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TCG Letter #1612


From
J.R.R. Tolkien
To
John Johnson
Date
14 February 1921
Type
Unknown, Manuscript/Proof Document
Transcript
Partial
Tolkien and JohnsonAssistant Secretary to the Delegates of the Oxford University Press[1] had met on 12 February when Tolkien handed over material for A Middle English Vocabulary. Tolkien had forgotten to include a revised slip from the Glossary and sends it now.

They had spoken on Kenneth's Sisam's argument that normalization of textsIt is an interesting position taken by Tolkien who would soon struggle to produce the glossaries of the Clarendon Chaucer arguing that he needed more room or would else miss out vital details, yet here a short time before says that the trouble "then falls on the “glossarist”, who spends endless time (and space) recording forms that could be eliminated and still leave the printed text perfectly Middle English (and intelligible to the scribes and editors if resuscitated)". This position appears to be entirely against what Tolkien would argue throughout his working life.[2] in the forthcoming 'Middle English' text series would be wrong, which Tolkien disagreed about and supported it.Though do note that Hammond/Scull point to the text of Sir Gawain, of which Tolkien reverses his position in August that year and does not support the normalization of that text.[3]

This letter is found at the Oxford University Press archives, file CP53/992.

1 Assistant Secretary to the Delegates of the Oxford University Press
2 It is an interesting position taken by Tolkien who would soon struggle to produce the glossaries of the Clarendon Chaucer arguing that he needed more room or would else miss out vital details, yet here a short time before says that the trouble "then falls on the “glossarist”, who spends endless time (and space) recording forms that could be eliminated and still leave the printed text perfectly Middle English (and intelligible to the scribes and editors if resuscitated)". This position appears to be entirely against what Tolkien would argue throughout his working life.
3 Though do note that Hammond/Scull point to the text of Sir Gawain, of which Tolkien reverses his position in August that year and does not support the normalization of that text.
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