Dennis Wilson Wise 1. Introduction In Tolkien's famous essay about Beowulf and the critics, he chides his colleagues for failing to treat the poem as a literary object; they neglect its aesthetic beauty while snuffling around for philological or genealogical data. In a way, I apply much the same point to readers of Tolkien's own 1977 Silmarillion. Christopher Tolkien had once written that he treated the 1977 text "of the same order as the writings published by my father himself" (UT 3), a "completed and cohesive entity" rather than "a complex of divergent texts interlinked by commentary" (1). Christopher Tolkien later distanced himself from this position, deeply regretting that he "attached no importance" to his father's concerns about presentation (LT I xi) and thereby left for The Silmarillion "no suggestion of what it is and how (within the imagined world) it came to be" (xii). Understandably, Tolkien scholars followed this path, discounting The Silmarillion for the much more authenticseeming History of Middle- earth. Additionally, they see the 1977 text, though power ful in places, as a product rife with flaws, uneven in structure and detail, sadly heterogeneous in style, and furthermore marred by the editor's unavoidable hand. I
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Dec 14, 2016
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