History of the Hobbit

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History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:50 am

I have finished reading "The Hobbit" (I think most of you would have heard of this book by now), and now I am reading The "History of the Hobbit" again. Already I am made (happily) aware (again) of what great things can be achieved as a writer through editing, development and a desire to stay true to what you like - hard work, that is! Cool I've now gone back to editing my own book (which has been gathering dust for a few years!) "The Hobbit" always does this to me --- inspires me to write the kinds of things I like writing. A view to pleasing an audience of one, when it gets down to it, is the only way to write something worthwhile, methinks (and hopes)! Very Happy

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by halfwise on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:34 am

Ah....what is 'the History of the Hobbit'? Haven't heard of this book.

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Elthir on Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:13 am

This book looks at the early drafts for The Hobbit, and other external history, like when did JRRT actually begin writing the tale for example. It also explores arguable influences and includes the very much unfinished 1960 Hobbit, where Tolkien truly set out to revise his story in order to better bring it in line with The Lord of the Rings. It's by John Rateliff (although he didn't start the project), and includes notes and commentary. JDR's blog is...

http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/

I've read a fair bit of the two volumes, but not everything all the way through. I don't agree with everything JDR writes but then again I can be pedantic. One particular question concerns the connection of The Hobbit to the 'Silmarillion' writings -- the only version of the Silmarillion that Tolkien ever actually completed dates to 1930 (then called Qenta Noldorinwa), and JDR has some interesting things to say concerning the early Hobbit tale and the early tales that either came before The Hobbit, or were written around the same general time period.

I think it just came out in a one volume version too. There's no index to the first part of the two volume version, incidentally.
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:18 pm

My version is in two volumes, but the pages are numbered consecutively, so really act like one volume - and so, naturally, only require one index (for both volumes). Very Happy It can be a dry read for some readers, I s'pose, but I find it endlessly fascinating; the thoughts Rateliff puts up for the consideration of the reader are worthy of consideration, and he is no ideologue. I particularly agree wih his view about the storyteller voice, i.e, the storyteller as (almost?) a character idea - and how successful it is. I still think it a tragedy that Tolkien felt the need to try a 1960 version - the LotRized version. It's as flat as a pancake!

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Ally on Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:06 pm

I hate it when text-speech on kindle only has 2 volumes too. Useful for people like me who are too lazy to read tho Very Happy

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:12 pm

I wish I knew what any of that meant- you youngsters with your gadgets. Rolling Eyes

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Norc on Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:58 pm

I didn't understand that either.
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:31 am

You know, The Hobbit is a Great book. And walking through how Tolkien developed his Masterwork is a fantasticly worthwhile experience. Very Happy

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Elthir on Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:56 pm

Orwell wrote:My version is in two volumes, but the pages are numbered consecutively, so really act like one volume - and so, naturally, only require one index (for both volumes). Very Happy

True but it seems like this wasn't originally intended anyway (although the following does not prove the case of course). JDR noted: 'As with Tolkien's own LotR, the reason for multiple volumes was simply a matter of length. My completed book is right around 350,000 words long, which makes for a massive tome; splitting it into two volumes was a publishing decision, and far better than the alternative, which would have been to abridge the text.'

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/history-of-the-hobbit.php

In any case I end up wanting to check something in volume one -- and then I have to walk all the way back to my library to get volume two -- how dare JDR make me leave my comfy chair more than I need to! He might have considered that the potential steps in a given tower could be hundreds! And one might forget the extra carrying around of volume two possibly just to consult the index. Or must I always read in the Library? And even if I do, what about high bookshelves and ladders in possible need of repair? It can double the danger if both volumes happen to sit upon the top shelf!

It's not that I'm lazy, it's just about being considerate! Heavens.

By the way, since the colour of Elven hair is too important to go unmentioned... Very Happy

... JDR wrote something in his notes that I don't understand. Granted it's a minor statement in a book full of information, but I had some free time. In 'In The Halls Of The Elvenking' (Mr. Baggins part one), P. 407 John Rateliff writes:


'... and there is some evidence that he originally conceived of the Second Kindred or Noldor (the Deep-elves) as golden-haired: in the genealogies meant to accompany the ('Earliest) Annals of Beleriand' [early 1930s] they are referred to as Kuluqendi or 'Golden-elves' (HME V. [403]); the 1937 Quenta Silmarillion includes 'the Golden' as one of their many descriptors (HME V. 215) and Christopher Tolkien notes (BLT I. 43-4, HME XII. 77) that the passage in Appendix F of the first edition of The Lord of the Rings describing the Eldar (the Three Kindreds of the High Elves) as dark haired, 'save in the golden house of Finrod' (i. e., the character known as Finarfin in the published Silmarillion and more recent editions of The Lord of the Rings [cf. LotR. II71]: Galadriel's father not her brother, some of whose children were golden haired because of his Vanyar wife), was written as a description of the Noldor (the Second Kindred) before being applied to the Eldar as a whole'.

The last example confuses me a bit: how does the revision to the passage in Appendix F help argue that the Noldor might have been originally golden haired? The draft text reveals that the dark hair originally referred to the Noldor 'save in the golden house of Finrod' -- thus only this house among the dark-haired Noldor. Tolkien then revised this to describe the Eldar, which is admittedly a wider reference, but in any case the Noldor in general were not considered golden-haired in the draft nor the published version.

Or am I missing the meaning here?


Regarding the argument in general: the 1937 Silmarillion does refer to the Noldor as the Golden, but looking at the other references (extremely edited here to do so), starting with the Vanyar: '...they are the fair folk and the White. The Noldor are the Wise, and the Golden (...) The Teleri (...) the gatherers of Pearl, the Blue Elves (...) The Nandor (...) the Axe-elves, the Green-Elves and the Brown (...) The Sindar (...) the Silvern.

That's an updated version, but I don't think the 1937 version alters the point: the 1937 version is actually: the Lindar (Vanyar): '...they are the fair folk and the White. The Noldor are the Wise, and the Golden (...) The Teleri (...) the Blue Elves, the Pearl-gatherers (...) The Danas (...) the Hidden Elves, the Green-Elves (...)'

Mr. Rateliff surely knows the context here, and it's still possible that golden hair is meant, but I think no more possible than other things, like gold itself.

In HME IV. p 212 we find the terms: 'Eadwine: goldelfe, eorðelfe, déopelfe, Rædend. Finningas'. Christopher Tolkien notes that Ead- in the context of the Noldoli is no doubt to be interpreted 'riches', and that, although he isn't sure of Rædend, it refers to the knowledge and desire for knowledge of the Noldoli in some aspect. I suggest 'goldelfe' might refer to a love of gold or its general association with the Noldor.


In HME I The Tale Of The Sun And Moon: 'Now golden light not even the Gods could tame much to their uses, and had suffered it to gather in the great vat Kulullin to the great increase of its fountains (...) 'Tis said indeed that those first makers of jewels, of whom Feanor has the greatest fame, alone of the Eldar knew the secret of subtly taming golden light to their uses, and they dared use their knowledge but very sparingly, and now is that perished with them out of the Earth.'

From very early on (externally) the Noldoli (the first makers of jewels are the Noldoli: '-- and therefrom did the Noldoli with great labour invent and fashion the first gems' The Coming Of The Elves) have a special relationship with golden light, and Mr. Rateliff's first reference Kuluqendi 'Golden-elves' could be furthering a general association of gold with the Noldor [I won't go into earlier versions, but in Etymologies at least: KUL- 'gold (metal), Q. kulu, N côl; Q kuluinn of gold. KUL- gold (substance). Q. kulo.' But this was struck out and replaced by: KUL- golden-red. Q. (poetic) kullo red gold; kulda, kulina flame-coloured, golden-red; kuluina orange; kuluma an orange; N coll red (*kuldá).']

In Quendi And Eldar (1959-60), referring to the colour of the hair of the Vanyar, it was noted: 'This was regarded as a beautiful feature by the Noldor (who loved gold), though they were themselves mostly dark-haired.'

Anyway maybe I'm confused about the point above? But the change of Noldor to Eldar still leaves the Noldor as mostly dark-haired in the drafts... no?

Or did I post this here already. Hmm.


Last edited by Elthir on Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:10 pm

It does seem opaque to me. And much of this technical stuff does seem that way to me anyhow! Very Happy I am not a linguist neither - nor any of those language-expert types at all. But what I'll do is wait until I read the section concened, Elthir, and - who knows? - maybe when encountered in full HotH context, I might know an epiphany and understand what Rateliff means exactly, and how and why --- and agree or not agree with him then. Smile

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Eldorion on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:29 pm

I have The History of The Hobbit but I've only read portions of it. I'll have to sit down one day and start reading the entire thing from the beginning. study
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:31 pm

I have The History of The Hobbit but I've only read portions of it.- Eldo

You see Eldo this is why you end up in a second hand Tower of Lore (with subsidence) given as a birthday present! Very Happy

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Eldorion on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:44 pm

I'm too busy watching anime. Cool

{{{Speaking of which, have you seen any more Cowboy Bebop yet? Very Happy}}}
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:50 pm

{{{First 3 eps so far- not watched in a couple of days-what with editing and stuff-hows the Who watching?}}}

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Eldorion on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:53 pm

{{{Glad that you're making progress. Very Happy I haven't watched too much Who because of stuff going on IRL and because I'm working on a new story that I'm hoping to post here soon. It might have a bit of a Who influence though.}}}
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Ally on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:57 pm

Lots of stuff going on in Ireland, it some times distracts me too

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Eldorion on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:58 pm

I know, right? Rolling Eyes
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:28 pm

The early material on "Thu" is really interesting. I always liked the name and the idea of him being a vampire too. Very Happy Which also makes me think of Beorn for some reason. I guess it's this 'skin change' business. Did Beorn have Mair ancestry? scratch

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Ally on Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:36 pm

I was thinking the very same question to myself never ago

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Eldorion on Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:38 pm

I liked Sauron when he was a cat (Book of Lost Tales). Very Happy
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:38 pm

Oddly, Silmarillionish-sounding of you, Ally. Shocked I wonder if you knew? scratch

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Orwell on Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:39 pm

Eldorion wrote:I liked Sauron when he was a cat (Book of Lost Tales). Very Happy

Can't agree, Eldo - and not sure I remember... Very Happy I see you let the bat out of the bag though! Still, great name that: "Thu"! cheers

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Ally on Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:03 pm

Orwell wrote:
Eldorion wrote:I liked Sauron when he was a cat (Book of Lost Tales). Very Happy

Can't agree, Eldo - and not sure I remember... Very Happy I see you let the bat out of the bag though! Still, great name that: "Thu"! cheers


beautiful evening to burn to death in an old wedding dress in a mansion I agree Orwell Very Happy

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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:24 pm

I think my cats channel Sauron. Shocked
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Re: History of the Hobbit

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:32 pm

If we can glimpse Valinor in Bach, or see it in a Van Gogh then I reckon we can see Morgoth in every cat! Twisted Evil

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