Sunday, January 12, 2020

Fortnightly Book, January 12

For a number of reasons, my appetite has been whetted for some Tolkien, so the next fortnightly book is J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.Tolkien began writing it at the age of 45 as a sequel to The Hobbit (which I've already done); it wasn't fully published until he was 63. He had considerable difficulty with the publication, despite the fact that there was interest in it; Tolkien wanted it to be the first volume of a two-volume work (with The Silmarillion as the other), but publishers kept balking, as they sometimes did at the size of The Lord of the Rings itself. He finally just gave in and let George Allen & Unwin publish it in whatever way they wanted. GA&U, although very favorable to Tolkien, expected it to be an expensive work with modest sales, so it was because of them that the book was divided into three volumes made out of two of the six parts. Tolkien did not want each of the volumes to have its own title; he thought instead that it should just be Volume 1, etc., with the parts given titles:

Volume 1
-- Book 1: The Ring Sets Out
-- Book 2: The Ring Goes South
Volume 2
-- Book 3: The Treason of Isengard
-- Book 4: The Ring Goes East
Volume 3
-- Book 5: The War of the Ring
-- Book 6: The End of the Third Age

He had to give in on this, as well, however. He then proposed volume titles:

Volume 1: The Shadow Grows
Volume 2: The Ring in the Shadow
Volume 3: The War of the Ring

Of course, the volumes eventually came to be titled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King; Tolkien was never entirely happy with the third title, which he thought gave away too much of the story.

Richard G. Leonberger singing the Donald Swann version of "Namárië", sung by Galadriel, closely based on Tolkien's own idea of how it would sound:

Tolkien's spoken recitation of the song:

And, much harder to find, Tolkien singing it:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.