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Tolkien's handwriting scans



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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.

 

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More, with a signature also!

 

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That's fantastic, thanks a lot!

 

I hope the various crashes left no lasting injuries.

 

Inkling

 

(edited owing to atrocious spelling)

Edited by Inkling
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Hey, thanks for sharing! That's great to see :) 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...

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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:

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

 

Doug

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Hey, thanks for sharing! That's great to see :) Tolkien is my favorite author ^^

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

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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:

 

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.

 

 

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Hey, thanks for sharing! That's great to see :) Tolkien is my favorite author ^^

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

He has fans all over the world! :thumbup: I love his work.

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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...

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Ernst Bitterman

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.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

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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

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?

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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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  • 1 year later...

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

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  • 5 months later...

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.ru/texts/eng/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
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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?

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georges zaslavsky

very nice handwriting examples thanks for sharing.

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

 

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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.

PAKMAN

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