Post by Fredeghar Wayfarer on Feb 25, 2011 22:24:46 GMT -6
I doubt he was writing for his kids. The Lost Tales have some pretty dark and un-kid-friendly moments -- the Fall of Gondolin, the Elves lost in the Helkaraxe ice, all the death, incest, and suicide in the story of Turin, etc.
Maybe since Tolkien was approaching his stories as a new mythology, he was thinking about the kinds of things myths try to explain: the creation of the world, where the sun and the moon came from, why cats and dogs don't get along, etc. Later he probably abandoned this fable-like approach and started thinking of his stories more as alternate history than straight-up myth.
Yes, Fredegarh, the volume as a whole does contain many "tales" not directed toward a "juvenile" audience. But the specific Cats-Mice-Dogs story, at least in its use of "talking animals," seems very odd for Tolkien, who in later years would gradually purge his tales of all the "childish," anthropomorphized animals, partly, as I recall, in reaction to C.S. Lewis' "overuse" of this device in his Narnia series.
Chris Tolkien dates this initial Tinuviel scheme to an early phase in JRRT's life, starting in 1917, though re-written several times, unfortunately without dates assigned to the differing versions. As I re-read the text pp 1- 50, its use of "archaic" language forms and complexly patterned sentences certainly reads nothing at all like The Hobbit, or Roverandom. I must confess myself totally perplexed, what was the Old Boy up to here? I'll have to check the secondary, critical literature on this point, surely someone else has remarked upon the fable-like Animals of this tale before us?
Chris Tolkien, p 53, does mention the transition from animals to human (maia/ elf), but gives no reason for the alteration that replaces Tevildo the Cat with Thu the sorceror and eventually Sauron, the fallen Maia.
John Garth, in his Tolkien and the Great War, p. 263, does have some information regarding this "fabulous beast" episode of BOLT-2:
For the confinement of Tinuviel in a fantastic tree-house, and Beren's concurrent servitude under Tevildo, Prince of Cats, he [JRRT] excavated two familiar stories. He made a coherent, if mystical, narrative out of one of the surreal moments in 'Rapunzel', a story he knew from a childhood favorite, Andrew Lang's Red Fairy Book. Whereas Rapunzel hauls visitors up to her treetop prison with her impossibly long hair, Tinuviel uses hers [her own hair] (vastly propagated by magic) to escape: Rapunzel is a thoroughly passive victim, Tinuviel anything but. Meanwhile Tevildo's name (Gnomish Tifil, Tiberth -- all related to Elvish words for 'hate') evokes Tybalt/Tibert, a cat name popular from the tom-cat in the medieval Reynard the Fox. Such beast fables left Tolkien dissatisfied; the beast was only 'a mask upon a human face, a device of the satirist or the preacher', he later said. He imagined therefore that the surviving incarnations of Thibert/Tybalt -- down to Romeo and Juliet's strutting streetfighter, who has shed his animal mask altogether -- were only the shadows of a now-forgotten monster, Tevildo.
It is a pity that later, as the exuberant Lost Tales gave way to the austere 'Silmarillion, there was no longer any place for this astonishing grotesque, vain, capricious, and cruel; but at least his role as Beren's captor passed to no less a figure than Sauron the Necromancer. Meanwhile, Tevildo and the other animals in this tale, the faithful talking hound Huan and Karkaras, 'the greatest wolf the world has ever seen', are bold blunt creations with magic in their blood; such human characteristics as they possess serve to reveal the beast within.
(Tolkien's quote, here in my bold face emphasis, is from "On Fairy Stories," in Tree and Leaf, p 20)
Ah, maybe this "perplexing matter" is beginning to make sense? I'm seeing, at the moment, a youthful JRRT (1917), still playing about with the "remembered tales" he read as a boy. In the Tevildo script of BOLT-2, he had not yet moved away from the "beast fable" format, though I agree with Fredegarh, that even this early tale is not meant for a childrens'-audience. Nonetheless, he is still using a form of the beast-fable that was generated from the child-literature of the Red Fairy Book that Andrew Lang had published.
How does that sound, LOL? Hmmm, I still think there's probably more to be said on this episode...
Karkaras, 'the greatest wolf the world has ever seen', are bold blunt creations with magic in their blood; such human characteristics as they possess serve to reveal the beast within.
This guy sounds like a werewolf. Boy! I have to get caught up on BOLT1 soon so I can start BOLT2!
He is indeed a werewolf, though not the traditional full-moon shapeshifting variety. I don't recall if he's called that in the Lost Tales but Tolkien used the terms "werewolf" and "vampire" in The Silmarillion to describe wolf- and bat-like monsters that served Morgoth. As always, the conceit was that these were "translations" for whatever the Elvish terms for these creatures would have been.
When Lang began his efforts, he 'was fighting against the critics and educationists of the day,' who judged the traditional tales' 'unreality, brutality, and escapism to be harmful for young readers, while holding that such stories were beneath the serious consideration of those of mature age.' Over a generation, Lang's books worked a revolution in this public perception. ... The series was immensely popular, helped by Lang's reputation in folklore, and by the packaging device of the uniform books. The series proved of great influence in children's literature, increasing the popularity of fairy tales over tales of real life.
Well, we know that Lang's Fairy Books had an early impact on the very young JRRT, but I had no idea Lang had done so much to get the genre of fairy tales accepted as a major form of 19th century British literature. Certainly the entire British population was "fairy-crazed" for a good while, Peter Pan and all that...
Last Edit: Mar 4, 2011 22:18:53 GMT -6 by Andorinha
I just started reading a few of Lang's collected fairy stories online. Trying to see what other cultures had "wee folk" motifs, apparently the Zulus of South Africa had "fairy tales," but I can't yet tell if they had actual "fairies?"
A google search under "Andrew Lang Fairy Book" allows us to read the Color Fairy Books online, but I do agree that having a full collection of them on the shelf at hand sounds kool.
Post by Fredeghar Wayfarer on Mar 12, 2011 16:16:43 GMT -6
I've now read the last of the Tales, "The Tale of Earendel" and "The History of Eriol or Aelfwine of England." These are two of the more remarkable stories in the book.
First of all, I wanted to mention that a statement made by Andorinha earlier in this thread (albeit on a post several years ago) is not correct. Eriol and Earendel are not versions of the same character. Even in the Lost Tales, both of them exist separately. Eriol is the Anglo-Saxon mariner who finds the home of the Elves; Earendel is the Half-elven son of Tuor who sails to Valinor. In fact, the story of Earendel is told TO Eriol.
"The Tale of Earendel" is mostly a collection of notes for a later text that never emerged. It's quite different from the Silmarillion version. In this one, Earendel sails into the West, not to entreat help from the Valar, but to find his missing father who got the sea-longing and sailed off, never to return. Earendel has all sorts of adventures which aren't retained in the later version, such as landing on an island of mermaids(!) called Oarni, being chased through the Door of Night by the Mariner of the Moon, and (in one draft) even traveling through lands of Europe!
Most bizarre though, Earendel's journey apparently fails in this version. He comes too late to Valinor, for the Elves he was seeking have already departed that land to help their brethren in the fight with Melko. There's a final Faring Forth which leads to the Dark Lord's defeat but it's not the cataclysmic War of Wrath that reshapes the world in The Silmarillion. In fact, other than Melko's defeat, it's considered a disaster, for the Elves and Men come into conflict and Elves must finally retreat from the world, forgotten except in legend.
The "Eriol" story was even more eye-opening. There are two vastly different versions of it. In the original (which I discussed earlier in the thread), Eriol is an Anglo-Saxon of the 5th century. His sons Hengest and Horsa become the legendary leaders of the Saxon invasion of Britain in Arthurian legend. In this version, the elf island Tol Eressea becomes England in later days. Eriol drinks an elf-potion called limpe and becomes very long-lived. He weds an elf-maid and has a Half-elven son named Heorrenda (a name taken from an Old English poem).
In the second version, the mariner is called Aelfwine ("Elf-friend") and is an full-blooded Englishman of the 11th century, not a pre-England Saxon. Tol Eressea is no longer England itself. The Elves once lived in England (or Luthany, as they called it) but departed during the various invasions of the land by Men -- i.e. the Britons, the Irish, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, etc. They settled in Tol Eressea, which becomes a mirror of England/Luthany as it once was. Hence, Aelfwine feels right at home.
Tolkien vacillated on whether Eriol/Aelfwine would finish writing the Book of Lost Tales or if his son would (rather ironic, considering it was Tolkien's son, Christopher, who finally published the Tales). In either case, it seems that the mariner never again sailed back to his homeland, due to a ban placed on him after drinking the limpe.
Some other remarkable details: As he is a man of Luthany, the Elves name Aelfwine "Luthien!" Quite a different use of that name from the fair elf-maid we're all used to. Aelfwine also has clashes with Vikings in this version, who are called Forodwaith ("Men of the North"), a name given to the Lossoth, the Men who lived in the northern reaches of Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien also toyed with the idea that Eriol/Aelfwine was descended from Ing or Ingwe, who we are told was a king of Luthany centuries ago who was friend to the Elves. As such, the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain is cast as the Englishmen "reclaiming" their ancestral land. Once again, like in the "Notion Club Papers" thread, my Celtic pride is rebelling against this idea and saying "Now, wait just a cotton-picking minute! You guys weren't there first!" Tolkien seemed to abandon this idea in the later version of Aelfwine's tale so maybe even he knew that was going a bit far.
So yeah...lots of stuff to think about in this one and lots of radical differences from the later version of Middle-earth. Overall, reading the Lost Tales has been quite a fascinating experience. I've enjoyed many of these tales more than their final versions and have been surprised by the connections to real-world history and folklore. I also have a new conception of Tolkien as both a consummate perfectionist who was always refining his mythology, and an extremely disorganized fella who kept tons of contradictory, rewritten, or unfinished hand-written drafts in various notebooks. The marks of genius and eccentricity, I guess. Christopher must have had quite a task putting this together.
RE: Fredegarh's: First of all, I wanted to mention that a statement made by Andorinha earlier in this thread (albeit on a post several years ago) is not correct. Eriol and Earendel are not versions of the same character. Even in the Lost Tales, both of them exist separately. Eriol is the Anglo-Saxon mariner who finds the home of the Elves; Earendel is the Half-elven son of Tuor who sails to Valinor. In fact, the story of Earendel is told TO Eriol.
Just reviewing old messages here, and re-reading BOLT-1 pp 13 -15. Good catch, Fredegarh, the characters Earendel and Eriol, I still maintain, are repetitions of the same character, that is, both are sea-faring persons, both are from the same stock, both travel from the mortal realms to the Fairy Realm. In this sense Earendel and Eriol are different versions of the same basic story, "mortal visitors to the Otherland."
But, from my re-reading of BOLT-1, I see that Eriol and Earendel are indeed separate persons in this version of the Tales. But, re-read BOLT-1 pp 13-14 (hardback version) and you will see that the two characters are not quite so distinct as your statement above would have them.
In fact, it appears from p. 13, that Eriol is (in this version) to be seen as the son of Earendel, or so I interpret the passage:
"Now it happened on a certain time that a traveler from far countries, a man of great curiosity ... brought in a ship as far west even as the Lonely Island, Tol Eressea in the fairy speech..." (BOLT-1, 13) Here JRRT identifies Eriol as a MAN.
"Now at that time [in the evening] the desire of new sights is least , even in one whose heart is that of an explorer; and then even such a son of Earendel as this wayfarer..."(BOLT-1: p. 13 hdbk ver, my emphasis) Here we get the data that our "traveler" is the son of Earendel.
"Then thought Eriol (for thus did the people of the island after call him...)" (BOLT-1, p. 14) and here we get the identification of our traveler, he is, in fact, Eriol.
So we have some problems here, if the traveler is a Man, and he is the son of Earendel, then, at this time in JRRT's thought, Earendel must have been a Man as well; or IF Earendel is half-elven here, then Eriol would not be classed as a Man, an Anglo-Saxon, would he? It seems, as the son of Earendel, Eriol would be peredhel (part-elven) himself? LOL!
On p 18 (BOLT-1) we have confirmation that Eriol is the son of Earendel when Lindo says: "For that this night we entertain a guest, a man of great and excellent travel, a son meseems of Earendel..." Eriol then requests a tale of the Lonely Island, its history, and of this he is told, but not of the quest of Earendel (as found in the Silmarillion). No mention of Earendel as anything other than a mortal Man, a human sea-farer is made. There is no message quest to seek the assistance of the Valar, no silmaril upon Earendel's ship, nothing to indicate the half-elven status...
In fact, this first version gives us the further information that Earendel, far from being an immortal "half-elf," has long since died, died a mortal's death, after seeing, and hearing, and dreaming of the Fairy Realm. But, just like the Mortal Man "loony" in the poem, "The Sea Bell," Earendel died still trying to find Faerie: "Now all his life was he restless, as if a longing half-expressed for unknown things dwelt within him; and 'tis said that he died among the rocks on a lonely coast on a night of storm -- and moreover that most of his children and their children since have been of a restless mind -- and methinks I know now the truth of the matter" (BOLT-1, p. 20)
I think this all gets rather confusing because JRRT has so many "re-used" themes and "re-used" characters in his palimpsestic texts. Later in his stories, Earendel is altered from his original Mortal Man persona to become the half-elven prince of the Silmarillion. But, at this moment in BOLT-1, (pp 13-21) we have nothing regarding the Half-Elven nature of Earendel, nor is Eriol yet revealed as a strictly mortal man and an Anglo-Saxon wanderer.
So, what we have here, in BOLT-1, pp 13 - 21, is a tale of two MEN, who travel by the same "straight path" over the sea to the same Fairy Land, but are father and son rather than two versions of the same person.
So, when precisely in BOLT, does JRRT change the character of Earendel from a mortal seafarer, and father of the mortal Eriol (also a seafarer) to the half-elven prince?
At any rate, I think I can amend the passage in my old 2006 message to reflect this separation of Erendel and Eriol into a "father- son" coupling. -- lol, looks like that will not really affect the rest of the text there?
Last Edit: Mar 13, 2011 0:44:04 GMT -6 by Andorinha
Post by Fredeghar Wayfarer on Mar 13, 2011 0:40:41 GMT -6
Not trying to be contrary but, again, I'm not really sure if that's the case. Christopher Tolkien mentions that the term "son of Earendel" was used in the Tales for all mariners. Earendel had sailed into the heavens in his magic ship and become a star. All people born under this star, especially sailors and wayfarers, were referred to as "sons of Earendel" in a figurative sense.
I can't say for certain if that's how Tolkien was using the term at that particular moment or if he ever meant for Eriol to literally be Earendel's son. I just recall how he eventually defined the term. And, at least in BOLT 2, Earendel had taken on his identity as the Half-elven son of Tuor and Idril and was clearly distinct from Eriol, the human who was hearing the secret history of the Tales.
The quotes from BOLT 1, pp 13-21, are convincing to me that we are at this point to see Eriol as the son of Earendel, not metaphorically, but in the flesh, whatever Chris may have later thought. I wonder if Chris was trying to reconcile the later versions with this initial tale?
By the time we reach the Silmarillion, Earendel's character, nature, function are drastically altered. And Eriol has been dropped entirely from the narrative. But at this early time (BOLT-1) in JRRT's writing, he was very much concerned with telling the tale of how human, mortals could be seduced by the Other World of Faerie, and wind up, just like Earendel and his children, hunting forever for a path into the Immortal Realm, but always being denied anything more than a brief visit.
It seems clear from Lindo's statement on page 20 that this Earendel, is definitely a mortal, so, Chris Tolkien nothwithstanding, in BOLT-1 13-21, this version has an Earendel who is mortal, and hence quite likely to be the real father of Eriol, who has inherited the sea-longing, and interest in Faerie from him.
While I agree, that in later volumes, the tale of Earendel is that of a half-elven prince, I'll stand fast here (BOLT-1, 13-21), ;D that he was "merely" a mortal to begin with. This fits in also with the origin of Earendel, taken from an authentic Anglo-Saxon poetic line, and reworked by JRRT who asked himself who this "Earendel" might have been. At first, Earendel was a sailor, a mortal man...
Last Edit: Mar 13, 2011 1:31:00 GMT -6 by Andorinha
Chris Tolkien does mention in his commentary on this first tale (BOLT-1, pp 13-21) that his father reworked the material several times, giving different versions of the Eriol narrative. Unfortunately Chris does not have dates for these "notes" so it will probably be very difficult to get an idea of which version came first. JRRT often "reworked" his material, and sometimes abandoned later versions to go back to an earlier one, or he might scrap the entire theme, to work bits of it into later works. I think we can see this happening just in this first section of BOLT-1, pp 13-21. It looks like, from the quote that Earendel actually died, we have an initially mortal man, sea-farer, Earendel. He is twice listed as the "father" of Eriol in this same section. Once we get out of this section, the storyline changes in the notes JRRT wrote, changes several times. Eriol is later introduced as the son of Eoh, related to Hengest and Horsa, the Anglo-Saxon "leaders" of historical sources. Then Chris mentions a further text/ note by JRRT to the effect that Eriol may be a "metaphorical" son of the Star Earendel: "If a beam [of light I presume] from Earendel fall on a child new-born he becomes 'a child of Earendel' and a wanderer." (BOLT-1, p. 24) Here Earendel is not given either a human or an Elven persona, but would seem rather to be, quite simply, a star.
But all this "notational" material comes after the initial story. In the first textual version, pp 13-21, it really seems clear to me that Eriol is a mortal man the son of Earendel (in the flesh) who is also a mortal man, and who has in fact died "among rocks on a lonely coast on a night of storm..." (BOLT-1, p. 20)
But, as I think you have pointed out elsewhere, Fredegarh, until we can become necromancers ourselves, and conjure poor JRRT up from the grave, assuming he'll talk to us at all, we'll probably never know for sure...
Last Edit: Mar 13, 2011 1:37:49 GMT -6 by Andorinha