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Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Paperback)
  • Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Paperback)

Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Paperback)

Paperback 280 Pages / Published: 24/06/2011
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Douglas C. Kane reveals a tapestry woven by Christopher Tolkien from different portions of his father's work that is often quite mind-boggling, with inserts that seemed initially to have been editorial inventions shown to have come from some remote portion of Tolkien's vast body of work. He demonstrates how material that was written over the course of more than thirty years was merged together to create a single, coherent text. He also makes a frank appraisal of the material omitted and invented by Christopher Tolkien and how these omissions and insertions may have distorted his father's vision of what he considered-even more than The Lord of the Rings-to be his most important work. It is a fascinating portrait of a unique collaboration that reached beyond the grave. Kane documents the changes, omissions, and additions and traces how the disparate source materials were used to create what is in essence a composite work. He compares the published text with the source texts contained in the volumes of The History of Middle-earth as well as other works and identifies patterns of major and minor changes made to these source materials that resulted in the reconstruction of the finished text. He also cites the works of some of the most important Tolkien scholars, including Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, Christina Scull, Wayne Hammond, Charles Noad, and David Bratman in an attempt to understand and explain why these changes may have been made.

Publisher: Lehigh University Press
ISBN: 9781611460896
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 231 x 157 x 20 mm

Kane minutely details the delicate task Christopher [Tolkien] undertook in stitching together elements of his father's oeuvre, disparate in genre (from annals and glossaries to full-fledged narratives) and in composition-date (from the 1930s to the 1960s, including work composed both before and after The Lord of the Rings). Kane's textual scholarship is rigorous and is a model not only for Tolkien scholars but for scholars of more canonical authors, whose textual study is often pursued with less enthusiasm. . . . As welcome as the scrupulous registering of minute changes is, the book excels most when it points to [the] larger choices. [An] absorbing study. -- Nicholas Birns * Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, Vol. 5, 2009 *
One marvels at the amount of work Kane has invested in his project and appreciates the rigor with which it is documented. Meticulous as it is, one has the feeling that - like all icebergs of scholarship - only perhaps one-tenth of the author's labor has actually made it onto the printed page. . . . [A] meticulously researched and valuable new reference work (one of all too few) on The Simarillion . . . it has the added benefit of approaching the work from the relatively new angle of considering Christopher's role as a vigorous editor, and Kane is to be congratulated for confronting the matter directly. -- Jason Fisher * Mythlore, (The Journal Of The Mythopoeic Society), Volume 27, *
It will probably have occurred, however transiently, to many of those who read first the published Silmarillion and later The History of Middle-earth to ponder exactly how the one is related to the other. . . . This task has now been accomplished by Douglas Kane in Arda Reconstructed at an unprecedented level of detail. . . . However, this is much more than a tabulation of sources. . . . Arda Reconstructed is an important and thought-provoking work and raises serious questions about the treatment of unpublished - and unfinished - literary material. Even if one by no means agrees with all of its answers, it merits a place on the shelf of the more serious explorer of Tolkien's imagined world. -- Charles Noad, author of "On the Construction of The Silmarillion" * The Lotr Plaza *
In Arda Reconstructed Douglas Kane reveals, in even more detail than has previously been available, the complexity of The Silmarillion; and in doing so, also brings into focus the intractable problems Christopher Tolkien faced in making its publication a reality in a form that reflected the "Silmarillion" material in all its breadth and depth. . . . Arda Reconstructed is highly illuminating and very enjoyable to read, shedding much light on The Silmarillion. -- Brian Henderson * The Tolkien Library *
Arda Reconstructed . . . is probably the most extensive analysis of The History of Middle-earth so far undertaken. * The Literary Encyclopedia *
All in all a wonderful piece of research with many insights into how The Silmarillion was put together by Christopher Tolkien. . . . [A] worthwhile purchase for the Tolkien fan and perhaps essential for the Silmarillion fan. -- Robert H. Walker * Amon Hen, The Bulletin of the Tolkien Society, May 2010 *
Mr Kane's legal background shines through in his utter precision and his delight in the smallest relevant detail. That may all sound like an exceedingly dry exercise, yet this book is anything but dusty. It is never less than readable whilst presenting information which is often complex with commendable clarity. This is a book which has much to offer to readers of several sorts. For anyone wanting to read into the background to the relatively familiar Silmarillion, Arda Reconstructed gives them a way to begin exploring the vast History of Middle-earth series, which can often seem dauntingly confusing. For the more serious scholar, Arda Reconstructed is invaluable, as it gives us a sure guide to what is authorial and what is editorial in the . . . Silmarillion. . . . It also makes possible critical evaluation of the choices made by the editors, particularly necessary with a posthumous work such as The Silmarillion. ... Mr Kane's work also throws up intriguing questions worthy of answer by themselves; some may lie buried somewhere in the HoMe series but are far clearer here, while others may be asked for the first time in this book. ... That scholarly usefulness is however, I believe, only part of what this book has to offer. This painstakingly detailed and accurate study is also potentially of the greatest use to those engaging creatively with Tolkien's work. Arda Reconstructed's ability to point to more expansive versions in the HoMe series is ideal for anyone wanting or needing more information than the often spare Silmarillion. -- Ruth Lacon, co-author of numerous books on Tolkien * The Festival of the Shire Journal *

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