So, I'm now on the third day of a two-week research visit to the Marquette archives, and enjoying it immensely. This time I'm centering on the very early manuscripts of LotR (by and large those covered by Christopher Tolkien in HME.VI: THE RETURN OF THE SHADOW. CT did a superlative job presenting those texts, printing the most interesting ones and briefly summarizing or excerpting from others when, as was frequently the case, there was no room to print them all in full; plus providing his usual incisive commentary pointing out links between various drafts and outlines. Somehow, though, I'm starting to get the impression that folks are forgetting about the material Christopher didn't cover.
A case in point: you'd think HERUMILLION, the Elvish name for THE LORD OF THE RINGS, would be better known. After all, it appeared in print as long ago as 1983/84 in Taum's catalogue to go with the exhibit at the Marquette Tolkien conference, and was reprinted less than a year ago by Wayne and Christina in their ART OF 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS'.
And yet HERUMILLION deserves to be better known, because of its obvious parallelism to SILMARILLION: The story of the Silmarils (SILMARILLION) and The Story of the Rings (HERUMILLION). The paired titles even help reinforce Tolkien's conception that THE SILMARILLION and THE HERUMILLION were companion books: two parts of a single mythology.
Less significant perhaps, but still important enough that you'd think it'd be well-known by now, are the elvish names for the Rings of Earth, Sea, & Heaven.* The Three Rings themselves are mentioned several times in published texts: cf. HME.VI.260, where they are called "the Three Rings of earth, air, and sky". But so far as I known their elvish names only appear once (Marq. 3/1/12:3) and, again so far as I know, haven't been published.
Which just goes to show, I guess, how rich an archive the Marquette Tolkien manuscripts are: going on sixty years now of folks coming in and poring over them, and there's still a hoard of treasure there left to find.
Excelsior!, as they (used to) say.
current reading: THE RETURN OF THE SHADOW (naturally). Also just starting the Derleth chapter of THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS (My, Mr. Joshi dislikes Mr. Derleth with a deep and abiding dislike).
*Which, unfortunately, I can't give here because that would be unauthorized publication. Maybe someone'll do a piece one day on the significance of the shift for Galadriel's ring from the Ring of Earth (perhaps meant to link her to Palurien?) to the Ring of Water.
it's my Guest of Honor speech
2 days ago