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Tolkien Geekery

I found an interesing blogpost on Rereading the LOTR appendices. I always found it about equally fascinating and annoying that Tolkien put so much of the actual STORY in the appendices: ALL of Aragorn and Arwen's love story, for instance, most of the real background and ending stuff...yeah. (And of course, per usual, Rohan gets ROBBED. *grump*)

My friend Anton also got me a copy of the audiobook of The Silmarillion which I started listening to last night. I listened to the first chapter and yeah, I agree that it really has to be listen to rather than read, plus all the Elvish is just so much more lovely and alive when vocalized. Looking forward to hearing more!!



( 20 comments — Add your .02 )
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
You guys. Making me log in to LJ after I said I wouldn't. *grumbles*

So you DID like it better after listening to it! XD Only one chapter though? Did you give up after a while or decide writing was wayyyy better?
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Well the first chapter was twenty seven minutes and the second was forty-five, and I wanted to go to bed. I did at least get all the bits in my notebook transcribed.

I had forgotten that Tolkien was supposed to have "translated" LOTR. This makes me want to play with that aspect a bit.
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
Oh really? What are you thinking about?

Although seriously, you need to focus on your fic o' doom, and then on the fic you should write for me since I'm going to beta your fic o' doom. XDDDDD
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
I knoooooooooooooow, but I DO need to percolate on things. ;)
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
The audio book? Now that's an idea that I hadn't considered. Hubby skipped large parts of LoTR, and I've never foisted the Silm off on him, but I bet this way, he'd make it through it.

JRRT was not very organized, was he? Such contradictory notes and such. I wonder what he'd think about the Silm and HOME and all that came after his death?
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I had a LOT of trouble with Silmarillion when I tried reading it a number of years ago. It's like reading the Bible: you can do it if you want to either focus on it as study or if you're working on the text with a group. by yourself? It's a deadly slog.

I think Tolkien was marvelously organized, considering. I mean, the man created multiple languages, a mythology, a history, and then a series of novels, IN THAT ORDER. Oh, while teaching and publishing articles and having a family. *envy*

Have you ever looked at The History of Middle Earth? FASCINATING stuff, particularly with how the various characters and plots changed over time, from draft to draft.
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
He got a lot done, indeed. But, and this is the part I have to keep reminding myself when I look at how unfocused my daughter is, he didn't have to contend with television and internet, and their 24x7 distractions. :D

I have gone through HOME a bit, mostly used it as a reference. I'm still one that prefers Gil-Galad's parentage as listed in the Silm than as HOME, but there is such a wealth of history and world building and culture, that it is hard to grasp that one man created it all.
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
Well in the last volume, I think The Fall of Sauron? There's some bits where he had started a story about a modern guy who ends up time traveling to witness some of the events... pre-LOTR but not Silm either if I recall, ANYWAY I read it and it was just fragments but I adored the idea.

I honestly half-cherish half-fear that one day when Christopher passes one of the publishing giants is going to really incorporate ME to make tie-in novels. Half-cherish because guess who would be jumping up and down to submit something? *looks shifty* Half-fear because so FEW do Tolkien WELL!!!!!!!
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
Just wait until you read about The Fall of the Noldor! Or the Tale of Beren and Luthien! Those are my absolute favourites! >w
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)

Beren and Luthien I remember well--and augh, the sad!!!! Fall of Noldor is hazy.

I was listening to the Ainulindale last night which I found to be so dull that I skipped through it the first time, but the reading by Martin Shaw was gorgeous!!! I just listened right through and pretended I was at a hearth somewhere, with my tea and blanket!!
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
Sort of random note, I'm going to have my graduate stylistics class in the fall doing their exercises on comparing Tale of Aragorn and Arwen and Of Beren and Luthien (we all do the same text to learn how to do stylistics analysis, then they choose their own text for their individual project).

Mar. 31st, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)

Was my feedback any use on your grant? Also, can I pretty pretty please have a copy of your Eowyn Re/Vision paper? *hopeful puppy eyes*
Apr. 1st, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm sorry--yes, your feedback was immensely helpful, and then things blew up, so I never got a chance to thank you! I'll post moar about it after I get the two current articles in progress in.

I think I sent you the final version of Eowyn--Bodies of Light?--I may have a presentation from early days that focused more on queerness and her--would you like me to send that one?

Had to take a lot of the queering out of the Bodies of Light one, alas. Need to do more queering stylistics sometime.....
Apr. 1st, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
Okay, I didn't put together that the Eowyn essay was the same as your female bodies essay. But if you have one on her and queerness too, oh yes please!! :D
Mar. 31st, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Have you ever heard the audio recording of Christopher Tolkien reading from the Silmarillion? He reads the chapter about Beren and Luthien.

I've always loved the appendix (I even worked out the elvish and Numenorean calendars for dating a journal I was required to keep in high school English and worked on my own Elvish dictionary once). People should always be warned that the Silmarillion is more of a history book, certainly not a novel like LOTR is. Some of the chapters on the War of the Jewels get very bogged down. I tend to find the passages about the Second and Third Age more interesting.
Mar. 31st, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
It's really a lot like the Bible in both tone and content. I'll have to track down Christopher's reading--how was it? I always imagine him to be an unimaginably dry "you kids stay off my lawn" kinda guy.

A couple of the comments on that blogpost were some serious linguistic discussion about the origins of Tolkien's languages. I'd known about the Old English and the Saxon stuff, but I hadn't realized the Gothic stuff. And of course, my little brain is going "another good reason to get an English phd is so I can learn Old English and Gothic properly so I can appreciate Tolkien better AND make stuff up better!!" *headdesk*
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Christopher wasn't bad. Proper British accent. I still have the album if you have a turntable and would like to hear it I'd be happy to loan it to you (in fact, if you can make a tape or Cd I'd be very appreciative, but hardly anyone has turntables anymore). I also have a Cd set of Tolkien reading all the poetry from LOTR. He recorded them on an old reel to reel recorder that his editor had.

Tolkien's early mentor was Joseph Wright, who was an expert in Gothic and taught it to him. I believe his two Elvish languages were based on Welsh and Finnish (he was a keen admirer of the Kalevela).

If you're into Tolkien, look for someone Martha and I are friended with, Eldritch Hobbit. She's an academic who's quite keen on Tolkien, Lovecraft, etc. and does a fantastic 31 days of Halloween series of posts every October.
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Librarian skillz activate!!
This list of Tolkien audio compilates indicates that the Christopher recording can be had on CD in this set. :D

I will find and friend Eldritch Hobbit!! You may also be interested in ithiliana who is another Tolkien-focused academic and friend of mine. She also does a lot of scholarly work on fandom as well so her posts are always fascinating reading!! :D
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Librarian skillz activate!!
I pity people who don't have librarian friends :) Thanks for the heads up on Ithiliana.
Apr. 1st, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Audio the wa to go? I read The Silmarillion ages ago but it was so... I want to say incomprehensible... that I remember very little of it. I'll have to try that sometime.
( 20 comments — Add your .02 )

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