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New Book: Tolkien's Lost Chaucer

Squint-eyed Southerner

Pawing through the trash behind the Pony
Apr 9, 2018
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Virginia, USA
Here's an exerpt:


And a news article:
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not from 'Straya
Aug 19, 2019
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Here's an exerpt:

View attachment 6437

And a news article:
Looks like something to add to my "to order" list with my favorite bookstore!
But I found two things highly interesting, one of them bearing on the accusationvoiced in the first article: avoiding his academic work.
First, it seems to confirm JRRT's self-description of being a "natural niggler".
For some purposes (I'll get to that in a moment) a fatal flaw. For his area of research, not necessarily so, as when he dug into a topic, he dug harder than possibly anyone else.
He then simply knew more on some topics than anyone else, leaving perhaps even professional colleagues (inside and outside Oxford) baffled, perhaps awed.
For the second point, the second article (by "The Guardian") mentions why exactly JRRT's "Chaucer" never reached print:

"Most of Tolkien’s edition was written in the 1920s but in 1951 he returned everything to his publisher, refusing to cut his “Notes” from 160 pages to just 20 [!!!], as requested. OUP’s problem was that this was a student edition – they insisted that the Notes – which included scholarly observations on etymologies, classical and continental sources and historical contexts – were inappropriate and expensive."

I believe it was Tom Shippey who mentioned that JRRT never managing to contribute as intended to what should have been the collaborative effort with E.V. Gordon on the 14th-century poem "Pearl" (as they had on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" published in 1925) was that he again had too much material; there are many other cases. JRRT seems very much have been the person not to go to if you expected a short answer.
But then fairly often, the "questions" posed rather remind me of that inane question by (mostly) tabloid reporters of diverse media: "Can you summarize that in {something ridiculously short}?", to which all to often the only appropriate answer (all too often not given) is a flat "No!"

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