Tolkien Notes 2
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.