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“The road from adaptation to invention”: How Tolkien Came to the Brink of Middle-earth in 1914

“The road from adaptation to invention”: How Tolkien Came to the Brink of Middle-earth in 1914 “The road from adaptation to invention”: How Tolkien Came to the Brink of Middle-earth in 1914 John Garth Éarendel sprang up from the Ocean’s cup In the gloom of the mid-world’s rim . . . hese are the first words of the poem long seen as the first glimpse T of the authentic Tolkien, creator of Middle-earth—written 100 years ago. As has been accepted since Humphrey Carpenter said so, they show Tolkien in September 1914 turning an opaque reference to éarendel in the Anglo-Saxon poem Crist into something “entirely origi- nal” (Bio 71), the beginnings of his epic of Eärendil. Though we do not see Tolkien here using his invented languages to reappropriate the name Éarendel or to coin new names (something he seems not to have done within his legendarium until “The Shores of Faëry” in July 1915), this 1914 poem has some claim to stand as the earliest “Middle- earth” text. Anticipating C. S. Lewis’s famous review The of Lord of the Rings as “like lightning from a clear sky,” Tolkien’s friend Christopher Wiseman told him in April 1915 that this poem and others “burst upon me like a bolt from the blue . . . I http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tolkien Studies West Virginia University Press

“The road from adaptation to invention”: How Tolkien Came to the Brink of Middle-earth in 1914

Tolkien Studies , Volume 11 – Nov 27, 2014

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University Press.
ISSN
1547-3163

Abstract

“The road from adaptation to invention”: How Tolkien Came to the Brink of Middle-earth in 1914 John Garth Éarendel sprang up from the Ocean’s cup In the gloom of the mid-world’s rim . . . hese are the first words of the poem long seen as the first glimpse T of the authentic Tolkien, creator of Middle-earth—written 100 years ago. As has been accepted since Humphrey Carpenter said so, they show Tolkien in September 1914 turning an opaque reference to éarendel in the Anglo-Saxon poem Crist into something “entirely origi- nal” (Bio 71), the beginnings of his epic of Eärendil. Though we do not see Tolkien here using his invented languages to reappropriate the name Éarendel or to coin new names (something he seems not to have done within his legendarium until “The Shores of Faëry” in July 1915), this 1914 poem has some claim to stand as the earliest “Middle- earth” text. Anticipating C. S. Lewis’s famous review The of Lord of the Rings as “like lightning from a clear sky,” Tolkien’s friend Christopher Wiseman told him in April 1915 that this poem and others “burst upon me like a bolt from the blue . . . I

Journal

Tolkien StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Nov 27, 2014

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