10

The chapter On the Ruin of Doriath in The Silmarillion is known to have been a rather extensive synthesis by CJRT of JRRT's existing texts (plus a bit of his own creativity), which were less cohesive/inter-consistent than and with the other parts of the Quenta Silmarillion that was being assembled. There are sources and discussions here and here. Key quote (emphasis added):

This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the outcome of long experimentation among alternative conceptions. In this work Guy Kay took a major part, and the chapter that I finally wrote owes much to my discussions with him. It is, and was, obvious that a step was being taken of a different order from any other ‘manipulation’ of my father’s own writing in the course of the book: even in the case of the story of The Fall of Gondolin, to which my father had never returned, something could be contrived without introducing radical changes in the narrative. It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function. (from: HoME XI: The War of the Jewels: "The Tale of Years")

The big question is, has CJRT ever indicated how he would have "surmounted" the "undoubted difficulties"? He discusses the various difficulties immediately prior to this passage (quoted in the second posting at this thread), but I haven't read much of the History of Middle-earth, and haven't seen any quotes around the internet of what he might have proposed.

13
  • 2
    I think you’ve asked a rather impossible question. I’ve only glanced shortly but it seems like you’ve uncovered the best information there is on the matter in the linked discussions.
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 24, 2018 at 5:38
  • @Edlothiad well the answer might be 'no' :-) Sep 24, 2018 at 7:00
  • @DavidRoberts No, the shape of the question only allows either "I could not find such a thing" ot an affirmative answer, as that could be pointed out and quoted while silence can't be. But inability to find would need to list where you looked, so it should be a very very extended list.
    – Trish
    Sep 24, 2018 at 7:10
  • 1
    @DavidRoberts The problem is there is too much that he has said and we don't have access to ALL his notes. He might have made a note of it in a tiny limited edition that went only to his friends and family. Or he made a statement in an obscure published magazine, that nobody even remembers but is on file somewhere as a microfilm. The core of the problem is in the anywhere or ever opening the rabbit hole to needing to sift through all the sources that he ever created. Which is clearly Too Broad for not researchable or pure speculative value.
    – Trish
    Sep 24, 2018 at 10:39
  • 1
    @Trish I believe there's some precedent on this site for questions of the form "Has X ever addressed Y?" being valid, on-topic, sufficiently scoped questions (i.e. questions that are phrased similarly have been left open). This may be worth discussing on Meta (if it hasn't been already), but as it stands I'm not sure the definition of Too Broad you're using matches with the definition the community as a whole uses; how much research is required shouldn't be a consideration. Sep 24, 2018 at 13:00

1 Answer 1

5

With the passing of CJRT, I believe the answer will now have to be 'no'. I left this open in case it was eventually addressed somewhere, but without a discovery of some very obscurely published commentary we can only surmise or infer from the existing HoME content.

3
  • 2
    Apparently Verlyn Flieger once asked CJRT the hard questions about certain parts of the Ruin of Doriath, and he admitted writing particular lines out of whole cloth, for instance the speech Thingol made to the dwarves "O ye of uncouth race..." So presumably passages like these would not have been in any ideal version he later wished he'd written. Feb 24, 2021 at 22:11
  • I see CJRT as JRRT's (junior) partner in this great work and CJRT's work as equally definitive, except when it contradicts JRRT's published work. (It's worth remembering that JRRT frequently adopted the conceit that he was but a translator and scholar of old texts.)
    – Mark Olson
    Feb 6 at 21:37
  • Oh, yes, I agree. But given that CJRT changed his mind, and told us so, and (I believe) figured out a way to stick more closely to what he set as his overall aim for the '77 Silm, I really wish we'd gotten a hint of what that was. It's no worse than JRRT revising chapter 5 of the Hobbit to be more consistent with LotR (though I'm aware that the history of particular update is a little more subtle than that). Feb 7 at 0:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.