J.R.R. Tolkien → Schemata
1. Texts, Sources, and Narrative Material of Tolkien’s Legendarium
The texts of Tolkien’s Legendarium do not represent a single coherent corpus in the form of final versions but rather textual stages of a complex narrative and literary process of different narrative threads that constantly evolved during Tolkien’s lifetime. With his son’s editorial work of following these evolving narrative threads in the immense 12-volume History of Middle-earth (1983–1996) and in monographic publications, this multi-decade process can be retraced in detail. The schema available here aims to provide an overview over these narrative threads.
2. Stages and Logic of the fictitious tradition of Tolkien’s Legendarium (Red Book of Westmarch)
Tolkien designs his legendarium as part of fictitious textual tradition, i.e. he consideres his texts (The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) as translations (from Westron and Elvish to English), editions and adaptations of much older texts that are standing in the line of a textual tradition, starting with the diary of Bilbo and through its first major textualisation, the so-called Red Book of Westmarch.
In letter 131 to Milton Waldman from late 1951, Tolkien elaborates on his concept of »sub-creation«. This document represents an attempt to systematize the aspects mentioned there.
4. Beowulf. Prose translation and its commentary
For three quarters of a century, Tolkien’s prose translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf had yet to be published. In 2014 Christopher Tolkien finally edited the text and published it. This Schema provides an overview of the main textual stages and witnesses, including some commentaries from Christopher Tolkien himself and the review by Michael Drout.