This French-language publication prints some short pieces by Tolkien, in English, the most interesting of which to me is "The Numenorean Catastrophe & End of 'Physical Arda' ". This asks the question: what became of Valinor/Aman after the enormous upheaval of Numenor's destruction? An excerpt shows Tolkien's line of thinking, leading to conclusions which I don't think I'm alone in finding surprising:
Is Aman 'removed' or destroyed at Catastrophe?
It was physical. Therefore it could not be removed,
without remaining visible as part or Arda or as a
new satellite! It must either remain as a landmass
bereft of its former inhabitants or be destroyed.
I think now . . . best that it should remain a physical
landmass (America!). But as Manwe had already
said to the Numenoreans: 'It is not the land that is
hallowed . . . but . . . the dwellers there' -- the Valar.
It would just become an ordinary land, an addition
to Middle-earth (the European-African-Asiatic
contiguous land-mass) . . .
Tolkien is unambiguous here, but I find it hard to get my mind around Valinor and Elvenhome, bereft of their former inhabitants, becoming North and South America.
For the part about Aman becoming a new satellite, see my next post.
--current reading: continuing the Derrick, which looks more and more like a keeper
*Le Feuille de la Compagnie, No.3, ed. Michael Devaux. I am grateful to Charles Noad for drawing this passage to my attention.