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Tolkien's handwriting scans


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#1 mwpannell

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:26

Some time back in relation to another thread, I posted copies of Tokien's handwriting from a book that had been in his personal library. He took great liberties at marking and making notations in his books. Also in the book were numerous lay-ins, items he had written on scraps of paper that were laid in the book. Due to hard-drive crashes, car crashes and other trivial matters, I'm way late fullfilling that promise ... but here are several more items for some of you to enjoy. I'll load them in a couple of posts witout comment, except to say the first one is a page used as a blotter for what might appear to be "elvish writing"!?! I'll let those of you who are interested do your own figuring on the rest.

TS4.jpg

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#2 mwpannell

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:32

More, with a signature also!

TS2.jpg

TS3.jpg

TS5.jpg

TS6.jpg

TS7_sig.jpg


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#3 Inkling

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:36

That's fantastic, thanks a lot!

I hope the various crashes left no lasting injuries.

Inkling

(edited owing to atrocious spelling)

Edited by Inkling, 25 June 2008 - 20:37.


#4 Shinichiro

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:46

Hey, thanks for sharing! That's great to see smile.gif Tolkien is my favorite author ^^
Look at my eyes, Faye. One of them is a fake because I lost it in an accident. Since then, I've been seeing the past in one eye and the present in the other. So, I thought I could only see patches of reality, never the whole picture. I felt like I was watching a dream I could never wake up from. Before I knew it, the dream was over...

#5 mwpannell

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:49

QUOTE(Inkling @ Jun 25 2008, 04:36 PM) View Post
That's fantastic, thanks a lot! I hope the various crashes left no lasting injuries.
Inkling
(edited owing to atrocious spelling)


Glad you enjoy the samples, and no, the crashes were generally recoverable with no great bodily injury. And hey, you spelled "atrocious" right, what more could anyone want! rolleyes.gif
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#6 HDoug

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:49

Fascinating! Thanks much for posting. I hope you (and your computer) are back at 100%.

Doug

#7 mwpannell

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 20:50

QUOTE(Shinichiro @ Jun 25 2008, 04:46 PM) View Post
Hey, thanks for sharing! That's great to see smile.gif Tolkien is my favorite author ^^

Glad to do it, certainly a great favorite of mine too.
"The problem with famous quotes you read online is you can't always verify their authenticity." - Abraham Lincoln

#8 PaulT00

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 21:22

What I find interesting is the blotter with the Elvish bit on it. What's interesting about it, if you're a Tolkien geek, is that it definitely looks Elvish, but doesn't look like most of the Elvish script seen in LOTR. To me it looks like a blotting from a sample of an earlier script Tolkien developed, called the Sarati of Rumil, which in the history of middle-earth was one of the systems of writing developed by the Elves before the "standard" Elvish letters, the Tengwar of Feanor, were invented.

AFAIK examples of writing in Sarati by Tolkien are extremely rare.

And this is where I admit that one of the things I usually write with any new FP when I'm testing it out is the ring-inscription in cursive Tengwar - the one written in the black speech which starts "Ash nazg durbatuluk" : "One Ring to Rule Them All". embarrassed_smile.gif

My excuse is that my penmanship in Tengwar is much better than in the Roman alphabet! (Being a bit of a Tolkien geek helps as well...)

Paul.



#9 Eltea

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:33

QUOTE(mwpannell @ Jun 25 2008, 10:50 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Shinichiro @ Jun 25 2008, 04:46 PM) View Post
Hey, thanks for sharing! That's great to see smile.gif Tolkien is my favorite author ^^

Glad to do it, certainly a great favorite of mine too.

He has fans all over the world! thumbup.gif I love his work.
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#10 SquelchB

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 14:53

I see uncial inspiration. Very nice handwriting.
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#11 Shinichiro

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 15:02

Tolkien could do a lot of different handwrittings. Just have a look at the Letters From Father Christmas. They're fun!
Look at my eyes, Faye. One of them is a fake because I lost it in an accident. Since then, I've been seeing the past in one eye and the present in the other. So, I thought I could only see patches of reality, never the whole picture. I felt like I was watching a dream I could never wake up from. Before I knew it, the dream was over...

#12 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 15:43

You sure can tell he spent a LOT of time reading pre-10th century manuscripts. That looks very like some unintelligible Latin script I saw in a monastic item from about the time of the first Viking events.
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#13 Philip1209

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 16:53

Tolkein's signature really exudes his personality.

#14 Randal6393

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 17:24

Looking at the slant of the letters (to the left at times) and the sidewise slides Tolkien used, he knew a bit about the black-letter Secretary hands that were used from the 13th to the 16th century. As a professor at Oxford for most of his life, he would have spent time reading in the Bodleian Library, amongst others. Today, the Bodleian publishes many excellent examples of early scripts on the Internet. Click to visit the Bodleian Library and see a few of the scripts used over the centuries.

Edited by Randal6393, 26 June 2008 - 17:26.

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#15 mwpannell

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 19:33

It is a real treat to eye these samples and see and pick out the various influences, especially given the fact these are for the most part everyday handwriting. (With the exception of the blotter piece--PaulTOO you have a better grasp of elvish than I, I'll have to look into that.) These are lists and letters, outlines and the starts of notes apparently about the ins and outs of life and politics at the college.

Tolkien's signature is really the perfect logo for the creator of Middle Earth, isn't it? And from a time before goofing around with computer graphics, it makes it all the more telling of the man. He had it nailed by 1923 even before Middle Earth became something "valuable" to care about. To me, it really shows how the life of the stories pre and post the Lord of the Rings era really came out of the man and was a collection of his interests and fascinations and maybe even compulsions rather than a ploy to sell books and merch. He was really in love with the task at hand and the weaving of the language, look and tales more than hitting it big. The professor through and through. To bad he, nor his heritage, really enjoyed the major financial fruits from the work that you might expect, but still even that gives it an old world sense of the satisfied writer at his desk in dimly lit chambers telling the tale, creating the world with a whole storehouse of tools from calligraphy to inventive languages and age-old stories of the faire.
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#16 jbn10161

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 18:34

I just ran across this thread, directed from here. It's worth a bump into the present. Thanks for these images and comments. Very interesting.
JN

#17 Aelfwine

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 22:14

I was just pointed to this discussion by a fellow Tolkien scholar. The blotter text is (unfortunately!) not an imprint of any Elvish script, but of Tolkien's "Old English"-style hand. I can't identify the O.E. text, but the style is unmistakable (see e.g. here: http://www.tolkien.r.../pbjrrt/38.html ) and the prominent "aesc" (the O.E. a-e digraph) is the clincher.

The most interesting scan is the penultimate one, which is a fragment of alliterative verse composition by Tolkien. I can't make it all out without further study, but what I can make out reads:

{[his?] frown ... ... ... face}
[his?] face darkened frowning fiercely
fierce burned [his?] mood [faltering? ...]
to the [fair?] lady
between fear and fury {[Fair?] ......}
{fair and fell}
[his?] heart [returned?] hunger . . .
[in its long thraldom?]
Yet [the queen ... Guinevere?] ... [preferred?]
to Lancelot [for?] love calling
[to her?/their? need [biding?]

This doesn't appear to be associated with "Sir Gawain and the Green Night", since Lancelot is named only once in that text, and _only_ named. So unless this is Tolkien's attempt at a translation of some other Arthurian text, I suspect this may be a fragment of his (as yet unpublished) alliterative poem, "The Fall of Arthur". In any case, it's clearly original verse composition by Tolkien, and so very interesting! Thanks for sharing it.

Carl Hostetter

P.S. if you could post or send me a higher-resolution scan, I might be able to make more out.

P.P.S. Could you provide the bibliographic details of the edition of _SGGK_ these notes were contained in? Thanks!

Edited by Aelfwine, 20 December 2009 - 22:17.


#18 Randal6393

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 21:19

Good call, Aelfwine,

And for those that wish to see the elvish script as Tolkien wrote it, follow the link Aelfwine gives, select "Contents", and go to Item 48. The artwork of this section is great -- like Aelfwine, would love to see a higher-resolution version of this.

Enjoy,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#19 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 19:07

very nice handwriting examples thanks for sharing.
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#20 pakmanpony

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 19:43

It's still sad to me that most artists die broke and their magnificent work goes unrecognized until they are dead. If Tolkien had been a contemporary to Rowlings he'd be a zillionaire.

#21 fuchsiaprincess

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 04:17

Thank you very much to the original OP, and to the person who bumped this up again. I really enjoyed looking at Tolkien's hand.

Regards,
Soki

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#22 f22pilot72

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 05:12

What I find interesting is the blotter with the Elvish bit on it. What's interesting about it, if you're a Tolkien geek, is that it definitely looks Elvish, but doesn't look like most of the Elvish script seen in LOTR. To me it looks like a blotting from a sample of an earlier script Tolkien developed, called the Sarati of Rumil, which in the history of middle-earth was one of the systems of writing developed by the Elves before the "standard" Elvish letters, the Tengwar of Feanor, were invented.

AFAIK examples of writing in Sarati by Tolkien are extremely rare.

And this is where I admit that one of the things I usually write with any new FP when I'm testing it out is the ring-inscription in cursive Tengwar - the one written in the black speech which starts "Ash nazg durbatuluk" : "One Ring to Rule Them All". Posted Image

My excuse is that my penmanship in Tengwar is much better than in the Roman alphabet! (Being a bit of a Tolkien geek helps as well...)

Paul.



I've always loved that sort of script. Being able to write it well and incorporate it into my own writing (as it appears Tolkien has done) would be great! I really should just give it a go and see what comes of it.

To the OP, thanks for the great handwriting samples!

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