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Tolkien Notes 20

June 17, 2021

This will be a shorter ‘Notes’ than usual, indeed very brief, as we’re pressed for time, with various appointments, landscape work on our property to do or be scheduled (we’ll have another post about our garden soon), car repairs, and so forth. But nothing Covid-related: we’re fully vaccinated, and life where we are, at least, has returned to mostly-maskless. Of course it’s less good in many other places, which is worrying. And there are still many restrictions on travelling.

In Tolkien news, addenda and corrigenda for our books (mainly addenda) are accumulating, and we’ll have another group of these posted to our website before long. We’re catching up with several books about Tolkien from the past few years, including Holly Ordway’s work on Tolkien’s reading, which have provided new information or different perspectives. There are also a number of Tolkien-related textual questions we’ve received, which we assure the writers we’ll answer, or try to.

Speaking of catching up, a long Zoom interview we gave on 25 February to four Portuguese-speaking Tolkien enthusiasts – but speaking in English to us – has just been posted to YouTube. For this, our thanks to Cesar, Inês, Ronald, and Sérgio. (It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Christina already knew Ronald Kyrmse, from correspondence back in the 1980s in regard to the linguistic journal Quettar.) The interview is one of many videos (most of them in Portuguese) on the YouTube channel ‘Tolkien Talk’, including some devoted to our books.

  1. June 18, 2021 5:17 am

    Dear Wayne and Christina,
    I notice a possible issue in most modern LOTR editions of the recent nearly three decades. In the last letter of the first line of the ring inscription, the stroke of lambe “l” is broken into two parts. The issue is present in all the editions after 1994 I’ve checked: HC 1995, 50th-anniversary edition, 3 translated versions in Chinese (2002, 2013) and Japanese (2002). Whereas in all the editions I checked before 1994, the stroke is unbroken: 1954 1st edition, Unwin 1981, HM 1991, HC 1993, and a 1991 Russian translation.
    Per D. Anderson, HC 1994 edition is the first edition that used computer typesetting and introduced many errors. So I believe this issue was introduced during scanning the paper/film/type into the computer.

    • June 18, 2021 6:48 am

      Sorry, the miswritten letter should be “the last letter of the ring inscription”, not the first line, but the second line.

    • June 20, 2021 8:36 am

      Hi Wayne and Christina, I noticed a few more Tengwar typos in many modern LOTR editions.
      In the title page, the inverted circumflex in “by” (in many editions before 1992) was written like an acute sign in 2004 edition.
      In the Doors of Durin, compared with Tolkien’s manuscript (Art LR no.47) and 1st ed., three dots of the “i” are missing in editions after 1985. And an extra dot appeared on Durin’s initial in editions after 1991.
      See details in

  2. Dark Blue Mage permalink
    June 18, 2021 1:55 pm

    Hi Wayne and Christina ^^ I watched your interview on the Tolkien Talk channel, it was amazing! Learned much, thanks for speaking with the portuguese tolkien fans =D

    • Ronald Kyrmse permalink
      June 18, 2021 2:15 pm

      We’re Brazilians actually. The enterprising Sérgio & Cesar founded Tolkien Talk primarily for fans in Brazil. Nevertheless our friend Inês is in fact from Portugal.

  3. Ronald Kyrmse permalink
    June 18, 2021 2:17 pm

    Dear Christina & Wayne, the pleasure was ours! Plus my inexpected realisation that we had already corresponded lo these many years ago.

  4. Ken Poloha permalink
    July 29, 2021 2:26 pm

    Just stumbled into your “Of Bookshops, Past-Part one”—-1/29/12. Was there a part 2? What a blast from the past! Grew up in Parma. Picked up Patajali’s, “Yoga Sutras” and Ram Dass’,”Be Here Now” at James Book. Spent many hours at Kay’s Books, too. Parts of it reminded of the big book house that got torched in the movie, “Fahrenheit 451”. Were you still in Clevo when Manifestations was around? It was THE source for all books on metaphysics and spirituality during the 70’s and 80’s. it was in the arcade between Euclid and Propect Aves.(Colonial Arcade(?)) Thanks.

    • September 30, 2021 8:03 pm

      Hi, Ken,

      I’m glad you found Part 2. I was never in Manifestations, but heard about it. Not my subjects, anyway, and from the mid-seventies I was in Michigan at library school and then here in Massachusetts. I was in Keisogloff’s in the Old Arcade once, I think, but felt uncomfortable then, among the old leatherbound books I probably couldn’t afford (now it’s my natural habitat). I had never heard of Six Steps Down. But oh, for those days. Now I think back to those shops with their towering shelves and narrow aisles and imagine them trying to survive in a time of social distancing.

      The Colonial Arcade did run between Euclid and Prospect — still does, I understand, along with the Euclid Arcade, which was parallel. I can’t remember if it was in one of those, or in the Old Arcade, where I used to shop for recorder music, and where I was memorably once asked “Are you the man with the snake?” I had to reply that I was certainly not the man with the snake. I’m sure there was an interesting story behind that.


  5. Ken Poloha permalink
    July 30, 2021 6:54 am

    Just found part 2. Another great-but-now-gone bookstore was Six Steps Down on W. 25th St.

  6. September 29, 2021 3:36 pm

    Hi, Christina and Wayne!

    I don’t know if this is the proper place to mention it, but I recently found something that I think might be worth including in your Reader’s Companion. It isn’t in my copy from 2004, and I can’t find it in your list of later additions either, so maybe, just maybe, you are unaware of it?

    In RotK, in the beginning of chapter 5, The Ride of the Rohirrim, there is this text:

    He began to wonder why he had been so eager to come, when he had been given every excuse, even his lord’s command, to stay behind. He wondered, too, if the old King knew that he had been disobeyed and was angry. Perhaps not. There seemed to be some understanding between Dernhelm and Elfhelm, the Marshal who commanded the éored in which they were riding. He and all his men ignored Merry and pretended not to hear if he spoke. He might have been just another bag that Dernhelm was carrying. Dernhelm was no comfort: he never spoke to anyone.

    I happened to compare this to my old Swedish edition, and to my surprise, the translated text was very different, much shorter. All right, Ohlmarks is Ohlmarks, so maybe he screwed up (again), I thought. But later, a friend with an older edition of the original checked for me, and found that this is indeed a passage that Tolkien has changed. In his copy, which is first edition, eighth impression, the passage reads:

    He began to wonder why he had been so eager to come, when he had been given every excuse, even his lord’s command, to stay behind. The king was not well pleased, and Dernhelm was no comfort: he seldom spoke a word.

    I just thought you might like to know about it!

    Best regards,
    Magnus Börjesson

    • September 30, 2021 7:45 pm

      Hi, Magnus (and others who have sent comments; we’ve been well, but busy, and will reply to all as we can),

      We’ve known about that revision — Wayne included it in his long list of changes between the first and second editions in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography. For the Reader’s Companion, with few exceptions (such as the original Foreword, wholly rewritten for the second edition), we tended to note the first edition (first printing) text only where we corrected an error introduced in the unauthorized resetting for the second printing, and we did this partly so that the Reader’s Companion did not compete (in this regard) with the Descriptive Bibliography. Maybe if we’re ever asked for a fourth edition of the Reader’s Companion, and are given enough space, we’ll decide to document all of the first > second edition revisions.

      • October 2, 2021 3:43 pm

        Ah, I should have known you were on top of this one as well. Thank you for the clarification!

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