Sunday, November 21, 2021

LotR as Fictive Pre-History

How Long Ago Was Lord of the Rings? Tolkien Tells Us in “Nature of Middle-Earth”
15th Nov. 2021 | Tolkien Lore

In other words, this was after that, perhaps tongue in cheek, comment on fall of Barad-Dûr being sth like 4004 BC (I think same letter as where Minas Tirith is same latitude as Rome, but further West)?

Other commenter already noted:
"Letter 211 (14 Oct 1958, to Rhona Beare) suggests 6000 years from the fall of Barad-dur to the present."

I have read somewhere Tolkien at times actually "constructed" Quenya in ways reminiscent of construction of Proto-Indo-European.

Any given IE language has lots of words that cannot be traced back to common ancestry, even on the view of those supposing there was one.

I think Tolkien's idea partly was taking remnants of pre-Indo-European languages. And making these words of Quenya.

I would actually solve a similar problem about the Nodian civilisation (before the Flood) by claiming:

  • a) our archaeology of the time features presumably savage (hunter gatherer) Neanderthals, but the cities were wiped out by the Flood, perhaps one could find remnants by digging under Himalaya or in the tunnel of Mont-Blanc;
  • b) and our main extra-Biblical trace of it would be Mahabharata.

14:30 Major upheavals or a lot of time passing - the Flood was really a major upheaval.

I'd say, the reason we don't accept LotR as history is, we have a tradition that Tolkien wrote it as fiction.

We have no tradition whatsoever that anyone in 1900 regarded this as history. Tolkien was not continuing a tradition of history.

And perhaps Tolkien had a point here. Book of Mormon ... apart from being a religion is also a long history, arguably invented like Tolkien invented his (point "yes, you can invent these things"), and we have as little historic tradition before Tolkien of Minas Tirith as we have before Joseph Smith of Nephites (point "check if a writer pretends to reveal sth hitherto totally unknown, that is suspect").

He never himself published the Loudham papers, in which Loudham et al. would have been credited with discovering a very long lost book as well as being given its language by some paranormal means.

Larry Kuenning
Another reason, apart from what we can actually know about ancient history, is that now that we have the HoMe volumes (we didn't when I first read LotR in 1965) we can watch Tolkien's composition process. His manuscripts read like a storyteller trying to imagine what "happened" next -- not like a translator trying to figure out how to express what he finds in an ancient document.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
@Larry Kuenning With the previous versions of LotR (like where Strider was a Hobbit), correct, but the overall viewpoint would depend on how the ancient document was formulated.

Obviously very improbable people 6 - 9000 years ago had invented sth like the modern novel, but not totally impossible.

So, the main reason remains, we have a tradition of Tolkien inventing it for the purpose of entertainment.

At a point where Tolkien Geek calculates that end of Third Age would have been (note, I don't say was) at c. 7000 BC, I noted that 6000 / 5000 BC we have laketowns, archaeologically, and I linked to my earlier work on how close they could have been to the fictitious Esgaroth. When I got back, this comment was gone, perhaps youtube is still censoring. Here is my earlier work, anyway:

Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Laketown, but not Esgaroth

No comments: