Tolkien Collector's Guide
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May 9, 2020
2020/5/9 23:25:52 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
For anybody who has not yet bought the book and wants a brief description of how this deluxe has changed in terms of layout, and a couple of 'new' pieces, below lists the basic changes.

We get two manuscript pages from Gawain's Leave-Taking that also includes a canto from 'The Gest of Beren and Luthien'. This is mentioned in an editors note after Christopher Tolkien's unchanged preface.

The introduction becomes wholly centered around Sir Gawain for this new edition and Pearl and Sir Orfeo introductory remarks are moved to before each poem. The W.P. Kerr lecture is indeed as previously published.

The editor's note makes plain that CT would have revised his introduction to include the information gathered from the finding of the 'The Gest of Beren and Luthien' and 2 alternate lines had he been able so for those of us who obsess over every line this new edition does have something new, albeit two lines from the 'The Gest of Beren and Luthien' canto.

I assume this was Christopher's last involvement in a project? fitting that it was this I feel. He started all those years ago with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo and 45 years later he ends with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo. A remarkable legacy he left us as he took his own leave.
May 11, 2020
2020/5/11 16:09:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Just a side note - I left my early pre-order up on Amazon UK for this title (as I had a gift card to use so I had to get something there...)

The "pre-order price guarantee" reset just happened, and the price was "corrected" to £51.51 plus £5.08 shipping. Not far off from other sites (that will deliver to the USA).

Amazon UK is now charging much more for shipping - £12.38 to the USA for this title - I assume due to COVID-19 disruptions to their normal shipping process. They used DHL (very expensive) to ship me my deluxe SGGK though they charged me my pre-order shipping fee for it (pre-order was back in February).
May 13, 2020
2020/5/13 20:47:59 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:
The editor's note makes plain that CT would have revised his introduction to include the information gathered from the finding of the 'The Gest of Beren and Luthien' and 2 alternate lines had he been able so for those of us who obsess over every line this new edition does have something new, albeit two lines from the 'The Gest of Beren and Luthien' canto.

A correction to my previous post as I neglected to check the text in The Lays of Beleriand at the time and I wrongly assumed these 2 lines were different again to the alternates mentioned in Lays, they are not.
May 14, 2020
2020/5/14 17:55:31 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

remy wrote:

Gawain wrote:
I've never used this site before but have just ordered from here at a good price £38.78

agreatread

So far so good - my order shipped yesterday. Many thanks again.

Book arrived yesterday. Securely packed. All perfect. Definitely a site I will use much more often in the future. Another decent alternative to Amazon/Book Depository.
May 14, 2020
2020/5/14 18:29:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Glad everything was okay. Mine arrived a few days ago and I am very happy with the site and will certainly use then again too.
May 20, 2020
2020/5/20 11:03:01 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
There’s something more that can be said about the (few) new contents of this book. At page 12 the Editor says:

«there appears a draft of the opening Canto of the “Gest of Beren and Lúthien”. The draft very closely follows the A-text reproduced in The Lays of Beleriand (p.157) though precedes it as it contains an alternative couplet after line 12 «from England unto Eglamar / o’er fold and field and lands afar» Christopher noted that evidence that both texts were composed no later than 1929 can be seen by referring to the criticism provided to J.R.R. Tolkien by C.S. Lewis after he read the poem on the night of 6 December 1929, in which Lewis quoted the phrase “meats were sweet” (The Lays of Beleriand p. 315). These words were absent from later versions as Tolkien rewrote the text, very probably as a direct consequence of Lewis’s criticism. Christopher concluded that it can therefore be stated with reasonable certainty that J.R.R. Tolkien had Sir Gawain in mind even as he worked on the poem that would become The Lay of Leithian.»

This passage incredibly lacks the most important information about dating: Tolkien inserted dates on the A manuscript, and the first of these is “August 23, 1925” at line 557 (III:150). Moreover in his diary he wrote that he began the Lay during the period of the summer examinations in 1925 (Hammond and Scull 2017, p. 649) and he began the typescript B1 no later than 16 August 1926. If we accept the idea that the text in the “Gawain’s Leave-Taking” manuscript precedes A (and indeed all the corrections made in the Gawain-text - “Melilot” above all - seems to indicate that this text precedes A apart from the remarkable first line) therefore is 23 august 1925 and not “no later than 1929” the terminus ante quem for “Gawain’s Leave-Taking”.

The Gawain-text doesn’t differ from A only for lines 13-14: I may need help from people more used to read Tolkien’s handwriting to transcribe it properly but something can be already said here.

Line 1 is «A king there was in olden {ancient} days» with “ancient” written above “olden”: I think it is remarkable to note that this line is more closer to B1 «A king there was in olden days:» than A «A King was in the dawn of days:».
Line 2 «his golden crown did brightly blaze» (as in A) is written above a different version that started differently.
The first half of line 3 is different from A («with ruby red»), I can’t understand the second and third words, but the first is “the”.
The first half of line 4 has «his meat was sweet» while in both A and B1 is plural «his meats were sweet».
The second half of line 5 «an ivory throne» (the reading in both A and B1) is a correction from a version erased with a stroke of pen.
The three «and» at the start of lines 6, 7 and 8 (as in A) are a correction made probably while writing line 8.
Another remarkable feature of the Gawain-text is the fact that «Melilot» (Lúthien name as originally written in A) is a replacement for a different word I can’t decipher, probably there’s a “g” in the middle.
After line 11 «from dawn to dusk, from sun to sea,» in the Gawain-text there are two lines then stroked out (the first I think start with «From Egla...».
Line 12 of A «no fairer maiden found could be.» I believe to be «no purer maiden found could be» in the Gawain-text.
Finally after the couplet «from England unto Eglamar / o’er fold and field and lands afar» in the Gawain-text there are two lines stroked out and replaced with other 2 lines I can’t read for certain.

There’s a question that still needs to be answered: is this the same “earlier draft” refereed to in III:157? I think it is fair to assume that is, but I guess we won’t have a definitive answer now as probably only Christopher knew that.
May 20, 2020
2020/5/20 17:26:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

@Ugo Truffelli wrote:
Finally after the couplet «from England unto Eglamar / o’er fold and field and lands afar» in the Gawain-text there are two lines stroked out and replaced with other 2 lines I can’t read for certain.

I'm pretty certain now that the newly written lines are as § 39-40 in B2 «and her the King more dear did prize / than hand or heart or light of eyes.» (they should be § 25-26 in A), but note that if it is «light of eyes» the three words are conjuncted with each other.
May 20, 2020 (edited)
2020/5/20 21:03:53 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
"The first half of line 3 is different from A («with ruby red»), I can’t understand the second and third words, but the first is “the”."

• "The ruby red and crystal clear"

"Another remarkable feature of the Gawain-text is the fact that «Melilot» (Lúthien name as originally written in A) is a replacement for a different word I can’t decipher, probably there’s a “g” in the middle."

• "Wingilot"

"After line 11 «from dawn to dusk, from sun to sea,» in the Gawain-text there are two lines then stroked out (the first I think start with «From Egla...»."

• "From Egla So fair a maid \ [?b] No lovelier [?maid] could ever be"

"Line 12 of A «no fairer maiden found could be.» I believe to be «no purer maiden found could be» in the Gawain-text."

• No, I think it is "fairer".

"Finally after the couplet «from England unto Eglamar \ o’er fold and field and lands afar» in the Gawain-text there are two lines stroked out and replaced with other 2 lines I can’t read for certain."

• That's not "fold"; it may be "folk". "And her the king esteemed ^more dear >> did dearly prize \ Than eye or hand or heart"
May 20, 2020
2020/5/20 21:17:00 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
This last few posts have gone over my head: is there anything, textwise, that's new and exclusive to this slipcased edition? As far as I'm aware, illustrations and 'fancy font' aside, the only added content - but not new - is the 1953 lecture.
May 20, 2020
2020/5/20 21:24:27 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The frontispiece reproduction of the manuscript of "Gawain’s Leave-Taking" and of the beginning of "Gest of Beren and Lúthien" at least is previously unpublished, I believe.
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