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Tolkien Notes 2

December 2, 2012

Last February,we made a comparison of the different British and American editions of The Lord of the Rings containing the 50th anniversary text first published in 2004. Since that post, further editions have appeared, partly in association with the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit. Two of the new 2012 editions, however, do not have the 2004 revised and corrected text, nor do they contain our 2005 expanded index.

One of these is the three-volume trade paperback edition published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt under the Mariner Books imprint, both as separate volumes and as part of a boxed set with The Hobbit. Its typesetting is that of the Houghton Mifflin edition published in 1999 (described in Tolkien Collector 22, p. 5). Externally, the Mariner Books set looks much like the one from HarperCollins illustrated in our February blog post, with predominantly black wrappers and coloured panels on the spines, but the Mariner volumes are taller and their coloured spine panels are squared off at the top rather than rounded.

The other new edition which uses a pre-2004 text is a seven-volume Lord of the Rings trade paperback boxed set from HarperCollins. In this case, the typesetting is reused from the 1999 seven-volume ‘Millennium Edition’ (Tolkien Collector 22, p. 6). Here, at least, one can understand why a publisher would return to a typesetting already divided into seven volumes, though it muddies the bibliographical waters.

While at Milwaukee last month, we spent most of a day with the Tolkien papers at Marquette University to clear a backlog of questions about The Lord of the Rings. Some of these point to corrections which need to be vetted by Christopher Tolkien, but we can mention others at this time.

In our addenda and corrigenda to the 50th anniversary Lord of the Rings, we commented on a curious occurrence pointed out to us by Larry Kuenning: eight footnotes in Appendix A were printed within quotation marks in the first Ballantine Books edition (1965), but not in the current text. In the first edition of The Return of the King, Tolkien stated in Appendix A that ‘actual extracts from the longer annals and tales that are found in the Red Book are placed within quotation marks’; in the second edition, this became: ‘Actual extracts from longer annals and tales are placed within quotation marks. . . . Notes within quotation marks are found in the sources. Others are editorial.’ In the first edition, however, only one note appeared within quotation marks. When Tolkien revised his text for the 1965 Ballantine Books edition, he added quotation marks around seven other footnotes; and as Christopher Tolkien has informed us that his father added the quotation marks to the same footnotes in a personal copy of the Allen & Unwin Return of the King, there is no question that Tolkien meant them to be included.

When in 1966 Allen & Unwin came to revise their standard hardback edition, Tolkien’s original copy for the Ballantine revisions had been lost, and the Ballantine setting became the default copy-text for the Appendices. But either the typesetters overlooked the added quotation marks, or they compared the copy-text with the first edition setting and omitted the quotation marks in error; and in the process, they also deleted the quotation marks that had been present in the setting of 1955. Moreover, we found at Marquette that the footnotes were not in quotation marks as the text approached its final form and was sent to the printers. In the first proof, Tolkien added quotation marks to the note beginning ‘The sceptre . . .’ – the one note to have quotation marks in the first edition – but only to this note. And very curiously, in another proof, the note was marked to have quotation marks added, but those proofreading marks were then struck through. We can only think that the footnotes did not receive close attention as the writing and production of the Appendices proceeded in fits and starts in 1954 and 1955, with not a little confusion over available space and with Tolkien under pressure from Allen & Unwin to complete the final volume of his work.

In June 2006, Merlin DeTardo noted that the word Elvenhome is spelled consistently thus in The Lord of the Rings except in its final occurrence, in ‘The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen’ in Appendix A, where it is printed as ‘Elven-home’. This escaped our attention when we edited the 2004 text. Did Tolkien at the eleventh hour prefer a hyphenated form? It seems clear that he did not. In all of his manuscripts of the ‘Tale’, ‘Elvenhome’ appears without a hyphen; but while typing a revision, Tolkien broke the word between two lines: ‘Elven- | home’. This typescript went to the printer for typesetting, the hyphen was retained apparently without query, the discrepancy was not caught in proof, and so the hyphen has remained to date.

In September 2011, Pekka Tuomisto pointed out to us that the birth year of Griffo Boffin is given as ‘1346’ in the Boffin family tree printed in the 2004 50th anniversary Lord of the Rings, but as ‘1344’ in table BF4 in The Peoples of Middle-earth. The earlier date appears to be correct. Tolkien wrote ‘1344’ twice in manuscript, including his holograph copy of the family tree prepared for typesetting in 1955 and from which Christopher wrote out table BF4. When the tree was set in type for the first edition of The Return of the King, however, a typo was introduced, making Griffo’s birth date ‘1346’. Although Tolkien did not correct this in proof – either overlooking it or not bothering to deal fully with a page ultimately discarded for lack of space – ‘1346’ seems a clear error, and we will add it to our addenda and corrigenda for the work. For the 2004 edition, HarperCollins evidently set the Boffin family tree from a copy of the proof rather than from Christopher’s manuscript table in Peoples.

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6 Comments
  1. Franz Rogar permalink
    December 7, 2012 2:57 am

    Thank you very much for your hard work, it’s truly appreciated.

    I’m about to adquire the Harper Collins De Luxe 2004 edition (both TLOTR and The Hobbit but I’ve two questions I’ve not been able to answer and I find, at least, interesting:

    1 – What are the differecies between 50th “old” index and “new” one? I mean, I’ve found no diff information. Though I don’t really use indexes usually, I find them quite useful.

    2 – Even though I like Allan Lee’s work, I’d love to see Tolkien one but I’ve no idea if it has been included in another other version apart from the De Luxe one. I think it be interesting to know what’s inside each edition, apart from the text status. For example, knowing if it has:
    a) “New” index
    b) Tolkien drawings (B/N, Color)
    c) Allan/Other drawings (B/N, Color)
    d) Facsimile pages from Book of Mazarbul (B/N, Color)
    d) Maps (Fold-out, Insert) and which ones (ie. Middle-Earth, Thror, etc.)
    e) Appendixes (ie. Spanish editor sells the appendixes as a “new” book… ¬¬)
    f) Unpublished family trees

    Thank you very much for your time and for reading all this Carrollian nonsense.

    PS: As a wish, I’d love to know if you’re aware of any other edition that includes all material from the De Luxe 50th edition but with the new index (as I can add your addenda and corrigenda as flyleaf but not for the new index).

    • December 8, 2012 10:59 pm

      You’re welcome, Franz. To answer your questions:

      We compiled the new index independent of the ‘old’ one, aiming to correct the problems of incompleteness and fragmentation about which readers have long complained. But for the final result we referred to the earlier index in order to resolve questions of content and to preserve Tolkien’s occasional added notes and ‘translations’. The new index therefore is much longer and more accurate, and thereby, we hope, more helpful – certainly we have found it so.

      Only one edition of The Lord of the Rings with the 50th anniversary text includes all of the elements you list, except for Alan Lee art: the three-volume HarperCollins hardback of 2005, in dust-jackets with Tolkien’s own jacket art, published both as separate volumes and in a boxed set with our Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion. This has, from your list, (a, our new index), (b, the Ring inscription in red, and in black, the Doors of Durin, Balin’s tomb inscription, and tables in the Appendices prepared by Tolkien), (d, the Book of Mazarbul pages in colour, the map of Middle-earth, the close-scale map for The Return of the King, and the Shire map), (e, the Appendices), and (f, the added Boffin and Bolger family trees, as part of e). The Ring inscription reproduced here, however, was still the rejected art rather than the author’s approved version.

      Unfortunately, those three volumes or the boxed set are now hard to find and expensive in the secondhand market.

      • Franz Rogar permalink
        December 18, 2012 1:02 pm

        Thank you very much for your kind answer. I’m sorry not replying sooner but, though I send a follow-up it seem went follow-down (no e-mail notifications at all).

        Anyway, I finally was able to find the 3-volume 50th 2005 edition :-)

        Also, I’m doing an addenda&corrigenda of the HarperCollins EPub Edition (MARCH 2009, ISBN: 978-0-007-32259-6) which, surprisingly doesn’t fix all 2004, 2005 and Companion’s noted issues at all. In fact, it adds a new one if I’m not mistaken.

  2. David Doerr permalink
    December 10, 2012 9:56 pm

    My wife and I just viewed the extended versions of THE TWO TOWERS and THE RETURN OF THE KING, and thoroughly enjoyed them. (We already had aquired the first movie in extended format.) A few additions to these film versions were really helpful in preserving the original story. However, I still don’t recall the brawl in the Golden Hall of Edoras, when Gandalf and friends arrived to get Theoden involved in the approaching war. I don’t remember that Gandalf unsheathed Glamdring during any of the ensuing battles at Helm’s Deep, Gondolin or on the Field of Cormallen. He returned from death, and was given greater power; yet part of his mission, I think, was to teach that depend-
    ence on God was the ultimate solution for the woes that beset Middle-Earth. Tolkien wrote that every story is about the Fall. He wrote that THE LORD OF THE RINGS was about God’s sole right to divine honour. I’m not sure that his message was carried forth in the film productions quite effectively as it was in the Professor’s novel.

    Thanks for presenting to us your great research.

  3. Klaus Scheffegger permalink
    December 14, 2012 4:33 pm

    I do not know if there is another way to contact you, but I hope that you will read this;

    I have recently started my first re-read of the Lord of the Rings in a long time, in the form of the 50th Anniversary Edition. In the foreword, you mention that a factual error noted by Christopher Tolkien in The History of Middle-Earth has been corrected – the number of Merry’s ponies has been changed from six to five.

    This struck a wrong chord with me, and sure enough, this must be a mistake. When the hobbits are rescued from the barrow-wight by Tom Bombadil, he proceeds to call their ponies by name. There are five of them at this point, one for each hobbit to ride, and one presumably as a beast of burden for their packs.

    However, when they set out from Crickhollow, Fredegar Bolger accompanies them. One of Merry’s six ponies would have been his, as it is plainly stated that the hobbits ride to the Hedge.

    I assume I’m not the first to point this out, but I could not find a reference to this online.

    • December 16, 2012 9:34 am

      Thanks, Klaus. The point about five or six ponies has been argued by readers ever since Christopher Tolkien brought it up as a textual error in The Return of the Shadow, pp. 326–7. As JRRT first wrote this section, Odo (as it was in draft) was to go with the other four hobbits, hence there were ‘six ponies’, five for riding and one for baggage. But the story changed, and it was decided that Fredegar Bolger (as it was in the published book) would stay behind at Crickhollow to tell Gandalf what had occurred; but Tolkien overlooked the detail of ‘six ponies’. Some readers have argued as you do, that the sixth pony was for Fatty Bolger, to use when riding to the Hedge. Christopher Tolkien, however, who was the ultimate authority for the new edition of The Lord of the Rings, but with whom we entirely agree on this point, on the basis of manuscript evidence, considers ‘six ponies’ to be a surviving trace of the draft text which needed to be corrected to conform to his father’s chapter as revised for publication. He notes that it was part of ‘the original plans of the conspirators’ (i.e. Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Fredegar, p. 108 of the new edition) that Fatty should stay behind, and therefore when Merry explains to Frodo, who has asked about preparations, that ‘five ponies’ are ready in the stable, he is referring to preparations specifically for those four hobbits going on the journey, i.e. excluding Fatty. We would also point to a paragraph earlier in ‘A Conspiracy Unmasked’, when Pippin says to Frodo: ‘Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow . . . but you will need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure’ – thus indicating to Frodo that he would have three companions, and thus four hobbits would be making the journey.

      We also dealt with this more briefly in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, p. 118.

      Granted, however, that this is a confusing point, since Tolkien doesn’t make it explicit that Fatty is staying behind until after preparations are discussed, and Fatty does indeed ride with the others to the Hedge.

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