any point either in time or of grammar than was any other element of his legendarium. Indeed if anything they were even more fluid, as not even publication fixed the forms finally. Tolkien both could and did make changes to the published exemplars of his languages in The Lord of the Rings to bring them into accord with changes in the conception of his languages that continued long after The Lord of the Rings was published. Thus, for example, Tolkien changed omentielmo ‘of our meeting’ of the first edition (1954) to omentielvo in the second edition (1965) because, behind the scenes as it were, ‑lve had replaced ‑lme as the first pl. inclusive ending in the ever-changing pronominal system of Quenya, just as ‑lme had itself replaced earlier ‑mme late in the composition of The Lord of the Rings. And third, it is to be noted that Tolkien states that the purpose of his languages was to express not just a set linguistic aesthetic, but also the changes in his aesthetic over time. That is, the ever-changing nature of Tolkien’s linguistic inventions was not only an unavoidable fact, openly acknowledged, but one of the very purposes of the enterprise. Finality and completion of the languages was thus not only never achieved, it was not even a goal. Indeed, to the extent that we can speak accurately of Quenya and Sindarin as single entities at all, it is only as continuities of change over time, not only within their fictional internal histories (continual change being of course also a feature of primary-world languages), but also across Tolkien’s lifetime. All of the writings concerning his invented languages that Tolkien left behind are, then, essentially a chronological sequence of individual snapshots, of greater or lesser scope, of stages in a lifelong process of invention and reinvention in accordance with changes in Tolkien’s linguistic aesthetic, and of which

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the endeavor itself and not its achievement was the purpose. Thus any detail of the languages at any point in Tolkien’s shifting conception of them may have persisted from the beginning to the end of that process, or have had no more extent in that process than the edges of the sheet of paper it was written on (with often enough no way to tell which of these two extremes is true of any given detail). But every detail in turn defined Quenya and Sindarin, at least as these were conceived at the time it was written if no further. Tolkien’s languages were, then, at least as much as his legendarium, a “continuing and evolving creation”; and what’s more, far from being seen by Tolkien as any sort of flaw in or impediment to his linguistic creation, this fact was a desired characteristic, and a necessary consequence of the very purpose of his language creation.

The Form of the Invention Although Tolkien’s languages and their invention are thus characterized by an ever-shifting conception, there is one constant aspect of his linguistic invention that also has profound consequences for any attempt to use Tolkien’s languages in casual, diurnal conversation; and that constant is of the preferred form in which Tolkien chose to express his linguistic invention. The habitual form of Tolkien’s extended efforts in describing his invented languages—or, more accurately, his changing conceptions thereof—was from beginning to end that of the historical grammar. Historical grammars are now, and even in Tolkien’s youth were already, a traditional vehicle of historical linguistics, and as such they had and have a traditional form. In accordance with this form, an historical grammar of a language will usually begin with a brief essay describing the language’s place and time in its family tree of related languages, and then almost invariably begins with a presentation of the historical phonology of the language: that is, a complete and detailed accounting of the system of sound-changes exhibited or deduced to have occurred over time in the language through the course of its descent from an earlier, ancestral form, often from the very earliest of the theoretical ancestral forms that can be deduced by comparative reconstruction. Thus, for example, an historical grammar of English will often begin with an account of the phonetic system of the theoretical Proto-IndoEuropean language that is its ultimate common ancestor with Welsh, Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, among others; followed by a discussion of

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the systematic sound-changes from this original system that resulted in the theoretical Proto-Germanic language that was the common ancestor of all the Germanic languages, including English, German, Gothic, and Old Norse, among others; followed by a discussion of the subsequent sound-changes that produced Old English, and so on through Middle English down to Modern English. Next comes morphology, discussing how words were formed historically from constituent morphemes or units of meaning, and detailing the formal classes used to express case, number, tense, and other grammatical categories and functions. Frequent reference is made in the morphology to the preceding sections and features of the historical phonology, to explain the changes that occur within words and at the boundaries of elements that come into contact, all in order to explain the historical origins of the attested forms. Usually nouns are discussed first, then adjectives, numerals, pronouns, etc. Significantly, as we shall see shortly, verbs usually are discussed at or near the end of the morphology. Finally, there may or may not be a section on syntax, which even if present is usually nothing more than a brief discussion of sentence types. Tolkien’s own extended attempts at describing—and thus inventing—his languages closely followed this traditional form, which is of course only natural since Tolkien’s own career both as a philologist and as a language-maker was inspired and profoundly shaped by such classics of the form as Wright’s Gothic Primer and Morris-Jones’s historical Welsh Grammar, and since Tolkien’s intellectual and aesthetic interest in his own languages and in those of the primary world clearly lay not just in their “surface” forms, in the characteristics of the languages as they existed at any one particular time, but rather in the entire history of their development, from their remotest ancestral forms through all their prehistoric and intermediate developments. Thus, if you aren’t a big fan of the historical grammars of primary-world languages, if you don’t love Lautverschiebung, if Grimm’s Law is nothing but a grim bore to you, if you think it is pointless to study dead languages because no one can speak them, then you will not likely find much of interest in the vast bulk of Tolkien’s writings concerning his invented languages. On the other hand, if you, like Tolkien, find language, in and of itself, purely in its own right and without regard for any consideration of utility, to be a source of aesthetic pleasure, and if you, like Tolkien, derive great intellectual satisfaction from the consideration of the whole life

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of a language, in the study and discovery of the features of a language both at one time and across time, and of its relationship to its relatives both near and far; of the complex, intertwined, and yet systematic changes in languages over time; in other words, if you, like Tolkien, are of a philological bent; then you will find rich reward in even his most abstract and minute discussions of phonology and morphology, and abundant opportunity to indulge it. Tolkien typically began work on a new version of language description—and thus of invention—with obvious enthusiasm, the practical upshot of which is that very often the clearest, fullest, and most complete—not to mention the most calligraphic—part of his historical grammars is the opening historical sketch and the phonology. This initial enthusiasm probably reflected what seems to have been Tolkien’s particular delight in selecting the sounds and patterns of development that so strongly characterize languages (even for those who know nothing of phonetics or phonology). But Tolkien being Tolkien, the historical grammars he began were often left unfinished, and usually well before their end had been reached—and thus, much to the chagrin of Tolkienian linguists, often before the verb morphology is reached, to say nothing of syntax.13 But even the fullest, most sustained, and most nearly complete historical grammars that Tolkien produced14 inevitably succumbed at last to reconsideration and alteration —not to mention multiple layers of annotations, strikethroughs, and revisions—so extensive as to require a completely new start at describing what had then become a new and different language. What Tolkien left behind then is a sequence of more-or-less complete and more-or-less variant and even conflicting versions of historical grammars, almost always heavily weighted toward the phonology, describing versions of his invented languages as they were conceived at various points in his lifetime; together with a smaller number of more-or-less variant and even conflicting versions of lexicons containing what are by the standards of living languages and even of many dead languages quite small and selective vocabularies, heavily weighted towards mythological, historical, poetic, and nomenclatural forms; together with a very few short texts, again spanning different conceptual stages of the languages, and almost none of which is prose. Even assuming that the sometimes profound differences among the versions of the languages could somehow be smoothed out into a cohesive and consistent system, we are thus left at best with what amounts to traditional historical grammars of

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two poorly attested, dead languages. This is a situation much closer to what we have with, say, Gothic, than to Latin, which must surely rank among the least dead of its departed brethren; and indeed not even as favorable as Gothic, since as relatively poorly attested as Gothic is compared to Latin or even to Old English, there is far more surviving Gothic composition than there is in all of Tolkien’s invented languages combined. And even this portrait gives at first glance a rosier depiction of the situation than it actually is. For unlike the great historical grammars of ancient Latin, ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Old English, and other dead languages having a more-or-less substantial surviving literature, Tolkien’s grammatical writings constitute almost all the evidence there is or ever was concerning the nature and usage of his languages. It would be, even in this thoroughly optimistic scenario, as though Latin were preserved for us only by one individual who had produced a mostly complete historical grammar of Latin, and a small, selective dictionary of mostly mythological, historical, and poetic terms, and elements found in nomenclature, just before all but a few, mostly poetic scraps of all the authentic Latin literature that had ever been written, and upon which the putative grammar was based, were lost in a fire. I doubt very much that, had something like this happened, Latin would be at all usable as a medium of casual communication, as it is today. A direct consequence of Tolkien’s own purposes and of the form that his linguistic invention took is thus that the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of Tolkien’s invented languages, even of Quenya and Sindarin, are far too incomplete to allow their casual, conversational, or quotidian use. Tolkien himself stated as much in a letter from 1967—that is, more than fifty years after he began inventing the Elvish languages: “It should be obvious that if it is possible to compose fragments of verse in Quenya and Sindarin, those languages (and their relations one to another) must have reached a fairly high degree of organization—though of course, far from completeness, either in vocabulary, or in idiom.”15 What Tolkien most emphatically did not leave behind then is a sort of Berlitz Guide to Elvish, historical grammars being completely different in purpose and form to the sorts of instructional language textbooks that high-school and college students of foreign languages will be familiar with. Having read an historical grammar of a language, even in the all-too-rare case of one having more than just a cursory discussion of syntax, one could indeed interpret genuine texts in that language,

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but by no means would one be able to compose in that language with fluidity, and certainly not speak it. The inescapable fact is that no one can learn to speak a language without a fluent speaker or otherwise full and comprehensive model against which to gauge correctness not only of grammar but of idiom; that is, an already fluent speaker or speech community, or a comprehensive grammar, a full, general lexicon, and recourse to extensive representative texts to serve as idiomatic models.16 Since Tolkien never fixed his languages firmly or described them completely enough to provide any such comprehensive and corrective model for others, let alone for himself (that never being his goal), and since thus even Tolkien himself was never able to speak Quenya or Sindarin fluently or casually (that too never being his goal), it is consequently a further inescapable fact that no one has or ever will be able to speak Quenya and Sindarin, at least not Quenya and Sindarin as Tolkien devised them, any more than anyone will ever (again) be able to speak, say, Etruscan or Hittite or any other dead and fragmentarily-attested language. This then is the actual nature of Tolkien’s languages as he made them.

The Post-Tolkien Usage of the Invention—“Neo-Elvish” One might think that this would be the end of any notion of actually using Elvish as spoken languages. (Silly one!) But despite these facts, there has nonetheless arisen a considerable interest, particularly among denizens of certain Internet forums, in learning to “speak Elvish” (or, at any rate, to translate names and sentiments“into Elvish” for engraving on wedding rings or, most often, on one’s body in the form of a tattoo, or to write poetry).17 This effort has been led in recent years on the Internet by two main proponents: Helge Fauskanger of Norway, who promulgates a selective, homogenized version of Quenya on his Ardalambion site and in various Internet discussion forums; and David Salo, who promulgates a conflative and similarly homogenized version of Sindarin through the Ardalambion site, in the Peter Jackson movies, and in his book, A Gateway to Sindarin. Efforts such as these are aimed firmly at making Tolkien’s languages, or more properly newly-minted versions of these languages, into “usable” and “standard” forms (their own terminology), which to distinguish them from Tolkien’s own are sometimes referred to as “Neo-Quenya” and “Neo-Sindarin,” or as a family, “Neo-Elvish.” I’d like now to briefly discuss the character of this “Neo-Elvish” and

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take a look at some examples, including some translations by the two aforementioned proponents and authorities of the form, to give some indication of their nature.

Conflation and Circularity First and foremost, due to its homogenizing and standardizing tendencies, “Neo-Elvish” is characterized by conflation of materials and evidence from often widely separated conceptual phases, and by consequent circularity in reasoning about this evidence. What is referred to by some as “mature” Quenya and “mature” Sindarin “of the Lord of the Rings era” are in fact artificially selected and dubiously homogenized sets of data spanning decades of “fluctuations” in Tolkien’s aesthetic conception, which are nonetheless assumed and then asserted to be essentially uniform in nature and conception. But in fact, most of what is claimed to be true of “mature Quenya” and “mature Sindarin” is actually silently asserted on the basis of evidence for the Qenya and Noldorin of the Etymologies, which Tolkien began some years before he started writing The Lord of the Rings and which he all but abandoned some years before its completion, and before the fundamental conceptual change by which Noldorin was replaced with Sindarin, a language having a radically different history and by the nature of Tolkien’s own process of invention a necessarily different grammar in detail than Noldorin. The “reasoning” underlying this representation of “mature Quenya” and “mature Sindarin” is thus essentially circular: Qenya and Noldorin of the Etymologies are more or less the same as Quenya and Sindarin of The Lord of the Rings, it is claimed, because they largely conform to the claims made about the phonology and grammar of “mature Quenya” and “mature Sindarin”; and the claims about the phonology and grammar of “mature Quenya” and “mature Sindarin” can be based largely and silently on the data from Etymologies, because they are more or less the same.

Simplification through Artificial Regularity “Neo-Elvish” inevitably relies on the assumption of an essential and artificial regularity in Tolkien’s languages to generate new vocabulary and new inflected forms. That is, for any given grammatical situation, it is generally assumed and asserted that there is one correct formation expressing the desired function. But such deterministic, one-to-one

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correspondence between form and function is notoriously not a characteristic of actual, historical languages, such as Tolkien wished his languages to appear to be remnants of. Thus such regularity was quite deliberately not desired by Tolkien for his languages, and is indeed not to be found in them. English speakers (native and non-native alike) will perhaps be most familiar with the concept of grammatical regularity in the case of the past-tense form of verbs. While the largest number of verbs in English regularly form the past tense by the addition of -(e)d (e.g., assume, assumed; assert, asserted; form, formed; etc.), a small number of verbs instead form their past tenses in different ways (e.g., think, thought; see, saw; drink, drank; eat, ate; etc.). Because the former class is much larger than the latter, and because newly-coined verbs now (almost) always follow their pattern, it is usually referred to as the regular past tense, while the latter class is by contrast irregular. But it is to be noted that the latter, “irregular” class contains most of the oldest and commonest verbs in English, so that they cannot be regarded as merely quaint relics that can be ignored. They are in fact among the most characteristic verbs in English, and the failure to form their past tense properly is an instant indicator that the speaker or writer is not a native speaker of English. Tolkien’s languages, being intended to appear as though they were actual languages with a long history of development, naturally share this feature. Thus, for example, both Quenya and Sindarin have two main classes of past-tense verb formation: one employing internal modifications of the root (called the strong past) and the other instead adding a suffix to the root (the weak past). Further subclasses of each of these main classes are attested, across all the stages of Tolkien’s (external) development of his languages. Thus the Noldorin verb has four chief attested past-tense formation classes (two strong and two weak formations), as does Sindarin.18 It is true, however, that numerically one formation dominates the others in the (quite small) corpus of attested past-tense forms of Noldorin and Sindarin (combined):19 sc., the weak past tense characterized by the addition of the suffix -(a)nt to the verb-stem (comparable to the addition of -(e)d in English). And despite the fact that it is arguable whether a majority of such a very small sample is statistically significant enough to support such a conclusion, it is widely assumed among teachers of “Neo-Sindarin” (and thus their students) that this is “the regular” past

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tense; and further because it avoids having to wrestle with phonological details, this weak past tense in -(a)nt is virtually the only past-tense formation one will ever encounter in “Neo-Sindarin.” No doubt the effect of “Neo-Sindarin” would in this regard be as strange to Tolkien’s ear as it would be to ours if we met someone who thought that every English verb formed its past tense with -(e)d: he knowed and speaked a curious tongue and thinked it English. A good demonstration of this particular falsely-assumed regularity found its way into the recent film treatment of The Lord of the Rings, courtesy of David Salo, perhaps the chief architect of “Neo-Sindarin” and responsible for the “Neo-Sindarin” translations that pepper the movies. Here we encounter the “Neo-Sindarin” form istant, intended to mean ‘knew’ as the past-tense form corresponding to the attested Noldorin intransitive verb ista‑ ‘to have knowledge.’20 But in fact, there are two attested past-tense forms of ista-, neither of which employs -(a)nt: these are the strong form sint, and the weak form istas. (The ending -(a)s appears to be the characteristic weak past-tense ending of intransitive verbs.) So the “regularized” “Neo-Sindarin” form istant is roughly comparable to a similarly regularized form knowed for English knew. And this considers just the case of Sindarin past-tense verbs. Similarly imposed regularity characterizes both “Neo-Sindarin” and “NeoQuenya” further in the matters of plural formation (both Sindarin and Quenya, like English, have more than one means of forming plurals; Quenya for example has both a general plural in -i or -r, and a particular plural in -li; yet one would never know this from “Neo-Quenya” usage), case endings (consider the example of “the” locative case in “Neo-Quenya,” illustrated above), derivational endings, etc. Thus, as artificial as these relentlessly regularized forms of Quenya and Sindarin seem to the eyes and ears of those who have studied the languages as Tolkien actually described them, it must be that they would have seemed far more artificial to Tolkien himself.

Reconstruction The phenomenon of linguistic reconstruction relies, like the whole science of historical and comparative linguistics, on the observable fact that any two languages that are historically related to one another (e.g., Spanish and Italian, or English and German) are related in abstract, systematic, and thus often predictable ways. In particular, languages

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undergo systematic sound-changes, resulting in a continuous and systematic change in the sounds of a language over time. The precise changes that occur vary from language to language, but the fact of such change is characteristic of the history of every spoken language. And because these changes are systematic and historically sequenced, they can be determined by comparison with earlier attested forms of the language and in most (though not all) cases be essentially “rewound” to reveal the earlier form that the ancestor of a given word would have had at an earlier stage, before the various sound-changes that generated it were applied. Further, by comparing two related languages and “rewinding” their respective systems of sound-change, one can as it were “recover” (though strictly speaking only in a theoretical sense) forms that must once have been found in the shared parent language common to each. This technique can even be applied to “discover” what the form of some word unattested in one language might have taken, based on an attested form it takes in a different but related language. But the technique of reconstruction is not without its hazards. For one thing, the fact that a given form has reflexes in some related languages does not mean that the form retained the same meaning (or even survived at all) in all related languages (hence thing in Modern English is quite different in meaning from its Old Norse cognate þing ‘public assembly’ and its reconstructed common ancestor *þengan ‘appointed time’). Moreover, it is not always possible to determine with certainty what the cognate form would be, since a given sound may have more than one possible source sound in the parent language; so that for a given word in language A, there may be more than one possible reconstructed form in the parent language and further more than one possible development from that set of forms in a cognate language B. Unfortunately, an excellent example of these hazards occurs in one of the most widely used products of “Neo-Sindarin,” the proponents and students of which have adopted the phrase hannon le as meaning ‘thank you.’21 The verb here, hannon, is intended to mean ‘I thank,’ formed from a stem *hanna‑ ‘thank.’ This stem was reconstructed for “Neo-Sindarin” by analogy with an attested Quenya (Q.) form, Eruhantalë ‘Thanksgiving to Eru,’22 from which a proposed verb-stem *hanta‑ ‘thank’ was derived. To arrive at “Neo-Sindarin” *hanna‑ ‘thank,’ it was assumed that Q. *hanta‑ ‘thank’ derived from a Common Eldarin (CE) *khantā‑ ‘thank,’ which if it existed would indeed yield Q. *hanta‑ and S. *hanna‑ by regular phonological development.

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The problem here is that CE *khantā‑ is not the only possible source of Q. *hanta‑; the latter could also quite regularly and therefore just as likely have developed from CE *ȝantā‑, *hantā‑, or *skantā‑, which would have yielded Sindarin (S.) *anna‑, *anna‑, and *hanna‑, respectively. Moreover, it is further unlikely that the source was CE *khantā‑, since its underlying base, KHAN‑, was used by Tolkien in the Etymologies to mean ‘understand, comprehend,’ an unlikely basis for a verb meaning ‘thank.’ Similarly, CE *ȝantā‑ < ȜAN- ‘male’ is quite unlikely. This leaves us with only *hantā‑ or *skantā‑ as really plausible sources for Q. *hanta‑ ‘thank.’ It was John Garth who first noted that the Quenya word han *‘beyond,’ and its apparent source, the CE root √han- ‘add to, increase, enhance, honour (espec. by gift),’ published in connection with Tolkien’s Quenya translations of the Lord’s Prayer, likely provided the actual source of Q. *hanta‑ ‘thank,’ in the sense ‘to increase, magnify, honor, glorify’ < CE *hantā‑.23 Shortly after this, Bertrand Bellet noted the implication of this newly attested root and derivation for “Neo-Sindarin” *hanna‑ ‘thank,’ pointing out that since CE *h‑ disappears in Sindarin, CE *hantā‑ would yield S. *anna‑, not *hanna‑.24 But anna‑ already exists as a Sindarin verb, for ‘give.’ And so the “Neo-Sindarin” reconstruction *hanna‑ ‘thank’ and its signature phrase hannon le ‘I thank you’ disappear in a puff of phonology.25

Dictionary Translation Most students and all teachers of a foreign language, living or dead, will be familiar with this process. It involves translating a text into or from a foreign language by looking up (typically uninflected) forms in a bilingual dictionary, and then using the gloss found there as the translated meaning. Any teacher of a foreign language will be able to vouch for the poor and unidiomatic if not outright ungrammatical results that this method often produces. Such translations are characterized by a purely mechanical, word-for-word substitution of the words of one language for those of another, and thus constitute little more than a coded message, a simple substitution cipher.26 A good example of dictionary-translation in“Neo-Elvish” is the case of the Quenya word óre, which is glossed in The Lord of the Rings as ‘heart (inner mind).’27 And so in “Neo-Quenya” we find óre used to translate ‘heart’ in every sense of the English word. That is, it is assumed by “Neo-

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Quenya” dictionary-translators that because óre is glossed as ‘heart,’ that it is exactly equivalent to English “heart” in all its varied senses: as the physical organ, as the seat of emotion, to indicate sympathetic or enthusiastic feelings, etc. But as any experienced translator knows, it is not at all usual for the range of meanings of a word in one language to exactly match that of a word in another language. Sometimes this semantic range will overlap only narrowly, and even when the overlap is broad it is often not identical. In fact, it turns out that the semantic overlap of Q. óre with “heart” is quite narrow indeed, as Tolkien tells us in a set of notes dating from c. 1968, where he states that “heart” as a gloss of óre “is not suitable, except in brevity, since óre does not correspond in sense to any of the English confused uses of ‘heart’: memory, reflection; courage, good spirits; emotion, feelings, tender, kind or generous impulses (uncontrolled by, or opposed to the judgments of reason).”28 Tolkien goes on to explain that the óre is instead an inner faculty of Incarnates that advises or warns them as to proper courses of action—that is, something rather more akin to “conscience” than to “heart” in most senses of the English word; and exemplified by such phrases as “my heart tells me.” Nonetheless, despite this careful distinction that Tolkien incorporated into his Quenya, in “Neo-Quenya” we still routinely find óre used as an exact semantic equivalent of English“heart.”To get a sense of how strange this indiscriminate application of the word would sound to Tolkien’s ears, simply consider how it would be to do the reverse in English, and use “conscience” everywhere we would normally use “heart”: e.g., “he is a good-conscienced fellow,” “she showed a lot of conscience,” “he broke her conscience,” “my conscience is beating fast.”

Analogy with English This phenomenon occurs when it is assumed that some grammatical or syntactic feature of one’s native language (most often English) obtains in “Neo-Elvish,” and a construction is modeled on it and employed even though not actually attested in Tolkien’s own writings. A good example of this phenomenon is the common “Neo-Sindarin” salutation *suilaid, translating English ‘greetings.’ This form is transparently intended to be an i-affection plural form of the attested gerund/verbal noun suilad ‘greeting,’ which occurs in the various forms of Aragorn’s

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letter to Samwise that Tolkien included in the excised epilogue to The Lord of the Rings.29 But underlying this formation is the implicit assumption that Sindarin gerunds have plural forms. Certainly, this is (often) true of English gerunds, as such pairs as “greeting”, pl. “greetings”; “viewing”, pl. “viewings”; “writing”, pl. “writings”; etc. show. But this feature of English is by no means universal among languages that have formal gerunds: for example, German, English’s close linguistic cousin, has no plural form of gerunds; neither does Latin. There is thus a priori no reason to assume that Sindarin has plural gerunds, and the fact that there is not a single attested plural Sindarin (or even Noldorin) gerund in all of Tolkien’s published writings likewise hardly supports the assumption.30 Thus “Neo-Sindarin” *suilaid, like the assumption it is based upon, is derived purely from analogy with English.

Kennings and Paraphrase Kennings are basically short, often metaphorical, descriptive phrases that have been melded into one compound word. While they are a not-uncommon feature in poetry, especially in Western and Northern Germanic poetry (where their allusive and circumlocutionary nature can be employed for poetic effect), they are not nearly so common in prose, nor are they noticeably common even in Tolkien’s Elvish poetry. But because they provide a means of creating a paraphrase translation of words not found in Tolkien’s lexicons, they are quite noticeably common in “Neo-Elvish” compositions, and provide a sure way to distinguish the two. A few examples will suffice. Helge Fauskanger, chief promulgator and expositor of “Neo-Quenya,” offers a number of notable examples in his translations of the first two chapters of Genesis.31 Confronted with‘onyx,’ Fauskanger employs *ahya­ mírë, combining two attested elements, the verb-stem ahya‑ ‘change’ and the noun mírë ‘jewel,’ which he explains as “refer[ring] to the ‘changing’ or alternating layers of colour found in an onyx.” Similarly, needing a word for ‘rib,’ Fauskanger offers *hónaxo, combining two attested nouns meaning‘(physical) heart’ and‘bone,’ respectively,“since,” he notes,“the ribs cover the heart.” (One wonders what will be done should a translation for ‘sternum’ ever be needed?) Nor are the kennings and paraphrases Fauskanger offers always even this specific: needing a word for ‘insect,’

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Fauskanger proposes *celvalle, which he formed as a “diminutive of [attested] celva ‘animal.’” (Certainly not all “small animals” are insects!) The ad hoc nature of these coinages is glaring, and it is doubtful because of this nature that they will enjoy any currency even in “NeoQuenya” beyond the text they arose in. But even if they should, such vague kennings and paraphrases as this are immediately noticeable as clumsy and alien when compared with Tolkien’s own compositions and derivational techniques, and as such impart a clumsy and alien feel to any “Neo-Elvish” text they are found in (meaning, unfortunately, pretty much the majority of any non-trivial“Neo-Elvish” composition). To pick just the most recent example that will illustrate this alienness, consider this portion of an attempted “Neo-Sindarin” translation of Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” setting the original against (first) the “Neo-Sindarin” rendering and (second) the translator’s literal gloss of the “Neo-Sindarin”:32

Turning and turning in the widening gyre, Hwiniol a hwiniol min ringorn ú-’leinannen, Spinning and spinning in the circle not-having-been-bounded The falcon cannot hear the falconer; i-aew-farad û-’ar lathrado nan *aewben; the hunting-bird cannot listen to the bird-man; Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold; nadath *godhannar, i-enedh û-’âr dartho; things collapse, the centre cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world; únad dan úmarth erin amar leithar aen; nothing but evil fate upon the world is released; The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere i-aear iâr-’wathren leithar aen, ah min *ilhaid the sea blood-shadowy is released, and in all places The ceremony of innocence is drowned. i-chaew e-gur buig danna ’n-uir di-nên. The habit of the pure heart falls forever beneath water.

We need not here consider the grammatical postulates underlying the “Neo-Sindarin” composition itself; instead, we need only to look at the author’s own English gloss to ask: Does this paraphrase-laden translation really convey anything of the meaning (to say nothing of the poetry) of the original? Knowing in advance that the “Neo-Sindarin”

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is offered as a rendition of “The Second Coming,” and clinging fiercely to the qualifier “anything,” one might in great charity answer “yes”; but even such charity cannot ignore the fact that the meaning is conveyed by the “Neo-Sindarin” in so imprecise, circumlocutionary, and hackneyed a form (as un-Elvish as the gloss is un-English) that, unless one knew that the result was intended to be Yeats’s poem, one would never arrive at anything like the sense (to say nothing of the poetry) of the original by translating the “Neo-Sindarin” back into English.

“Elvish as She Is Spoke” What, then, is the sum character of the “Neo-Elvish” languages, and how do they relate to Tolkien’s own private aesthetic and conception of his languages? Other than in cases of more or less demonstrable error like those outlined above, we can know this only generally and in terms of likelihood, since of course certain and detailed knowledge of this relationship could only be had from comparison with the very things we lack: sc., a much more extensive lexicon and a substantial set of representative texts in the Elvish languages by Tolkien himself; that is, the full and comprehensive corrective grammatical and idiomatic model needed to learn to speak any foreign language accurately and with facility. But I think that we can nonetheless get a pretty good indication of the answer to this question. Suppose that there is some would-be instructor of English that has a knowledge of English vocabulary and morphology roughly comparable to what we have for the Elvish languages, and a similarly small recourse to examples of actual English speech and composition, but who is nonetheless determined to produce a guidebook to spoken English for those with even less knowledge that want to learn to speak English. What might be the character of the English promulgated by such an instructor? As it turns out, we don’t have merely to imagine such a situation. In 1855 there first appeared, in Paris, a book bilingually titled: Novo Guia da Conversaçao, em Portuguez e Inglez, em Duas Partes ’ The New Guide of the Conversation, in Portuguese and English, in Two Parts, attributed to José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino.33 As its title indicates, it purports to provide a bilingual guide to conversational English. But as the title also (unwittingly) indicates, the book’s authors were hampered in their stated goal by one inconvenient fact: that they themselves did not

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speak English. As with our would-be speakers and instructors of Elvish, they had knowledge of some but not all aspects of English grammar, and they had access to a not-inconsequential English dictionary; but they had no apparent knowledge of English syntax or idiom, apparently no familiarity with substantial English texts, and relied heavily on word-for-word dictionary translation of phrases and anecdotes in their own tongue. The language that they espoused is thus exactly what one would expect: clearly inspired by actual English, often intelligible to an English speaker, but highly artificial and ungrammatical, and occasionally impenetrably so. Thus between the covers of this little gem of unintentional linguistic hilarity lies what can only in great charity be considered English, and then only an idiolect having no home save its own pages. Some examples include: “What time from the month you are to-day?”; “Apply you at the study during that you are young”; “Let us go to respire the air”; “I have not sleeped; i have had the fever during all night”; “What is composed the medicine what i have to take?”; and “Have you understand that y have said?” And these are among the better translations in the book, in that, just as with many of the “Neo-Elvish” examples cited above, one can in fact understand what is intended by them; though also as with “Neo-Elvish” many others only hover on the border of intelligibility, such as: “These are the dishes whose you must be and to abstain,” and “Is so that you act for to me?” The New Guide found its way to the United States in the 1860s, where Mark Twain delighted in what he called its “miraculous stupidities,” and where it was given the eminently suitable title that it has since been known by, English as She Is Spoke. Despite the self-belying assurance in its preface that the authors of English as She Is Spoke “did put, with a scrupulous exactness, a great variety own expressions to english and portuguese idioms; without to attach us selves (as make some others) almost a literal translation; translation what only will be for to accustom the portuguese pupils, or-foreign, to speak very bad any of the mentioned idioms [all sic],” it is evident from even a cursory comparison of the faux “English” phrases with their Portuguese originals that the process that produced them depended on “literal translation,” taking the form of word-for-word dictionary translation of the original Portuguese, filtered through an incomplete knowledge of English morphology, with a heavy reliance upon French and Portuguese syntax and idiom, and with little apparent knowledge of actual English syntax, usage, and idiom. In other words,

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English as She Is Spoke was the inevitable product of an application of much the same level of knowledge that we now have of Elvish syntax, usage, and idiom—which is to say, essentially none, when compared to what is available to students of any living language and even of many dead languages—and if anything with far greater recourse to authentic vocabulary than we have or ever will have for the Elvish languages. Thus not only do the sorts of avoidable errors outlined above abound in“NeoElvish,” even among the translations made by its chief proponents and practitioners, but it seems all but certain that much if not most even of the“Neo-Elvish” composition that manages to avoid these more obvious sorts of errors would strike Tolkien as little if at all better than a sort of “Elvish as She Is Spoke.”

Conclusion—A Modest Proposal So where does this leave us? Does this mean that it is futile or meaningless to attempt to compose Elvish sentences? Well, no. The mere fact that we can diagnose more or less demonstrable errors in “Neo-Elvish,” and further have the example and caution of such works as English as She Is Spoke (not to mention never-ending supplies of foreign-language homework) to help warn those who will heed, gives some hope of improvement of “Elvish as She Is Spoke.” With long, thorough study and careful consideration of the information and exemplars that Tolkien did provide, it is indeed possible to produce written Elvish that so far as anyone now can tell conforms grammatically and idiomatically to the exemplars and statements that Tolkien provided to a very high degree (for example, by relying only upon attested elements and derivational mechanisms, attested grammatical devices, and attested syntactic patterns that can reasonably be thought to belong to the same conceptual phase)—though I very much doubt that anyone will ever be able to do so quickly enough to use Elvish as a spoken language, for any but the most trivial sorts of declarative sentences. But I am proposing that “Neo-Elvish,” at least as practiced and discernible from the writings and usages of its chief proponents and practitioners in various Internet forums and in Peter Jackson’s movies, has taken the dubious form it exhibits today largely because it has got the process backwards. What we see almost without exception is attempted translation of sentences or passages composed in one’s native tongue (most often English) into one or the other of the two

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main Elvish languages. I make the modest proposal that the best way to develop real linguistic knowledge of the Elvish languages as Tolkien thought about and described them, and thus to have the best chance of producing Elvish sentences that most fully and faithfully reflect the character of the Elvish languages so far as that can be discerned, is this: Rather than translating from English into Elvish, thereby bending and distorting the Elvish to serve the needs of the English—all too often, alas, beyond recognition—turn this process around. Engage first in deep and thoughtful study of all that Tolkien himself wrote, of the modes of expression that he employed in his Elvish compositions, and of the subjects of expression that interested him, as exemplified by the contents of the lexicons he created. Such consideration can hardly fail to suggest and inspire expression in the linguistically- and/or poetically-minded student of the languages, and will provide thereby both the inspiration and the means to make new expression in the languages as they actually are, rather than as we might otherwise wish them to be, or mistakenly think they are because of the assumptions we import from our own language. Such an approach would, I feel, not only result in generally better Elvish, but would also be more in keeping with Tolkien’s own conviction that the word comes first and the story follows; that is, unlike “Elvish as She Is Spoke,” which puts the words utterly at the mercy of an English original, Tolkien’s languages, and not the speaker’s own, then become the source and the inspiration of new expression in the languages. The results would certainly still not be perfect, but they would be far truer to Tolkien’s own heart of hearts. I would like to thank Patrick H. Wynne for his encouragement and many helpful comments and suggestions while writing this essay. 1. As Tolkien continued: “to be shot at.” J.R.R. Tolkien, to Robert Murray, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 172. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, to the Houghton Mifflin Company, 30 June 1955, in Letters, 219–20. 3. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher Tolkien, 21 February 1958, in Letters, 264–65.

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4. For instance, I have seen no evidence even among Tolkien’s unpublished linguistic papers that the phrase elen síla lúmenn’ omentielmo existed in any form before Tolkien began work on the book, nor even until he was well past beginning; though certainly all the elements of the phrase had long been in existence, with the exception of what was in 1954 the first-person plural inclusive genitive ending ‑lmo ‘of our,’ the precise form of which was a development rather late in the writing of The Lord of the Rings. 5. For an excellent presentation of this matter, see John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (London: HarperCollins, 2003), 125–27, in which he details the nascent elements of Tolkien’s mythology that are intertwined with the earliest Qenya Lexicon, written some two years before Tolkien first set down any narrative tales. 6. I’ll note here that an exceedingly common greeting among online enthusiasts of Tolkien’s invented languages is Quenya aiya, which is translated by Tolkien as “hail!” or “behold!” and thus seems to be a rather more formal greeting that our “hello”; but it has nonetheless been adopted, pretty much by default, as the standard greeting in “Neo-Quenya.” Among “Neo-Sindarin” enthusiasts we also find the somewhat less popular greeting mae govannen“well met!” Thus surely no group this side of the Society for Creative Anachronism ever greets each other with “hail!” and “well met!” quite nearly so often as do practitioners of “Neo-Elvish.” 7. A fact that is in stark and telling contrast with the use of (what purports to be) Elvish in the recent films by Peter Jackson, which almost entirely eschew Tolkien’s own Elvish exemplars in favor of long stretches of mostly banal dialogue and exposition. 8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Sauron Defeated, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 9 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 128–29. 9. Consider for example Tolkien’s labors over translating what would seem to be an extremely simple predicate phrase,“in heaven,” from the opening of the Lord’s Prayer for his Quenya Paternoster (which is extant in a series of seven distinct versions). Before this was published, any student of “Neo-Quenya” would without a moment’s hesitation have said that “the” way to translate this is to use “the” locative case of menel ‘heaven,’ thus *menelesse. Tellingly and characteristically, though, things were not so clear to Tolkien, who progressed through no less than nine distinct versions of a translation: 1) loc. adj. menellea, 2) loc. adj. menelessea, 3) prep. phrase mi menel, 4) loc. adj. menelzea, 5) gen. (?) or abl. (?) menello, 6) adj. menelda, 7) loc. adj. meneldea, and the paraphrases 8) i ea pell’ Ea and 9) i ea han ea lit. “who is/exists beyond what is/exists,” or as we might say, “who is beyond the world.” 10. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Mr. Rang, August 1967, in Letters, 380. 11. Ibid., 379–80. 12. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Rayner Unwin, 3 July 1956, in Letters, 250.

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13. It is not for nothing that Lowdham enters excitedly into a meeting of the Notion Club to announce: “‘I’ve got something new!’ he shouted. ‘More than mere words. Verbs! Syntax at last!’” ( J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Notion Club Papers,” in Tolkien, Sauron Defeated, 246.) 14. Not coincidentally, I think, achieved during the mid- to late thirties, that is, at the same time that Tolkien achieved the most cohesive and sustained form of “The Silmarillion,” the fortunes of the languages seeming very much to rise and fall with that of the legendarium. 15. Tolkien, to Mr. Rang, August 1967, in Letters, 380. 16. Anyone who has wrestled with, say, the many semantic functions that are mapped onto the relatively small set of inflectional cases of the Latin noun, where for example the ablative case alone can be used to indicate place or time at or in or from which, the instrument by which, and many other functions; or, even with respect to such closely related languages as English and German, the often quite variant and counterintuitive (each to the other) idiom of prepositions and the cases they govern: for example, German unter can translate both “under” and “among”; will understand how thoroughly wrong one can go in relying on one’s native model of syntax and semantics in place of that of another language. 17. Or “poetry.” Or as my friend and colleague Patrick Wynne says, “really really bad poetry.” And, of course—and I swear I’m not making this up—to answer the burning question of how to say “I am cheese” in Quenya. 18. Though they do not share precisely the same set of formations. For the details, see my article on“The Past-Tense Verb in the Noldorin of the Etymologies” at http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/articles/Hostetter/noldpat.phtml. 19. Thus far only four past-tense verbs are attested for all of Sindarin proper, of which two are weak and two are strong. 20. See http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/movie_soundtrack_rotk. htm#angmar. 21. This hannon le has even found its way into the recent movies, courtesy of translator David Salo; see http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/movie_rotk. htm#hannon. 22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980), 166. 23. J.R.R. Tolkien, “‘Words of Joy’: Five Catholic Prayers in Quenya (Part One),” ed. Patrick Wynne, Arden R. Smith, and Carl F. Hostetter, Vinyar Tengwar 43 ( January 2002): 14. 24. See Bertrand Bellet, “Re: Thank you,” post to the Elfling mailing list, 16 November 2003, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27523. 25. Indeed, given all that we know currently about Noldorin and Sindarin, hannon le would in fact mean ‘I understand thee.’

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26. It also often leads to hilarious misuse of words, exemplified by the famous (and probably apocryphal) anecdote about an early computer-based translation from English to Russian of ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,’ yielding in Russian a result that meant literally ‘the vodka is good but the meat is rotten.’ 27. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1 vol. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, [1999]), 1096. 28. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Notes on Óre,” ed. Carl F. Hostetter, Vinyar Tengwar 41 ( July 2000): 11. 29. It is widely assumed that such forms of Noldorin and Sindarin verbal nouns in ‑(a)d as suilad ‘greeting’ are gerunds, that is, belonging to a class of nouns that, like the class of nouns in Latin from which the name gerund is taken, is formed from verbal stems. 30. It is to be noted that none of the supposed Sindarin plural gerunds listed by David Salo in his Gateway to Sindarin (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2004), 114, are anywhere attested in Tolkien’s writings. 31. See http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/yessesse.htm and http://www. uib.no/People/hnohf/genesis2.htm. 32. Bobo Williams, “(S) Yeat’s [sic] The Second Coming.” A post to the Elfling mailing list, 16 May 2003, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/ message/31750. 33. This attribution has recently found new challenge, in particular as regards José da Fonseca; see http://www.collinslibrary.com/english.html.

Teaching Tolkien Mike Foster

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t its best, teaching is about sharing something one deeply loves and admires with others and seeing some of them come to love and admire it too. This altruistic impulse inspires the reason why we are here: to exchange and deepen our understanding of J.R.R. Tolkien. That friendly charity certainly inspired my best professors here at Marquette, when I studied journalism and English during the first boom of The Lord of the Rings’ American success from 1964 to 1968. Sad to say, I was not part of that boom, stalling out at the house of Tom Bombadil on the first try and the Council of Elrond on the second. And stalled I stayed till 1974, when I was in my third year of teaching at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, whose faculty I had joined upon completing my English M.A. at Marquette in 1971. At an English department meeting, the college president noted that traditional survey literature classes were declining in enrollment and that a remedy to that would be prudent. By the end of the meeting I had created a syllabus for Lit. 240: Fantasy Literature, featuring Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.M. Barrie, T.H. White, Lewis Carroll, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” medieval ballads, “Merlin’s Prophecy,” and “The Land of Cockaigne.” The new course was accepted and offered for the coming spring term. So now it was time to read those aged Tolkien paperbacks at last, since my students-to-be almost certainly had done so. And so I did over Christmas break thirty years ago. You know what happened, because it happened to most of you: for the first time but not the last, The Lord of the Rings revealed itself as arguably the best novel ever written and certainly the best mythopoeic story. Rookie that I was, I wrongly thought that, like C.S. Lewis’s Ransom trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring was a discrete part of related stories that could be enjoyed separately. The next time I retreated to The Hobbit,

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but dismayed students complained about stopping short. They wanted a class on Tolkien alone. So in 1977, the summer I began studying Marquette’s Tolkien manuscript trove, I took a petition signed by fifteen students requesting such a course to my department chairman, and he agreed to schedule Lit. 116: Special Studies: J.R.R. Tolkien for the next term. Of course, only one of the fifteen who signed up showed up. But twenty others did, and the Tolkien course has continued at Illinois Central College since then, with the exception of four years at the end of the last century when it was cast into darkness and doom by a Balrog dean. But then he too was cast down and out, into retirement if not ruin, and his successor thought the time had come to revive the course. It was January of 2001; she was absolutely right. Offering the three-hour class one night weekly, as has generally been done since its reprise, has brought in a new and richer mix of students, including teachers and librarians already educating young readers about Tolkien. The purpose of any literature course is twofold: to increase understanding of the writer or writers on the syllabus and to acquaint the student with the methods of scholarship, the experience of academic research and critical writing skills. The four essays required for Lit. 130: J.R.R. Tolkien include four approaches to the study of literature: analysis of a small section, examination of a possible literary source, evaluation of a critical study, and commentary on the evolution of a single character. The principal advantage of a course centered on Tolkien, as opposed to, say, Shakespeare, is that many students have read all the author’s major works and already know them to a greater or lesser extent. This, along with the ever-growing abundance of academic criticism about the books, makes the second goal easier to realize. At the beginning of the first class meeting, for instance, I inform the students that one of the essay questions on the final examination will be “What is the Ring, anyway?” Many Tolkien critics address the concept of the Ring’s symbolism, and students can find other scholars’ answers to that question to inform their own. My study of the Marquette Tolkien manuscripts has often proved beneficial. When the climax comes in Mount Doom, the fact that the author changed Frodo’s original “I can not do what I came to do” to “I do not choose now to do what I came to do” certainly stimulates discussion.

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In the first week’s lecture, literary theories on story and myth by Aristotle, W.H. Auden, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Alfred Hitchcock are presented, preceding a brief biography of the author. Excerpts from Chesterton’s “The Ethics of Elfland” are distributed. “On Fairy-Stories,” Tolkien’s own observations on mythopoeia, follows in the second week, teamed with Farmer Giles of Ham. Farmer Giles of Ham can be presented as a short paradigm, for in it many of the characteristics, ideas, values, and themes that characterize the author’s major works are presented. Also introduced here is John D. Rateliff ’s interesting notion of “autoplagiarism.” Rateliff has advanced the theory that Tolkien was more adept than most authors in finding new and satisfying uses for odds and ends—poems, characters, names, motifs—that had emerged earlier but not found satisfactory expression within their original contexts. For example, both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings begin with a party, the trolls from the earlier book show up again in the sequel, Rivendell is revisited, and so on. Motifs like betrayal by a loyal member of a company, a sacrificed severed finger or hand, and the creator’s jealous love for his creation found in The Silmarillion also appear in the hobbit tales.1 Two weeks on The Hobbit come next, then The Lord of the Rings, a book a week for six weeks, with another week on the Appendices and “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.” Thus nine of the term’s sixteen weeks are spent on the tale of the Ring. The Silmarillion follows, then selections from Unfinished Tales. The final weeks include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and all of The Tolkien Reader. Tolkien’s two allegories of creation and sub-creation, Smith of Wootton Major and “Leaf by Niggle,” are the subjects of the last week’s class. Invaluable aids are George Sayer’s 1952 homemade tape recordings of Tolkien reading from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The author’s entertainingly artful home recording of “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son” is also vital, as are Christopher Tolkien’s Silmarillion readings. I do not incorporate the Peter Jackson films into the class, except to occasionally note on an essay: “That happened in the film you obviously saw, not in the book you were supposed to have read.” But that offense is rare. Despite the faults and virtues of the Jackson version of Tolkien, the

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films have brought many new readers to the book and many erstwhile readers back for another look, and that is a Good Thing. Our college library has a superior collection of studies of J.R.R. Tolkien, and a critique of one of these is the third of four required papers. Experience has shown that the community of Tolkien scholars is characterized by noteworthy generosity, sharing knowledge and insights when the best answer to a student’s question is beyond me. Douglas A. Anderson, David Doughan, Wayne G. Hammond, Jan Noble Long, and Tom Shippey have been especially helpful, and their prompt and informative replies to my queries deserve commendation. The willingness of these and other scholars to answer classroom questions that I could not answer as well or at all has been gratifying. As supplement, I have a collection of Tolkien journals including Mallorn, Mythlore, Mythprint, Amon Hen, Beyond Bree, and Parma Nole available for loan to students as resources for their papers. The assignments for the four papers—Chapter Study, Source Study, Critical Study, and Character Study—are explained during the first class meeting. The first paper is a detailed study of a single chapter from anywhere in Tolkien’s major works. First-time readers are thus able to pick a favorite chapter from The Hobbit while the veterans, the ones who sit in back and nod sage disagreement if I happen to confuse Finrod with Fingon, can choose “Narn I Hîn Húrin.” This paper asks students to analyze how this single chapter serves as a building block in the construction of the whole story, resting on the one before it and holding up the one following. New twists in plot, new characters or changes in existing characters, new settings, and their effect on the tale are evaluated. Diction, allusion, anachronism, dreams, prophecies, talismans, and poetry are also discussed. The conclusion summarizes the most important ways in which the chapter advances the story. Students new to literary scholarship learn how to use critical works for information on one small portion of a long text, a good beginning. The second paper, a source study, requires reading a work that Tolkien certainly or possibly read to examine its possible influences on the author’s fiction. Since the $1.50 Dover Thrift edition of Beowulf is the only non-Tolkien required text, it is a both a good and easy choice, and some choose it. But our library’s collection also includes all the Andrew Lang colored fairy-tale books, the Grimm tales, the Eddas, and many of

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the other works the author mentions in “On Fairy-Stories” and his letters, as well as Douglas A. Anderson’s valuable edition of The Marvelous Land of Snergs and his Tales before Tolkien. Students look for elements in the stories that pre-echo Tolkien and seem to be reflected in his work. This sharpens student skills of textual comparison and contrast. The third paper, described above, requires a critical study of a critical study. In it, students evaluate how valuable (or not) the work is toward the goal of a better understanding of Tolkien’s fiction, citing excerpts and agreeing or disagreeing with the critic’s conclusions. The final paper is the newest assignment, only three terms old. Hitherto the fourth assignment had been a sub-sub-creation, a new chapter added any Tolkien story written in his style and consistent with his sub-creation. But while sometimes these stories were inventive and entertaining, as in the creative ways that Entwives could be discovered or that Gollum could be saved, they often were merely twee, gory, or simply dull. Asking students to write about Tolkien was fair and justifiable; asking them to write like him was not. Moreover, mimesis is hardly scholarship; it is literary karaoke. So a study of the evolution of one particular character is now the last of the four papers, and so far, so better. Both in original analysis and with the help of Tolkien scholarship, students show how and why the character changes over the course of the story. Many of these essays have been good, and some better, including masterful and original studies of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth and Gríma Wormtongue that merit publication. In fact, the latter was published in the December 2004 issue of Beyond Bree, which was both encouraging to the student and another doubloon for his resume.2 Along with the four papers, the midterm and final examinations, both comprising twenty-five identifications and two essays, and weekly quizzes on the assigned readings at the beginning of each class fill out the rest of the grade book columns. The tests and papers are each worth fifteen percent of the final grade; the quizzes account for the remaining ten percent. In addition, the college sponsors a day trip to and from Marquette so that a vanload of students can view the remarkable collection of Tolkien manuscripts and material in the Raynor Memorial Library’s Archives and Special Collections. The opportunity to study Tolkien’s tale as written in the Ring-maker’s own hand is a learning experience no grade book can ever measure.

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After the Tolkien course was revived, Illinois Central College began sponsoring speaking appearances by award-winning Tolkien scholars for lectures and class discussion. Tom Shippey spoke at ICC in 2002 and Douglas A. Anderson in 2003. Both drew crowds from the community as well as the college. Students were thus able to see, hear, and question Tolkien experts, which can be inspiring. Shippey and Anderson also spoke in a free panel presentation on “The Lord of the Rings at Fifty” in March 2005 on the college’s East Peoria campus. Like any veteran teacher, I have devised a few tactics suitable to the task. One is Quadrefaction. At the beginning of the class meeting on Book III of The Lord of the Rings, just before the midterm examination, I divide the classroom into four quadrants designated Hobbit, Dwarf, Elf, Man, with the two shorter races in front so the taller races do not block their view. Students are directed to sit in the quadrant reserved for the race they most admire or identify with. The question: “Why did you choose this race?” This predicates discussion on the differences between the views, values, talents, likes and dislikes, and other typical qualities of each race. As can be expected, the quadrant for Man is always the one least occupied. The concluding point is that Tolkien divides the human personality into three parts: we all have within our personalities the comfort-loving convivial homebody hobbit, the gold-craving cunning businessman dwarf, and the nature-attuned song-making pilgrim elf. At different times, one of the three dominates, but in more or less measure, each of us has all of these “visible souls” within our own. This expands on the idea of the Took-Baggins conflict in Bilbo introduced in The Hobbit: the desire to have wonderful faraway adventures as opposed to the desire for home, bacon, and eggs. Some of the writing assignments for the class are not graded, but valuable in an extra-academic way. After emphasizing the point that nomenclature is one of Tolkien’s skills, students are asked, as a prologue insert to the final Character Study paper, to discover and record the etymology of their own names: first, middle, confirmation (if any), nick-, and mother’s, father’s, and spouse’s (if any) surnames. This entails research not only into the source and definition of each name but also, if it can be determined, the reason why the first, middle, and confirmation names were chosen. Many students are grateful for this philological self-knowledge.

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The Tolkien Clerihew Contest is another recreational creative activity. Following the formula for the four-line doggerel poem popularized by Chesterton’s friend and contemporary E. Clerihew Bentley and practiced by Tolkien himself, students are asked to write a clerihew about any character in the professor’s fiction. The one voted best by the class gets a mathom as a prize. No sooner is the contest announced than students’ eyes begin to light up, beginning to ponder rhymes for Ecthelion or Elrohir or Galadriel:

Galadriel Could’ve claimed the one Ring, but wotthehell. She was no moron; She knew she’d end up worse than Sauron.

But these are tactics for this particular Tolkien class. According to Michael Drout, a 2004 Google search revealed that about 1,200 college courses on Tolkien are offered in the English language alone. Just as there are many critical viewpoints, there must be many approaches to teaching Tolkien. Classes incorporating the author are primarily taught through English departments, but history, film, and interdisciplinary studies classes also exist. At the university level, one long-lived course on Tolkien has been taught since 1976 in Texas. It includes selected letters, The Kalevala, The Battle of Maldon, and cinematic and audio adaptations of Tolkien. Two examinations and two five- to seven-page papers are required as well as quizzes and class participation; attendance is mandatory. A newer university class begun in 2003 in Tennessee,“J.R.R. Tolkien in History, Political Thought, and Literature,” is an interdisciplinary seminar that allows students the options of a paper on either fan fiction, music based on Tolkien, or parodies. A Marquette graduate, the son of one of my best professors, teaches history courses on “The Catholic Literary Revival” and “The Inklings,” both featuring works by Tolkien, at a college in Virginia. Another prestigious university offers a senior seminar on Tolkien for English majors. That seminar allowed the students the option of using either the book or the film versions of The Lord of the Rings. There are no examinations. At my request, the professor who created the course sent me the syllabus and readings assignment list; the author’s surname

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was misspelled, E before I, throughout. Some may say Tolkien deserves better. Courses in other disciplines, like “Introduction to Fiction Writing” at Marquette or “Mythology” and “Introduction to Film” at my college, incorporate Tolkien as well. Many students have encountered Middle-earth before my course, being read Tolkien by a parent, studying The Hobbit in grade school and The Lord of the Rings in high school. One home-schooled young man could recite the complete line of succession of the kings of Númenor from memory. It is good for a teacher to be awed by a smart-aleck student every now and again. Perhaps a new age of teaching J.R.R. Tolkien is coming. Perhaps it is already here. While editing this piece for these proceedings, I received a long-distance telephone call from a student doing a paper on Tolkien whose teacher’s research requirements included an interview. As the Tolkien Society’s North American representative, I often do such interviews, but this student’s questions were remarkably astute. When I complimented her, she revealed that she was a freshman in high school. As she is being taught, so some day she may teach. The Road goes ever on. I never intended to be a teacher of Tolkien, but I now rejoice that I am one. The experience has been a threefold blessing. First, Tolkien has given me so many friends I would not have had if not for his books. C.S. Lewis, Tolkien’s longtime friend without whose encouragement Tolkien might not have persisted in seeking publication for his fiction, writes: “Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain at the best) of that something which you were born desiring and which, beneath the flux of ordinary desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?”3 In The Four Loves, Lewis extrapolates this notion: “Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’”4

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With Tolkien, we discover we are not the only ones, but one of a legion. This conference is a long-expected party of many scholars who over the years have become friends, people I’ve known nearly thirty years or about thirty days, or eight years or two weeks, depending on how it is computed. They have helped me improve both my own and my students’ Tolkien scholarship, and their wit and knowledge, so generously shared, are treasured gifts. The second blessing is students who are truly scholars, the ones who excel, who delve into Tolkien and are able to recognize and write about what he did to make these books—or The Lord of the Rings certainly—such masterpieces. Lewis once said that one unexpected gift of living the life of a college professor is that it gave him so many friends who are younger than him. Indeed. But the third of these blessings, if not the greatest, is the most crucial. Because of this course, I have had a teaching career that mandated that I go back into The Lord of the Rings and the rest of Tolkien’s works and reread them at least once a year. And every time I did, I found something new to admire and savor. And it will happen again the next time. As a personal epilogue, might I note that the reading and the teaching and the scholarship of J.R.R. Tolkien have brought me closer to the faith I share in common with the author, for I too am the older child of a Roman Catholic convert mother. Our life was not marred by grief and loss as theirs was, but I too cherish the faith she gave me. On arriving at Marquette with my students on our day trip each term, I begin our pilgrimage with a visit to the St. Joan of Arc Chapel. I suggest the sub-created fancy that it rather resembles a village church in western Rohan sometime after the establishment of Christianity in Middle-earth during the Fourth Age. Then we are silent. I do not know what they do during this silence, but I pray: for my family and my friends, for my students, and for the teachers and especially my Marquette professors—John McCabe, who supervised my first Tolkien manuscript study, Joseph Schwartz, John Pick, Lou Belden, Don Ross—the teachers who taught me how to teach. I recall Dick Blackwelder, Taum Santoski, Lester Simons, Bill Sarjeant—the scholars whose joy and vigor in the study of Tolkien still inspires my own. And last, I pray in humble thanksgiving for the author who brought us to this place on this day as on every day we’ve been here before and will come here again, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

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1. John Rateliff ’s views on“autoplagiarism,” advanced so far mainly in private conversation, will figure in his forthcoming history of The Hobbit. 2. Daniel Dimitroff, “Character Study: Gríma Wormtongue,” Beyond Bree, December 2004: 3–4. 3. C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 131: Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it—tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it ever should become manifest—if there ever came an echo that did not die away but welled into the sound itself—you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, “Here at last is the thing I was made for.” 4. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1960), 96.

Tolkienian Gothic Arden R. Smith

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ometime around 1908, one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s schoolmates at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, sold Tolkien a copy of Joseph Wright’s 1899 Primer of the Gothic Language. Tolkien was immediately captivated by the language described in this book, the earliest attested Germanic language, the extant corpus of which consists of fragments of a fourth-century translation of the Bible and little else. As he later wrote: “I discovered in it not only modern historical philology, which appealed to the historical and scientific side, but for the first time the study of a language out of mere love. . . .”1 As a professional philologist, Tolkien made use of his knowledge of Gothic in the following years, but the language also left its mark on his extracurricular activities. One such activity was the creation of his own personal legendarium, with its most famous result being Tolkien’s magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings. Gothic is mentioned only once in the pages of this work, in a discussion of the fictitious translation of names in Appendix F (II). Since the Common Speech of Middle-earth is given as Modern English, languages that are closely related to it have been rendered into various old Germanic languages. Thus, for example, the language of the Rohirrim takes the shape of Old English. Tolkien writes of the “high-sounding first-names” used by such old Hobbit families as the Tooks and Bolgers: “Since most of these seem to have been drawn from legends of the past, of Men as well as of Hobbits, and many while now meaningless to Hobbits closely resembled the names of Men in the Vale of Anduin, or in Dale, or in the Mark, I have turned them into those old names, largely of Frankish and Gothic origin, that are still used by us or are met in our histories.”2 These names include Adaldrida, Adalgrim, Adelard, Everard, Fastolph, Ferdibrand, Ferdinand, Filibert, Flambard, Fredegar, Gundabald, Hildibrand, Hildifons, Hildigard, Hildigrim, Isembard, Isembold, Isengar, Isengrim, Menegilda, Odovacar, Reginard, Rosamunda, Rudigar, Sigismond, and Wilibald.

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Such names, however, seem to fall more heavily on the Frankish side than on the Gothic side, most of them having their earliest attestations in documents from the seventh and eighth centuries.3 Even those names with earlier attestations, which could have been current among the Goths, have as their most famous bearers members of other Germanic tribes, though some of these were closely related to or affiliated with the Goths. Rosamunda (fl. ca. 570) was the daughter of Cunemund, king of the Gepids, and the second wife of the Langobardic king Alboin.4 Sigismond was a fifth-century Burgundian prince who was the son-in-law of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great.5 Odovacar or Odoacer, the barbarian ruler of Italy who was defeated by Theodoric in 493, is generally thought to have been one of the Sciri, though this tribe is regarded as part of the Gothic group.6 Other personal names in The Lord of the Rings also have their origins in the language of the Goths. As Christopher Tolkien notes: “It is an interesting fact, not referred to I believe in any of my father’s writings, that the names of the early kings and princes of the Northmen and the Éothéod are Gothic in form, not Old English (Anglo-Saxon) as in the case of Léod, Eorl, and the later Rohirrim. . . . Since, as is explained in Appendix F (II), the language of Rohan was ‘made to resemble ancient English’, the names of the ancestors of the Rohirrim are cast into the forms of the earliest recorded Germanic language.”7 Three such names appear in The Lord of the Rings, that of Vidugavia, the self-styled King of Rhovanion (fl. Third Age [TA] 1250), that of his daughter Vidumavi, and that of Vinitharya, the son of Vidumavi and Valacar, who became King Eldacar of Gondor in TA 1432.8 Christopher Tolkien writes: “Vidugavia is Latinized in spelling, representing Gothic Widugauja (‘wood-dweller’), a recorded Gothic name.”9 The name is attested in the form Vidigabius as the name of a fourth-century king of the Alamanni, and in the sixth century Jordanes gives the form Vidigoia as the name of an old hero of the Goths. None of the historical attestations use the spelling Vidugavia—the form used by Jordanes comes closest—but the linguistically posited spelling *Widugauja is similarly unattested.10 The name Vidumavi is a similarly modified version of Gothic *Widumawi ‘wood-maiden.’11 This meaning is confirmed by Galadwen, “a rendering of her Northern name into the Sindarin tongue.”12 The Gothic name is not historically recorded, though composed of genuine Gothic

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elements: *widus ‘wood, forest,’ attested only in personal names, and mawi ‘maiden.’13 Vinitharya is another modified form of a historically attested name. The original Gothic form, reconstructed as *Winiþa-harjis, means ‘one who battles the Wends,’ the Wends being a Slavic people of eastern Germany.14 It is clear that within the fictitious translation scheme the original name that Tolkien “translated” as Vinitharya would have referred to Easterlings rather than Wends; Tolkien in fact notes that the name “bore much the same meaning as Rómendakil,” which is Quenya for ‘East-victor.’15 The historical bearer of this name, called Venetharius by Jordanes, was a fourth-century king of the Ostrogoths and greatgrandfather of Theodoric the Great.16 Additional names of the early Northmen appear in “Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan” in Unfinished Tales: Marhwini, Marhari, and Forthwini.17 Despite Christopher Tolkien’s inclusion of the first two in his note on Gothic names,18 these names are actually early Old English in form, as has been shown by David Salo, and so fall outside the scope of this paper.19 Tolkien’s extracurricular use of Gothic was not limited to a few incidental names in his Middle-earth mythology. He would also occasionally doodle in Gothic, sometimes writing a word or two, sometimes even short texts in the language. Here Tolkien was faced with a problem. The attested corpus of Gothic is relatively small and certainly too limited to have provided Tolkien with all the vocabulary he needed to write such texts. He was therefore obliged to use neologisms and reconstructed words in his Gothic texts. It is clear, however, that Tolkien the philologist made a distinction between historically recorded Gothic and his own reconstructed Gothic. Discussing an inscription that he had written as a schoolboy in a copy of The Fifth Book of Thucydides, Tolkien wrote in a letter to Zillah Sherring in 1965: “The writing on the back page is in Gothic, or what I thought was Gothic or might be.”20 He also uses scare-quotes later in the same letter when he states: “I often put ‘Gothic’ inscriptions in books, sometimes Gothicizing my Norse name and German surname as Ruginwaldus Dwalakōneis.” One of the ways in which Tolkien expanded the vocabulary of Gothic was by combining attested Gothic words with elements that are attested elsewhere in the Gothic corpus, whether prefixes, suffixes, or other words. An excellent example of this can be seen in the title written in one of his early sketchbooks: bōkōs anamēleinais.21 The word bōkōs is

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well attested, being the plural of bōka ‘letter of the alphabet,’ used with the meaning ‘writing, epistle, book.’22 The word anamēleináis, however, appears nowhere in the historical Gothic corpus. It is, though, clearly the genitive singular form of *anamēleins, analogous to Wright’s example of láiseins ‘doctrine,’ genitive láiseináis.23 There is, however, no attestation of *anamēleins in the Gothic corpus. Like other words ending with the suffix -eins, it is an abstract noun derived from a weak verb of the first conjugation; the aforementioned láiseins, for example, is derived from láisjan ‘to teach.’ Although the noun *anamēleins is unattested, the verb anamēljan ‘to write down’ does appear in the Gothic translation of Luke 2:5, with the specific meaning ‘to be enrolled for purposes of taxation.’24 Of course, this is not the meaning Tolkien intended when he wrote bōkōs anamēleinais in his sketchbook. Here he was probably thinking of the modern German cognate of anamēljan, which is anmalen ‘to paint or draw (on something).’ Similar morphological extrapolations can be found in the inscription in the Thucydides volume.25 The form jēramēleináis is the genitive singular form of an unattested *jēramēleins ‘history’ (literally ‘year-writing’), derived from the recorded words jēr ‘year’ and mēljan ‘to write’; cf. anamēleináis above. The word þairhlesjau (þaírhlēsjáu) is a first person singular preterite subjunctive of an unattested verb *þaírhlisan, which Tolkien intended to mean ‘to read through.’ However, as he noted in 1965, the verb lisan still had its original meaning ‘to gather’ in Gothic, not the meaning ‘to read’ that its cognates in other Germanic languages later acquired.26 The conjunction afarþizei ‘after (that)’ is also a Tolkienian reconstruction, erroneously modeled on the attested conjunction faúrþizei ‘before (that).’27 Tolkien has also adapted two names from the Greek in this inscription. Þūkydidja is a dative form of *Þūkwdidjis ‘Thucydides.’28 Heleniskaizos (Hēlēniskáizōs) is a strong feminine genitive singular form of *Hēlēnisks ‘Greek,’ a combination of the root seen in Gk. ÔEllhnikov~ and the frequent Gothic adjectival ending -isks. As Salo notes: “A Goth would more likely have Gothicized the Greek element as *haillen-,”29 but it is even more probable that a Goth would have used an adjective *Krēkisks, given the attested noun Krēks ‘Greek (man).’ Tolkien did not limit himself to writing Gothic prose, for he also met the challenge of writing poetry in the language. “Bagme Bloma” (bagmē blōma ‘the flower of the trees’) was originally published in 1936 in a slim volume entitled Songs for the Philologists and was reprinted with

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a translation in Tom Shippey’s The Road to Middle-earth.30 The poem consists of three stanzas of six lines each, making extensive use of alliteration, though not using the traditional alliterative Stabreim found in such older Germanic poems as the Hildebrandslied, the Heliand, and Beowulf. It was intended to be sung to the tune of “O Lazy Sheep!” “Bagme Bloma” contains a total of fifty-five words, three of which are repetitions of words appearing elsewhere in the poem. Of these fiftyfive words, only thirty-eight (including two repetitions) are attested in the historical corpus of Gothic. In fact, many of these thirty-eight are not attested in the inflected forms in which they appear in Tolkien’s poem. The first word of the second line, for example, is láubans, the accusative plural form of the masculine noun láufs ‘leaf, foliage,’ which is only attested in the accusative singular láuf in Mark 11:13 and the nominative plural láubōs in Mark 13:28.31 The last word in that line, liudandei, is the feminine nominative singular present participle of the strong verb liudan ‘to grow,’ which is only recorded in the third person singular present indicative liudiþ in Mark 4:27.32 These are the same sorts of analogical extrapolations that we have already seen in the book inscriptions. On the other hand, the remaining seventeen words of the poem (including one repetition) are complete reconstructions, not appearing in any inflected form anywhere in the historical corpus. For these Tolkien relied on the comparative method used by historical linguists to reconstruct word-forms not recorded in historical documents, be they words absent from the attestation of a given language (as here) or the hypothetical “proto-forms” from which groups of related words in related languages were derived. In the case of reconstructing unrecorded Gothic, this involves looking at groups of cognate words in various Germanic languages, preferably in their earliest attested forms, and observing how the sounds in one language correspond with the sounds in the other languages in specific phonetic environments. To present a hypothetical example, related languages A, B, and C have a number of words beginning with p-, whereas the corresponding words in language D begin with pf-. If we are lacking a word with a certain meaning in our attestation of language A, but the words with that meaning in B and C begin with p- and that in D begins with pf-, we can assume that the missing word in language A begins with p-. This is precisely the method used by Tolkien, with A, B, C, and D being Gothic, Old Norse (ON), Old English (OE), and Old High German (OHG) respectively.

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The first line of “Bagme Bloma” provides excellent illustrations of the method. The four words of this line, Brunaim bairiþ Bairka bogum, are translated by Shippey as “The birch bears . . . on shining boughs.”33 Of these four, only baíriþ is attested, being the third person present indicative of the strong verb baíran ‘to bear, carry, bring forth.’ Bairka (*baírka), the subject of the sentence, is the nominative singular of an unattested noun meaning ‘birch.’ Taking such attested Germanic words for the birch as ON bjǫrk, OE beorc(e), and OHG birka, bir(i)hha, we easily ascertain that the consonants in the Gothic form would have been b, r, and k. The variety of root-vowels points to a Proto-Germanic *e or *i, both of which are manifested in Gothic as ai (aí) before r, h, and hw. Since the birch-words in the other old Germanic languages are all declined as feminine ō-stems, the same can be assumed for Gothic, indicating a final -a in the nominative singular. The last word in the line, bogum (*bōgum) is the dative plural of a hypothetical noun *bōgs ‘bough, branch.’ The root *bōg- is easily determined by ON bógr, OE bōg, and OHG buog, the last showing the typical Old High German diphthongization of Germanic *ō. The final -s of the Gothic citation form is typical of masculine a-stems, into which class the other bough-words also fall, Proto-Germanic final *-z having become -s in Gothic, -r in Old Norse, and having vanished in the West Germanic dialects. Tolkien actually uses the form bogum, with the dative plural suffix -um typical of masculine a-stems. The first word in the line is brunaim (*brūnáim), also a masculine dative plural form, since it is an adjective modifying bogum. The citation form of this adjective would be *brūns, reconstructed on the basis of ON brúnn and OE, OHG brūn. Shippey interprets this adjective as ‘shining’, which is probably correct in this context, though the word could also be interpreted as ‘brown.’34 A complete list of the reconstructed words in “Bagme Bloma” with their etymologies follows: Line 1: *brūnáim, masc. dat. pl. of *brūns adj.; ON brúnn, OE OHG brūn ‘brown; shining’ *baírka, nom. sg. of *baírka fem. n.; ON bjǫrk, OE beorc(e), OHG bir(i)hha ‘birch’

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*bōgum, dat. pl. of bōgs masc. n.; ON bógr, OE bōg, OHG buog ‘bough’ Line 3: *gilwagrōni, fem. nom. sg. of *gilwagrōneis adj.; OE geolu, OHG gelo ‘yellow’ + ON grœnn, OE grēne, OHG gruoni ‘green’ Line 4: *blauandei, fem. nom. sg. pres. part. of *blauan str. v.; OE blōwan, OHG bluojan, bluowen ‘to bloom’ Line 5: *fagrafahsa, fem. nom sg. of *fagrafahs adj.; Goth. fagrs adj.‘fair’ + ON fax, OE feax, OHG fahs n. ‘hair’; cf. OE gefeaxe adj. ‘haired’ and Eng. Fairfax *liþulinþi, fem. nom. sg. of *liþulinþeis adj.; Goth. liþus masc. n. ‘limb’ + OE līðe, OHG lindi, linthi ‘lithe; gentle, mild’ Line 7: *lindōs, nom. pl. of *linda fem. n.; ON lind, OE lind(e), OHG linta ‘linden-tree’35 Line 8: *lūtiþ, 3. sg. pres. ind. of *lūtan str. v.; ON lúta, OE lūtan ‘to bend, bow’ *limam, dat. pl. of *lim neut. n.; ON OE lim ‘limb’ Line 9: * ƕeitarinda, nom. sg. of * ƕeitarinda fem. n., apparently used as adj.; Goth. ƕeits adj. ‘white’ + OE rind(e), OHG rinta ‘rind, bark’36 Line 13: *neipiþ, 3. sg. pres. ind. of *neipan str. v.; OE nīpan ‘to grow dark’

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Line 14: *liuhmam, dat. pl. of *liuhma wk. masc. n.; ON ljómi, OE lēoma ‘lightning; ray of light’ Line 15: *fliugand, 3. pl. pres. ind. of *fliugan str. v.; ON fljúga, OE flēogan, OHG fliugan ‘to fly’ Line 17: *baírka, see line 1 *baza, fem. nom. sg. of *bass (?) adj. (from Gmc. *bazaz); ON berr, OE bær, OHG bar ‘bare’ *bláika, fem. nom. sg. of *bláiks adj.; ON bleikr, OE blāc, OHG bleih ‘bright; pale’ To judge from his own statements, Tolkien carried this sort of reconstruction even further. In a letter to W.H. Auden from 1955, he mentions that after discovering Gothic he had attempted “to invent an ‘unrecorded’ Germanic language,” which he abandoned upon discovering Finnish.37 What exactly Tolkien meant by this is rather difficult to determine. In the notebook that Tolkien later used for the Qenyaqetsa, a historical phonology and lexicon of the Finnish-influenced language of the Elves called Qenya, there are traces of an earlier layer. Pages have been removed from the notebook, which may have contained the beginning of a glossary of this Germanic language, and there are a couple of penciled references in the notebook to a language called Gautisk.38 The problem with the surviving examples of an early Germanic language in the Qenyaqetsa notebook is that they are not from some “unrecorded” language, but are simply slightly modified examples of Gothic. On the inside of the back cover, upside-down with respect to the contents of the rest of the notebook, Tolkien wrote:“Ermanaþiudiska Razda eþþau Gautiska tungō,” which may be translated as “Language of the Great People, or Gautish tongue.”39 The differences between this language and the textbook language of the Bible translation are essentially orthographic: Tolkien uses e for aí and ng for gg, in both cases employing a more phonetic spelling than the traditional orthography.

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The words razda ‘language,’ aíþþáu ‘or, else,’ and tuggō ‘tongue’ are all attested. The first element of Ermanaþiudiska is the adjective *aírmans ‘great, mighty,’ only attested in Gothic in personal names, such as that of Ermanaric, the fourth century king of the Ostrogoths.40 The second element is an unattested adjective *þiudisks, formed from þiuda ‘people’ and the adjectival suffix -isks (fem. -iska).41 The remaining word in the inscription, Gautiska, is the key. The attested Gothic name of the Goths is Gut-þiuda, with Latin and Greek versions exhibiting either u or o.42 The presence of au in the name of Tolkien’s language suggests that this is meant to be the language of the Gauts (Götar, ON Gautar, OE Géatas) of southern Sweden, the Geats of Beowulf.43 Whether or not one assumes the Gauts to have been closely related to the Goths (as the legendary origin of the Goths in Scandinavia and the similarity of the tribes’ names suggest), the language of this inscription seems too similar to the Gothic of the fourth century Bible translation. This could simply be evidence that Tolkien wanted his Gautisk to be similarly archaic with respect to the other old Germanic languages. Another possibility is that Tolkien gave his work on Gautisk a title in Gothic rather than in Gautisk.44 In the absence of any further examples of Gautisk vocabulary, it is impossible to judge whether this inscription was written in Gautisk or not. The other reference to Gautisk in the notebook is a penciled note, later struck through, which is only partly legible: “Gautisk is characterised by open[ing] out[?] of ǣ, ō (similar[?] to hæs, gold); the [???] of z; the [?absence] of ult. umlaut; the [?historical] [???] its[?] declensional preservation.”45 The first part of this note seems to indicate that the Gautisk reflexes of Germanic *ǣ and *ō were pronounced as open, lax sounds like those of English has and gold, rather than the close, tense sounds found in German Beet and Boot. The “absence of ult[imate] umlaut” seems likely; the type of phonetic assimilation named Umlaut by Jacob Grimm, though a common feature of the other Germanic languages, is essentially nonexistent in Gothic. The final characteristic of Gautisk seems to be that it is conservative in its declensional system, that it preserves case-endings that were lost in later Germanic languages. We will return to the illegible reference to z in the discussion of the Gautisk alphabet below. The alphabet written in the notebook was later modified to reflect the phonology of Qenya, but as originally written it read as follows: a (b) k (d) [?] e f (g) h i j l m n o p r s t u v ǽ ǫ́ with the note “b, d, g only when

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prec[eded] by m, n, n.”46 Compare this with the usual transliteration of the Gothic alphabet: a b g d e q z h þ i k l m n j u p r s t w f χ ƕ o.47 The two alphabets have the following letters in common: a b d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u. This leaves v, ǽ, ǫ́, and an illegible letter in the Gautisk alphabet, and q, w, z, þ, χ, and ƕ in the Gothic alphabet. The differences between the two alphabets can for the most part be reconciled. The deleted mystery letter after d in the Gautisk alphabet was very probably þ or some letter representing the same sound. The Gautisk alphabet has no ƕ, but the same sound could have been represented by hv. Similarly, Gautisk could use kv for Gothic q, and Gautisk v could very well represent the same sound denoted by Gothic w. In fact, these same transliterations (hv, kv, v) are found in some early works on Gothic. The presence of χ in the Gothic alphabet need not be an issue for Gautisk, since it was only used in the representation of Greek loan words, most notably Xristus ‘Christ.’ Gothic has z, but the Gautisk alphabet does not. This is not necessarily a problem, because something about z is mentioned in the deleted note on the characteristics of Gautisk, perhaps something that would distinguish Gautisk from Gothic. It could be that Germanic *z was devoiced to s in all environments in Gautisk, whereas in Gothic this devoicing was much more limited. It is more likely that Germanic *z was rhotacized to r in Gautisk, as it was in North and West Germanic. Of course, the problem of z in razda still remains, assuming that the Ermanaþiudiska title inscription is in Gautisk, but Tolkien may have simply forgotten this feature of Gautisk while writing the title, or maybe he had not yet established that Gautisk had no z. This leaves the two vowels at the end of the Gautisk alphabet, ǽ and ǫ́. These must correspond to the e and o of Gothic, which are always long. Why did Tolkien use ǽ and ó?̨ Because these are the phonetic values posited by some scholars for the Germanic antecedents of Gothic ē and ō.48 These values have etymological support. The Germanic sound that produced most instances of ē in Gothic produced ā in North and West Germanic, and ǭ is a reasonable phonetic realization for the Germanic sound that resulted from both Indo-European *ō and Indo-European *ā. Tolkien spelt tungō with ō rather than ǭ, but note that ō also appears in place of ǭ in the deleted note. If Gautisk ǽ and ǫ́ correspond to Gothic ē and ō, then Gautisk e and o must represent the short, lax e and o sounds produced by breaking, spelt as ai and au in Gothic and represented by Jacob Grimm as aí and

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aú. We find such a use of e for Gothic aí in Tolkien’s Ermanaþiudiska and eþþau. The au of eþþau and Gautiska is not spelt as o, because these are examples of au derived from the Germanic diphthong *au, thus áu rather than aú. In summary:

Gautisk ǽ (ǣ) ’ Gothic ē Gautisk ǫ́ (ō) ’ Gothic ō Gautisk e ’ Gothic aí (product of breaking) Gautisk o ’ Gothic aú (product of breaking) Gautisk *ai ’ Gothic ái (from Germanic diphthong) Gautisk au ’ Gothic áu (from Germanic diphthong)

The note to the alphabet, “b, d, g only when prec[eded] by m, n, n,” if it in fact refers to the Gautisk layer at all, must mean that b, d, g represent voiced stops when preceded by nasals, but voiced fricatives in all other environments. This is reminiscent of the situation assumed for Proto-Germanic, where the voiced fricatives ƀ, đ, ȝ only became stops (a) after nasals and (b) when geminated, with ƀ and đ also becoming stops word-initially.49 When Tolkien revised the alphabet in order to adapt it to Qenya, the note took on an entirely different meaning, because in Qenya b, d, and g can never occur immediately after a vowel or at the beginning of a word and can only occur after nasals (or in the case of d, also after l and r). At least one word also made the transition from Gothic to Qenya. Although it is possible that a number of words in the original conception of Qenya were inspired by Gothic and other early Germanic models, there is one important item of Qenya vocabulary for which Tolkien confirmed a Gothic etymology.50 In a manuscript dated March 1967, Tolkien writes of the word miruvóre: “Its actual origin as an ‘invention’ goes back to at least 1915, its real source being Gothic *midu (’ Gmc. među) [‘mead’] + wōþeis [‘sweet’], then supposed to have been developed so: miđuwōþi > miđuwōđi > miřuwōři > miruvóre.”51 Whether some form of the word existed in Gautisk is impossible to say, but it survived into the Elvish of The Lord of the Rings, in the miruvor of Rivendell and the lintë yuldar lisse-miruvóreva ‘swift draughts of the sweet mead’ in Galadriel’s Lament.52 From miruvóre to Vinitharya, from astonishing his schoolmates by speaking fluent Gothic in the role of a barbarian envoy to expelling demons from George Sayer’s tape recorder by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in

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Gothic, Tolkien made use of the Gothic language from his youth into old age.53 For him it was not a dry subject confined to his academic career, but rather something that he could shape into the names of mythical people and things, something he could use as a bridge into a vast world of linguistic invention. I am especially indebted to Professor Irmengard Rauch, whose seminar on Gothic at the University of California, Berkeley, in the spring of 1990 led to my first researches into Tolkien’s use of the language, and to John Garth, whose questions about the nature of Gautisk inspired me to return to this field of investigation. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 213; cf. Letters, 357, 397. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 3 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965 [i.e. 1966]), 3:413. Hereafter cited as LR. 3. See the relevant entries in Ernst Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, vol. 1, Personennamen, 2nd ed. (1900; repr., Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1966); and M. Schönfeld, Wörterbuch der altgermanischen Personen- und Völkernamen nach der Überlieferung des klassischen Altertums bearbeitet, 2nd ed. (1911; repr., Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1965). 4. Henry Bosley Woolf, The Old Germanic Principles of Name-Giving (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1939), 223, 240; Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 1282. The historical Rosamunda is mentioned in Tolkien’s unfinished novel, The Lost Road; see J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lost Road and Other Writings, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 5 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), 37, 54. 5. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 1317; Woolf, Old Germanic Principles, 205, 238. 6. Rigobert Günther and Alexander R. Korsunskij, Germanen erobern Rom: Der Untergang des Weströmischen Reiches und die Entstehung germanischer Königreiche bis zur Mitte des 6. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1986), 181–86; Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 201; Schönfeld, Wörterbuch, 174–76. Jim Allan’s derivation of the name of Doderic Brandybuck from Theuderic/Theodoric (Goth. *Þiudareiks) is untenable: see Jim Allan, ed., An Introduction to Elvish (Frome: Bran’s Head, 1978), 191; and cf. Arden R. Smith, Germanic Linguistic Influence on the Invented Languages of J.R.R. Tolkien (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1997), 54.

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7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980), 311n6. 8. Tolkien, LR, 3:326, 367. 9. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, 311n6. 10. George T. Gillespie, A Catalogue of Persons Named in German Heroic Literature (700–1600), Including Named Animals and Objects and Ethnic Names (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), 146–47; Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 1568–69; Schönfeld, Wörterbuch, 263. 11. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, 311n6. 12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Peoples of Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996), 260. 13. F. Holthausen, Gotisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, mit Einschluss der Eigennamen und der gotischen Lehnwörter im Romanischen (Heidelberg: Carl Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1934), 70, 124. The asterisk is used in linguistics to mark unattested, reconstructed forms. In the case of *widus, the word is unattested in this form, appearing only as Widu-, Widi- (Vidu-, Vidi-) in compounds. 14. The letter þ has the sound of th in thorn, which is the English name of the letter. 15. Tolkien, Peoples of Middle-earth, 260. 16. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 1619; Schönfeld, Wörterbuch, 260–61; Woolf, Old Germanic Principles, 205. 17. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan,” in Unfinished Tales, 289–91. 18. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, 311n6. 19. David Salo, “Re: Digest: Radagast etc.,” e-mail to the Tolkien Language List (19.22), 10 July 1996, http://tolklang.quettar.org/messages/Vol19/19.22; “Re: Digest: More Radagast etc.,” e-mail to the Tolkien Language List (19.36), 16 July 1996, http://tolklang.quettar.org/messages/Vol19/19.36; and “Re: Gothic/Old English and pseudo-Latinized forms of same,” e-mail to the Tolkien Language List (19.46), 18 July 1996, http://tolklang.quettar.org/messages/ Vol19/19.46. See also Smith, Germanic Linguistic Influence, 64–65. 20. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Zillah Sherring, in Letters, 357; italics added. 21. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), 33n20; J.R.R. Tolkien, Qenyaqetsa: The Qenya Phonology and Lexicon, together with the Poetic and Mythologic Words of Eldarissa, ed. Christopher Gilson, Carl F. Hostetter, Patrick Wynne, and Arden R. Smith, Parma Eldalamberon 12 (Cupertino: Parma Eldalamberon, 1998), xi n21. Except where specifically citing published forms of words written by Tolkien, in which Tolkien’s spelling is retained, Gothic words are given here using the etymological transcription frequently employed in Gothic grammars and dictionaries. In this transcription, long vowels are marked with a macron

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(ā, ē, ō, ū) and the digraphs ai, au are marked with an acute accent according to their etymology (ái, aí, ai; áu, aú, au). Such diacritical marks were not actually used by the Goths. For a thorough discussion of the Gothic alphabet, transcription, and pronunciation, see Joseph Wright, A Grammar of the Gothic Language and the Gospel of St. Mark, Selections from the Other Gospels and the Second Epistle to Timothy, with Notes and Glossary, 2nd ed. with a supplement to the grammar by O.L. Sayce (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), 4–13. 22. Wilhelm Streitberg, Die gotische Bibel; Zweiter Teil: Gotisch–griechisch– deutsches Wörterbuch, 2nd ed. (Heidelberg: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1928), 22. 23. Wright, Grammar, 93. 24. Streitberg, Gotische Bibel, 93. 25. A detailed analysis of this inscription appears in David Salo, “Tolkien’s Gothic,” e-mail to the Tolkien Language List (27.96), 3 March 1998, http:// tolklang.quettar.org/messages/Vol27/27.96. 26. Tolkien, to Zillah Sherring, 20 July 1965, in Letters, 357–58; cf. Salo, “Tolkien’s Gothic.” 27. For details of the motivation behind this erroneous form, see Salo, “Tolkien’s Gothic,” and Arden R. Smith, “Re: Tolkien’s Gothic,” e-mail to the Tolkien Language List (28.02), 7 March 1998, http://tolklang.quettar. org/messages/Vol28/28.02. 28. In the transcription of Gothic, w and y represent the same Gothic letter; w is its normal value and normal transcription, but the letter was also used to represent the Greek u, which is normally transliterated as y. 29. Salo, “Tolkien’s Gothic.” 30. J.R.R. Tolkien, E.V. Gordon, et al., Songs for the Philologists (London: Department of English at University College, 1936), 12; T.A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth, rev. and expanded ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 354. Shippey’s book was first published in 1982. 31. Streitberg, Gotische Bibel, 80. 32. Ibid., 85. 33. Shippey, Road to Middle-earth, 354. 34. Ibid. Both meanings appear in the old Germanic literatures; Jan de Vries believes that ON brúnn ‘brown’ and brúnn‘shining, polished’ are probably etymologically distinct; see de Vries, Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1961), 61. 35. The meaning of wagjand lindōs would therefore seem to be “the lindens shake,” not “they [i.e. the winds] shake gently,” as Shippey claims. The Gothic words for ‘gentle’ and ‘gently’ must contain þ rather than d, as liþulinþi in line 5 demonstrates. Contextually, however, the intrusion of lindens into the scene of the lone birch would be quite unwelcome.

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36. The symbol ƕ represents labialized h or voiceless w; the printed texts of “Bagme Bloma” use hw instead. 37. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in Letters, 214. 38. Tolkien, Qenyaqetsa, iv, x–xi. 39. Ibid., x. 40. Holthausen, Gotisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, 4; Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 473–84; Schönfeld, Wörterbuch, 76–78. 41. The adverbial form þiudiskō is attested in Galatians 2:14, with the meaning ‘after the manner of Gentiles’; see Streitberg, Gotische Bibel, 149. 42. O.L. Sayce, in Wright, Grammar, 374–75; Schönfeld, Wörterbuch, 120–23. 43. Tolkien, Qenyaqetsa, iv n5; cf. Schönfeld, Wörterbuch, 103–104. 44. John Garth, personal communication, 2 August 2002. 45. Tolkien, Qenyaqetsa, iv n5. 46. Ibid., iv. 47. Wright, Grammar, 4–5. 48. Wilhelm Streitberg, Gotisches Elementarbuch, 3rd and 4th ed. (Heidelberg: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1910), 71–72; Wright, Grammar, 22. 49. Wright, Grammar, 58–60. 50. Cf. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 1 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), 248; Smith, Germanic Linguistic Influence, 275–83. 51. Tolkien, Qenyaqetsa, xi. 52. LR, 1: 304, 394. 53. Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien: A Biography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 48, 213.

Tolkien and the Idea of the Book Verlyn Flieger

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ear the end of “The Council of Elrond,” a chapter essential to The Lord of the Rings and one that presents a variety of oral narratives by different speakers, Bilbo Baggins unexpectedly (and, it might seem, irrelevantly) intrudes the divergent concept of a written record. Volunteering to take the Ring to Mount Doom, he remarks plaintively: “I was very comfortable here, and getting on with my book. If you want to know, I am just writing an ending for it. . . .” And he adds, “There will evidently have to be several more chapters.” After finding that he is not to go on the quest, he once more brings up his book a few days before the Company sets out, assuring Frodo, “I’ll do my best to finish my book before you return. I should like to write the second book [meaning the story of Frodo’s adventures], if I am spared.”1 When I first read The Lord of the Rings in 1957 and for many years thereafter, I took such passages to be nothing more than a gentle running joke at the old hobbit’s expense. It seemed that besides finding ways to connect The Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit, Tolkien was also poking fun at his own book and its runaway length. I was aware, of course, of the Appendices at the end of volume 3, and took for granted that their Annals and Chronologies were there to convey to the reader that there was, however remotely, a story behind the story. Nevertheless, the possibility that there might also be a book behind the book—that Bilbo’s “book” might have developed a life of its own—did not occur to me. It did occur to Tolkien. He wanted to justify the fact that those oral narratives told at the Council of Elrond were now in print. One way to do that was to make somebody other than the “removed narrator” (Tolkien) responsible for writing them down—some character within the fiction. Since Bilbo was known to have literary inclinations (he recited poetry, and had already “written” The Hobbit), since he was one of the few characters with the leisure and freedom from care to spend his time in writing, he was the obvious choice. Indeed, in this context,

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and quite aside from their necessary contributions to plot and theme, Bilbo, his heir Frodo, and Frodo’s heir Sam,2 are the sequentially obvious choices. Moreover, they can be seen collectively as the next-to-last in the long line of transmitters, translators, redactors, scribes, and copyists who have produced the varied history of Middle-earth. These three are next-to-last because the last in the line is the primary author himself. Carrying the conceit about as far as it will go, Tolkien inserted his own name into the header and footer on the title-page of The Lord of the Rings (and thus into the history of the “book”), not as the author of the book but as its final transmitter/redactor. What appears to the first-time or untutored reader to be simply Tolkienian embellishment is in fact is a running inscription in Tolkien’s invented scripts of Cirth and Tengwar. It can be put into English as follows: “THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRANSLATED FROM THE RED BOOK [in Cirth] OF WESTMARCH BY JOHN RONALD REUEL TOLKIEN HEREIN IS SET FORTH THE HISTORY OF THE WAR OF THE RINGS AND THE RETURN OF THE KING AS SEEN BY THE HOBBITS [in Tengwar].” He is not inventing this story, the running script announces, he is merely translating and recording. With no other context in which to read it, this could easily be seen as mere playfulness, an author’s tongue-in-cheek send-up of his own authorial role. To be sure, Tolkien had done something similar, though with considerably less mythological rationale, in the runes on the dust-jacket of The Hobbit, where he was (and is) credited not as the author but as the“compiler” of Bilbo’s memoirs. During the course of the development of The Lord of the Rings, however, this strategy became as much a part of Tolkien’s overall scheme as Bilbo’s repeated references to finishing his book. If we accept the fictionalized Tolkien identified by the scripts in the header, then we must see that his persona of translator, just as much as those of Bilbo or Frodo or Sam as authors, is in the service of the “book.” This carries the “book” beyond an authorial conceit, or an imaginary artifact within the fictive world of Middle-earth, to make it an actual volume in the real world and in the reader’s hand. The more widely I read in Tolkien’s work, especially those parts of The History of Middle-earth that deal with oral story-telling and written transmission, the more clearly I began to see that this endeavor to account within the fiction for something intended to exist outside it was a conscious and deliberate strategy on Tolkien’s part.

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Now that I have at last caught up with him, I propose to examine what I see as his intentional, interconnected efforts to bridge the fictive world of the story and the outside, real world, to connect inside with outside and fantasy with actuality through the idea of the book. The place to start is with the inside world. Here, the “book” is a conceit, an entirely fictive construct whose reality exists solely within and depends entirely upon the sub-created world, where it is designed to be both the rationale for and integration of all Tolkien’s major fiction. Within the Middle-earth of The Lord of the Rings, its precursor volume, The Hobbit, is presented as Bilbo’s “memoirs,” the beginning of the book he “will do [his] best to finish” at Rivendell so that he can go on to write “the second book.”3 This serial volume concept will eventually extend itself both forward and backward in time, and will culminate in a comprehensive, “real,” imaginary construct—the Red Book of Westmarch. Granted, the whole world of Middle-earth is an imaginary construct, a sub-creation. The Red Book takes the idea one step further to become a sub-sub-creation that is intended paradoxically to give rise to a real creation in the real world. In “The Interlace Structure of The Lord of the Rings,” one of the all-time best articles on Tolkien, Richard West suggests that Tolkien’s “use of the imaginary ‘Red Book of Westmarch’ is a medieval tradition adapted for a modern audience.”4 Richard was writing in 1975, before the publication of The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth, but he was certainly on the right track about what Tolkien was doing. I intend to explore how and why Tolkien was doing it. As to how, it seems clear that Tolkien’s Red Book was intended to echo the great medieval manuscript books whose names sound like an Andrew Lang color series for the Middle Ages—The White Book of Rhydderch, the Black Book of Carmarthen, the Yellow Book of Lecan, and most important as his immediate color model, the real Red Book of Hergest. These are unique, anonymously authored manuscripts, collections of stories from different periods by different narrators, and brought under one cover by a scribe or copyist. As artifacts, these books may well be centuries younger than the stories they preserve. They are almost certainly copies of copies of copies of much earlier manuscripts now lost. The fictive Red Book of Westmarch is the same, but different. Like the real-world books, it is imagined as a manuscript collection of tales from many periods. Like them, it has been copied and re-copied. Chris-

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topher Tolkien has noted that “in the original edition of The Lord of the Rings Bilbo gave to Frodo at Rivendell as his parting gift ‘some books of lore that he had made at various times, written in his spidery hand and labeled on their red backs: Translations from the Elvish, by B.B.’” But he adds that “in the second edition (1966) ‘some books’ was changed to ‘three books.’” It is important to note that with this change, these three books had grown from “lore” to become “a work of great skill and learning in which . . . [Bilbo] had used all the sources available to him in Rivendell, both living and written.”5 The Foreword to the first edition of The Lord of the Rings also mentions that a copy of the Red Book is kept with the Fairbairns of Westmarch who are “descended from . . . Master Samwise.”6 Expanding the range, the Prologue to the second edition lists copies in the Shire housed at Undertowers (home of the Fairbairns), at Great Smials (home of the Tooks), and at Brandy Hall (home of the Brandybucks), as well as a copy kept at Minas Tirith in Gondor.7 In addition, and like the real Red Book, by the time of the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s Red Book is a compendium of different stories from sources both “living and written” stretching over many different periods and finally brought together in one place. Unlike its medieval prototypes, Tolkien’s Red Book has a traceable genealogy from earlier manuscripts, as well as a more coherent body of narrative than do many of the real-world books. Clearly, as Tolkien’s concept grew, so grew the genealogy of the Red Book, from the first edition’s ill-defined “lore” to the second edition’s combination of orallytransmitted information (the “living” sources) with material copied from written records that clearly reached farther and farther back into Middle-earth’s pre-history. At first, according to the Foreword in the first edition of The Lord of the Rings, that narrative was intended to be “drawn for the most part from the ‘memoirs’ of the renowned Hobbits, Bilbo and Frodo, as they are preserved in the Red Book of Westmarch . . . compiled, repeatedly copied, and enlarged and handed down in the family of the Fairbairns of Westmarch . . . supplemented . . . in places, with information derived from the surviving records of Gondor, notably the Book of the Kings. . . .”8 A few sentences later, The Hobbit is referred to as a “selection” from the Red Book.9 However, by the time of the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, the Red Book had reached back into the First and Second Ages for its sources, and was extended both backwards and forwards in terms of

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transmitters. It acquired a line of identifiable author-redactors. Among them Eriol/Ælfwine, Rúmil, Pengoloð, Gilfanon, and Findagil, as well as Bilbo and Frodo. From the “Note on the Shire Records” appended to the Prologue of the second edition we learn that the Red Book is now “in origin [compare with the first edition’s drawn for the most part] Bilbo’s private diary [The Hobbit]” (emphasis mine), added to by Frodo and then by Sam (The Lord of the Rings); but also that “annexed to it and preserved with it . . . were the three large volumes, bound in red leather that Bilbo gave to [Frodo] as a parting gift.”10 The key word is annexed, making clear what before was implicit, that the volumes, whether lore or work of great skill and learning, were to be attached to the more recently-written private diary added to by Frodo and Sam. Now as to why Tolkien was furthering this conceit. From the “Note on the Shire Records” I draw the fairly obvious conclusion that Tolkien’s final scheme envisioned the combined set of these three volumes (Bilbo’s “Translations”) plus The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as comprising the “ideal” or archetypal Red Book of Westmarch. Moreover, I propose that this archetypal “book” was intended this to encompass the entirety of his major fiction. The “Note” makes the point that only the copy at Minas Tirith in Gondor “contains the whole of Bilbo’s ‘Translations from the Elvish’”11 and thus includes all three author/translators—Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam. Thus the Red Book is written in what we might (with some license) call a Middle-earth equivalent of the “AB” language, since it shows traces of having originally been written by a scribe or scribes from a specific linguistic area and sharing a specific orthography.12 But what exactly are these “translations” of Bilbo’s? We assume they are“The Silmarillion,” but what does that really mean in practical terms? What particular, specific texts might Bilbo have been imagined as using, and how was he supposed to have found them? As to where he might have found them, both the passage from The Book of Lost Tales I quoted above and the 1966 “Note on the Shire Records” added in the second edition of The Lord of the Rings show that over time Tolkien settled on Rivendell as the final repository. This is supported by his 1966 statement in an interview with Richard Plotz that The Silmarillion might be published as Bilbo’s “research in Rivendell”13 Thus we have both written and oral confirmation of the content of those three annexed and preserved volumes. That the actual texts of the stories were revised even more than the location of their eventual resting-place is less important in the present

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context than the scheme by which they were to be preserved. In answer to the question of what text Bilbo was using, the earliest candidate is likely to have been the Golden Book of Tavrobel, the record made by Eriol the Mariner of the tales he heard in what was to become Valinor.14 The Golden Book as repository for the tales appears in Outline C of Tolkien’s 1917 school notebook: “Eriol. . . . Goes to Tavrobel to see Gilfanon and sojourns in the house of a Hundred Chimneys. . . . Gilfanon bids him write down all he has heard. . . . The book lay [sic] untouched . . . during many ages of Men. The compiler of the Golden Book takes up the Tale: one of the children of the fathers of the fathers of Men. [Against this is written:] It may perhaps be much better to let Eriol himself see the last things and finish the book.”15 And in the prefatory note to an “exceedingly difficult text titled Epilogue” is written: “Eriol flees with the fading Elves from the Battle of the High Heath. . . . The last words of the book of Tales. Written by Eriol at Tavrobel before he sealed the book” and left it in the House of the Hundred Chimneys, “where it lieth still for such to read as may.”16 It had not “lain still” for very long before it picked up another author/ scribe, a shadowy compiler called Heorrenda17 (the son of Eriol who later became Ælfwine), and became the Golden Book of Heorrenda. This need not detain us, though it did lead Christopher Tolkien to caution future scholars that “in the early notes and outlines there are different conceptions of the Golden Book.”18 The confusion between a book either “finished” or “sealed” by Eriol and the notion of a later “compiler” who would add to it is due to its creator’s continual re-visioning of the concept, leading to those “different conceptions” to which Christopher alludes, and culminating decades later in Tolkien’s runic posture as the last compiler. If we could posit a straight shot from the Golden Book to the Red Book, we might suppose Tolkien to have been launching his own color series to rival the actual ones. Of course, it is not that simple. Later redactions and “translations” intervened between the two books, as well as the not inconsiderable problem of having the earlier book escape the Downfall of Númenor and manage to survive the re-making of the world. Somehow, the ‘book’ had to get from the old world to the new one, and from the House of a Hundred Chimneys to Rivendell, the most likely place where it could be available to Bilbo. Moreover, several languages were involved, for while the stories of the First Age were presumed to have been written in the early Anglo-Saxon of Eriol/Ælfwine, the later versions of the

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great tales of Beren and Lúthien and Túrin Turambar were supposed to be in “Elvish” (most probably Sindarin). In order to be read by any modern audience, both languages had to be “translated” into modern English or “Common Speech.“ Moreover, this had to be done by someone whom Tolkien could fictively authenticate as a translator. As his vision changed in the course of the re-visions of forty years, so did his concept of the “book,” the redactor, and the putative translator, though not the strategy that lay behind the invention of all these. Over the years, “Golden” was dropped from the title, Eriol/Ælfwine as redactor was diminished, Heorrenda disappeared, and the book became just “the Book of Stories” or “the Book of Tales,” arriving in Númenor in time for the Downfall, and barely making it to Beleriand ahead of the tidal wave. To untangle all these complexities would demand not just special skill but Elvish craft, and is beyond the capacity of the present discussion. I simply want to establish the centrality of the idea of a physical book, by whomever written and however titled, as the source and archetype for a publishable volume. And that is where the inside conceit connects to the external reality of the world outside Middle-earth, where Tolkien’s concept of the “book” was to be not just an imaginary construct, but also a hoped-for actuality. For publication in the real world was his ultimate goal. Like any author, he wanted his work to be read, and for that to happen it had to be between covers and on bookstore shelves. Within the fiction, he might imagine the Golden Book “lying untouched” in the House of a Hundred Chimneys, but outside the fiction, he wanted somebody to discover and publish it. Among the problems inherent in writing a fictive mythology was how to get it published as fiction but authenticate it as a mythology. At the time Tolkien was writing, collections of folk- and fairy-tales from Ireland to India had been and were being collected, published, and eagerly read by those whose interests lay in this area. The Folklore movement was in full swing. Not just the Grimms in Germany, but Jeremiah Curtin and Lady Gregory in Ireland, Lady Charlotte Guest in Wales, Joseph Jacobs in England, Moe and Asbjørnsen in Norway, John Francis Campbell in the West Highlands of Scotland, and Elias Lönnrot in Finland had been and were providing a wealth of myth and folklore for their respective cultures. Tolkien’s inside strategy had been to buttress his story by creating an imaginary artifact with the potential to be an actual outside volume

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publishable in the real world—the book behind the book, Bilbo’s scholarly source. In the curious way that life has of imitating art, just such a scholarly source was actually discovered at a crucial point in the arc of Tolkien’s invention—when a version of “The Silmarillion” was near completion and before The Lord of the Rings was begun. This real-world analogue was the manuscript discovered in 1934 in the Fellows’ Library of Winchester College, a major text in Arthurian mythology that pre-dated and was the obvious source for William Caxton’s 1485 printed edition of Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. In the context of Tolkien’s vision, it was at once a serendipitous validation of the Golden Book, in that the Winchester too had been waiting undiscovered for “such to read as may,” and a foreshadowing of his Red Book in that it brought a diversity of interrelated sources under one cover. Like many fortunate discoveries, this one came about by accident. In June of 1934, while cataloguing and describing the early book-bindings of the Fellows’ Library at Winchester College, the School Librarian, W.F. Oakeshott, obtained permission to open the safe in the bedroom of the College Warden. He needed to fill in gaps in his knowledge of the Library’s holdings, and the safe contained the medieval manuscripts. Here is Oakeshott’s account of what he found: I . . . was dashed to see at a glance that on the twenty or thirty manuscripts not a single medieval binding remained. . . . It was a disappointment. But . . . I pulled them out one by one and ran through one after another. . . . One was very fat, some 480 leaves, paper not vellum, the text prose not verse, clearly about King Arthur and his Knights, but lacking a beginning or an end. Be it admitted to my shame that I had never read Malory, and my knowledge of him was about as sketchy as my knowledge of most things has alas had to remain. But I made a vague mental note of this prose Arthurian manuscript, and passed on to the next item.19

Oakeshott put the book back in the safe and went home to dinner. A few weeks later, preparing for an exhibit of early printed books including some by Caxton’s successor Wynkyn de Worde, he consulted a reference work and came across a sentence which, he said, “made my heart miss a beat”: “The compilation of the Morte d’Arthur was finished in 1469, but of the compiler little is known save the name . . . No manuscript of

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the work is known, and though Caxton certainly revised it, exactly to what extent has never been settled.”20 The penny dropped. Oakeshott went straight to a bookshop, purchased the Everyman edition of the Morte D’Arthur, and asked permission to re-open the safe. Comparing the Everyman with the prose Arthurian manuscript, he realized straight away that the latter was not just a version of Malory; it was the manuscript of which Caxton’s was the printed version. It was, as the colophon21 makes clear, the “hoole book” of King Arthur. The news immediately hit the papers, appearing in the Daily Telegraph on 24 June and with follow-up stories in the Times on 26 June 26 and 25 August. Writing in his diary on Monday, 27 August 1934, C.S. Lewis’s brother Warnie Lewis cited: “Saturday’s Times which contains the very interesting news that the only known MS of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur has just been discovered in the library of Winchester College.”22 The dean of Arthurian studies, Eugène Vinaver, asked to see the manuscript, took on the job of editing it, and in 1947 published the three-volume Works of Sir Thomas Malory from Oxford University Press. Vinaver had been a lecturer in French language and literature at Lincoln College, Oxford from 1924 to 1928, and university lecturer in French from 1928 to 1931.23 At the time of the discovery, he had moved to the University of Manchester, where he would later collaborate with Tolkien’s friend E.V. Gordon on a textual comparison of the Winchester and Caxton Malorys. In 1935, Vinaver gave a talk to the Arthurian Society at Oxford on “Malory’s Morte Darthur in the Light of a Recent Discovery,” the recent discovery being the Winchester manuscript. C.S. Lewis attended the lecture, as shown by a letter he subsequently wrote Vinaver inquiring about the meaning of a particular word and phrase.24 It seems more than probable that Tolkien would also have attended Vinaver’s talk. He would hardly have missed this opportunity to learn more at first hand about so important a discovery—a new text in what was then, and remains today (Tolkien notwithstanding), England’s only native mythology. He would certainly have had a professional interest in the Winchester, first as a scholar (indeed, Lewis also consulted Tolkien on the textual problem25), second as the writer of a competitive workin-progress, and third as an at-that-point unpublished author. Here was a discovery of a manuscript book of historical significance that, in

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circumstances uncannily like his fictive ones, had been lying untouched in plain sight for centuries. Furthermore it was going to be published. The event affected Tolkien in at least two areas, one internal to the fiction, one external and related to his real-world problem as an author. First, the internal influence. I propose that the Winchester manuscript was the model for the book Sam Gamgee conjures in the conversation about stories on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol. In that passage so unnecessary to the plot but so appropriate in the context of Tolkien’s mythmaking strategy, Sam has been musing on the nature of stories, and on their serial transmission and continuance over many years. He tells Frodo he wants their story to be “put into words told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards.”26 Such specificity suggests reference to an actual book, a volume of stories from periods long years before. Tolkien was familiar with medieval manuscripts, and knew that they come in all sizes. He knew the Beowulf codex, MS Cotton Vitellius A.xv, a modest, quarto-size book whose individual sections begin with large initial letters but which is otherwise devoid of calligraphic decoration. He knew the manuscript of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, MS Cotton Nero A.x, for which he had edited the standard scholarly edition, and of which he made his own translation. Like the Beowulf, the Gawain codex is a modest quarto, though it does have ten full-page color illustrations, rare for a medieval manuscript. It also has ornamental colored capitals. However, neither book could properly be described as “great big,” and neither makes a good match with Sam’s description. Tolkien also knew (or knew of ) the great medieval illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells or the Book of Durrow, folio size and thus plausibly describable as “great big,” with interlace borders and elaborate initial letters in many colors. These match somewhat better with Sam’s imaginary book; nevertheless, they are a long way from a perfect fit. There is one manuscript book that does fit Sam’s description to a T, and that is the Winchester Malory. Like Sam’s, it is a “great big book,” a folio, not a quarto, of 480 leaves, copied out from an earlier, now lost manuscript by two different scribes. Like Sam’s, it is a collection of stories. Most important for my argument is Sam’s phrase “with red and black letters.” This is the connecting link, for the Winchester manuscript is emphatically in red and black letters. While the narrative portions are in standard black ink, the proper names and all references to the Grail are carefully written in red ink. Thus, red and black letters appear on

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nearly every page. The introduction to the Early English Text Society facsimile edition of the Winchester manuscript cites this as a “remarkable feature,”27 one that, so far as I know, is unique to this manuscript. In light of this, Tolkien’s desire to have the “fiery letters” of the Ring inscription printed in red28 deserves new consideration. In addition, his own calligraphic manuscript page of The Tale of the Years, a color plate of which appears as the frontispiece of Morgoth’s Ring, is carefully written out in red and black. Christopher Tolkien has called this“among the most beautiful [manuscripts] that he made,”29 and much of the effect comes from the use of the two colors. In both these instances, the specific red and black motif seems likely to have been inspired by the Winchester Malory. Now for the external effect. It has to do with those three extra volumes annexed to the primary or nuclear Red Book. Quite unlike the medieval Red Book, the White Book, the Black Book, the Yellow Book, and all the other manuscript books of the Middle Ages, the Winchester manuscript could trace a clear line of descent from earlier texts. The author, Sir Thomas Malory, made no secret of the fact that he had drawn on previously existing sources, as his frequent references to the “Frenssh boke” make clear. Malory’s “Frenssh boke” is in fact a number of texts in both French and English that were available to readers on both sides of the Channel in the years when he was writing his great work. The stories of the Coming of Arthur, the romances of Tristan and Iseult and of Lancelot and Guinevere, the transcendent story of Galahad and the Grail Quest, and the final tragedy of the Death of Arthur, were to be found in various existing manuscripts. Among these were the cycle (from which only fragments survive) of Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie, Merlin, and Perceval; the Queste del Saint Graal; the prose Tristan; the French Vulgate Cycle, especially the Morte Artu; the anonymously authored Suite du Merlin that is the basis for the Post-Vulgate Cycle; and the Middle English Alliterative and Stanzaic Morte poems on the Death of Arthur. All were ready to hand. With due allowance for poetic license and his own genius, Malory “translated” them into his own Middle English. Caxton’s printed edition of Malory had fueled the speculation of scholars, but here was more immediate, primary manuscript evidence. Where Caxton had divided his printed edition into many chapters, the Winchester Malory is divided into a number of separate but interlaced “‘bokes,”30 each given a separate title, and all but one, “The Tale of Sir

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Gareth of Orkney That Was Called Bewmaynes,” having an identifiable outside source or sources. All the books are directly focused on the Matter of Britain, the interconnected sequence of myths and legends about Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. This coherent content of myth and legend, stretching over a considerable span of time, fits remarkably with Tolkien’s letter to Milton Waldman outlining his scheme for his own mythology: I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story . . . . It should . . . be redolent of our “air” (the clime and soil of the North West, meaning Britain and the hither parts of Europe . . . . and while possessing (if I could achieve it) the fair elusive beauty that some call Celtic . . . it should be “high”, purged of the gross . . . . The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.31

If we did not know better, and with the exception of the phrase “purged of the gross” (such as the adultery which is the plot pivot of the Arthurian story) we might easily imagine Tolkien to be describing the corpus of Arthurian myth and legend rather than his own mythology. It is not unreasonable to conjecture that he was on a very private level comparing the two. It takes a special kind of confident imagination to make the leap from Malory’s actual synthesis of earlier texts to the Red Book’s fictive annexation of those three volumes with their separate but interconnected stories of the Singing of the Ainur, of Fëanor and the Silmarils, the romance of Beren and Lúthien, the tragedies of Thingol and Túrin, and the apotheosis of Eärendel. I argue that Tolkien had that kind of imagination and that he made that leap. To position Bilbo as not just the narrator of The Hobbit and part of The Lord of the Rings, but also, through his “researches in Rivendell,” as the translator and redactor of the earlier “book” (by whatever title it had acquired by then), is to place that unassuming hobbit on a fictive editorial footing with Malory, and equally, to put Tolkien’s Red Book on a Middle-earth par with the Winchester manuscript. My external argument extends beyond the discovery of the Winchester in 1934 to its publication in 1947.32 I suggest that this publication offered Tolkien not just a conceptual model, but a possible precedent as well. I propose this as a conjectural rationale for what otherwise seemed

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then, as it does now, his impractical and unrealistic insistence on twofold publication—having“The Silmarillion” and The Lord of the Rings brought out together. With the advantage of over fifty years’ hindsight, we can see that there could not have been an audience for “The Silmarillion” until The Lord of the Rings created one, a circumstance that effectively precluded dual publication in the mid-twentieth century. No such hindsight was available to Tolkien. In its absence, the successful publication of the Winchester might have suggested to him that there could be an audience for so large a mythological work if it were presented in such a way as to attract that audience. As was the Winchester. Vinaver described his goal in editing that manuscript as “the endeavour to produce the text in a form similar to that of a modern work of fiction,”33 and the motive was clearly to make it readable for a nonscholarly audience. If Vinaver could present a scholarly mythology in a form similar to that of modern fiction, why could not Tolkien publish his modern fiction in the form of a mythology? If despite post-war austerity, production costs, and paper shortages the Winchester manuscript could be brought out in a three-volume edition,34 perhaps Tolkien’s combined work could get similar treatment. Although such twofold publication was impractical in terms not just of production expenses (letters between Tolkien and Sir Stanley Unwin during these years refer to paper shortages and mounting costs), but also of sales, he clung to that hope for three years, from 1949, when he first approached Milton Waldman at Collins publishers, to 1952, when he gave in and gave up. It was then that he wrote to Rayner Unwin, “I have rather modified my views. Better something than nothing!”35 and settled for publishing The Lord of the Rings alone. In addition to suggesting a possible rationale for an unrealistic hope, these circumstances may throw additional light on another and equally idiosyncratic aspect of Tolkien’s stance as a British writer at that time. This was his dismissal of the story of King Arthur as the primary candidate for England’s mythology. In his 1951 letter laying out the case for his own mythos to Milton Waldman, he had acknowledged the corpus of Arthurian material generally called the Matter of Britain, conceding that, “of course there was and is [my emphasis] all the Arthurian world.” Nevertheless, he maintained that “powerful as it is,” it did not meet his criteria. His grounds for its ineligibility were that its story was “imperfectly naturalized” (that is, native to the soil but

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not the language of England), that its Faery was “too lavish,” and that it “explicitly contain[ed] the Christian religion.”36 That it contained explicit Christianity is beyond question, for the Grail Quest had been an integral part of the story since the late twelfth century. That its Faery was too lavish is of course a matter of opinion. Imperfectly naturalized it might have been considered, though this again is a matter of opinion and open to question. However, this last judgment has a direct bearing on Tolkien’s real reason for preferring his own myth, that in it he had created, as Christopher Tolkien has pointed out, “a specifically English [i.e. not British like Arthur] fairy lore.”37 Nevertheless, and even though the explicit “Englishness” of his own mythos diminished over the years, at the time when Tolkien wrote his letter, the story of Arthur was newly in print while his mythology was not. Had his negotiations with Waldman and Collins succeeded, the hoped-for tandem publication of “The Silmarillion” and The Lord of the Rings would have put Tolkien’s mythological“book,” which he described to Milton Waldman as “one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings”38 on a competitive level with its Arthurian counterpart.39 It would have brought to fruition his ambition of dedicating a mythology to England, one that would rival the Arthurian one in actuality as well as in his private vision. It was not to be. Not in its author’s lifetime, at any rate. However, though this was for him a deep disappointment—indeed, Christopher Tolkien describes it as “grief to him” and cites his “despair of publication”40—the delay may not in other respects have been the drawback that it at first appeared. Ultimately, the dream deferred only increased the resemblance between Tolkien’s fictive “book” and his most recent real-world model, for both were forced by circumstances to lie for years in one or another repository, uncatalogued and unread, before being rescued from obscurity, edited, and published for modern readers. As circumstances turned out, it was neither Eriol/Ælfwine nor Heorrenda, not even Bilbo Baggins, but Christopher Tolkien who finally produced in its entirety his father’s“hoole book,” the multi-volume History of Middleearth. Only the continuing popularity of The Lord of the Rings made possible the publication, three decades and more after that narrative’s first appearance, of the vast and multi-voiced manuscript book that had lain unaccessed for so many years waiting for “such to read as may.” And that is we who come after, the generations following Tolkien who have found his “book” in all its aspects worthy not just of readerly

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enjoyment but also of scholarly study, of serious critical and textual examination through which we labor to enhance without dissecting his vision. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 2nd ed., 1 vol. (London: HarperCollins, 1991 [i.e. 1994]), 263, 271. 2. The participation of Frodo and Sam in the book project was set out in the Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings. Since that chapter was omitted from the published text, the account of their contributions to the book appears only in chapter 11 of Sauron Defeated (1992), “The Epilogue.” 3. This “supplement” enhances the likeness to the Red Book of Hergest, whose second volume (the first contains the Mabinogion) is the Bruts or Stories of the Kings. 4. Richard C. West, “The Interlace Structure of The Lord of the Rings,” in A Tolkien Compass, ed. Jared Lobdell (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 1975), 91. 5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 1 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 5. 6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1st ed., 3 vols. (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954–55), 1:8. 7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 2nd ed., 14. 8. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1st ed., 1:7. 9. Ibid. 10. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 2nd ed., 14. 11. Ibid. 12. On p. 108 of his essay “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad,” published in Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association 14 (1929), Tolkien had argued for “a closeness of relationship between the language and the spelling of two distinct MSS. and hands that is astonishing, if not (as I believe) unique.” He proposed that the scribes of these two manuscripts had used a language and orthography so nearly identical that the Ancrene Wisse (Language A) and Hali Meiðhad (Language B) were “in fact in one language and spelling (AB).” 13. Richard Plotz, “J.R.R. Tolkien Talks about the Discovery of Middleearth,” Seventeen, January 1967: 118. 14. The tales therein, “The Music of the Ainur” and the earliest accounts of Valinor, the Trees, and the Noldor, “The Fall of Gondolin,” “The Tale of Tinúviel,” “Turambar and the Foalókë,” “The Nauglafring,” and “The Tale of Eärendel,” are in essence the Lost Tales, the earliest versions of the central stories of “The Silmarillion.” 15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 2 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), 283. 16. Ibid., 287.

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17. Heorrenda was also Tolkien’s choice for the name of the Beowulf-poet, one more indication of his early attempt to attach his mythology to English tradition. 18. Stated in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Shaping of Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 4 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986), 274. 19. Walter F. Oakeshott, “The Finding of the Manuscript,” in Essays on Malory, ed. J.A.W. Bennett (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), 3. 20. Oakeshott, 4. 21. The colophon survives only in the Pierpont Morgan Library Caxton, and until the discovery of the Winchester manuscript, the word“hoole” was misread as “booke” and deleted on grounds of redundancy. Vinaver reads the correct colophon as making Malory’s reference “crystal clear: the ‘whole book’ is the series which is here concluded” (The Works of Sir Thomas Malory, ed. Eugene Vinaver, 3rd ed. rev. P.J.C. Field [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990], 1:xlv). 22. Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis, ed. Clyde S. Kilby and Marjorie Lamp Mead (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982), 155. 23. Vinaver was founder in 1927 of the Arthurian Society in Oxford, and the first editor of its journal Arthuriana, which in 1931 expanded its scope and changed its name to Medium Ævum. Tolkien was one of the founding members of the Arthurian Society, and addressed the Society on Beowulf at a meeting in Hilary Term of 1932. He was also a member of the journal’s editorial board. (I am indebted to Mr. Alan Reynolds for pointing me in this direction.) 24. C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, vol. 2, ed. Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 166. 25. The question was whether the word hole in the phrase “hole of the tree” meant“bole of the tree” or, as Tolkien suggested when Lewis consulted him,“fork of the tree,” from Old English healh ’ Latin angulus “fork.” Vinaver apparently preferred bole, which is what his edition uses (1:255). However, the phrase as it appears in the manuscript, “at the holy of the tre hongys a basyn [basin] of couper [copper] and latyne [brass]” (Sir Thomas Malory, The Winchester Malory: A Facsimile [London: Oxford University Press, 1976], f. 97) could mean either, since the initial letter in holy can be read as either h or b. Tolkien’s conjecture, therefore, is plausible, and the whole incident is evidence for the high level of scholarly interest the discovery engendered in the academic community. 26. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 2nd ed., 697. 27. Malory, The Winchester Malory, xiv. 28. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1977), 217. 29. J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 10 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), 49.

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30. Hence the necessary colophon at the end of the last book that established all of them as comprising the “hoole book.” 31. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 144–45. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 32. Coincidentally, this lengthy period between discovery and publication is echoed in the equally lengthy stretch between Tolkien’s December 1937 start on the “new Hobbit” that became The Lord of the Rings and his 1951 letter to Milton Waldman making the case for dual publication. 33. Malory, Works, vi. 34. It is one of the ironies of fate (or of the publishing business) that even without “The Silmarillion” and due entirely to the need to spread out production costs, The Lord of the Rings, like the Winchester, was first published in three volumes (though in the case of The Lord of the Rings this was also spread out over two years). Also like the Winchester, it had been written as a sequence of separate but interconnected books. Both were later published in one-volume editions. 35. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Rayner Unwin, 22 June 1952, in Letters, 163. 36. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 144. 37. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, 290. 38. Tolkien, to Milton Waldman, probably late 1951, in Letters, 139. 39. In this context, it is worth noting that Tolkien characterized the last departure of Bilbo and Frodo by ship into the West as “an Arthurian ending” (Sauron Defeated, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 9 of The History of Middle-earth [London: HarperCollins, 1992], 132). 40. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring, vii, viii.

The Mainstreaming of Fantasy and the Legacy of The Lord of the Rings Douglas A. Anderson

T

he critical antipathy towards Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, beginning with Edmund Wilson’s 1956 review“Oo, Those Awful Orcs,” has been sufficiently analyzed,1 and the fact that the literary academy hasn’t understood Tolkien is now well-known. In part, this miscomprehension reflects the mid-twentieth century modernist’s distrust of fantasy—especially, as with The Lord of the Rings, fantasy in the form of heroic romance2—which is apparent in the movement’s wholesale attempt over many years to relegate it to the nursery. But this distrust also shows in the fact that while most of these literati not only fail to understand this kind of fantasy as a form of literature, they additionally lack the critical language and vocabulary to write about it. The easiest response for them is simple rejection. Yet there was a portion of Tolkien’s initial readership that did understand what he was doing—immediately and enthusiastically—and that group was from the science fiction community, the fans of a genre long marginalized by the literati. On publication, the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings made a considerable splash in the review columns of the major science fiction magazines. Genre heavyweight reviewers like Anthony Boucher in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding Science Fiction, L. Sprague de Camp in Science Fiction Quarterly, Groff Conklin and Floyd C. Gale in Galaxy Science Fiction, all weighed in on Tolkien, early, and with enthusiasm.3 And it was from the science fiction community that came the first attempt to film The Lord of the Rings. The famous 1958 Morton Grady Zimmerman film treatment—a version of which is housed in the Tolkien Collection at Marquette—was brought to Tolkien’s attention by science fiction’s self-proclaimed number one fan, Forrest J. Ackerman. “Forry” Ackerman had been very active in fandom since the early 1930s, and he is today credited with originating the shuddersome term sci-fi. On

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September 4th, 1957, Ackerman appeared on Tolkien’s doorstep, literally, along with a number of associates. A taxi had brought them to Oxford all the way from London, unloading what Tolkien himself described as “strange men and stranger women.” He continued: “I thought the taxi would never stop disgorging.”4 Ackerman and his associates were in England for the fifteenth World Science Fiction Convention, which was being held that weekend at the King’s Court Hotel in London. Worldcons are now a longstanding tradition, and thousands of fans attend each year. The 1957 Worldcon was the first that was held in England; indeed it was the first one to be held outside of North America. In comparison with modern Worldcons, it was a much, much smaller affair, with only around 270 attendees.5 In addition to attending Worldcon as a fan, Forry Ackerman was also one of the dozen-plus judges of the International Fantasy Award, a short-lived award that was first given out in 1951, just prior to the nowfamous Hugo Awards (begun in 1953), which seem to have edged the International Fantasy Awards into oblivion. Ackerman and others like Anthony Boucher, P. Schuyler Miller, British editor Ted Carnell, and the Wisconsin author and publisher August Derleth had selected The Lord of the Rings as the winner of the 1957 Award.6 Tolkien’s award was not presented at the convention proper, but at a luncheon at the Criterion Restaurant in London on Tuesday, September 10th, the day after the convention had officially ended. Tolkien’s publisher Stanley Unwin spoke at the luncheon. According to one report, Unwin told the luncheon crowd that “any publisher knew what to expect when he issued a book in three volumes—sales of the first volume, good; of the second, rather fewer; and of the third, hardly any. But the normal tendency had been reversed with the appearance of The Lord of the Rings.”7 Clemence Dane, a playwright and novelist who in the mid-1950s edited a series of science fictional “Novels of Tomorrow,” presented the award to Tolkien, proclaiming, quite fittingly, about Tolkien’s novel: “There is nothing in modern literature to rival it.”8 In accepting the award, Tolkien was handed a large chrome rocket ship, about twenty inches high, mounted on a wooden base with a matching Ronson lighter.9 He admitted: “I never stopped a rocket before. They had better not know about this in Oxford.”10 But he was also reported to have said that he could see the funny side of a Professor of English “who should be doing learned works” winning such an award. “But of course,” he said, “my answer is that it is a learned work.”11

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Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke was one of the people who attended the luncheon, and he has written:“My only recollection of that occasion is Tolkien pointing out to me his diminutive publisher”—Stanley Unwin was not a tall man—“and whispering to me: ‘now you see where I got the idea of Hobbits.’”12 A good jest, of course, but as we know, not a true statement, for Tolkien’s hobbits long predated his first meeting of Stanley Unwin.13 Ted Carnell recalled the occasion as follows: “Tolkien, incidentally, protested quite strongly about receiving the award in 1957 and was not at all keen to travel to London to receive it. He did appear, however, and seemed completely vague as to what the whole thing was about and was only too pleased to retreat to his college and apparently forget all about the occasion.”14 This same sentiment is echoed by a fan historian, Rob Hansen, who wrote in his 1989 history of British fandom that Tolkien was “visibly relieved when it was time to return home.”15 Another science fiction fan historian, Harry Warner, Jr., has noted that the Tolkien craze erupted in fandom in that year, and that it is uncertain whether the International Fantasy Award given to Tolkien in 1957 was the cause of the eruption or an effect of it.16 Science fiction fandom had been well-organized since the early 1930s, with many small magazines, or fanzines, being issued by individual fans. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s famous article on Tolkien,“Men, Halflings and Hero Worship,”17 originated in 1961 as a booklet she circulated within the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, a fanzine distribution service that sent one copy of each member’s fanzine to every other member in a regular group mailing. Bradley was at that time already a professional fiction writer—her first novel The Door through Space also came out in 1961. Twenty-two years would pass before she published her most-famous work, the best-selling novel The Mists of Avalon. Lin Carter’s 1969 book Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings had its origin in a series of three articles published in 1961–62 in Dick and Pat Lupoff ’s legendary science fiction fanzine Xero.18 Tolkien was himself aware of some of the response generated in science fiction fanzines by The Lord of the Rings. A 1960 British fanzine named Triode (published by Eric Bentcliffe in Sheffield), containing an article on the possibilities of filming The Lord of the Rings, was sent to Tolkien.19 He sent a letter in reply, which was duly quoted in the next issue: “my experience with scripts and ‘story-line’ has warned me that only an overwhelming financial reward could possibly compensate an

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author for the horrors of the conversion of such a tale into film. Even when the pictorial part is very good.” Tolkien also added: “I am myself a member of the amorphous body of fandom, but I am afraid I do not often come across anything nowadays that seems very readable.”20 Tolkien’s writings quickly became familiar to science fiction readers. In 1960 The Lord of the Rings was chosen by the Science Fiction Book Club as their Christmas Extra selection, that is, an optional selection for members of the book club.21 Robert A. Heinlein’s novel, Glory Road (1963), includes at the beginning of chapter seven an unexplained pun on the word hobbit (“just don’t make a hobbit of it”), a reference which Heinlein’s readership was clearly expected to understand. And Vernor Vinge’s prescient 1967 short story, “The Accomplice,” set over twentyfive years in the future, is about the surreptitious making of a film of The Lord of the Rings, using advanced computer animation, that wins for the filmmakers an Oscar.22 Why were science fiction readers the first to embrace Tolkien? What of science fiction itself and its curious relationship to fantasy? The former has always been considered as forward-looking, focused on the future, while fantasy is the opposite, looking backwards towards the past. Yet since the time of H.G. Wells there have been a number of writers who write both fantasy and science fiction, and many readers, like Tolkien himself, who read both. As Tolkien wrote in February 1967 to Denis and Charlotte Plimmer, a couple of journalists who interviewed him and were preparing an article on him: “I read quite a lot—or more truly, try to read many books (notably so-called Science Fiction and Fantasy). But I seldom find any modern books that hold my attention.”23 And there are science fiction elements in some of Tolkien’s own works—especially in The Notion Club Papers, dating from the mid-1940s.24 What is fantasy, then? Or more specifically, what is fantasy literature? Very basically, fantasy is a type literature which makes deliberate use of something that is known to be impossible. Academics have tried unsuccessfully for many years to define it more precisely and to draw lines around it. Tolkien gets put in the fantasy box, but other writers like Jorge Luis Borges or Italo Calvino do not. Why is this so?25 I don’t wish to argue any of these points now, for truly the argument could be never-ending. But I can toss-up one answer, out of many possibilities: Tolkien wrote “fantasy” because when we go into a bookstore, we find Tolkien’s books in the section labeled fantasy or science fiction. Borges and Calvino are instead to be found in the literature section.

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Is there any real and defensible reason that these three authors aren’t shelved in the same section? Well no, and yes. Tolkien has become the figurehead of the genre of fantasy, whereas Borges and Calvino are—when considered as fantasists at all—eclectic fantasists. All three are superb writers, but neither Borges nor Calvino inspired an unceasing parade of imitators, spawning in some way a genre in its own right. Genre is important to all of the people who traffic in literary coin. Publishers use genre to sell books to a particular audience. Academics use it to classify books and to study them. Authors use it as a means to reach readers who may be interested in a certain type of book, and readers use it to find fiction of a type that they already like. The notion of genre, fluid though it may be, facilitates these goals, certainly in a bookstore—be it a virtual one or a brick-and-mortar one. This system is, of course, hugely imperfect. There has been a tradition of the fantastic in literature for thousands of years, going back to Homer and his Iliad and Odyssey, continuing on through the literature that Tolkien loved and taught as a professor at Oxford—Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Orfeo, etc. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there was a tradition of the fantastic in contemporary literature. It was even then not a subset of literature that appealed to readers across the board, but it was a growing and developing branch. Books written within this “romantic” tradition were, in the first half of the twentieth century, shelved in the bookstores right alongside the works of Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Developments in the publishing world, particularly the rise in the 1940s of mass market publishing—the pocket-sized paperbacks we all know today—changed all that. The Lord of the Rings itself did not appear in paperback until 1965, when it began to sell thousands and thousands of copies. The long-standing story that The Lord of the Rings was a kind of sleepy seller until the explosion of sales of the two American paperback editions in 1965 has always seemed wrong to me, and it needs to be debunked. According to the earliest published sales figures I can find—in an Oxford newspaper of February 1966—The Lord of the Rings had sold 200,000 copies of its U.K. edition by the end of 1965. That figure seems to me staggering. One can come up with a corresponding figure for American sales, based on the surviving printing records of Houghton Mifflin; and doing the calculations, one concludes that by

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the end of 1965, Houghton Mifflin had sold around 25,000 copies of each volume. The average print-run of a hardcover first novel has been for many years about 4,000 copies, and even today publishers are fairly happy with a sell-through of fifty percent on first novels. The Oxford newspaper article mentioned above is an interview with Tolkien by John Ezard.26 As Tolkien’s publisher Rayner Unwin (the son of Stanley Unwin) is also quoted in the interview, the sales figures presumably came directly from him.27 Six months later, Ezard did a further interview/profile of Tolkien which contains updated sales figures, stating that The Lord of the Rings had sold over a million sets in just over ten years.28 I suspect this figure is based on worldwide sales, including U.S. paperback editions. But any publisher, then or now, seeing sales on this order of magnitude would consider that they had an astonishing success. The response to Tolkien in the mid-1960s was fueled by publication of The Lord of the Rings in mass market paperback in the United States,29 first in a pirated edition, and soon after in a legitimate “authorized” edition. Publishers began to look around for other books that the people who liked Tolkien might want to read. Ballantine Books, who published the authorized paperback edition of the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, saw this opening in the marketplace, so they published editions of Mervyn Peake’s three Titus books, calling them “The Gormenghast Trilogy,” and E.R. Eddison’s Worm Ouroboros, and his three subsequent novels of Zimiamvia that could also be presented as a trilogy. Books published as trilogies quickly became a marketing tool.30 After the success of these initial follow-ups, Ballantine inaugurated their Adult Fantasy series. From 1969 through 1974, Ballantine published around seventy books in this series, most of them older books originally published in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, but some by new writers. The names of the authors published in this series reads like a who’s who of fantasy literature: Lord Dunsany, William Morris, George MacDonald, James Branch Cabell, David Lindsay, William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, Clark Ashton Smith, Evangeline Walton, etc., etc. My own anthology, Tales before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy,31 published in 2003, is a deliberate homage to the old Ballantine Adult Fantasy series.32 The Ballantine Adult Fantasy series was closed down in 1974, after the firm had been sold. The new people in charge included Judy-Lynn del Rey (formerly the science fiction editor at Ballantine), who was soon

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joined by her husband, the science fiction writer Lester del Rey. These two people deserve a large share of the credit—or the blame—for what happened afterwards to fantasy.33 Both of the del Reys were decidedly old-fashioned in their tastes, and when Judy-Lynn del Rey, soon after taking over at Ballantine, was accused of trying to set science fiction back thirty years, she didn’t deny it.34 Similarly, Lester del Rey, at a convention in early 1975, attempted to define what he wanted as a fantasy editor. He was asked: would he publish a latter-day Ernest Bramah (author of the Kai Lung stories, which had been republished in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series).“No, absolutely not,” he replied. What about Dunsany? “I would tell him that he didn’t need all that fancy style to tell a good story.”35 Basically, del Rey wanted plot and little else. The critic Darrell Schweitzer has described him as “purely a pulp editor, who saw fiction as product,” who “had no artistic pretensions at all” and who represented “that Depression-era, writer-as-working-stiff attitude at its very worst.”36 The del Reys took the view that fantasy, long a very small portion of overall fiction sales, could be a real mainstream success if packaged and promoted properly. Two authors were pulled out of the slush pile to prove their theory. The first was Terry Brooks, who had submitted a slavish imitation of The Lord of the Rings under the title The Sword of Shannara.37 Published in April of 1977, the del Reys added to the cover some hyperbole of a kind that is now so commonplace as to be meaningless: “For all those who have been looking for something to read since The Lord of the Rings.” Not only did The Sword of Shannara reach the bestseller lists, but it stayed there for over five months. The second unknown writer came with a similarly conventional fantasy land, but this work—conveniently already a trilogy—came with a most unusual main character, an unpleasant leper who is reluctant to believe in the fantasy world in which he finds himself. Lord Foul’s Bane, the first volume of the first trilogy by Stephen R. Donaldson, had been rejected by forty-seven publishers, but the del Reys made a second success out of a book that no other publisher wanted to publish.38 Not only were two careers born, but fantasy itself thereby became a publishing genre. Jealous at the success of the del Reys’ formula, other publishers jumped at the chance to do the same thing. Many succeeded, to differing degrees. The 1980s saw an enormous number of trilogies published, and sequel trilogies, until the magic number of three was discarded and a fantasy series could thereafter be any number of volumes. Both Terry Brooks

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and Stephen R. Donaldson published new entries in their representative series in 2004. And from a recent issue of Publisher’s Weekly we learn that since The Sword of Shannara was published in 1977, Terry Brooks has written twenty-three novels selling more than twenty-five million copies worldwide.39 With fantasy now an established publishing category in itself, and a cash-cow for publishers, the engines of commerce were found to need a regular supply of new product. Fantasy had become, as the distinguished fantasist Ursula K. Le Guin has said, “a commodity, an industry.” Le Guin further elaborated: Commodified fantasy takes no risks: it invents nothing, but imitates and trivializes. It proceeds by depriving the old stories of their intellectual and ethical complexity, turning their action to violence, their actors to dolls, and their truth-telling to sentimental platitude. Heroes brandish their swords, lasers, wands, as mechanically as combine harvesters, reaping profits. Profoundly disturbing moral choices are sanitized, made cute, made safe. The passionately conceived ideas of the great storytellers are copied, stereotyped, reduced to toys, molded in bright-colored plastic, advertised, sold, broken, junked, replaced, interchangeable.40

Le Guin is correct, so far as I can see.“Genre fantasy,” as it has come to be called,41 has become so omnipresent and so formulaic that teenagers can write it, and worse, be very successful at it. Christopher Paolini’s recent bestseller Eragon was written at the age of fifteen. Flavia Bujor’s The Prophecy of the Stones was written in six months when she was thirteen. Whatever qualities these books might have, style is not one of them.42 I couldn’t get past the first few pages of either book for the cliché-ridden prose. Are these kind of works the legacy of Tolkien? Well, perhaps inevitably they are in terms of the effect that Tolkien has had on popular culture. For myself I do not believe that Tolkien will have any one single legacy, but many differing legacies. In this instance Tolkien’s writings sparked the evolution of a new genre of literature in the latter half of the twentieth century. This so-called genre fantasy is merely a subset of fantasy literature in its broadest sense, even though at present it dominates the market. Tolkien cannot and should not be blamed for his imitators, nor for the proliferation of genre fantasy. But I think on

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a more elevated standard one of Tolkien’s legacies will be to have reintroduced the fantastic into the mainstream of literature. The amount of quality fantasy literature—fantasy in its best sense—being written and published today is perhaps higher than it has been ever before. I think of writers like Ursula K. Le Guin with her Taoist Earthsea series; Robert Holdstock with his Jungian fantasies of Mythago Wood; Jonathan Carroll, whose urbane and slick novels feature strange irruptions of the fantastic into our ordinary world. There are also John Crowley, Peter S. Beagle, Gene Wolfe, Patricia A. McKillip, Lucius Shepard, and many others writing for adults, with J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and others writing for children and young adults. Newer talents are pushing the envelope of what fantasy is in extraordinary ways—like China Miéville, whose novels reject the Tolkienian-styled epic for an urban, political, and revolutionary kind of magical naturalism; or Ashok K. Banker, with his vivid re-imaginings of the Ramayana.43 Another is Jeff VanderMeer, who in addition to his own inventive novels has recently co-edited The Thackeray T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, a kind of textbook of imaginary diseases. I don’t wish to denigrate too much the doorstop-sized tomes of genre fantasy. These books are decidedly not to my own tastes, but obviously many readers have found some kind of pleasure in them. For me, there are more than enough original, boundary-pushing, and well-written fantasy novels out there (in addition to other kinds of literature) for many years of excellent reading. Presently, they may be hiding in the background of lesser books that are heavily promoted and noisily marketed, but quality fantasy is out there, and it can be found. This is one legacy of Tolkien’s great popularity with which I can be satisfied. This paper has benefited from the criticism and comments of Rebekah Long, Richard C. West, Verlyn Flieger, Michael T. Saler, Gary Hunnewell, and David Bratman. For copies of rare material from old science fiction fanzines I’m grateful to Kenneth W. Faig, Jr., and Ned Brooks. Charles E. Noad supplied me with copies of other obscure articles. A special thanks goes to Matt Blessing for dealing with many complexities with regard to the conference, and I wish to express a fond remembrance of the late Dick Blackwelder, who sponsored it.

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1. Edmund Wilson’s review appeared in the Nation, 14 April 1956. For a thorough dissecting of the critical response to Tolkien, see Patrick Curry, “Tolkien and His Critics: A Critique,” in Root and Branch: Approaches towards Understanding Tolkien, ed. Thomas Honegger (Zurich: Walking Tree Publishers, 1999), 81–148. See also Tom Shippey’s The Road to Middle-earth, rev. and expanded ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 1–5; and his J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 305–9. 2. Tolkien himself preferred the term “heroic romance” to describe The Lord of the Rings. In a letter dating from October 1971, he wrote: “I have very little interest in serial literary history, and no interest at all in the history or present situation of the English ‘novel’. My work is not a ‘novel’, but an ‘heroic romance’ a much older and quite different variety of literature.” See Tolkien, to Peter Szabó Szentmihályi, October 1971, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), 414. (This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page.) 3. Anthony Boucher’s reviews in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction covered The Fellowship of the Ring in vol. 8, no. 4 (April 1955): 82; The Two Towers in vol. 9, no. 2 (August 1955): 93; and The Lord of the Rings as a whole in vol. 11, no. 1 ( July 1956): 91–92. P. Schuyler Miller’s reviews in Astounding Science Fiction covered The Fellowship of the Ring in vol. 55, no. 5 ( July 1955): 156–57; The Two Towers in vol. 57, no. 1 (March 1956): 155–56; and The Return of the King in vol. 57, no. 5 ( July 1956): 153–54. L. Sprague de Camp, in Science Fiction Quarterly, reviewed only the first two volumes, The Fellowship of the Ring in vol. 3, no. 6 (August 1955): 39–40; and The Two Towers in vol. 4, no. 3 (May 1956): 51. For Galaxy Science Fiction, Groff Conklin reviewed The Fellowship of the Ring in vol. 10, no. 2 (May 1955): 115; while Floyd Gale followed up with a review of The Return of the King in vol. 57, no. 5 (August 1956): 109. Villiers Gerson also reviewed the first two volumes for Amazing Stories, 29, no. 5 (September 1955): 110; and 29, no. 7 (December 1955): 115. 4. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Christopher and Faith Tolkien, 11 September 1957, in Letters, 261. 5. Robert Silverberg has written an interesting memoir of attending what he calls the “quaint” 1957 Worldcon: “Worlds Apart,” in Postscripts, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 3–7. 6. In second place was John Christopher’s The Death of Grass, while third place was a tie between William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Frank Herbert’s first novel, The Dragon in the Sea. In 1967 Tolkien wrote: “I was greatly taken by the book that was (I believe) the runner-up when The L.R. was given the Fantasy Award: Death of Grass” (to Charlotte and Denis Plimmer, 8 February 1967, in Letters, 377n).

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7. Quoted from “Fantasy Award to Professor Tolkien,” Bookseller, 14 September 1957, as reprinted in Amon Hen, no. 23 (December 1976): 13. 8. Quoted from “Fantasy of the Year,” Oxford Mail, 11 September 1957: 4. 9.“The World Fantasy Awards” by Robert Coulson, published in the fanzine Yandro, no. 120 ( January 1963): 20–22, gives the following description: “Each trophy consisted of a spaceship (based, says [Ted] Carnell, on the ship shown in the [Chesley] Bonestall cover of the Feb. 1951 Galaxy) mounted on a wood base, with a matching Ronson table lighter. The ‘fiction’ Award used chromeplated metal and oak wood—while the non-fiction award used the combination of bronze and mahogany. They were about 20 in. high, overall.” 10. Quoted from “Fantasy Award to Professor Tolkien,” Bookseller, 14 September 1957, as reprinted in Amon Hen, no. 23 (December 1976): 13. 11. Quoted from “Fantasy of the Year,” Oxford Mail, 11 September 1957: 4. 12. Quoted from the preface by Arthur C. Clarke to From Narnia to a Space Odyssey: The War of Ideas between Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis, ed. Ryder W. Miller (New York: ibooks, 2003), 34. 13. Tolkien’s biographer Humphrey Carpenter notes that after Tolkien met Unwin for the first time in late October 1937, some weeks subsequent to the publication of The Hobbit, Tolkien commented that Unwin looked “exactly like one of my dwarves.” See Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1977), 183. 14. Quoted from E.J. Carnell,“The International Fantasy Awards: II,” Yandro, no. 122 (March 1963): 6. 15. Hansen’s fan history was published as issue 2 (March 1989) of his own fanzine, Then: The Journal of Fanhistorical Research. The remark quoted appears on p. 96. The identical phrase also occurs on p. 363 in Harry Warner, Jr.’s account in A Wealth of Fable (Van Nuys, California: SCIFI Press, 1992). Warner’s book was revised from an earlier three-volume softcover set published in 1976–77. I have not seen the earlier version of Warner’s book, so cannot state who made the original comment. 16. Warner, A Wealth of Fable, also notes that “the first references to Tolkien I’ve been able to trace in fanzines occurred in the Summer of 1956” (p. 228). 17. A shortened version of the article appeared in Tolkien and the Critics: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” ed. Neil D. Isaacs and Rose A. Zimbardo (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968). This has been reprinted recently in Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism, ed. Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaacs (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004). The full version of Bradley’s essay was reprinted, with corrections, in Niekas, no. 16 ( June 1966): 25–44; and also published as a pamphlet by T-K Graphics of Baltimore in 1973.

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18. Lin Carter, “Notes on Tolkien, Part I: Theme and Form,” Xero, no. 7 (November 1961); “Notes on Tolkien, Part II: Names and Places,” Xero, no. 8 (May 1962); “Notes on Tolkien, Part III: Sources and Influences,” Xero, no. 9 (September 1962). 19. The first issue, dated August 1960, of I Palantir, published by the Los Angeles fans Ted Johnstone and Bruce Pelz, was also sent to Tolkien, but it did not elicit a response. The article on filming The Lord of the Rings was “No Monroe in Lothlórien” by Arthur R. Weir, in Triode, no. 17 ( January 1960): 17–19. It was reprinted in I Palantir, no. 3 (April 1964): 17–19. Weir published an addenda in Eric Bentcliffe and Norman Shorrock’s Bastion, no. 1 (1960); this was reprinted in I Palantir, no. 4 (August 1966): 26. Weir combined the addenda with a revised form of his essay in Eldritch Dream Quest, no. 2 (May 1961): 47–49, 51–52. “No Monroe in Lothlórien” is most easily available in The Tolkien Scrapbook (Philadelphia: Running Press, 1978), ed. Alida Becker. “Doc” Weir (1906–1961)—he had a doctorate in science, and was an Associate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry—had earlier distributed a typescript of his essay A Study of the Hithlain of the Wood-Elves of Lórien (Tetbury: The Author, 1957); this was reprinted in I Palantir, no. 1 (August 1960): 8–14. 20. Tolkien’s letter appeared in Triode, no. 18 (May 1960): 27. Parts have been reprinted in I Palantir, no. 3 (April 1964): 19; and in Harry Warner, Jr.’s A Wealth of Fable, 229. 21. Pete Mansfield, in his editorial “Meanderings” in the fanzine Eldritch Dream Quest 1, no. 2 (May 1961), describes in considerable detail (pp. 31–33) the edition of The Lord of the Rings sold through the Science Fiction Book Club. It was the same edition as was sold in England through the Reader’s Union, also in 1960. 22. Vinge’s story appeared in the April 1967 issue of Worlds of If. It is reprinted, with the author’s commentary, in The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge (New York: Tor, 2001). 23. Tolkien, to Charlotte and Denis Plimmer, 8 February 1967, in Letters, 377. 24. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Notion Club Papers, in Sauron Defeated, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 9 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992). 25. David Bratman has reminded me that Brian Attebery gives a thorough discussion of fantasy as a mode and a genre, along with why critics seem able to separate Tolkien from the likes of Borges and Calvino, in his Strategies of Fantasy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992). 26. John Ezard, “Successor to the Hobbits at Last,” Oxford Mail, 11 February 1966. 27. As a large proportion of the American edition (those copies issued prior to 1964) was in fact printed in England by Allen & Unwin, I wonder if the figure

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given might unintentionally include those American editions. Nevertheless the point remains incontrovertible that by those figures The Lord of the Rings had sold an enormous number of hardcover editions prior to 1966. 28. John Ezard, “The Hobbit Man,” Oxford Mail, 3 August 1966: 4. 29. It may seem a bit of a digression, but a considerable amount of Tolkienrelated fan and scholarly activity originated here in the Midwest. In 1956–57, William Ready, the director of libraries at Marquette from 1956 to 1963, engineered the purchase of Tolkien’s manuscripts, including The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, bringing this important treasure trove to Milwaukee. In 1965, Clyde Kilby of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, established what was later officially named the Marion E. Wade Center, a research collection devoted to seven authors, including Tolkien and some of his friends and fellow Inklings. Kilby befriended Tolkien and spent the summer of 1966 in Oxford assisting Tolkien on literary matters. In 1965, what I believe is the first PhD. thesis devoted solely to Tolkien was completed at the University of Michigan. This is Dorothy Elizabeth Klein Barber’s “The Structure of The Lord of the Rings.” A few other theses with sections devoted to Tolkien predate this one, as well as Caroline Whitman Everett’s 1957 M.A. thesis at Florida State University on “The Imaginative Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien.” The first Tolkien conference was held in October 1966 at Mankato State College in Mankato, Minnesota. One month earlier, The Tolkien Society at the University of Wisconsin in Madison had been formed. It was not actually the first Tolkien Society—members of Los Angeles science fiction fandom had started a Tolkien Club called “Fellowship of the Ring” in 1960, with an official fanzine I Palantir debuting in August that year; I Palantir published four sporadic issues before petering out. The Tolkien Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is certainly one of the longest active societies—under the leadership of Richard C. West, one of the original members, it is still meeting once a month as it approaches forty years old. Richard West also pioneered the field of Tolkienian bibliography with his “Annotated Bibliography of Tolkien Criticism,” in the first issue of Orcrist, dated 1966/1967. His work continued over the years and has produced two versions—so far—of his book, Tolkien Criticism: An Annotated Checklist, from Ohio’s Kent State University Press. Another Tolkien fanzine, Minas Tirith Evening-Star, began publishing in Michigan in 1967. It is still published, and since 1975 has been the official publication of the American Tolkien Society. The first book published on Tolkien was The Tolkien Relation: A Personal Inquiry by William Ready, written after he had left Marquette and moved on to McMaster University in Ontario. It came out in the spring of 1968 from the Henry Regnery Company of Chicago, a firm that has become renown in the last decade or so for publishing an unceasing flow of books vilifying Democratic presidents and Democratic

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presidential candidates. Ready’s book came out only a few months before the first anthology of essays on Tolkien, Tolkien and the Critics, ed. Neil D. Isaacs and Rose A. Zimbardo. Published in Indiana by the University of Notre Dame Press, it also marks the first university press book on Tolkien. 30. The Lord of the Rings is of course not a trilogy, but a single novel, sometimes published in three volumes. 31. I wish to add here, slightly grumblingly, that Tales before Tolkien was not my title for that book, but the least awful-sounding alternative suggested to me by the marketing department of the publisher. My original title had been Roots of the Mountain: Fantasy before Tolkien. 32. Fantasy readers may be interested in the series of classic fantasy that I began editing for Cold Spring Press in 2004. Titles include: Book of the Three Dragons by Kenneth Morris; Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees; Seekers of Dreams, an anthology edited by myself; The Dark Chamber by Leonard Cline; Adrift on the Haunted Seas: The Best Short Stories of William Hope Hodgson; The Shadow at the Bottom of the World by Thomas Ligotti; and H.P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Weird Tales. 33. See David G. Hartwell’s article,“Dollars and Dragons: The Truth about Fantasy,” New York Times Book Review, 29 April 1990: 1, 40–41. This essay is reprinted in a slightly revised form as Appendix V to Hartwell’s Age of Wonders: Exploring the World of Science Fiction (New York: Tor, 1996). 34. According to Charles N. Brown, “The New York Publishing Scene,” Locus, no. 164 (13 September 1974): 2. 35. Quoted by Darrell Schweitzer, “Fantasy and Tradition, or, Hey, Is That My Genre You’re Stepping on?” in the New York Review of Science Fiction 17, no. 7, whole no. 199 (March 2005): 19. 36. Quoted by Schweitzer, “Fantasy and Tradition, or, Hey, Is That My Genre You’re Stepping on?”: 20. 37. For more on the publishing background, see Terry Brooks, Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life (New York: Ballantine Books, 2003), 11–17, 188–91. See also Jennifer A. Hall’s interview with Charles N. Brown, “Charles N. Brown: The Joy of SF,” in Locus 49, no. 3, whole no. 500 (September 2002): 89–90, 92, wherein Brown describes Lester del Rey’s role: “He said: We’ve got this very strange Tolkien rip-off manuscript, I can make this a best-seller—and he did. That was Terry Brooks; he was the first. Del Rey promoted him as a Tolkien clone, and did a big Tolkien-type promotion on it. It sold a lot of copies, and this was the start of the commercial fantasy field” (p. 92). 38. Donaldson’s three volumes were bought by Del Rey for publication in paperback. Del Rey backsold the hardcover rights to Holt, Rinehart and Winston, who published the series first.

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39. “Behind the Bestsellers” by Daisy Maryles, Publisher’s Weekly, 13 September 2004: 20. 40. Le Guin, quoted from the foreword to Tales from Earthsea (New York: Harcourt, 2001), xiv. 41. According to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993), ed. John Clute and Peter Nicholls,“genre fantasy” is set in a generic and familiar“fantasyland” with recognizable character types—in short, as John Grant describes it in his definition of the term, “genre fantasy is not at heart fantasy at all, but a comforting revisitation of cosy venues, creating an effect that is almost anti-fantasy.” Grant finds that it is “by and large poor and that a very great deal of it is published—to the detriment of full fantasy” (p. 396). 42. Noted fantasy novelist Elizabeth Hand called The Prophecy of the Stones “perhaps the worst book I have ever reviewed” in the Washington Post Book World, 4 April 2004: BW04. In a review column in the August 2004 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Hand called it“a stinker for the ages, . . . which deserves a place in the Pantheon of Legendary Badness” (p. 35). 43. The British editions of Banker’s series, published by Orbit, are to be preferred, for the U.S. editions have been line-edited by the American publisher to diminish the essential Indianness of the tale.

“Her Choice Was Made and Her Doom Appointed” Tragedy and Divine Comedy in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Richard C. West

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hen J.R.R. Tolkien began work on the sequel to The Hobbit and he settled on Bilbo’s ring of invisibility as the link, many elements of the story quickly fell into place, but many more remained to be discovered (or sub-created). He later wrote to his former student W.H. Auden: . . . the essential Quest started at once. But I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than Frodo. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlórien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there. . . . I had never heard of the House of Eorl nor of the Stewards of Gondor.1

Thus the entire saga of Aragorn remained to be developed: whether the character discovered sitting in the corner of the Prancing Pony was to be hobbit or human, his earlier service in the realms of Rohan and Gondor (and indeed the history of those lands), his long association with Gandalf and Galadriel and Elrond, his wide travels, his labors in the struggle against Sauron, what his true name was (even the cognomen Strider came late in the composition to supplant the earlier Trotter), and he finished with several more names and titles, notably Estel, Thorongil, the Dúnadan, Telcontar, Aragorn, and, of course, King Elessar who restores peace and prosperity to Middle-earth in a reign long and (we are told) very eventful even after the fall of the Dark Lord. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good King needs a good Queen to inspire and support him, and at some point in the process

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of writing it must have occurred to the author that the story called for him to supply one. For a time it appeared that a suitable mate might be Éowyn, sister-daughter of King Théoden, as suggested by this description from an early draft of the chapter “The King of the Golden Hall” (bk. III, chap. 6), when she assists her aged uncle to his throne to give audience to Gandalf and his companions, and then departs from the hall, but looks back: “. . . very fair and slender she seemed. Her face was filled with gentle pity, and her eyes shone with unshed tears. So Aragorn saw her for the first time in the light of day, and after she was gone he stood still, looking at the dark doors and taking little heed of other things.”2 A love match between the pair does grow from this and remained an important part of the narrative until a fairly late stage in the composition, yet this passage and its aftermath was rejected while Tolkien was still writing his holograph manuscript. We might speculate that, as these characters evolved, it became too obviously discordant for so experienced a man as Aragorn to act like a lovesick puppy, or for Éowyn the shield-maiden to put up with such behavior. Also, once Tolkien had decided to place Aragorn in the line of the kings of Númenor, it was no longer suitable for him to have a wife with a normal mortal life span who would too soon grow old and die on him.3 Nevertheless, if a royal wedding were all that was required to end Aragorn’s quest for the kingship on an appropriately high note, the author could have done worse than to arrange a match with a woman capable of leading her people in the absence of her uncle and brother, and also of slaying the Lord of the Nazgûl in single combat (well, double combat, since she has the assistance of the hobbit, Merry Brandybuck, with an enchanted sword forged for the purpose of doing battle with the realm of Angmar). The Lady Éowyn yet has her fans who wish things might have worked out so. Instead Tolkien decided on what I think is a much more complex and mythologically richer relationship by introducing a completely new character. Admittedly the conception of Arwen daughter of Elrond Half-elven came to him only as he was close to finishing the novel, which gave him the task of finding places to insert her in the long earlier narrative. Tolkien spoke of his“constant rewriting backwards” to achieve coherence, and, in general, he was so successful at it that it is only when we read Christopher Tolkien’s scholarly history of the gestation of The Lord of the Rings, or the original manuscripts themselves, that we see plainly

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the myriad fits and starts and changes. In the case of Arwen, however, references to her in the main body of the novel are few and scattered. Our first sight of her in the finished text is through Frodo’s eyes, in The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter “Many Meetings” (bk. II, chap. 1) set in Rivendell, at a feast given in honor of the four newly arrived hobbits. Frodo notices an Elf-woman with a striking family resemblance to his host Elrond: Young she was and yet not so. The braids of her dark hair were touched by no frost; her white arms and clear face were flawless and smooth, and the light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet queenly she looked, and thought and knowledge were in her glance, as of one who has known many things that the years bring. . . . Arwen, daughter of Elrond, in whom it was said that the likeness of Lúthien had come on earth again; and she was called Undómiel, for she was the Evenstar of her people. . . . Such loveliness in living thing Frodo had never seen before nor imagined in his mind. . . .4

It is clear that this beautiful and wise new character should be important in some way, but a connection to Aragorn has still to be established. He is not at table with the others, being closeted with Arwen’s brothers who have been scouting the movements of their enemies. When he turns up a few pages later, Bilbo asks him: “Why weren’t you at the feast? The Lady Arwen was there.”5 On our first reading we don’t know quite what this means except that there must be some close relationship between the two, and it may well occur to us that Aragorn may be sweet on the Lady Arwen. On a later reading in the light of Appendix A I think it is plain that Bilbo’s tone is slightly teasing. And soon after Frodo does see the pair in friendly converse together, along with her father Elrond (perhaps as chaperone, but that is not stated).6 The next reference to Arwen’s role comes many chapters later, when the Fellowship is given supplies and gifts as they are about to leave Lórien. It has a significance that is easy to miss. When Galadriel asks Aragorn if there is anything more she can give to assist him, he addresses her with these cryptic words: “Lady, you know all my desire, and long held in keeping the only treasure that I seek. Yet it is not yours to give me, even if you would; and only through darkness shall I come to it.” At this stage on a first reading, we have no idea that he means Arwen, even though we were told in the Rivendell chapter that she often visits

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Lórien, for we do not yet know that he can win her hand in marriage only by long labors against Sauron. But Galadriel does know all this, and in reply she gives him “a great stone of a clear green, set in a silver brooch that was wrought in the likeness of an eagle with outspread wings,” saying: “This stone I gave to Celebrían my daughter, and she to hers; and now it comes to you as a token of hope.” If we re-read this passage after having read the Appendices, we know that Celebrían is the wife of Elrond, and their daughter is Arwen, who, we are informed at this point, has left this brooch with her grandmother to be kept specially for Aragorn. When he pins it on:“. . . those who saw him wondered; for they had not marked before how tall and kingly he stood, and it seemed to them that many years of toil had fallen from his shoulders.”7 And well we might wonder, too, since on our first reading we still do not know that these two are betrothed, but, once we know that, it becomes clear that Aragorn understands that the bestowal of this family heirloom is meant as a confirmation of their love and a promise of their ultimate marriage. Naturally he is heartened. Arwen’s next appearance is a long time afterward and also offstage. When the Rangers join Aragorn in Rohan, shortly before they all set out on the Paths of the Dead, his kinsman Halbarad brings him a banner “close-furled in a black cloth bound about with many thongs. ‘It is a gift that I bring you from the Lady of Rivendell. . . . She wrought it in secret, and long was the making. But she also sends words to you: The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hope’s end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!’”8 We must pay close attention to the wording here. The manuscript makes it clear that Tolkien intended the apostrophe in “hope’s end,” but this passage is often printed without it, making “end” a verb rather than a noun. The passage makes perfect sense that way: “all hopes end,” that is, everybody’s hopes of any kind may well end, come to naught. What Tolkien has Arwen say, however, could be rendered rather: “Either your and my hope comes, or the end of all hope comes.” This is similar, but subtler.9 It is also a play on Aragorn’s other name, Estel, the Sindarin word for hope, and the theme of his life. Aragorn immediately knows what this hidden object is, so what Arwen wrought in secret was not kept secret from him, but the reader does not know until some chapters later when Aragorn and his forces arrive to relieve the siege of Minas Tirith in the ships they have captured from the Corsairs of Umbar: “and behold! upon the foremost ship a

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great standard broke, and the wind displayed it. . . . There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold.”10 Now one hears people object that Arwen doesn’t do much in the War of the Ring except a lot of needlework, so I would like to point out that this is more than a banner with a strange device. By displaying it Aragorn is laying claim to the kingship of Gondor and Arnor, which we learn in Appendix A is what he must achieve to gain Elrond’s consent to marry his daughter. By making it for him and sending it to him, Arwen is asking him to do both. Like a good future husband, he does what his fiancée asks him, in this scene, and furthermore it is after he receives this message from Arwen that he reveals himself to Sauron in the palantir as the Heir of Elendil. And Arwen’s next appearance is not offstage but when she comes to Minas Tirith with all her relatives for the royal wedding. “And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undómiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfillment.”11 It should be apparent that to appreciate Arwen’s appearances we really need to be conversant with her history that keeps being alluded to without much in the way of exposition. Tolkien’s narrative is a vast network of interlaced stories and motifs, which are more deeply understood with repeated readings to see the relations between earlier and later sections. The Appendices are essential to the story of The Lord of the Rings and throw much light on the main body. It is worth noting that unpublished letters between Tolkien and his publishers reveal that, when foreign translators wanted to omit the Appendices, he would insist on retaining at least the section on the “Tale of Aragorn and Arwen” in Appendix A.12 The first thing is to remind ourselves of who this Lúthien is that Arwen is said so to resemble, for that resemblance is more than physical. Beren and Lúthien foreshadow Aragorn and Arwen as the first intermarriage between Man and Elf in Tolkien’s legendarium, such unions serving as a mythic representation of earthy humanity being imbued with art, science, philosophy, wisdom, and, in general, higher things of the spirit. These characters are also all part of the same family, which is a strong

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consideration even today and, in the primordial past in which the story is set, was of paramount importance. Tolkien spends so much effort on family trees in the Appendices because they are relevant. For Beren and Lúthien’s son Dior begat a daughter named Elwing, who married Eärendil the Mariner. The sons of Eärendil and Elwing were Elrond, the father of Arwen, and Elros who founded the line of kings from whom Aragorn is descended centuries later. As Arwen tells Aragorn when they first meet, “we are akin from afar.”13 Obviously with that degree of separation they are kissing kin and afar indeed, but this relation may be part of their attraction for each other, and is certainly part of the reason that Elrond feels so partial to his brother’s offspring however distant. After Orcs kill Arathorn, his wife Gilraen and their then two-year-old son Aragorn are given shelter by Elrond, and we are told that Elrond “came to love him [Aragorn] as a son of his own.”14 It is also crucial to the story that Elros and Elrond, being of mixed human and elven heritage, each made a different choice that affected all their descendants. For in Tolkien’s mythology, “at the end of the First Age the Valar gave to the Half-elven an irrevocable choice to which kindred they would belong.”15 Elrond chose to be of Elven-kind, immortal within the world and allowed to sail to Valinor if he became weary of mortal lands, while Elros opted for Mankind and a long life but with the mystery of death at the end. From a human point of view it seems a mystery why Elros would so choose, and indeed we are told that his descendants often regretted it, but this is a myth, not a realistic novel. And in Tolkien’s stories each kindred may envy the other, humans wishing for Elvish immortality while the Elves may long for the release of death. Nonetheless we are told of Lúthien, who elected to share with her Beren a mortal life and a mortal death, that she “alone of the Elfkindred has died indeed and left the world, and they have lost her whom they most loved,”16 and that is Aragorn speaking, in a pensive mood and it seems to me probably thinking of what would ensue should Arwen marry him. This scene comes fairly early in The Fellowship of the Ring, while Strider is guiding the four hobbits from Bree to Rivendell and he tells part of the story of Beren and Lúthien while they are camped on Weathertop. There has been no mention of Arwen up to this point and there is no overt reference here, so I may be reading something into this text rather than extracting what the author intended. Yet I think authorial intent is very possible, given the parallels between the stories

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of Aragorn and Arwen and of Beren and Lúthien that Tolkien sets up throughout. In the “Tale of Aragorn and Arwen,” Aragorn is singing to himself the song of Beren and Lúthien when he comes upon Arwen, who like him is walking alone in the woods of Rivendell, and who has just returned from one of her periodic visits to her grandmother Galadriel in Lórien where she had been for some twenty years—not a long span by Elvish reckoning, but it happens to encompass all of Aragorn’s human life to that date, so they have never met before. She is rather older than this earnest young man. In fact she is 2,690 years older.17 One might think that he would appear to her “but as a yearling shoot beside a young birch of many summers,”18 as Elrond later suggests, but in fact they hit it off from this first meeting. Now love between any two people is a mystery, but in part they come together over their mutual interest in the tale of their ancestors Beren and Lúthien. Hence Aragorn always associates this song with Arwen. This may also indicate that Beren, a mighty warrior against the Great Enemy of Elves and Men, was a role model for Aragorn even before he met Arwen. Outside the text I speculate that, as Tolkien developed the character of Strider as a descendant of the Númenóreans instead of a wandering hobbit, it came to him to associate him with one of his favorite stories from his earlier work. Inside the text, there is a suggestion that fate is at work. Even before Arwen learns Aragorn’s name and lineage, she tells him that, though her name is not Lúthien, “maybe my doom will be not unlike hers.”19 This is a very surprising thing for her to say, for, though as a child of Elrond she has the choice to surrender her immortality, why should she expect this might ever become necessary? Perhaps, as often happens to characters in this tale, “the foresight of her people came upon her,” though we are not told so and are again left with a suggestion of destiny being worked out. What we are told of Aragorn is that“from that hour he loved Arwen Undómiel daughter of Elrond.”20 And it is true love. All the other characters in the tale realize this as soon as they learn of it. His mother Gilraen notices that something has made him “fall silent,” but when he tells her of his love at first sight she does not say that he’s only twenty years old and it’s a passing fancy, so get over it. She agrees with him that he is likely to have a bitter fate. Elrond also notices him casting loving glances at his daughter, but his response is not to try to find him a more suitable match. When he later learns that Arwen does feel the same way, the condition he sets

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for giving his parental consent (such consent being a necessity in their culture and indeed generally in our world until quite recent times)21 is that Aragorn reclaim his hereditary kingship. Now Aragorn draws a parallel with Beren’s quest to win Lúthien’s hand, and this is true but there is also a great difference. When Thingol required Beren to obtain a silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth he thought he was sending him to his death; and, except for much help on the quest (chiefly from Lúthien), he would have been right. What Elrond asks is just as difficult and dangerous, but it is what Aragorn should be trying to do in any case, and, by giving him this incentive, Elrond is attempting to do his best for his beloved foster son. He is also trying to do his duty for the welfare of Middle-earth, which will be a much better place if this could be achieved. And he is a father trying to assure that his daughter will have the best life possible in the years that will remain to her if she decides to marry a Man and become mortal. We are told he is a master of wisdom and foresighted, so when he predicts that Arwen may come to regret her choice we should take this as seriously as he does. Hence let us not think too harshly of him. Remember that he has already lost his brother Elros to this death that the Eldar call the Gift of the One to Men. I think it is plain that Arwen also knows from their first meeting that Aragorn has fallen in love with her. When he introduces himself by giving all his names and titles it is obviously a case of the peacock spreading his plumage to attract the hen, though we are also told that in his thoughts he feels unworthy. She lets him down gently; this is when she says “we are akin from afar.”22 Soon afterwards he goes off for a long period of traveling and learning and fighting the servants of Sauron (and incidentally preparing himself to become King). That she may also be pining for him is suggested when we are told that during this period “her face was more grave, and her laughter now seldom was heard.”23 It is twenty-nine years before they meet again when he happens to come to Lórien to rest awhile, not knowing she is also there on another of her occasional visits—a chance meeting, as they say in Middle-earth. When she sees him again after their long parting, dressed handsomely like an Elf-lord, she knows that this is the one she wants for her husband: “. . . and her choice was made and her doom appointed.”24 Her choice, her free will. And her doom, her fate, her destiny—the root meaning of doom in Old English is “judgment,” and so refers both to her own judgment and to any supernatural judgment upon her.

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Tolkien frequently conjoins these terms in the same way as they are paired in this sentence, to suggest the mystery of individual free will along with all the constraints upon it. He never gives any easy answers to this mystery, and there are none here. Arwen knows what doom she is choosing. Since within the mythic terms of this story Aragorn cannot become an Elf (just as his Númenórean ancestors who came to regret the choice of Elros could not), while the children of Elrond can choose to become mortal, Arwen will have to leave her family and her people and share Aragorn’s eventual death, as also had Beren and Lúthien. She does pledge herself to Aragorn, but not without sadness.“She loved her father deeply,”25 we are told, but they will have to be parted. Great good comes from her choice. She may not appear in the main body of The Lord of the Rings very often, but we are told that “when Aragorn was abroad, from afar she watched over him in thought”26 and perhaps by this elven magic she was able to give him some protection and strengthening, though we are not told just what her watching over him might accomplish. Certainly their love ennobles Aragorn and spurs him to great deeds in the chivalric tradition upon which Tolkien draws, and she assists him in changing the world for the better. Her choice also benefits Frodo individually, for, since she cannot sail from the Grey Havens with her father, she transfers her place to Frodo, granting him passage to Valinor where alone his grievous wounds may be healed.27 Aragorn is ninety years old at his coronation, and he and Arwen then reign for 120 years. It is a long life, but Aragorn is a human and must die eventually.28 As a descendant of Elros,“the last of the Númenóreans and the latest king of the Elder Days,” he can choose his time to die, but this is not so much a choice as a recognition that his life has come to its natural end. If he does not accept the peaceful death allowed him, then he will soon become a senile wreck—“unmanned and witless” is how he puts it to his wife when she tries to dissuade him. His death is not a suicide like that of the despairing Denethor. He lays himself down to die because he believes it is the right thing to do, but his grief is great at their parting. “‘I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of the world.’” He can only suggest that she try to reach the Undying Lands to which her kin have gone, “‘and bear away into the West the memory of our days together that shall there be evergreen but never more than memory; or else to abide the Doom of Men.’”

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Arwen replies that travel to Valinor is no longer possible, and that she pities mankind, for death, called the Gift of the One to Men, is bitter to receive. “‘So it seems,’ he said. ‘But let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. Farewell!’” How can Aragorn speak so definitely of what is beyond the “circles of the world”? We are not told, but may speculate that this is one of the times when his foresight reveals something to him. Tolkien normally uses the word “behold” only when there is something real to be seen,29 so I think we can take it that this is the case with Aragorn here. But Arwen does not behold it and her anguish is not abated. “‘Estel, Estel!’ she cried.” Estel is Aragorn’s childhood name, meaning “hope,” since his birth gave hope for a better world, which Arwen had indeed helped him to achieve (though even that will not last). But “even as he took her hand and kissed it, he fell into sleep.” Next the bereaved Arwen says goodbye to her family and friends, and goes alone to Lórien, which she had so often visited but which has now been abandoned, and any Elves left in Middle-earth are few and scattered. There she spends her last days alone, in what was once a place of happiness for her, but, as Elrond had predicted, she has come to regret her choice. Finally, in the winter following her husband’s passing, she lays down to die upon the mound of Cerin Amroth where she and Aragorn had long ago plighted their troth, and both their choices were made and both their dooms appointed. Tolkien set his mythos in our world in an imaginary past, in JudeoChristian terms after the Fall but long before Abraham. In the Middle Ages, Dante’s great poem is a Commedia rather than a tragedy because it ends well, descending into Hell and climbing through Purgatory to reach Paradise. Chaucer’s Troilus and Cressida chronicles much suffering, but at the end, when the soul of Troilus is ascending through the heavenly spheres, he can look back at the earth and laugh, because he knows there is redemption. The world of Middle-earth knows no such Christian hope. The Lord of the Rings is not overall a happy book, and I find the lonely death of Arwen the most moving tragedy within it.30 Yet Tolkien also said that his book is “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work,”31 and I suggest there is a double vision with which he is hinting we look at this scene. It seems that death is bitter to receive, let us go in sorrow but not in despair—these statements suggest there

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may be something better afterwards. Talk of being morally tested does not sound very pagan. Keeping things evergreen but “in memory only” suggests the tendency to embalm time that Tolkien says was the great mistake of the Elves, while Aragorn’s final declaration that there is more than memory beyond the circles of the world suggests the folk tradition that the dying get a glimpse of the afterlife. As Aragorn dies kissing his beloved Arwen’s hand, the word we hear repeated is the Christian virtue of hope, though spoken in Elvish by a pre-Christian who does not understand the implications of what she is saying. Arwen has lost hope, indeed has lost the husband for whom her pet name was Hope, but her cry of despair ironically carries a suggestion of a Christian virtue that may be a subtle hint by the author that a divine hope remains, however hidden from the characters. The tale of Aragorn and Arwen is tragic, and there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of this world. But it was Tolkien’s Christian hope that there is comfort beyond them. I wish to express my deep gratitude to all those who attended the conference at Marquette University and whose comments upon my paper have, I hope, helped me to improve it in this revision. In particular I have to thank Rico Abrahamsen, Douglas A. Anderson, Marjorie Burns, Janice Coulter, Verlyn Flieger, Matthew Fisher, Wayne G. Hammond, Gary Hunnewell, Marie-Louise Miesel, John Rateliff, Christina Scull, Paul Thomas, and Kristin Thompson. I also thank the authors of numerous essays and books consulted in the course of writing this paper, full details of which are given in the bibliography at the end of the volume: Nils Ivar Agøy, “The Fall and Man’s Mortality: An Investigation of Some Theological Themes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth’” (1998); Helen Armstrong, “There Are Two People in This Marriage” (1998); Christine Barkley, “Points of View in Tolkien” (1995); Bill Davis, “Choosing to Die: The Gift of Mortality in Middle-earth” (2003); Margaret P. Esmonde, “Beyond the Circles of the World: Death and the Hereafter in Children’s Literature” (1987); Verlyn Flieger, A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faërie (1997); Lisa Hopkins, “Female Authority Figures in the Works of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams” (1995); Catherine Madsen,“Light from an Invisible Lamp: Natural Religion in The Lord of the Rings” (1988); Charles W. Nelson, “‘The Halls of Waiting’: Death and the Afterlife in Middle-earth” (1998); Melanie Rawls, “Arwen, Shadow Bride” (1985); Donald P.

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1. J.R.R. Tolkien, to W.H. Auden, 7 June 1955, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, selected and ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien (1981; repr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 216–17. This volume is hereafter cited as Letters, by page. 2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Treason of Isengard, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 7 of The History of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989), 445. 3. I owe this suggestion to Marie-Louise Miesel. 4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, fiftieth anniversary ed., 1 vol. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004), 227. 5. Ibid., 233. 6. Ibid., 238. 7. Ibid., 375. 8. Ibid., 775. 9. I owe my thanks to Douglas A. Anderson for pointing out the textual variant to me, and the different meanings. 10. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 847. 11. Ibid., 972–73. 12. I am grateful to Christina Scull for supplying this information. 13. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1058. 14. Ibid., 1057. 15. Ibid., 1034. 16. Ibid., 194.

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17. Arwen was born in Third Age 241, Aragorn in 2931, per Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, 1085, 1089. 18. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1059. 19. Ibid., 1057. 20. Ibid., 1058. 21. The basic reason is that a marriage did not involve a partnership between two individuals only, but also between their families, so it was practical to secure the approval of the heads of the families. 22. This passage is sometimes printed as “we are kin from afar,” which catches the basic sense but misses the assonance and word-play on the two words having the same prefix. 23. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1060. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid., 1061. 26. Ibid. 27. Ibid., 974–75. 28. The discussion that ensues follows closely the final part of the section of the “Tale of Aragorn and Arwen” in Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 1057–63, from which all quotations are taken. 29. This is true of all the other instances cited by Richard E. Blackwelder, A Tolkien Thesaurus (New York: Garland, 1990), 17. 30. There is perhaps one hint that her death may not be quite so lonely. It is said of Aragorn early in the book that “he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man” (Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, 352). Does this perhaps suggest that he was allowed to come there in spirit after his death, in which case what better occasion than to comfort his wife as she lay dying? This can only be speculation, but I am grateful to Gary Hunnewell for the suggestion, however tentative it must remain. 31. J.R.R. Tolkien, to Fr. Robert Murray, 2 December 1953, in Letters, 172.

Special Collections in the Service of Tolkien Studies Wayne G. Hammond

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t is an honor to speak at this conference, in the company of so many distinguished guests and fellow Tolkien enthusiasts, and even as it draws to a close, to help to fulfill its several purposes: to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings, a work which changed the course of my life and has had a profound effect on so many others; to remember my friend Dick Blackwelder, who generously supported not only the Tolkien collection at Marquette but also the work of researchers like myself; and to celebrate the splendid new rooms for Special Collections and Archives in the Marquette University Library, so long and richly deserved. The Marquette Tolkien collection, as I hope you have already learned at first hand, is one of the finest and most important in the world. It is an embarrassment of riches. Its holdings reveal something new and exciting with each visit. I hope, too, that the value of this superb collection is fully appreciated by the University administration: and by that I mean its value to scholarship and learning. It surprises many that I talk to that the bulk of the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Farmer Giles of Ham, and Mr. Bliss papers are in Milwaukee, of all places, and have been for some five decades; but so they are, thanks to the efforts of William Ready, then Director of Libraries, together with the London book dealer Bertram Rota.1 Great collections are born out of inspiration and hard work—as well as good timing. Today one might pay more for a single autograph letter by Tolkien than Marquette paid for an entire archive. Since that beginning in 1957 the collection at Marquette has grown, especially through the generosity of the Tolkien estate, who have sent more Lord of the Rings papers overlooked in the original shipments, and by gift and purchase from private collectors such as Richard Blackwelder, Steve Frisby, Grace Funk, Gary Hunnewell, and Taum Santoski, who

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have recognized the importance of Tolkien in twentieth-century literature and culture. To my wife Christina and me, the Marquette archive has proved its worth many times. I first came here twenty years ago, when Chuck Elston was director, to do bibliographical research. I compared descriptions of Tolkien’s books with Marquette’s copies of the same titles, and mined the proofs of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for dates stamped by the publisher and printer, in order to trace their history of production. In a similar vein, Christina and I are among the few scholars ever to examine the whole of the backs of the Marquette Tolkien papers: this was to find and record any dated letters, drafts, or other documents the blank versos of which Tolkien used for composition. Textual and linguistic scholars would look at these papers very differently, and we ourselves have done so on other occasions. We have also spent much time with the Farmer Giles of Ham papers, in preparing the fiftieth anniversary edition of that work (1999). More dramatically, our friend Steve Frisby has made extensive use of the Lord of the Rings archive—a great mass of manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, and fragments—following a comparison of different printings of the first edition by means of ingenious transparent overlays. By this method Steve identified dozens of variations in the first edition, for the most part introduced into the 1954 “second printing” of The Fellowship of the Ring, which had been entirely reset by the printer without the knowledge of either Tolkien or his publisher George Allen & Unwin. The fact of the resetting did not come to light until 1992. Knowing that there were differences between copies encouraged Steve to look for them, and then to check them against the primary sources at Marquette, to try to learn the author’s intention in each instance. Steve’s work in turn has been invaluable in guiding some of the corrections to the latest, fiftieth anniversary text of The Lord of the Rings (2004). That new edition, and a volume of annotations to The Lord of the Rings to be published in 2005, would be much less well informed without the Tolkien papers at Marquette. Although Christopher Tolkien has traced the development of The Lord of the Rings at length in five volumes of The History of Middle-earth, he did not (indeed, could not, for lack of space) publish the whole of its manuscripts and typescripts. Moreover, as he wrote in his introduction to The Return of the Shadow, “the nature of the manuscripts is such that they will probably always admit of differing interpretations.”2 This is a good illustration why special collections are formed and preserved. Different scholars will approach

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the same materials from different directions, see different things, and draw different conclusions. The Lord of the Rings papers here in the Archives, apart from their attraction as artifacts of a popular author, continue to be needed to answer questions that may arise about the text of an important work of literature or the finer points of its evolving conception and its production as a printed book. The same is true of the Hobbit papers, and surely will remain so even after we have in hand John Rateliff ’s eagerly awaited history of its writing. I speak of course of Tolkien’s originals, though access in the first instance may be through some form of reproduction, to reduce wear and tear; in this way materials are given longer life in their original form, to be brought out for those times when a researcher, say, needs to distinguish (as one might not in a microfilm) writing in pencil from writing in pen, or a genuine mark by the author from a flyspeck. As readers of Tolkien interested in the development of his writings, we are very fortunate that he usually kept his drafts and sketches and alternate versions, even tiny scraps of paper which to some eyes would appear to be rubbish but which do in fact have significance, and that his heirs have had the wisdom to care for these materials rather than dispose of them. As readers interested as well in the author’s life and career, we can be glad that Tolkien also tended to save his extensive correspondence and personal documents, and that so many other relevant papers have survived because various colleges, universities, societies, and publishers have retained records of their own activities. We are able to know so much more about Tolkien because these bodies of evidence of his life and works have been preserved and may be seen here at Marquette and in other special collections in Britain and America. By special collections I mean libraries or archives that contain primary materials of study: manuscripts and typescripts, proofs, legal documents, medical and military records, diaries, photographs, original art, first and other important editions and printings of significant works. With these, typically, are secondary works which help curators and readers to interpret the primary sources. Many seminal books and essays have been built on such foundations of scholarship. Such collections may provide evidence which has gone unremarked by earlier writers, or may help to inform an entirely new or expanded outlook. In the field of Tolkien studies this is well illustrated by works such as John Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War (2003), which greatly benefits from records of Tolkien’s regiment in World War I, especially as held in the

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British Public Record Office at Kew, and from letters and documents concerning the war service of Tolkien’s friends; or Verlyn Flieger’s A Question of Time (1997) in which she draws upon the Smith of Wootton Major papers in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Nor of course could Humphrey Carpenter have written so full an account of Tolkien’s life without unfettered access to the collection of diaries, letters, and other papers now divided between the Bodleian and the Tolkien family. That there are more such primary materials concerning Tolkien than are commonly known became evident to Christina and me in the early stages of research for our forthcoming J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide. That book originally was to be only one volume, no more than half of which was to be a chronology of Tolkien’s life and works; but the chronology grew so much, with an unexpected influx of information, that it is now to be a volume on its own, one of two in a set. We have mined published sources as much as possible, but have also sought out original Tolkien letters and other papers wherever we can find them. There are useful printed and electronic catalogues for this purpose. At length we found that there is an enormous amount of data about Tolkien’s activities not in Carpenter’s biography or any other published work, which when brought together illuminates Tolkien’s life in a way that has not been done before. We are now able to see, sometimes in great detail, where Tolkien was, and what he was doing, at many different moments in time; and with this knowledge, one can see more clearly the relationship of Tolkien the writer of fantasy to Tolkien the teacher and administrator and Tolkien the husband and father. Our contract with his authorized publisher, HarperCollins, in cooperation with the Tolkien estate, opened a few doors to special collections, but most of the materials we have seen are available to any researcher with a legitimate purpose and the ambition to seek them out. By and large these materials are held, not surprisingly, in England. The Bodleian Library at Oxford, the main research library for the University, has a collection of Tolkien papers in its division of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts of parallel importance to those at Marquette. The Bodleian collection was established by Tolkien’s heirs after his death, and it too has grown over the years. Some of its holdings, such as private family letters, the “Silmarillion” papers, and Tolkien’s original art, are restricted, and cannot be used without permission of both the Library and the Tolkien estate. The estate, I hasten to say, welcomes legitimate scholarship about Tolkien, but guards his family’s privacy

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and is rightly concerned that materials that are fragile or sensitive to light not be handled casually or often. The estate itself still preserves some of Tolkien’s papers, including the diaries that Humphrey Carpenter used in his biography and the bulk of Tolkien’s writings on invented languages. But a great deal has gone to the Bodleian, and many of the Tolkien papers there may be seen and read, by those with a serious purpose and who meet the Bodleian’s rules for a reader’s ticket to the Library in general. I have mentioned the Smith of Wootton Major files; also in the Bodleian are manuscripts for such works as “On Fairy-Stories” and “Leaf by Niggle,” the British Academy lecture “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” (early versions of which Michael Drout has recently explored), and other academic writings by Tolkien, including some of his lecture notes. In addition to these special holdings, the Bodleian has much else to offer the Tolkien scholar. To digress for a moment into its general collections and to name only a few examples, there too are important holdings of scholarly periodicals with which Tolkien was concerned; issues of the King Edward’s School Chronicle for which Tolkien wrote as a youth in Birmingham; a large collection of foreign editions of Tolkien’s works, donated by HarperCollins; a complete run of the annual Oxford academic calendar, which contains information about Tolkien’s duties and responsibilities in the Oxford English School; and the Oxford University Gazette, published weekly during term, from which Christina and I have reconstructed Tolkien’s schedule of lectures for all of the years he taught at Oxford. At the Oxford English Faculty Library, separate from the Bodleian, one can read the final examination papers that Tolkien sat when he earned his B.A., and the minutes of the Library Committee on which he served for many years: some of these are in his own hand, while he was chairman and secretary. This library also contains a collection of books that Tolkien once owned, some of them dated or annotated. Next door, at the Law Library, are the statutes governing the courses of study in the Oxford English School, with which one can better understand Tolkien’s lengthy academic career. In the libraries of Exeter, Pembroke, Merton, and Worcester colleges are letters from Tolkien and records of student and faculty meetings in which he took part. At Christ Church, Oxford, is the correspondence between Tolkien and the Early English Text Society, especially concerning his edition of the Ancrene Wisse. Substantial materials may be found as well in the archives of Oxford

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University proper: records of the English Faculty, the General Board, the committees and the panels of electors and examiners on which Tolkien served, postgraduate students he supervised, and his elections to Oxford professorships. Some of these documents too are in Tolkien’s hand and reflect his personality. Also in Oxford, but outside the University, are the archives of the Oxford University Press. These include papers concerning Tolkien’s work for the Oxford English Dictionary, the Tolkien-Gordon edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and other work, about some of which Christina and I had no clue until we went through this material. At the Oxford Central Library, the city’s main public library, in its special Centre for Oxfordshire Studies we listened to a file of recorded interviews with Tolkien’s family and friends made soon after Tolkien’s death: these are enlightening, though we found that memories can be wrong, even those of Tolkien himself, especially over a distance of years, and are best used as evidence when supported by physical documents. Further afield, we have spent many hours at the University of Reading, which holds most of the archives of Tolkien’s publisher George Allen & Unwin. The Allen & Unwin files—letters, account books, records of manuscripts received—are a seemingly unending trove of data about the publication of Tolkien’s works in Britain and America, about their translation into other languages, their illustration, their adaptation, their promotion, their popularity. Even so, the archive is limited in scope: at some point (long before it reached Reading) it was pruned, no doubt in some misguided attempt at corporate efficiency, so that it now contains, for instance, no letters concerning the first interest of Allen & Unwin in The Hobbit in the mid-1930s; nor is there anything after the late sixties, that material apparently gone into limbo. Most of the correspondence directly between Tolkien and publisher’s staff is not kept at Reading, but has been retained separately for ease of reference by Allen & Unwin and its successors; only a small part of it has been published.3 Christina and I have been privileged to see these letters complete several times since the early nineties, when with Rayner Unwin’s permission we first read them in the London offices of Unwin Hyman, even as those rooms were being dismantled around us following the sale of Unwin Hyman to HarperCollins. In London we have also visited the British Library, which has a number of Tolkien letters in its manuscript holdings, as well as the National Sound Archives which contain recorded interviews of Tolkien

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produced by the BBC. Written and printed material concerning Tolkien and the British Broadcasting Corporation, including much about the early adaptations of Tolkien’s works for radio, is however at the BBC Written Archives Centre at Caversham Park near Reading. A visit to Caversham Park has an added attraction, in that the large building near the Archives offices, now used for a BBC monitoring operation and whose canteen Christina and I were invited to use, was formerly the Oratory School attended by Tolkien’s sons. Besides these institutional collections there are others that the Tolkien scholar should know, and which I have not yet mentioned, such as the archives at the University of Leeds and at King Edward’s School in Birmingham, and of course, the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. The Wade Center is notable for its convergence of Tolkien with his fellow Inklings, its collection of oral histories, its small but interesting collection of Tolkien letters, and substantial holdings of books by Tolkien and materials about him. It has been a valuable resource in my own work for many years. But I wish now, while I still have time, to say something also about private collections, which can be just as important to the researcher, sometimes even more so. As I have said, the Marquette Tolkien holdings have benefited from the efforts of individuals who themselves formed Tolkien collections, among them Dr. Richard Blackwelder, whose memory we honor this weekend. Christina and I twice had the privilege of staying with Dick Blackwelder for a few days so that we could do extended research in his personal Tolkien library. We were especially interested in his collection of multiple printings of Tolkien’s works in mass-market paperback published by Ballantine Books, in order to trace textual variations and changes in cover art; and in his files of newspaper and magazine articles about Tolkien, and his collection of Tolkien portraits. All of these were well organized in an exemplary manner. We in turn were able to provide material to Dick from our own Tolkien holdings. Personal collectors like Dr. Blackwelder, or like Gary Hunnewell who has built one of the foremost collections of Tolkien-related fanzines, usually are able to concentrate time and money in the pursuit of a narrow subject to a degree greater than that of most academic or public libraries, who must divide their resources to accommodate broad and multiple interests. Only through access to private collections was I able to produce a descriptive bibliography of Tolkien, which required a critical

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mass of editions and printings, preferably in the same place for ease of comparison. My own Tolkien collection, now merged with Christina’s, was begun largely because I could not find the books I wanted in the general collections of institutional libraries, where they had been read to pieces, or lost, or rebound, destroying physical evidence of their original state. Christina, on her part, has specialized in translations of Tolkien’s works, and like Dick Blackwelder has actively sought out articles about Tolkien which have gone into a long series of scrapbooks. She photocopied some of these cuttings at Allen & Unwin’s old offices at Hemel Hempstead, from publicity files that I regret to say were later discarded when the publisher moved from that location on its merger with Bell Hyman. Whether in private hands or part of a university or public library, the special collections I have mentioned, as well as others I have not, such as the archives of the Tolkien Society in Britain and of the InklingsGesellschaft in Germany, all have potential for use in the advancement of Tolkien studies. Of course, not all questions concerning Tolkien require consultation of manuscripts or other special materials, or even of general library holdings, in order to be successfully answered. A critic of Tolkien may proceed with only his published works at hand; indeed, these reveal more of interest with each careful reading. Even so, it has become very clear, since the publication of Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, and Tolkien’s selected letters, that our understanding and appreciation of his writings—of the progress of his work and the development of his thought—may be greatly increased by a study of his drafts and his correspondence. Some of this can be done conveniently thanks to Christopher Tolkien’s efforts to arrange and publish his father’s papers, if within limitations of selection and space. But some investigations, in particular those with biographical, bibliographical, or textual components, will often benefit from recourse to collections such as I have described. Humphrey Carpenter’s biography offers a case in point. Carpenter had a unique advantage, as his rival biographer Daniel Grotta has complained. In a later edition of his J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle-earth (1992) Grotta commented on the “rather different—and difficult—circumstances”4 with which he had to contend, unable to see the papers made available at that time only to Carpenter. Instead, Grotta made good use of publicly available libraries and newspaper files, and interviewed some of Tolkien’s friends and associates. The result is very flawed, but I

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give Grotta marks for effort. At least he did some legwork. Today, more than a quarter-century later, he could have done even more, as archives have been opened or have become better known, and as some of the Tolkien papers have been published. During that period of time, however, nearly every subsequent biography of Tolkien or biographical portion of some other work about Tolkien has been largely a reduction of Carpenter’s book. Little effort has been made to advance the subject beyond the point at which Carpenter left it. His work remains pre-eminent as a general treatment. The private family papers he consulted are still restricted, but many other materials for Tolkien biography are open to view: the war service records that John Garth located for Tolkien and the Great War, for instance, which were released too late for Carpenter to use, or the many additional letters and archival papers Christina and I have gleaned for the chronology in our Tolkien Companion and Guide. For this reason, the recent (2001) biography of Tolkien written by Michael White is particularly disappointing, as an opportunity lost. Patrick Curry noted in a review having found in it “no evidence of any original, let alone archival, work,” only “plenty of recycling of secondary books,”5 while David Bratman has called it, among other things, “a bounteous source of error and misinterpretation.”6 These phrases unfortunately could be applied to many of the books about Tolkien that have been published in the past four years, written in haste and with imperfect knowledge of their subject, as publishers have sought to cash in on a Tolkien craze such as we have not seen since the 1960s. It is difficult to say which of these books is the most egregious: there are several contenders, such as the Tolkien collector’s guide with so many erroneous citations, misplaced captions, and serious omissions that it is almost easier to list what it has correct than what it does not; and the guides to Tolkien’s Britain that give this or that place as the model for the Shire or the place at which Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, though not a few of these attributions are no more than wishful thinking on the part of local tourist boards, unsupported by documentary evidence. But White’s biography comes most immediately to mind, for its absurd claim that Tolkien was inspired to write the first line of The Hobbit when he noticed a hole in his study carpet. This notion is without precedent or foundation, mentioned in no account by Tolkien himself and in no other book or document about Tolkien among the hundreds I have seen, yet White presents it more than once in his book

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as fact. It ranks with the notorious and equally erroneous statement in William Ready’s book The Tolkien Relation (1968) that Tolkien’s mother “had worked with her sisters as a missionary among the women of the Sultan of Zanzibar.”7 At least in Mr. Ready’s case we may applaud him for the wisdom to establish at Marquette University one of the great Tolkien collections, for which he has our lasting gratitude.

1. A fuller account of the history of the Marquette Tolkien collection is given on the Web site http://www.marquette.edu/library/collections/archives/tolkien.html. 2. Stated in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the Shadow, ed. Christopher Tolkien, vol. 6 of The History of Middle-earth (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), 3. 3. Tolkien’s correspondence with his American publisher, Houghton Mifflin, seems in contrast to have been lost, or at least was well buried when the publisher’s archive went to the Houghton Library at Harvard; but letters between Houghton Mifflin and Allen & Unwin are preserved at Reading, and these are often very informative. 4. Daniel Grotta, The Biography of J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle-earth (Philadelphia: Running Press, 1992), 8. 5. Patrick Curry, “Not the Definitive Life, but a Clumsy Cash-in,” The Independent (London), 17 December 2001, 5. 6. David Bratman, reader review of Michael White, Tolkien: A Biography (2001), in the entry for the American edition offered on http://www.amazon. com. 7. William Ready, The Tolkien Relation: A Personal Inquiry (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1968), 6.

Notes on the Contributors Douglas A. Anderson published his first book, The Annotated Hobbit, in 1988. He helped correct the text of The Lord of the Rings in both the American and English editions, and these versions contain his introductory “Note on the Text.” He is also the lesser co-author (with Wayne G. Hammond) of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography (1993). Among the many books he has edited is a reissue of E.A. Wyke-Smith’s The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1996), a children’s book originally published in 1927 that provided the impetus of Tolkien’s children’s book, The Hobbit. A revised and expanded edition of The Annotated Hobbit was released in 2002, followed by two anthologies, Tales before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy (2003), and Seekers of Dreams (2005). He is also a co-founder and co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review. David Bratman served as editor of Mythprint, the monthly bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society, from 1980 to 1995, and as chairman of the 1988 Mythopoeic Conference. He has published articles on J.R.R. Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, H.V.D. Dyson, and other authors in the Tolkien Collector, the New York Review of Science Fiction, Mythlore, and other journals. His documentary chronology of the Inklings will be published in The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community by Diana Pavlac Glyer. Marjorie Burns is a professor of English at Portland State University, specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature. She also teaches Celtic and Norse mythology and has worked as a Fulbright professor in Norway. Her Scandinavian experience and her doctoral dissertation on nineteenth-century British fantasists led naturally to a study of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. She has published and lectured extensively on Tolkien, both in the United States and overseas. Her Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien’s Middle-earth was published in 2005. Jane Chance is a professor of English at Rice University, where she teaches medieval literature, Medieval Studies, and Women and the Study of Gender. A specialist in medieval mythography, she has published twenty-one books, editions, and translations, and edits three different

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book series. Among her books are Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England (1979) and The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power (1992), revised for new editions (2001) with the latter translated into Japanese (2003). She has also edited three collections, Tolkien the Medievalist (2002, 2003), Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader (2004), and (with Alfred K. Siewers) Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages (2005). Her essay revising Tolkien on Beowulf, “The Structural Unity of Beowulf: The Problem of Grendel’s Mother,” has been published seven times. Her book Medieval Mythography: From Roman North Africa to the School of Chartres, 433–1177 A.D. won the SCMLA Best Book Prize of 1994. She has taught a course on Tolkien at Rice since 1976 and has been interviewed about him by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR, among other public media. Michael D.C. Drout is William C.H. and Elsie D. Prentice Professor of English at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he teaches Old and Middle English, fantasy literature, and science fiction. In 2002 he published his edition of Tolkien’s Beowulf and the Critics, a previously unpublished work from which Tolkien had drawn his famous 1936 lecture on Beowulf. In 2003 Beowulf and the Critics won the Mythopoeic Society’s Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies. Drout’s book How Tradition Works: A Meme-Based Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century was published in 2005. He has lectured throughout Europe on Tolkien and Anglo-Saxon, is a founding editor of the journal Tolkien Studies, and is the general editor of the forthcoming J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia. Charles B. Elston is the former Head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Marquette University Libraries. Matthew A. Fisher is an associate professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College and an independent scholar of J.R.R. Tolkien. He is currently conducting research on the relationship between Tolkien’s Catholicism and his fictional works, particularly in regard to moral and theological themes. Verlyn Flieger is a professor of English at the University of Maryland, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Tolkien and comparative mythology. She is the author of three books on Tolkien, Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World (1983, revised and expanded 2002); A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faërie (1997), which won the 1998 Mythopoeic Award for Inklings Studies; and Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien’s Mythology (2005). With

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Carl F. Hostetter she co-edited Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth (2000), winner of the 2002 Mythopoeic Award for Inklings Studies, and she is the editor of the Extended Edition of Tolkien’s Smith of Wootton Major (2005). In addition to her scholarly work, she is the author of several works of fiction: a novella, “Avilion: A Romance of Voices,” in the Arthurian anthology The Doom of Camelot (2000), the novel Pig Tale (2002), and the short story “Green Hill Country” in the fantasy collection Seekers of Dreams (2005). Michael Foster is a professor of English at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, Illinois, where he teaches a literature course on Tolkien. An independent Tolkien scholar, he began to study the J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts at Marquette University in 1977, focusing on the author’s revisions of The Lord of the Rings. He has published essays and reviews on Tolkien-related topics in Mythlore, Mallorn, Christian History, Faith & Reason, VII, Amon Hen, Mythprint, the Journal Star, and Gilbert! the magazine of the American Chesterton Society, for which he is also a contributing editor. He serves on the judging committee for the Mythopoeic Society awards for Inklings scholarship and fantasy scholarship, and has been the North American representative of the Tolkien Society since 1995. John Garth is a journalist based in London and the author of Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (2003), which examines Tolkien’s legendarium in the light of his experiences during the First World War. In the course of his research Garth examined the military service records of Tolkien and his friends, as well as numerous other official and unofficial papers in British archives, and he has retraced Tolkien’s steps on the Somme. Tolkien and the Great War was awarded the Mythopoeic Society’s Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies in 2004. Wayne G. Hammond is a librarian in the Chapin Library of Rare Books, Williams College. He is the author of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography (1993), Arthur Ransome: A Bibliography (2000), and various writings on the graphic arts. He is a recipient of the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant from the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, and a multiple co-winner of the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies. With his wife, Christina Scull, he has written J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (1995) and The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (2005), compiled a new index to Tolkien’s Letters (1999), and co-edited Tolkien’s Roverandom (1998),

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Farmer Giles of Ham (1999), and Lord of the Rings (2004). Their J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, a two-volume reference book on Tolkien, is forthcoming. Carl F. Hostetter’s chief scholarly interest of the past twenty years has been the invented languages of J.R.R. Tolkien. He has edited a journal devoted to the subject, Vinyar Tengwar, since 1989, and with Patrick H. Wynne he co-edits the online journal Tengwestië (http://www.elvish. org/Tengwestie) and moderates the Lambengolmor mailing list (http:// groups.yahoo.com/group/Lambengolmor/), both likewise devoted to the scholarly study of Tolkien’s languages. He is also a member of a project to order, transcribe, and edit Tolkien’s unpublished linguistic papers, chiefly for the journals Parma Eldalamberon and Vinyar Tengwar. With Verlyn Flieger he co-edited Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth (2000), winner of the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies for 2002. He is a computer scientist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Sumner G. Hunnewell (Hildifons Took) has been active in Tolkien fandom since 1977. He founded the New England Tolkien Society two years later at age seventeen and publishes the (very irregular) Ravenhill. He is happy to be among such admirable hobbits. His other interests include seventeenth-century Maine history, and baseball. He plays center field for the St. Louis Perfectos, a vintage (1860 rules) baseball team. John D. Rateliff spent years working with the manuscripts of J.R.R. Tolkien at Marquette University, including assisting in the collation of Marquette’s holdings with those that Christopher Tolkien edited for volumes 6 through 9 of The History of Middle-earth. Rateliff ’s dissertation was on Lord Dunsany, the influential Anglo-Irish fantasist. Active in Tolkien scholarship for many years, he has helped to organize two major Tolkien conferences and delivered papers on Tolkien, Dunsany, Barfield, the Inklings, and other fantasy writers. A professional editor, he has edited or written over fifty role-playing game products. He is currently completing The History of The Hobbit, a critical edition of the original manuscript of Tolkien’s book. Christina Scull is the former Librarian of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, author of The Soane Hogarths (1991), editor of the occasional journal The Tolkien Collector, chair of the 1992 Tolkien Centenary Conference at Oxford. With her husband, Wayne G. Hammond, she has written J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (1995, winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies) and The Lord

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of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (2005), compiled a new index to Tolkien’s Letters (1999), and co-edited Tolkien’s Roverandom (1998, also a Mythopoeic Scholarship Award winner), Farmer Giles of Ham (1999), and Lord of the Rings (2004), the latter also with a new index. Their J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, a two-volume reference book on Tolkien, is forthcoming. T.A. Shippey is the Walter J. Ong, S.J., Chair of Humanities at St. Louis University. He followed J.R.R. Tolkien as the Chair of English Language at the University of Leeds, and taught the Tolkien syllabus as Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford. He is the author of The Road to Middle-earth (1982, revised and expanded 2003) and J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (2001), and editor of The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories (1992) and The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories (1994). He has also written numerous other articles and essays on subjects ranging from Anglo-Saxon verse to Cold War-era science fiction. Arden R. Smith has published numerous articles in the field of Tolkien studies, especially concerning Tolkien’s invented writing systems and the translation of Tolkien’s works. He is a member of a project to order, transcribe, and edit Tolkien’s unpublished linguistic papers, in which his particular focus has been those dealing with the Elvish alphabets. As part of this project, he has edited “The Alphabet of Rúmil” (2001), and “The Valmaric Script” (2003), and “Early Runic Documents” (2004), all published in the journal Parma Eldalamberon. Paul Edmund Thomas’s main efforts as a literary scholar have been devoted to editing and annotating the four major works of E.R. Eddison, which appeared in two volumes: The Worm Ouroboros (1991) and Zimiamvia: A Trilogy (1992). He was also a contributor to Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth (2000). Richard C. West has a diverse background in medieval English, French, and Scandinavian literature, as well as modern science fiction and fantasy, and in library science. His bibliography, Tolkien Criticism: An Annotated Checklist, has gone through two editions, and he has published articles on such authors as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Peter S. Beagle, and Mervyn Peake. He is on the Board of Advisors of the Mythopoeic Society and on the editorial board of Extrapolation. He is currently a Senior Academic Librarian at the Kurt F. Wendt Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Arne Zettersten has been a professor of English language and literature at the University of Copenhagen since 1975. From 1959 to 1973

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he collaborated with J.R.R. Tolkien on the editing of the manuscripts of the Ancrene Riwle, subsequently preparing three important editions of the manuscript. The author of many books and articles, he has been a visiting professor at Zurich University, Siegen, Vienna, and UCLA. In 1991 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently working on a book based on his collaboration and friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bibliography This list of sources is drawn from the notes to the individual essays, and represents those editions cited or consulted by the contributors. For clarity’s sake, additional bibliographical detail has been supplied for the section of Tolkien’s own works. Agøy, Nils Ivar. “The Fall and Man’s Mortality: An Investigation of Some Theological Themes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.’” In Between Faith and Fiction: Tolkien and the Powers of His World, edited by Nils Ivar Agøy, 16–27. Arda Special 1. Uppsala: Arda, 1998. Allan, Jim, ed. An Introduction to Elvish. Hayes, Middlesex (later Frome): Bran’s Head, 1978. Ancrene Wisse. Edited by Robert Hasenfratz. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2000. Anderson, Douglas A., ed. Tales before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003. Armstrong, Helen. “There Are Two People in This Marriage.” Mallorn, no. 36 (November 1998): 5–12. Attebery, Brian. Strategies of Fantasy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992. Barkley, Christine. “Points of View in Tolkien.” In Reynolds and GoodKnight, Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference 1992, 256–62. Becker, Alida, ed. The Tolkien Scrapbook. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1978. Bellet, Bertrand.“Re: Thank you.” Post to the Elfling mailing list, 16 November 2003, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27523. Benskin, Michael, and Margaret Laing. “Translations and Mischsprachen in Middle English Manuscripts.” In So Meny People Longages and Tonges: Philological Essays in Scots and Mediaeval English Presented to Angus McIntosh, edited by Michael Benskin and M.L. Samuels, 55–106. Edinburgh: Michael Benskin and M.L. Samuels, 1981. Beowulf. Translated by Joseph F. Tuso. New York: W.W. Norton, 1975. Bernal, Martin. Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. Vol. 1, The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, 1785–1985. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987. ———. Black Athena Writes Back: Martin Bernal Responds to His Critics. Edited by David Chioni Moore. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2001. Black, Merja Riitta.“AB or Simply A?: Reconsidering the Case for a Standard.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 100 (1999): 155–74.

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Blackwelder, Richard E. Tolkien Phraseology: A Companion to A Tolkien Thesaurus. [Milwaukee]: Tolkien Archives Fund, Marquette University, 1990. ———. A Tolkien Thesaurus. New York: Garland, 1990. Blunden, Edmund. Undertones of War. London: Penguin, 1982. Boffetti, Jason.“Tolkien’s Catholic Imagination.” Crisis 19, no. 10 (2001): 34–40. http://www.crisismagazine.com/november2001/feature7.htm. Boucher, Anthony. [Review of The Fellowship of the Ring.] Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 8, no. 4 (April 1955): 82. ———. [Review of The Lord of the Rings.] Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 11, no. 1 ( July 1956): 91–92. ———. [Review of The Two Towers.] Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 9, no. 2 (August 1955): 93. Bourke, Joanna. Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War. London: Reaktion Books, 1996. Bradley, Marion Zimmer.“Men, Halflings and Hero Worship.” FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association) booklet, 1961. Reprinted, with corrections, in Niekas, no. 16 ( June 1966): 25–44; and as Men, Halflings and Hero Worship, Baltimore: T-K Graphics, 1973; and also in shortened versions. Bratman, David. “A Corrigenda to The Lord of the Rings.” Tolkien Collector, no. 6 (March 1994): 17–25. ———. Reader review of Michael White, Tolkien: A Biography (2001), American ed. http://www.amazon.com/. ———. “Top Ten Rejected Plot Twists from The Lord of the Rings: A Textual Excursion into the ‘History of The Lord of the Rings.’” Mythlore 22, no. 4, whole no. 86 (Spring 2000): 13–37. Briggs, Katherine M. A Dictionary of British Folk-tales in the English Language, Part B: Folk Legends. 2 vols. London: Routledge, 1991. Brooke, Rupert. The Complete Poems of Rupert Brooke. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1934. Brooks, Terry. Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003. ———. The Sword of Shannara. New York: Ballantine Books, 1977. Brown, Charles N. “The New York Publishing Scene.” Locus, no. 164 (13 September 1974): 2–3. Bujor, Flavia. The Prophecy of the Stones. Translated by Linda Coverdale. New York: Miramax Books, 2004. Burchfield, R.W.“My Hero: Robert Burchfield on J.R.R. Tolkien.” Independent Magazine (London), 4 March 1989: 50. Carnell, E. J. [Ted]. “The International Fantasy Awards: II.” Yandro, no. 122 (March 1963): 6.

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Carpenter, Humphrey. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1977. Also published as Tolkien: A Biography, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977. Carrington, Charles (“Charles Edmonds”). A Subaltern’s War. London: Peter Davies, 1929. Carter, Lin. Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings. New York: Ballantine Books, 1969. Cerquiglini, Bernard. Éloge de la variante: Histoire critique de la philologie. Paris: Seuil, 1989. Chance, Jane. “Tolkien and the Other: Gender and Race in Middle-earth.” In Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages, edited by Jane Chance and Alfred K. Siewers, 173–88. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. ———. Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England. Rev. ed. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001. Christensen, Bonniejean.“Gollum’s Character Transformation in The Hobbit.” In Lobdell, A Tolkien Compass, 9–28. Clute, John, and John Grant, eds. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. London: Orbit, 1997. Clute, John, and Peter Nicholls, eds. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993. Conklin, Groff. [Review of The Fellowship of the Ring.] Galaxy Science Fiction 10, no. 2 (May 1955): 115. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993. First published in 1899. Coulson, Robert. “The World Fantasy Awards.” Yandro, no. 120 ( January 1963): 20–22. Curry, Patrick. Defending Middle-earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. First published in 1997. ———. “Not the Definitive Life, but a Clumsy Cash-in.” The Independent (London), 17 December 2001, p. 5. ———. “Tolkien and His Critics: A Critique.” In Root and Branch: Approaches towards Understanding Tolkien, edited by Thomas Honegger, 81–148. Zurich: Walking Tree Publishers, 1999. Da Fonseca, José & Pedro Carolino. English as She Is Spoke. Selections from O Novo Guia da Conversaçao, em Portuguez e Inglez, em Duas Partes ’ The New Guide of the Conversation, in Portuguese and English, in Two Parts. Edited by Paul Collins. [n.p.]: McSweeney’s Books, [2002]. First published in 1855. Dahood, Roger. “Ancrene Wisse, the Katherine Group and the Wohunge Group.” In Middle English Prose: A Critical Guide to Major Authors and Genres, edited by A.S.G. Edwards, 1–33. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1984.

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———.“The Current State of Ancrene Wisse Group Studies.” Medieval English Studies Newsletter 36 ( June 1997): 6–14. Dance, Richard.“The AB Language: The Recluse, the Gossip and the Language Historian.” In A Companion to Ancrene Wisse, edited by Yoko Wada, 57–82. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2003. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy 1: Hell. Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1949. Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. Edited by J.W. Burrow. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968. Davis, Bill. “Choosing to Die: The Gift of Mortality in Middle-earth.” In The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All, edited by Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson, 123–36. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 2003. De Camp, L. Sprague.“The Miscast Barbarian: Robert E. Howard.” Chap. 6 in Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy. Sauk City, Wisc.: Arkham House, 1976. ———. [Review of The Fellowship of the Ring.] Science Fiction Quarterly 3, no. 6 (August 1955): 39–40. ———. [Review of The Two Towers.] Science Fiction Quarterly 4, no. 3 (May 1956): 51. De Vries, Jan. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1961. Dimitroff, Daniel. “Character Study: Gríma Wormtongue.” Beyond Bree, December 2004: 3–4. D’Imperio, Mary E. The Voynich Manuscript: An Elegant Enigma. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Aegean Park Press, [c. 1976]. Diver, Krysia.“Troubled Germans Turn to Lord of the Rings.” Guardian, 4 October 2004; http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/article/0,2763,1319107,00. html. Dobson, E.J.“The Affiliations of the Manuscripts of Ancrene Wisse.” In English and Medieval Studies Presented to J.R.R. Tolkien on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, edited by Norman Davis and C.L. Wrenn, 128–63. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962. ———. “The Date and Composition of Ancrene Wisse.” Proceedings of the British Academy 52 (1966): 181–208. ———. The Origins of Ancrene Wisse. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976. Donaldson, Stephen R. “Lester del Rey.” Locus 30, no. 6, whole no. 389 ( June 1993): 68–69. Drout, Michael D.C.“How the Monsters Became Important: The Logical and Rhetorical Development of ‘The Monsters and the Critics.’” In Fabelwesen, mostri e portenti nell’immaginario occidentale, edited by Carmela Rizzo, 1–23. Torino: Edizione dell’Orso, 2004.

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Zimbardo, Rose A., and Neil D. Isaacs, eds. Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Index This index is intended to be widely inclusive of the subjects, persons, publishers, schools, universities, libraries and archives, societies, influences, analogues, places, languages, and things significantly mentioned in the essays. Names of recipients of letters generally are not indexed, and notes have been covered more selectively than the main text. Names of authorities are indexed when mentioned in the text, but generally not when cited in notes. Titles of works by authors other than Tolkien are selectively included under the author’s name, when special attention is called to the work as literature or scholarship, not merely for reference in the context of the essay. Anonymous works, such as the Ancrene Wisse, are entered under title. Entry points for characters, places, and so forth in Tolkien’s works usually follow those established in the editors’ indexes for The Lord of the Rings (from 2005) and their Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (2005), e.g. the names of battles and mountains are entered directly (Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Mount Doom), with a few exceptions according to the predominance of forms in the present book. AB language 13, 15–23; and texts 13, 15–17; and West Midlands 16; research after Tolkien 16–23 Ace Books 120–21, 306 Ackerman, Forrest J. 301–302 “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil” (poem) 57, 61 The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book 78, 131; see also “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil”; “Bombadil Goes Boating”; “The Hoard” Ælfwine see Eriol Ainulindalë 58, 67 Ainur 84, 140, 148, 294 Alalminórë 77 Alboin (king of the Lombards) 268 Alf (Prentice, king of Faery) 175– 76, 180–81 Alfred (king of England) 189–91 Allegory, and applicability 220

George Allen & Unwin (later Unwin Hyman) 58, 62, 63, 101, 102, 110–11, 123, 125, 135, 136, 137, 295, 312, 332, 336, 338, 340; archive 336, 338, 340 Ambarkanta 58 American Tolkien Society 313 Amlach 177, 181 Amon Hen 178–79 Amon Hen 54, 260 Ancrene Wisse (Ancrene Riwle), texts of 15–23; title 17; Early English Text Society editions of 17–19; see also AB language Ancrene Wisse (MS. C.C.C.C. 402) 15–17, 34, 80, 335; edited by Tolkien 17, 80, 335 “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad” 15, 95–96, 166, 297 Anderson, Douglas A. 58, 114, 260, 261, 262, 306, 314; ed., The An-

366 notated Hobbit 58; ed., Tales before Tolkien 261, 306, 314 Anduin (Great River) 108, 161; Men of the Vale of 267 Anglo-Saxon see Old English Angmar 318 Annals of Beleriand 58 Annals of Valinor 58 Ar-Pharazôn 141 Aragorn 44, 67, 104, 106, 107, 109, 110, 119, 121, 126, 128, 129, 130, 141, 143, 144, 148, 149–50, 151, 153, 161, 178, 232, 246, 317–27; Elessar 119, 180, 317, 321; Elfstone 320; Estel 121, 317, 320, 326; Heir of Elendil 106, 128, 321; Strider 103, 104, 118, 148, 151, 185, 317, 322, 323; Strider, replaced earlier nickname “Trotter” 104, 109, 185, 317; Thorongil, the Dúnadan, Telcontar 317; and Éowyn 318; and the palantír 130, 321; and the Star of the North 126; character not foreseen, Tolkien uncertain who he was 103, 317; conditions set on marriage with Arwen 320, 321, 323–24; death, and last words with Arwen 67, 325–26; evolution from Trotter the Hobbit (Fosco Took, Peregrin Boffin) to Aragorn, Heir of Elendil 104–107, 109, 317–18; letter in Epilogue to Lord of the Rings 232, 247; need for a suitable bride 317–18; parallels between stories of Aragorn and Arwen, and Beren and Lúthien 107, 321–25; reads hobbit footprints 119; relationship with Arwen 107, 318–27; response to Gimli concerning the Orthanc-stone 130; sense of

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 humor 129–30; tells or sings of Beren and Lúthien 322–23 Arathorn 322 Arctic (invented language) 23 Arda 84 Ardalambion (website) 240 Aristotle 259 Arkenstone 142, 171 Arnor 67, 144–45, 149, 321 Arthurian literature 76–77, 291, 293–94, 295–96 Arthurian Society, Oxford 291, 298 Arwen Undómiel (Evenstar) 88, 121, 107, 150, 318–27; and gift of brooch to Aragorn 320; and significance of standard she wrought for Aragorn 320–21; chose her fate 324–25; entered late in writing of Lord of the Rings, a few references inserted in earlier parts of narrative 107, 318–20; grave of 88; grief at Aragorn’s passing, and her own death 67–68, 88, 325–27, 329; story echoes that of Lúthien 107, 321–25 Asbjørnsen, Peter 289 Astounding Science Fiction 301 Atkins (“Leaf by Niggle”) 174 Atlantis 71 Auden, W.H. 259 Augustine of Hippo 221–27; his theology and the Northern theory of courage 226–27 Aulë 140 Bag End 181 Baggins family 161, 167, 262 Baggins, Bilbo 38, 42, 59, 79, 82, 102, 104, 105, 106, 116, 119, 121, 125, 126, 129, 131, 142, 145, 158, 160, 161, 162, 163, 167–68, 170, 171, 180, 188, 262, 283,

Index 284, 285–86, 287, 288, 289, 294, 296, 317, 319; and Dwarves in The Hobbit 170; and Smaug 129; conflict of Baggins and Took ancestries 262; poem about Eärendil at Rivendell 119 Baggins, Drogo 163, 167 Baggins, Frodo 42–52, 101, 102–103, 104, 105, 106, 109, 110, 119, 125, 126–27, 140, 143, 145, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164–65, 167–68, 178–79, 226–29, 258, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 297, 319, 325; after destruction of Ring 51–52; and Beren 51; and Elves in the Shire 126–27; and importance of pity and mercy 227–29; and Jesus Christ 50; and raising of the lowly and humble 228–29; and Sam Gamgee 43–44, 49; and shellshock 49–50; and wheel of fire 50–51; departure into the West foreseen 109; earlier incarnations (Bingo Baggins, Bingo BolgerBaggins) 102–103, 104, 109; his journey as Via Dolorosa 50; journey to Cracks of Doom, as intersection of Augustinian theology and Northern theory of courage 226–28; sword from the barrow 126; words spoken on Mount Doom 258 “Bagme Bloma” 82, 270–74, 280 Balin’s tomb 108 Ballantine Books 11, 123, 125, 135, 306–307, 337; Adult Fantasy series 306, 307 Bamfurlong 125, 136 Banker, Ashok K. 309 Barad-dûr see Dark Tower

367 Barber, Dorothy Elizabeth Klein 313 Bard the Bowman 148, 149, 171, 180; and Bardings 180 Barfield, Owen 70, 98 Barker, M.A.R. 82 Barrie, J.M. 257 Barrow-downs 46, 47, 54 Barrow-wights 46, 102 Barrows, in Berkshire 88 “The Battle of Brunanburh” 163 Battle of Five Armies 180 Battle of Greenfields 168 The, Battle of Maldon 156, 263 Battle of the Pelennor Fields 45 Battle of the Somme 42, 45, 46, 48, 49, 52 BBC Written Archives Centre 337 Beagle, Peter S. 309 Beare, Rhona 123, 126 Beleriand 73, 79, 176, 289; earlier Broseliand 73 Bellet, Bertrand 245 Belloc, Hilaire 218, 220 Bentcliffe, Eric 303 Beorn 144 Beowulf 15, 49, 55, 57, 60, 77, 80– 81, 82, 151, 183–91 passim, 225, 260, 271, 275, 292, 298, 305; Beowulf-poet 60, 69, 80, 91, 96, 98, 143, 186–87, 225, 229; parallel to The Hobbit 82; see also Grendel Beowulf and the Critics (ed. Drout) 183–213, 335 “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” 41, 60, 69, 183–215, 225, 335; composition of 183–215 Bereg 176, 181 Beren 28–29, 42, 51, 79, 130, 289, 294, 321–24, 325; and Aragorn 321–24; task set by Thingol 324 Berkshire Downs 54, 88, 89

368 Beyond Bree 260 Bilbo see Baggins, Bilbo Bill Stickers, stories of 57 Birmingham Oratory 13 Black Book of Carmarthen 285 Black Breath 46 Black Gate of Mordor 45 Black Númenóreans 87 Black Rider(s) see Nazgûl Blackwelder, Richard E. 7, 9–12, 25, 30, 31–32, 35, 37, 38, 113, 114, 141, 258, 265, 331, 337, 338; “The Great Copyright Controversy” 11; “Morsels from Middle-earth” 11; Tolkien Phraseology 11, 113, 114; A Tolkien Thesaurus 11, 25, 30, 31–32, 35, 113, 141; and Marquette University 7, 10–12, 331, 337; collection of bibliographic references 11, 337, 338; contribution to Tolkien studies 10–11 Bloemfontein 13 Blunden, Edmund 41, 47, 48 Bodleian Library, Oxford 13, 15, 334–35 Boffetti, Jason 218–19, 220 Bolger family 267 Bolger, Estella 123 Bolger, Fredegar (Fatty) 117, 123; earlier Odo Bolger 117 Bombadil, Tom 54, 61, 92, 102, 103, 141, 144, 257, 317 “Bombadil Goes Boating” 136 Book of Durrow 292 Book of Kells 292 The Book of Lost Tales 42, 69, 75–76, 77–79, 96–97, 125, 132; contains stories written in English and set in England 76, 77–79; essentially a tragic story 69; warriors in 42 Book of the Kings 286 Borges, Jorge Luis 304–305

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Boromir 45, 103, 104, 106, 107, 109, 110, 142, 148, 178–79; naysayer, wants to use Ring 178–79 Bosworth, Joseph 184 Boucher, Anthony 301, 302 Bournemouth 18 Bradley, Marion Zimmer, “Darkover” stories 72; The Door through Space, “Men, Halflings and Hero Worship,” The Mists of Avalon 303 Bramah, Ernest, “Kai Lung” stories 307 Brandy Hall 158, 159, 160, 167, 168, 286 Brandybuck family 143, 159, 160, 163, 164, 167, 168, 286 Brandybuck, Frodo 102 Brandybuck, Gorbadoc 163 Brandybuck, Meriadoc (Merry) 37, 51, 88, 109, 117, 118, 119, 123, 127, 129–30, 145, 158, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 167, 168, 318; and Aragorn in the Houses of Healing 129–30; and five or six ponies 117, 118; ride with the Rohirrim 129; sword from the barrow 318 Brandybuck, Primula 158, 167 Brandywine (river) 164 Brandywine Bridge 136 Bratman, David 115, 339 Bree 103, 104, 105, 106, 143, 160, 317, 322 Brendan, Saint 88 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 336–37; see also Gueroult, Denys British Library 336 Brooke, Rupert 41, 42 Brooks, Terry 93, 307–308, 314; The Sword of Shannara 307–308, 314 Bruinen, Ford of 126

Index Buckland 158, 159, 160, 162; Masters of 162 Bujor, Flavia, The Prophecy of the Stones 308 Burchfield, Robert 23 Burns, Marjorie 228 Butterbur, Barliman 129, 130, 160 Cabell, James Branch 115, 306 Calvino, Italo 304–305 Campbell, John Francis 289 Campbell, Joseph 259 Carc 142 Carey, John 153 Carnell, Ted 302, 303 Carolino, Pedro see Fonseca, José da Carpenter, Humphrey 14, 57, 58, 94, 311, 334, 335, 338–39 Carolino, Pedro see Fonseca, José da Carrington, Charles 41, 48 Carroll, Jonathan 309 Carroll, Lewis 257 Carter, Lin 92, 303; Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings 303 Cave-Bear 23 Caxton, William 290–91 Celebrían 320 Cerin Amroth 68, 326 Cerquiglini, Bernard 20, 21, 22 Chambers, R.W. 186 Chambers’s Etymological Dictionary 15 Chance, Jane 77 Change, importance of 145 Characters in Tolkien’s works, pleasant and unpleasant 169 Chaucer, Geoffrey 15, 17, 80, 95, 154–56, 326; The Canterbury Tales 17, 154–56; Troilus and Criseyde 95, 326 “Chaucer as a Philologist: The Reeve’s Tale” 155–56

369 Cheddar Gorge 89 Chesterton, G.K. 25, 218, 220, 259, 263; “The Ethics of Elfland” 259; Chestertonian fantasy 25 Chilterns 54 Christ Church, Oxford 335 Chrysophylax 172, 173, 174 “Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan” 269 Cirith Ungol 292 Clarke, Arthur C. 303 Clemens, Samuel Langhorne see Twain, Mark Clute, John 154 Cockayne, Oswald 184 Collins publishers 295, 296 Common Speech (Westron) 127, 267, 289 Company of the Ring 107, 108, 109, 178, 283; Companions of the Ring 119; Fellowship of the Ring 144, 161, 178, 179, 319 Conklin, Geoff 301 Conrad, Joseph, “Heart of Darkness” 78 Cormallen, Field of 126 Corpse-candles 47–48 Corsairs of Umbar 320 “The Cottage of Lost Play” 77 Council of Elrond 108, 153, 179, 180, 257, 283 Crickhollow 117 Crowley, John 309 Cunemund (king of the Gepids) 268 Curry, Patrick 339 Curtin, Jeremiah 289 Dagnall, Susan 58 Dahood, Roger 20 Dale 171, 180, 267; Men of 180 Dance, Richard 20, 23 Dane, Clemence 302

370 Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia 99, 326; Inferno 99 Dark Tower 108, 178 Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species 27–28 De Camp, L. Sprague 92–93, 301 Dead 46, 107 Dead Marshes 45, 46, 47–48 Déagol 49 Death, and time 87–88 Dee, John 82 Del Rey, Judy-Lynn 306–307 Del Rey, Lester 307 Denethor 32, 104, 119, 145, 146, 163–64, 325 “Deor’s Lament” 96–97 Derleth, August 92, 302 Dernhelm see Éowyn “The Devil’s Coach-horses” 31, 154 Diensberg, Bernhard 17 Dimitroff, Daniel 261 Dior 322 Dobson, E.J. 16, 19 Donaldson, Stephen R., “The Land” 72; Lord Foul’s Bane 307–308, 314 Doom (Gift) of Men 87, 322, 324, 325–26 Doriath 176 Doughan, David 260 Dreiser, Theodore 305 Drout, Michael D.C. 263, 335; see also Beowulf and the Critics Dúnedain see Rangers Dunsany, Lord 76, 80, 306, 307 Dwarf (word) 31 Dwarves 50, 68, 69, 86, 127, 146, 161, 169, 170–71; as source of information 127; in The Hobbit, poor opinion of Bilbo 170–71; of the Iron Mountains 171

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Dwimmerlaik, dwimmer-crafty, etc. (words) 34–36 Dwimorberg 35, 36 Eagles 142 Eärendil (earlier Eärendel) 78, 79, 82, 119–20, 294, 322; myth inspired by Wade 79; Old English name 82 Eärendillwë 119–20 Earle, James 185 Early English Text Society 17–19, 335 Easterlings 269 Eddas 260 Eddings, David, Belgariad 72 Eddison, E.R. 68, 87, 92, 306; The Worm Ouroboros 306; Zimiamvia novels 306; attitude toward Tolkien’s works 68, 87 Editing, Textual, questions about 115–17 Edoras 128, 130 Elanor 162 Eldacar see Vinitharya Eldamar 69 Eldar 126, 130, 177, 324 Eldarin, Common 244–45 Elder Edda 82 “Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielmo” 253 Elendil 106, 321; signs of 321 Elfhelm 129 Elgin, Suzanne Haldin 82 Elrond 32, 37, 106, 107, 108, 126, 130, 145, 178, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322–24, 326; and Aragorn 322–24; and Thingol 324; Council of see Council of Elrond; movements of sons 126, 130 Elros 322, 324, 325 Elston, Charles B. 331 Elven-king (The Hobbit) 171

Index Elves 15, 52, 59, 60, 68, 69, 75, 78, 85, 86, 87–88, 92, 99, 109, 118, 126–27, 129, 140, 144–45, 146, 149–50, 158, 161, 162, 165, 168, 169, 176–77, 179, 274, 288, 322, 326, 327; and change 146; and immortality 99; and the Shire 126–27; cling to the past 87–88; expression of aspects of the human race 99; long defeat in The Silmarillion 176; types 140 Elvish (word) 31 Elvish languages 36, 79, 124–25, 127, 142, 231–55, 288–89; and Old English 79; comparison with dead languages 238–39; even Tolkien not fluent in Elvish 233; expressed in series of historical grammars 236–37; grammars usually left unfinished, without verb morphology or syntax, then subject to reconsideration 238; in The Lord of the Rings 124–25, 127, 231–55 passim; spoken in Lothlórien 127; likely to appeal only to those of a philological bent 237–38; never intended as final or for use 233–34; no more fixed than his legendarium 235–36; predated Tolkien’s mythological narratives 232; summary of linguistic material 238–40; unsuitable for use in conversation 233–34, 239–40; see also Eldarin, Common; Languages, Invented; Quenya; Sindarin Elwing 120, 322 Encircling Mountains 142 England (the English) 15–16, 23, 34, 42, 43, 52, 54, 56, 69, 73, 76–79, 83, 89, 90, 94, 96, 98, 153, 156, 166–67, 186, 189–90, 291,

371 295–96, 302, 334; and Middleearth 90; and Tolkien’s mythology 52, 56, 69, 76–79, 83, 89, 90, 94, 98, 121–22 English language 14, 25–36, 82, 125, 236–37, 242–43, 244, 245– 47, 249–52, 254, 275; Birmingham pronunciation 26, 28; and Common Speech 267, 289; and etymology 25–30 passim, 32 Enochian 82 Ents 68, 69, 101, 144 Entwives 261 Éomer 35, 36, 107, 124, 143 Eorl 268 Eorl, House of 103, 123, 317; “House of ” vs. “house of ” 123; not foreseen by Tolkien 103 Éothéod 268 Éowyn 34, 35, 36, 104, 123, 129, 141, 163, 164, 318; and Aragorn 318; as Dernhelm 129, 163, 164 Eriador 121, 168, 177, 181 Eriol (later Ælfwine) 77, 83, 132, 287, 288, 289, 296 Ermanric (king of the Ostrogoths) 275 “Errantry” 119–20, 169 Eru see Ilúvatar Escapism 41 Esgaroth (Lake-town) 171; Master of 148, 149, 150, 171 Esperanto 82, 234 Estolad 176, 181 Etten (word) 31 Etymologies 241, 245 Eucharist 218 Evening Star 71 Exeter College, Oxford 335 Eye, of Sauron 45 Ezard, John 305–306

372 Fabricius Cunctator (Sunny Sam, blacksmith) 171–73, 174, 180, 181 Fairbairns of Westmarch 131, 286 Fairy-stories 41, 83 The Fall of Númenor 58, 107, 111 Fallohides 145, 158, 161–62, 168 Fangorn Forest, not foreseen by Tolkien 103 Fantasy Amateur Press Association 303 Fantasy and Science Fiction 301 Fantasy literature, and rise of mass market paperback 305; as genre 154, 304–305; Chestertonian 25; definition of 304; influence and legacy of Lord of the Rings 306–309; modern fantasy, and imagined prehistory 68; novels in the Tolkien tradition 72; teaching of 257 Faramir 103, 104, 107, 110, 140, 148, 149, 151, 161, 163, 164; character of 104; earlier Falborn, kinsman of Boromir 103, 107; importance in story 104; not foreseen by Tolkien 103, 110 Farmer Giles of Ham 25, 26, 29, 34, 38, 57, 59, 61, 80, 89, 122, 156, 171–73, 259, 332; and the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford 25, 26; fiftieth anniversary edition 332; the parson as grammarian 29 Fascism 153, 156 “Father Christmas” letters 57 The Father Christmas Letters 23 Fauskanger, Helge 240, 247 Fëanor 130, 294; sons of 120 Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings) see Company of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Fellowship of the Ring (fan club) 313 Ferny, Bill 169 Fiction (word) 26–27 Findagil 287 Finger (word) 28 Fingon 260 Finn and Hengest 96 Finnesburg Fragment (Freswæl) 81 Finnish language, and Quenya 274 Finrod 260 First Age 107 First World War, and The Lord of the Rings 41–52; descriptions of, and writings inspired by 41–52 passim; see also Battle of the Somme Fitzgerald, F. Scott 305 Flieger, Verlyn 333 Folklore movement 289 Fonseca, José da, and Pedro Carolino, Novo Guia da Conversaçao em Portuguez e Inglez 249–51 Forthwini 269 Foster, Robert, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth 118 Franco, Francisco 154 Free Peoples 144 Frisby, Steven M. 114, 331, 332 Frodo see Baggins, Frodo Frogmorton 136 Funk, Grace 331 Fussell, Paul 50 Gaffer see Gamgee, Hamfast Galadriel 30, 35, 119, 126, 148, 162, 277, 317, 319–20, 323; and the Virgin Mary 217; gifts of 126, 319–20; lament of 277 Galadwen see Vidumavi Galaxy Science Fiction 301 Gale, Floyd C. 301 Gamgee, Elanor 162, 163

Index Gamgee, Goldilocks 162, 163 Gamgee, Halfast 177 Gamgee, Hamfast (Gaffer) 32, 33, 34, 37, 157, 158, 162–63, 167 Gamgee, Samwise (Sam) 32, 33, 34, 37, 43–44, 48, 50, 101, 103, 109, 110, 119, 126, 131, 140, 145, 157, 158, 161, 162, 163, 164–65, 168, 177, 181, 232, 247, 284, 286, 287, 292, 297; and Frodo Baggins 43–44, 48, 50; and Shelob 43 Gamling 39 Gandalf 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 59, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 116, 119, 120, 124, 125, 126, 127–28, 130, 140, 143, 144, 145, 148, 149, 150, 157, 158, 161, 163, 164, 170–71, 176, 178, 179, 228, 317, 318; and dwarves in “The Quest of Erebor” 170–71; and Hobbits 170; and the palantíri 127–28, 130; guess concerning Gollum’s people 128; in The Hobbit 124; loss and reappearance of 108, 109, 120; Tolkien ignorant why Gandalf failed to return to Bag End 103; transformation into Black Rider in draft text 102 Gap of Rohan 178 Garm 173 Garth, John 245, 253, 333, 339; Tolkien and the Great War 333, 339 Gautisk 274–77 Gawain-poet 80, 95 Geats (Gauts) 275 Genre, importance of 305 George Allen & Unwin see under A Ghân-buri-Ghân 142 Gibbs, Philip 44, 48 Gift of Men see Doom of Men Gildor 102, 125, 126

373 Giles, Farmer 172–73, 180; see also Farmer Giles of Ham Gilfanon 287 Gilraen 322, 323 Gimli 39, 44, 67, 107, 109, 119, 130, 143, 161, 180; and Aragorn 130; departure from Middle-earth 67 Glóin 170–71, 172, 180 Glorfindel’s horse 126 Glyer, Diana Pavlac 116 Goblin (word) 32 “Goblin Feet” 78 Goblins 23, 68, 108; in “Father Christmas” letters 23 Golden Book of Tavrobel 74, 288–89 Gollum (Sméagol) 29–30, 31, 48–49, 55, 106, 109, 110, 116, 121, 128, 141, 142, 143, 157–58, 161, 163, 164, 165, 261; and First World War myths 49; and Grendel 49, 55; as Tolkienian self-image 29–30; speech of 157–58 Gondolin 60 Gondor 32, 67, 93, 103, 104, 109, 127, 144, 161, 163, 168, 177–78, 179, 232, 286, 287, 317, 321; and the palantíri 127; citizens of (Stone-men) 109; earlier Ond 109; Men of 177–78, 179; nomenclature in 232;Stewards of 317; not foreseen by Tolkien 103 Gordon, E.V. 31, 39, 291, 366 Gothic language 239, 267–80 passim; surviving corpus small 239, 269; translation of the Bible into 267, 270, 271, 274–75; and Tolkien 57, 81–82, 267–80 passim; and Gautisk 274–77; and miruvor 277; and names of Northmen and Éothéod 268–69; “Bagme Bloma” 82, 270–74, 280; expansion of at-

374 tested vocabulary 81–82, 269–74; Gothicization by Tolkien of his own name 269; influence on some Hobbit names 267–68; inscriptions in Tolkien’s copy of Thucydides 269–70; Lord’s Prayer in Gothic to exorcize a tape-recorder 277; speech in Gothic at school 57 Goths 268, 275; and Scandinavia 275 Grail quest 296 Great Haywood 77–78 Great Smials 168, 286 Greek (language) 57, 236, 239, 270, 276 The Green Dragon 177 Greene, Graham 218 Green-Hill Country 125 Gregory, Lady 289 Grendel 49, 55, 185, 187, 188, 190, 226; and Gollum 49, 55 “The Grey Bridge at Tavrobel” 78 Grey Havens 126, 324 Gríma see Wormtongue Grimm, Jacob 27–28, 29, 81, 237, 260, 275, 276, 289; Deutsche Grammatik 27–28; Deutsche Mythologie 27–28; fairy tales 260; Grimm’s Law 28, 81, 237 Grimm, Wilhelm 289 Grotta, Daniel 338–39 Gueroult, Denys (BBC interview of Tolkien) 68, 91, 139, 146–48 Guest, Lady Charlotte 289 Gwaihir 142 Haggerty Museum of Art 13 Haigh, Walter E., A New Glossary of the Dialect of the Huddersfield District 31, 34 Halbarad 320

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Half-elven, choice of 322, 325 Hali Meiðhad 17, 154; see also “Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad”; Katherine Group Ham 171, 172, 173 Hama 161 Hammond, Wayne G. 114, 123, 260, 337–38; J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography 123, 337–38 Hammond typewriter 58 Hansen, Rob 303 Harfoots 145, 161 HarperCollins 336 Hasenfratz, Robert 20 Hastings, Peter 85 Hearwan (word) 31 Heathen (word) 31–32 Heinlein, Robert A., Glory Road 304 Heliand 271 Hemingway, Ernest 305 Hengest 81, 83 Heorrenda 288, 289, 296, 297 Heroes and heroism 41–42 Hildebrandslied 271 The History of Middle-earth (ed. Christopher Tolkien) 59, 69, 101, 114, 115, 130, 186, 284, 285, 296, 318, 332, 338; “The History of The Lord of the Rings” 114, 115, 318, 332 Hitchcock, Alfred 259 “The Hoard” 188 The Hobbit 42, 57–58, 59, 60–61, 62, 70, 78, 79, 80, 82, 89, 100, 102, 104, 107, 108, 110, 115, 116–17, 121–22, 123, 124, 128, 129, 131, 132, 142–49, 170, 258, 259, 260, 262, 264, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 294, 313, 317, 331, 339; begun by Tolkien for his children, finished for his publisher 57–58,

Index 121–22; gap in writing 58; publication of 58; re-writing of chapter five 116–17, 123; 1960 revisions (unpublished) 70, 115; third edition revisions 59, 121–22, 132; and England 122; and historical depth 60–61; and The Lord of the Rings 62, 129, 283, 285, 317; and the Red Book of Westmarch 286, 287; and “The Silmarillion” 58, 59, 79; antiquity in 142; copyright status in USA 121; dust-jacket runes 284; Dwarf-names in 82; Elves in, compared with those in The Lord of the Rings 129; hierarchy and class in 142–49; humor in 129; influence of “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” 60; manuscripts of 313, 331; popularity of 61; restoration of status quo in 148; stealing of cup parallel to Beowulf 82; time-frame and Shire Calendar 70; Tolkien reading from 259; translations of 100 Hobbiton 156, 159 Hobbits 32, 37, 39, 43, 68, 69, 86, 124, 139, 143–44, 145, 146, 153, 156–65, 167–68, 169, 170, 171, 267–68; capitalization of name 124; ancestral speech, and language of the Rohirrim 39; and ennoblement 139; Halflings 164; hierarchy and class distinctions 43, 145, 156–65, 167–68; informality of 146; names in old families of Frankish or Gothic origin 267–68; reflect rural English at start of twentieth century 43; speech of 37; three branches of 161; views on “outsiders” 159; see also names of individual hobbits, e.g. Baggins, Bilbo

375 Hodgson, William Hope 306 Holdstock, Robert, “Mythago Wood” stories 309 “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son” 156, 226, 230, 259; see also “Ofermod” Homer 80, 305; Iliad 305; Odyssey 305 Hopkins, Gerard Manly 87 Hostetter, Carl F. 36, 77 Houghton Mifflin Company 120– 21, 123, 305–306, 340 House of a Hundred Chimneys 288, 289 Houses of Healing 129; herb-master of 29, 129–30 Howard, Robert E. 72–74, 75, 92; Conan stories 72–73; “The Hyborian Age” 73–74 Hunnewell, Sumner Gary 331, 337 I Palantír 313 Idril 130 Illinois Central College 258 Ilúvatar (Eru, the One) 84, 140, 141, 148, 150 Imrahil 149, 261 Incledon, Mary 14 Industrialism 41 Inglis, Fred 153 Inklings 32, 132, 337 Inklings Gesellschaft 338 International Fantasy Award 302–303 Ioreth 43 Iron Mountains 171 Isaacs, Neil D., and Rose A. Zimbardo, eds., Tolkien and the Critics 314 Isen 176 Isengard 110, 178 Isengrim the Second 158

376

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Lancashire Fusiliers 333 “The Land of Cockaigne” 257 Landroval 142 Lang, Andrew 260, 285 Langford, David 154 Langstrand 176 Languages, ancient 82; and historical grammars 236–37; and linguistic taste 82–83; linguistic reconstrucJack, George B. 20 tion of 243–44; multiplicity of Jackson, Peter 240, 243, 251–52, tongues 84; translation of, using 253, 259–60 a dictionary 245–46; semantic Jacobs, Joseph 289 functions 254 Jeremy, Wilfrid Trewin 71 Languages, Invented by Tolkien Jordan, Robert, Wheel of Time 72 13–15, 23, 28–29, 82, 231–32, Jordanes 268, 269 234–36; Tolkien invented and Jung, C.J. 259 continued to invent to satisfy his Jusserand, J.J. 185 personal linguistic aesthetic 231– 32, 234–36; see also Arctic; Elvish The Kalevala 263 languages; Gautisk; Nevbosh Karhu (North Polar Bear) 23 Katherine Group (MS. Bodley 34: St. Last Alliance 106 Latin (language) 13, 124, 142, 236, Katherine, St. Margarete, St. Juli239, 247, 254, 255; and Quenya ana, Hali Meiðhad, Sawles Warde) 124, 142 15–17 Law Library, Oxford 335 Kay, Guy Gavriel, Fionavar trilogy; The Lay of Leithian 58, 61 Tigana 72 Layamon, Brut 34 Keats, John 116 “Leaf by Niggle” 84–85, 86, 111, Ker, W.P., The Dark Ages 183, 186 173, 259, 335 Kilby, Clyde S. 313 Le Guin, Ursula 72, 124–25, 308, King Edward’s School Chronicle 335 309; “Earthsea” stories 72, 124– King Edward’s School, Birmingham 25, 309 14–15, 26, 57, 267, 277, 335, 337 Leeds, University of 57, 337 Kirith (on map) 124 Legendarium see “The Silmarillion” Klingon language 82 Legolas 44, 67, 91–92, 109, 118, Kocher, Paul H., Master of Middle119, 130, 143, 145, 161; and earth 68–69, 129 sea-longing 119; departure from Kortirion 77, 78 Middle-earth 67; sees smoke of “Kortirion among the Trees” 78 battle 118 Kubouchi, Tadeo 20, 22 Leiber, Fritz 92 Lembas 218 Laadan 82 Léod 268 Lake-town see Esgaroth Isildur 106 Istari see Wizards Isumbras the Third 158 Ithilien 103, 110, 149; Rangers in 103 “Iúmonna Gold Galdre Bewunden” 188, 215

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377

much not foreseen, and surprised The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 338; Tolkien 103; Tolkien foresaw frequently cited much of later part early, but little Lewis, C.S. 32, 44, 84, 86, 87, 92, of intervening events 108–109; 98, 99, 257, 259, 264, 266, 291; explanation of two versions of The Dark Tower 92; The Four finding the Ring in The Hobbit Loves 264; Out of the Silent Planet 116–17; final writing often dif86; The Problem of Pain 264, 266; fered from synopses 107; ideas Ransom (Space) trilogy 32, 86, rejected in the course of writing 257; and creation 98; in First 102–10 passim; care taken in World War 44 writing, revising drafts to improve Lewis, Warren (Warnie) 291 style and story 113–14, 121, 128; Life, progression of 145 constantly underestimated length Lindsay, David 306 still to be written 107–108, 109, Linguistic Atlas of Late Middle Eng110; sometimes seemed to write lish 16 itself, sometimes involved much Little Kingdom 180 rewriting and reorganizing 101– Lobdell, Jared 217 102; synopses and ideas 108–10; Lonely Isle see Tol Eressëa wrote alternate versions of chapter Lonely Mountain (the Mountain) “Strider” 101; reworked end of 142, 167, 171, 180 Book IV 101–102; late addition Long, Jan Noble 260 of Arwen 107; omitted Epilogue Lönnrot, Elias 289 126; publication 13, 294–96; The Lord of the Rings 13, 30, 31–36, revisions after first publication 41–46, 60, 61–64, 67–90, 98, 114–33; unauthorized resetting 99–100, 101–33, 139–50, 156– of The Fellowship of the Ring 120; 65, 167–68, 185, 188, 215, 217, author’s corrections in response 218, 219, 221, 226–29, 231–55 to readers’ letters 120, 123, 126; passim, 257, 259–60, 264, 265, corrections of typographical er283, 284, 285, 290, 294–96, 299, rors 120; Ace Books unauthorized 301–306, 313, 317, 325, 326, 332 edition 120–21, 306; Ballantine Writing and publication: manuBooks edition 306; sales figures (c. scripts of 101, 114, 133, 313; 1954–66) 305–306 sequel to The Hobbit 101, 102, Second edition: changes in 107, 116–17, 122, 131, 283, 120–33 passim; new Foreword, 285, 317; written by Tolkien for rejecting pose of being editor and his publisher, not his children translator 123, 130–33; added 61–62; multiple versions of first “Note on the Shire Records” chapter 102, 105, 114; early writ132–33; changes made to fit map ing of 62–64, 78; uncertainty 123; regularization of capitalizawho should be main protagonist tion and punctuation 123–24; 102; little idea how story was to representation of Elvish sounds develop after the first chapter 102;

378 and changes in Elvish grammar 124–25; corrections or clarifications of geography 125; printing error concerning size of the Shire 117; accoutrements (swords, etc.) in 125–26; corrections of chronology or history 126–28; little stylistic change in 128; adjusted level of humor in 129; changes to Appendices more extensive 130; within Tolkien’s lifetime the text was both stable and mutable 133; establishing a definitive text 114–15; Houghton Mifflin edition of 1987 unified texts 123; some outstanding discrepancies noted in The History of Middleearth volumes 117–18; change in 1994 HarperCollins edition 119; changes in fiftieth anniversary edition 117, 332 Contents and interpretation: The Lord of the Rings and Christian theology 98, 218; and the First World War 42–46; and historical depth 60; and the Second World War 42; and “The Silmarillion” 63, 89; and twentieth-century history 154; antiquity in 142; “Arthurian ending” 299; as mythic prehistory 67–90; Catholic theology implicit 218; class distinctions in 156–65, 167–68; copyright status in United States 121; criticism and reception 301–305; depth of argument and detail 185; detail, linguistic, historical, and geographic 113; ennoblement of the lowly and humble 139, 228–29; extensive vocabulary and versatility of narrative styles major sources of its appeal 37; fairy story 41, 69; fan-

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 tasy in the form of heroic romance 301; film treatments 240, 243, 251–52, 253, 259–60, 301–302; Frankish and Gothic used for some Hobbit names, Gothic for Northmen and Éothéod 267–69; Frodo’s journey to Cracks of Doom, intersection of Augustinian theology and Northern theory of courage 226–28; fundamentally religious and Catholic 217, 221; greatness in 142; heroic world of 143; hierarchy and class in 139– 50 passim; importance of pity and mercy 226–29; nomenclature a pervasive element 232; not an allegory of World War Two 215; not a happy story 68, 326; not really a juvenile 110; pattern of fall and replacement in 148; popularity of 257; readers’ response 131–32; real theme Death and Immortality 219; title-page inscription 284; Tolkien reading from 259; translations of 89, 99–100; use of English language in 30, 31–34; use of words in 31–36; villains in 141; see also related subjects, e.g. Elvish languages Lórien see Lothlórien Loss, evocation of in Tolkien’s works 87 The Lost Road 60, 61, 71, 82, 132 Lothlórien (Lórien) 35, 36, 67–68, 103, 107, 108, 109, 127, 143, 165, 178, 317, 319, 320, 323, 324; Dwimordene 35, 36; language spoken by Elves of 127; not foreseen by Tolkien 103, 107, 108, 109 Lovecraft, H.P. 70, 92 Lowdham, Alwin Arundel (Arry) 71

Index Lupoff, Dick 303 Lupoff, Pat 303 Luthany 73, 78 Lúthien Tinúviel 28–29, 79, 92, 107, 130, 288, 294, 319, 321–23 Lyons, Mathew 79, 88 McCaffrey, Anne, stories of Pern 72 MacDonald, George 306 Machen, Arthur 306 McKiernan, Dennis 93 McKillip, Patricia A. 309 McWhorter, John 81, 84 Maedhros 181 Maggot, Farmer 125, 157, 159; name of his farm 125 Maggot, Mrs. 157, 159, 160 Maiar 64, 140, 150 Major Road Ahead, stories of 57 Mallorn 260 Malory, Thomas, Morte D’Arthur 290–95, 298 Mandos 176 Mankato State College 313 Manning, Frederic 46 Manwë 140, 141, 148 Marhari 269 Marhwini 269 Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College 313, 337 Markus, Manfred 22 Marquette University 7, 9–12, 13, 114, 257, 258, 261, 301, 313, 331, 332–33, 337, 340; and Richard E. Blackwelder 7, 9–12, 331, 337; purchase of Tolkien manuscripts by 313 Martin, George R.R., A Game of Thrones 72 Master of Lake-town see Esgaroth Masters of Buckland 162 Materialism 41

379 Mathom-house (word) 125 Meduseld 123 Melkor (Melko) see Morgoth Men 86, 140, 146, 150, 161, 169, 176; Doom of see Doom of Men; of the houses of Bëor and Marach in The Silmarillion 176; types 140; see also Anduin, Men of the Vale of; Dale, Men of; Gondor, Men of; Northmen; Númenóreans; Púkelmen; Wild Men “Merlin’s Prophecy” 257 Merry see Brandybuck, Merry Merton College, Oxford 335 Michel Delving 163 Middle-earth 15, 29, 31, 47–48, 59, 62, 63, 64, 67–72, 76, 79, 84, 86, 90, 111, 140, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 149–50, 153, 165, 171, 267, 284, 285, 286, 289, 317, 324, 326–27; name, modernization of old word 69; lost past of our world 67–72 passim; our world in imaginary or legendary past 69–70, 76, 326; and England 90; compared to Neverland and Narnia 79; pre-Christian world, but with hope of something beyond death 326–27; pre-history of 286 Middle English 31, 80; literature 80; see also AB language Middle English Compendium 22 A Middle English Vocabulary 30–31 Middle Kingdom 171 Miéville, China 309 Miller (Farmer Giles of Ham) 172– 73, 180 Miller, P. Schuyler 301, 302 Millet, Bella 20, 23 Minas Tirith (the City) 104, 107, 109, 110, 118–19, 149, 178, 286,

380 287, 320, 321; Hall in the Citadel 118–19 Minas Tirith Evening Star 313 Mirkwood (Taur-na-Fuin) 79, 145 Miruvor, miruvoré (word) 277 Misty Mountains 105, 108 Mithril 120, 125 Moe, Jørgen 289 Moon, phases of 118 Morannon (Black Gate) 125, 126 Mordor 43, 44, 108, 109, 110, 126, 178, 179 Morgan, Francis 13–14, 15 Morgoth (earlier Melko, Melkor; Great Enemy) 69, 107, 140–41, 142, 148, 149, 323; Iron Crown of 324 Morgoth’s Ring 293 Moria (Mines of Moria) 103, 108, 109, 143, 144, 169, 178, 317; gates of 169 Morris, William 306 Morris-Jones, John, A Welsh Grammar 237 Mount Doom (Fiery Mountain) 51, 107, 108, 109, 110, 162, 164, 258, 283 Mr. Bliss 57, 61 Müller, Max 27 Murray, Robert 120, 217 Mythlore 260 Mythology, in general 31, 41, 44, 73, 74, 76, 77, 79, 83, 90, 94, 96, 98, 149, 218–19, 220, 231, 238, 239, 259, 278, 284, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 298, 318, 321; created by Tolkien (including “Mythology for England”) see “The Silmarillion” “Mythopoeia” 83, 85 Mythprint 260 Myths, influences on Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Nagy, Gergely 185 “Narn I Hîn Húrin” 260 Narnia, compared to Middle-earth 79 National Sound Archives, London 336–37 Naysayers (pessimists, ignorant, scoffers, etc.) 169–81 Nazgûl (Black Riders, Ringwraiths) 32, 45–46, 48, 49, 54, 102–103, 104, 125, 141, 159, 184, 185; and First World War 45–46, 54; transformation of Gandalf into Black Rider in draft text 102 Nazgûl, Lord of the (Witch-king) 34, 35, 36, 45, 141, 163, 164, 176, 318; and Angel of Mons 45 Necromancer see Sauron Nevbosh 13–15 Neverland (Barrie), compared to Middle-earth 79 “The New Shadow” 67 Newman, John Henry 218, 220, 221 Niggle 84–85, 86, 87, 111, 174, 180; and Great Tree 180; Niggle’s Parish 180 Ninnyhammer (word) 32–34 Noakes, Old 158 Nokes 174–76, 180–81 Noldor 79 Noldorin see Sindarin Noman-lands 45 Noodles (word) 33 Northern theory of courage 225– 26; and Augustinian theology 226–27 Northmen 268–69 The Notion Club Papers 71, 82, 92, 132, 254, 304 Númenor 71, 91, 132, 288, 289; Downfall of 71, 288, 289; and changed shape of world 71

Index Númenóreans 74, 140, 141, 143, 145; and death 145 Oakeshott, W.F. 290–91 Oakley 89 Odovacar (Odoacer) 268 “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age” 259 “Ofermod” 215, 225–27 Old English (Anglo-Saxon) 15, 31, 32, 79, 80, 81, 191, 267, 268; and Elvish 79; and language of the Rohirrim 267, 268; Late West Saxon, Mercian dialect 15; literature in 80, 81; study of 191 Old Forest 102, 144, 164 Oldbuck, Gorhendad 160 “On Fairy-Stories” 25, 70, 72, 76, 85, 90, 92, 139, 173, 259, 260, 261, 335 Ond (word) 91 One Ring see Ring Onions, C.T., 25–26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33; ed., The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology 25–26, 28, 29, 30, 33 Oratory School 337 Orcrist 313 Orcs 125, 153, 168; spelling of orc 125 Orthanc-stone see Palantíri Orwell, George, 1984 45 Oswald, Saint (king of Northumbria) 190–91 Otty, Nick 153 “Over Old Hills and Far Away” 78 Owen, Wilfred 41, 44, 45, 47 Oxford, Oxfordshire 46, 54, 57, 78, 85, 302 Oxford, University of 57, 93, 94, 96, 183, 188, 298, 302, 305, 335–36;

381 archives 335–36; see also Bodleian Library Oxford Central Library, Centre for Oxfordshire Studies 336 Oxford English Dictionary 17, 23, 25, 26, 30, 32–33, 34–35, 36, 38, 336; and “Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford” 25, 26, 32–33, 38 Oxford English Faculty Library 335 Oxford English School 183, 335 Oxford University Gazette 335 Oxford University Press archives 336 Palantíri (Stones) 103, 107, 124, 127–28, 130; not foreseen by Tolkien 103; Orthanc-stone 103, 107, 130 Paolini, Christopher, Eragon 308 Parish (“Leaf by Niggle”) 174, 180 Parma Nole 260 Parson (Farmer Giles of Ham) 172, 173 Parth Galen 107 Past, power of mythical past to affect modern world 71 Paths of the Dead 46 Peake, Mervyn, “Gormenghast” trilogy 306 Pearce, Joseph 218, 220 Pearl 191 Pembroke College, Oxford 335 Pengoloð 287 The Peoples of Middle-earth 130 Philology 15, 27, 29, 31, 37, 38, 80, 81, 154, 188, 217, 237, 238, 262, 267, 269 Pippin see Took, Pippin Plato 80 Plimmer, Charlotte 304 Plimmer, Denis 304 Plotz, Richard 287

382

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004

manuscript of Morte D’Arthur 290, 292–94, 296; bridge between fictive and real worlds 284–85; echo of medieval manuscript books 285 Redhorn Gate 105, 178; earlier Red Pass 108 Rednal 13, 14 The Return of the Shadow 62, 103, 332 Rhovanian 268 Rhudaur 122 Riders of Rohan see Rohirrim Qenya Lexicon 253 Ring (One Ring) 44–45, 49–50, 51, Qenyaqetsa 274–77 52, 64, 102–103, 106, 109, 110, Quenta Silmarillion 58, 79 116, 143, 157, 164, 178–79, 258, Quenya 124, 125, 142, 231–55 283, 293, 317; as machine 50; depassim, 274, 275, 277; and Latin struction of 64, 109, 110; develop124, 142; what is actually possible ment of significance 102–103; in 251, 252; “Neo-Quenya” 240–43, The Hobbit 102; inscription 293; 245–46, 247–48, 249, 250, links between The Hobbit and The 251–52, 253; (Quenya) miruvóre Lord of the Rings 317 derived from Gothic 277; see also Rings of Power 87, 143; chief power Elvish languages; Languages, Into prevent or slow decay 87; see vented also Ring “The Quest of Erebor” 170–71 Ringwraiths see Nazgûl Rivendell 105, 106, 108, 119, 121, Radagast 140 145, 148, 168, 179, 259, 277, 285, Rangers, in Ithilien 103; of the 286, 287, 288, 294, 319, 322, 323 North 104–105, 320; developRoäc 142 ment of idea of Númenórean Robinson, Derek 129 origin 105 Rohan (Mark, Riddermark) 32, 88, Rateliff, John D. 259, 266, 333 109, 128, 141, 144, 161, 163, 168, Reading, University of 336, 340 180, 265, 267, 317, 320; Gap of Ready, William 313–14, 331, 340; Rohan 178 The Tolkien Relation: A Personal Rohirrim (Horse-lords, Riders of Inquiry 313–14, 340 Rohan) 35, 36, 37, 39, 103, 110, Recovery 76 126, 129, 140, 267, 268; language Red Book of Hergest 131, 285 of, and Old English 267, 268; Red Book of Westmarch (Bilbo’s dilanguage, and ancestral speech of ary, continued by Frodo) 74, 131, Hobbits 39 158, 163, 168, 283–88, 290, 292– 94, 296; analogue in Winchester Polyphemus 164 Potts, Jennifer 22 The Prancing Pony 317 Pratchett, Terry, “Discworld” novels 72 Primary World 86 Public Record Office, Kew 333–34, 339 Púkel-men 88 Pullman, Philip 72, 309; The Golden Compass 72

Index Rosamunda (daughter of Cunemund) 268 Rosebury, Brian 153, 154 Rossetti, Christina, “Goblin Market” 257 Rota, Bertram 331 Roverandom 57, 121 Rowling, J.K. 309 Rúmil 287 Sackville-Baggins family 109, 144, 167 Sackville-Baggins, Lotho 141, 150, 181 St. Juliana see Katherine Group St. Katherine see Katherine Group St. Margarete see Katherine Group Salo, David 240, 251–52, 253, 254, 255, 269, 270; A Gateway to Sindarin 240, 255 Sam see Gamgee, Samwise Sandyman (miller) 157, 162, 163 Sandyman, Ted 157, 177, 179, 181 Sanskrit 236, 239 Santoski, Taum 265, 331 Sarehole Mill 89 Sarjeant, William A.S. 265 Saruman 35, 103, 110, 124, 126, 127–28, 140, 141, 142, 148, 149, 156, 165, 178, 179, 181; not foreseen by Tolkien 103, 110; and the Shire 127–28 Sassoon, Siegfried 41, 43, 47, 51, 52 Sauron (Dark Lord, Lord of the Rings, the Necromancer) 44, 45, 79, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107, 110, 130, 141, 142, 143, 150, 157, 178, 263, 317, 321, 324; Eye of 45 Sawles Warde see Katherine Group Sayer, George 259, 277 Schweitzer, Darrell 307 Science Fiction Book Club 304

383 Science Fiction Quarterly 301 Sciri 268 Scull, Christina 114, 334–39 passim Secondary Belief 71 Secondary World 15, 72 “Secret Vice, A” 14 Shadowfax 126, 142; accompanies Gandalf into the West 126 Shakespeare, William, Hamlet 114; King Lear 114; vocabulary compared to Tolkien’s 37 Shelob 43, 46, 48, 101, 142 Shepard, Lucius 309 Shippey, T.A. 15, 60, 81, 187, 260, 262, 271, 272, 280 Shire 43, 51, 52, 102, 105, 106, 109, 121, 122, 127, 128, 141, 144, 145, 153, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 165, 167–68, 168, 170, 177, 179, 232, 286, 339; and England 122; claims to be model for 339; extent of 117; scouring of 51, 109; scouring foreseen early 109 Shire Calendar 70 “Sigelwara Land” 31 Sigismond (Burgundian prince) 268 “The Silmarillion” (mythology) 36, 46, 52, 57, 58, 59–60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 67–99 passim, 107, 111, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, 140–41, 143, 148, 153, 224, 231, 232, 253, 254, 269, 287, 290, 294–96, 297, 322, 325, 326, 334; and The Lord of the Rings 121, 123; composition of 78, 79; desired publication of 294–96; hierarchy in 140–41; “Mythology for England” 69, 76–78, 79, 83, 89, 90, 94, 294; proposed changes to cosmogony 71; villains in 140–41 The Silmarillion 125, 176, 285; 218; Catholic theology implicit in 218;

384 readings of, by Christopher Tolkien 259 Silmarils 71, 294, 324 Silverlode (Redway) 108 Simons, Lester 265 Sindarin (earlier Noldorin) 124, 231–55 passim; what is actually possible 251, 262; “Neo-Sindarin” 240–43, 244–45, 246–47, 248– 49, 250, 251–52; see also Elvish languages; Languages, Invented Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 31, 39, 57, 80, 95, 259, 292, 305; ed. J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon 31, 39, 336; Gawain-poet 80, 95 “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (W.P. Ker Lecture) 95 Sir Orfeo 305 Sisam, Kenneth, Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose 30–31 Sitwell, Osbert 49 Skeat, Walter, Principles of English Etymology 27 “Sketch of the Mythology” 79 Smaug 58, 129, 170, 171 Sméagol see Gollum Smith of Wootton Major 33, 87, 156, 174–76, 259, 334; names in 33 Smith, Clark Ashton 306 Smith, Jeremy 16 Songs for the Philologists 270; see also “Bagme Bloma” Southrons 143 Special collections, and Tolkien studies 331–40 Standing Stones 89 Stevenson, Lorna 22 Stillinger, Jack 116 Sting (sword) 126 Stoors 145, 157, 161, 165 Strachey, Barbara, Journeys of Frodo 118

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Straight Road 71 Strider see Aragorn Strong, Archibald 184, 185 Sturluson, Snorri, Prose Edda 36 Sub-creation 15, 67, 71, 84–86, 87, 90, 94, 97, 98–99, 113, 117, 121, 122, 125, 131, 133, 136, 224–25, 232, 259, 261, 285 Sword, from barrow 318 T.C.B.S. (Tea Club and Barrovian Society) 57 Tailbiter (Caudimordax) 172, 173 “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen” 67–68, 107, 319, 321, 323; Tolkien considered it essential even if other appendices omitted 321 The Tale of the Years (Elder Days) 293 “The Tale of Years” (Appendix B) 130 Taruithorn (Oxford) 78 Tavrobel 77, 78, 288 Tekumel 82 Thain 168 Thame 89 Théoden 37, 129, 142, 144, 163, 179–80, 318 Theodoric the Great (king of the Ostrogoths) 268, 269 Thingol 60, 294, 324; and Beren 324 Thorin Oakenshield 148, 170–71, 180 Thorondor 142 Thucydides, Fifth Book 269–70 Time, and death 87–88 Times (London), and First World War 46, 50 “Tinfang Warble” 78 Tol Eressëa (Lonely Isle) 52, 77, 78; and England 52, 78 Tolkien, Arthur 13

Index Tolkien, Christopher 59, 62, 69, 77, 78, 79, 96, 103, 105–106, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120, 124, 125, 128, 183, 184, 259, 268, 269, 285–86, 288, 293, 296, 318, 332, 338; readings from The Silmarillion 259; see also The History of Middle-earth Tolkien, Edith 78 Tolkien, Hilary 13, 15 Tolkien, J.R.R., aims and purposes in writing his legendarium and The Lord of the Rings 218–20; and Catholicism 85–86, 97, 154, 217–39; and the English-speaking academic world 37–38; and the Second World War 42; attitude toward fairy-story, myth, and legend 76, 83; attitude toward work 154; biographies of 338–40; classified as a fantasy author 304– 305; compared to Beren, Túrin, Tuor 42; disapproval of xenophobia 161; early life 13–15; experiences in First World War 41–52 passim; himself not fluent in Quenya and Sindarin 233; knowledge of medieval manuscripts 292, 297; lectures at Oxford 57, 96, 183, 188, 335; library, books in Oxford English Faculty Library 335; love of vulgar and simple 143; method of writing 83, 110–111, 185–86; pedantry of 29, 113; poetry 185– 86, 188 (see also individual titles); read science fiction and fantasy 304; recordings by 259; re-introduction of words 31–36; research materials on 331–38; rhetorical technique 183–91; stories for his children 57–58 (see also individual titles); teaching of his

385 works 257–65; theatrical trait 57; views of attempts to find sources for his nomenclature 234; views on “Aryan” descent 73; views on class differences 154–56, 158–59, 161–62; views on hierarchy, class, hereditary rule 139–40, 146–50; views on translation of his invented nomenclature 234–35; writings compared to those of E.R. Eddison 68; see also special topics in regard to Tolkien, e.g. AB language; Mythology; Philology Tolkien, Mabel 13, 340 Tolkien fandom, societies 260, 301–14 passim, 338 The Tolkien Reader 259 Tolkien Society 338 Tom Bombadil see Bombadil, Tom Tomlinson, H.M. 41, 49 Tompkins, Councillor 174, 180 Took family 143, 145, 160, 162, 163, 164, 167, 168, 262, 267, 286 Took, Bandobras (Bullroarer) 158, 186 Took, Belladonna 167 Took, Gerontius (Old Took) 167 Took, Peregrin (Pippin) 37, 51, 104, 109, 118, 124, 127–28, 130, 144, 145, 158, 159, 161, 163–64, 167, 168 The Treason of Isengard 103 Tree and Leaf 84; see also “Leaf by Niggle”; “On Fairy-Stories” Tree of Amalion 84 Treebeard (Fangorn) 37, 109, 110, 116, 124, 126, 141, 142, 144 Treebeard, Giant (hostile) 109 “The Trees of Kortirion” 78 Triode 303 Trotter see Aragorn Tulkas 140

386 Tuor 42, 130 Túrin Turambar 42, 176, 288, 294 Twain, Mark 72, 74–75, 86–87, 93, 250; “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” 86–87; “The Curious Republic of Gondour” 93; The Papers of the Adam Family 74–75 Two Trees of Valinor 71

The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004 Vinge, Vernor, “The Accomplice” 304 Vinitharya (later Eldacar) 268–69, 277 Virgil see Vergil Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr. 257, 259 Voynich manuscript 82, 96

Wada, Yoko 19, 20 Wade, legend of 79 Wain, John 98 Ulmo 140 Waldman, Milton 295, 296, 299 Ulysses 164 Walton, Evangeline 306 Umbar, Corsairs of 320 “The Wanderer” 163 Undertowers 168, 286 War of the Jewels 130 Unfinished Tales 259, 269, 338 War of the Ring 168, 180, 321 Unwin, Rayner 295, 306, 336 Warner, Harry 303 Unwin, Stanley 58, 61, 62, 63, 108, 110, 111, 295, 302–303, 306, 311 Warwick, Warwickshire 77–78, 79 Weathertop 125, 184, 185, 322 Weir, Arthur R. 303–304 Valacar 268 Wells, H.G. 304 The Valaquenta 140 Wends (Slavic people) 269 Valar 140, 141, 150, 322 “Valedictory Address to the Univer- West see Valinor West, Richard C., “The Interlace sity of Oxford” 37 Structure of The Lord of the Rings” Valinor (Undying Lands, the West) 285; Tolkien Criticism 313 59, 91, 119, 126, 140, 145, 149, Westmarch 286 177, 288, 322, 325, 326 VanderMeer, Jeff 309; The Thackeray Westron see Common Speech T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Ec- White Book of Rhydderch 285 White Council 127 centric and Discredited Diseases White, Michael 339–40 309 White, T.H. 257 Vaughan Williams, Ralph 115 Whitfurrows 136 Venetharius (king of the OstroWhitman, Caroline, “The Imaginagoths) 269 tive Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien” 313 Vergil, Aeneid 80 Wild Men (Woses) 142 Vespasian Psalter Gloss 15 Wilderland 121 Vidigabius (king of the Alamanni) Williams, Charles 116 268 Williams, Tad, Memory, Sorrow, and Vidigoia 268 Thorn 72 Vidugavia 268 Willowman 102 Vidumavi (Galadwen) 268–69 Wilson, Edmund, “Oo, Those Awful Vikings 189–90 Orcs” 301 Vinaver, Eugène 291, 295, 298

Index Wilson, R.M. 80 Winchester manuscript see Malory, Thomas Window on the West 161 Wisconsin, University of, Tolkien Society 313 Witch-king see Nazgûl, Lord of Wizards (Istari) 124, 140, 148; capitalization of Wizards 124 Wogan-Browne, Jocelyn 22 Wolfe, Gene 309 “Wood-sunshine” 15 Woodhall 125 Wootton Major 175 Worcester College, Oxford 335 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) 302 World War, First see First World War Worminghall 89 Wormtongue (Gríma, son of Gálmód) 35, 36, 120, 128, 130, 141, 165, 179–80, 261 Wraith (word) 32 Wright, Joseph, Primer of the Gothic Language 237, 267; A Grammar of the Gothic Language 270 Wyke-Smith, E.A., The Marvellous Land of Snergs 261 Wynne, Patrick 252, 254 Xero 303 Yeats, William Butler 84, 115 Zelazny, Roger, Chronicles of Amber 72 Zettersten, Arne 21–22 Zimbardo, Rose A. see Isaacs, Neil D. Zimmerman, Morton Grady 301

387