The Tip of the Iceberg: New Information About Middle-Earth – Michael Martinez’ J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth

by Sep 17, 2001Other News

“The idea that people of only partial Numenorean blood continued to live in Eriador is tantalizing. Although we know that there could not be settled communities of Men west of the Mitheithel, does this revelation give new meaning to Elrond’s words at the council, where he says that few of Aragorn’s people still live? Was Elrond perhaps omitting any reference to a larger people governed by Aragorn’s Elrosian clan? Those people who wonder where Aragorn found the population to reclaim Eriador may now have sufficient reason to argue that a substantial population dwelt near Rivendell in the Angle.”
This is the first of a series of essays analyzing previously unpublished works by J.R.R. Tolkien which have been brought to light by the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship.

Here is an excerpt from Michael’s Sept. 7th Suite101 article:

For about a year now, online discussions about Tolkien’s world have been peppered — in a few places — with references to an obscure essay called “Osanwe-Kenta”. The essay was first published in Vinyar Tengwar No. 39, the July 1998 issue of the official journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, a special interest group of the Mythopoeic Society.

“Osanwe-Kenta” (“Enquiry into Communication of Thought”) has been regarded as one of the most revealing of the previously unpublished writings of Tolkien to come along in years. I think “Osanwe-Kenta” may now be set aside in favor of a more inteersting text. That is “The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor”.

Both essays are important to Tolkien research, and the linguistic aspects are not necessarily primary. One can glean interesting insights about the philosophies and history of Aman’s peoples from “Osanwe-Kenta”. “Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor” equally provides new information and revelations about Gondor’s history and constituent peoples. Given that more people want to know about events in the Third Age than events in Aman’s early ages, I think “Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor” will ultimately prove to be the more important work.

Vinyar Tengwar is primarily concerned with linguistic material, of which there remains an immense body of unpublished essays and notes. Tolkien’s linguistic musings, however, usually include asides and often whole essays concerning the histories and philosophies of his principle races. The linguistic material is thus of special interest to researchers who study Tolkien’s world construction, pseudo-history, and artificial philosophies.

Christopher Tolkien published fragments of the “Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor” essay in Unfinished Tales. Regrettably, Vinyar Tengwar also publishes only fragments. Much like the situation with “Narn i Chin Hurin”, which was published in pieces in both Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion, we must piece the entire work together. If enough of these lengthy writings are published in two parts like this, it may one day behoove HarperCollins to publish a Completed Works of J.R.R. Tolkien volume which combines the separated texts. Such a book would be a landmark attempt to provide a coherent representation of something written by Tolkien outside of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.


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