Thread: The New Shadow
Is there any essays under that title anywhere to be found or is it lost to us for good?
I might be wrong but It said that Tolkien dropped that story because it would have portrayed the corrupted side of men, not the struggle between good and evil. After all it was supposed to be something about a rebellion in Gondor.
What do you guys think: Galin and Gwindor?
I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall [of Mordor], but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going round doing damage. I could have written a 'thriller' about the plot and its discovery and overthrow — but it would be just that. Not worth doing.
That sounds like a good plot
That is a good point Odette, and also, JRR originally wrote the stories because he wanted to showcase his languages, put the languages he created into a suitable world where they would be normal and where the beauty of the languages would be shown off to best advantage
In August 1992, the Tolkien Society and the Mythopoeic Society held the great JRR Tolkien Centenary Conference at Keble College, Oxford. Eight days of 'Tolkien' - it was great!
One of the highlights of the conference -one of the highlights of my life so far, actually - was a reading of the as-yet unpublished text of 'The New Shadow' at the Sheldonian Theatre by none other than Christopher Tolkien.! You could have heard a pin drop amongst the audience...
Geordie, Does the Tolkien Estate plan to publish The New Shadow? If so, where will it be available?
Whoops, I wrote that wrong - when I said it was yet to be published, I meant in 1992! As Galin points out in a post above, The New Shadow was published in Vol.XII of HoMe, 'The Peoples of Middle-earth. (1996)
But we lucky few got to hear it four years earlier. I remember everyone being ever so quiet, and _trying to remember all the words_.
Just got out my diary of the event - I see that as well as The New Shadow, Christopher also read a passage from The Silmarillion - of the coming of Tuor to Vinyamar and meeting Ulmo. Spellbinding - anyone who has a cd of Christopher's readings will attest that he does read his father's works well. (In fact, Lewis and the others preferred to hear Christopher reading LotR at Inklings meetings rather than JRR, because sometimes the old chap was a bit indistinct. Or so I remember reading somewhere).
Before this, we were treated to a performance of Donald Swann's song-cycle 'The road Goes Ever On - lovely, though sadly, and much to his own distress, I hear, Mr Swann was too ill to attend himself.
But all in all, it was a smashing evening.
Did he recover? That is sad really.
Sadly, no. That was the year Mr Swann was diagnosed with cancer. He died in March 1994.
For those who don't know, Donald Swann was famous with his musical partner Michael Flanders as writers and performers of comic songs. They were witty, and very engaging on stage, and enjoyed great success as recording artists. Donald Swann became very enamoured of Tolkien's light verse, as found in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and he composed a song cycle called 'The Road Goes Ever On, which he performed for Ronald and Edith and their guests at Priscilla's house, as part of the celebrations of the Tolkiens' golden wedding anniversary, in 1967.
A book of musical scores was produced in the same year. It's remarkable in several ways:
(i) it's the last book of Tolkien's works published in his lifetime.
(ii) It's the only book of Tolkien's published in the USA before it was published in the UK.
(iii) of special note are Tolkien's notes at the end of the book on his poems 'Namarie' and 'A Elbereth Gilthoniel'. These are mainly linguistic, and over my head; but they also include information not found elsewhere. For instance, Tolkien tells us that when Gildor and his company met the three hobbits in the Woody End, they were returning from a 'pilgrimage' to the Tower Hills, in order to use the palantir there to look back to the Undying Lands. Sometims they would be rewarded with a vision of Elbereth on Oiolosse. Tolkien says that Elves (and Men; and even hobbits, such as Frodo) would call upon Elbereth in prayer in times of peril. This, says T, is one of the very few outright references to religion in the story.
One last thing about Donald Swann - his setting of 'Bilbo's Last Song' was very special to him. This was a poem which Tolkien gave as a gift to his secretary Joy Hill (including the copyright). Joy showed a copy of the poem to Donald when they were attending Tolkien's funeral, and later she agreed to his setting it to music. I have a copy - one of only fifty - published in 1992 specially for the Centenary celebrations. It's signed 'Donald Swann. I bought it from Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond, when they had a sale of their duplicate items a few years ago.
Joy Hill was a dear friend of Christina and Wayne, and she was due to give a talk at the Centenary Conference, too; but she departed this life in that very year. Her talk was presented by Christina & Wayne.
Here's the last few lines of 'Bilbo's Last Song' -
Ship, my ship! I seek the West
and fields and mountains ever blest,
Farewell to Middle earth at last,
I see the the Star above your mast!
Oh, well that brought tears to my eyes, a lump to my throat. Beautiful. Thankyou.
Can you tell me anything about the Inklings I might not know. My memory is dim on some points; was there a thought in the professor's mind that some or at least one of his dear mates that perished very early on in the war was not 'meant' to carry on and achieve greatness or something like that, but he Tolkien was? I cannot recall if that was in the "Letters" book I have. I remember being a little astonished at that thought. It just seemed so strange the way he put it. When did the Inklings officially end or did it even?
Ah, you're thinking of Letter no. 5, written to G.B. Smith, on 12th August 1916. Smith and Tolkien, Wiseman and Gilson, were the four 'main' members of the T.C.B.S, that is, an informal club at Tolkien's school, King Edward's, in Birmingham. Nothing to do with the Inklings; that club was founded in Oxford in the 1930s, and went on till about 1949 or so (I can check that).
The reason for the 1916 letter was that Tolkien had just heard from Smith that Rob Gilson had died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The British army suffered 60,000 casualties - that's sixty thousand - on the first day of that battle alone. The battle (in which Tolkien was involved) went on till November 1916. Tolkien was invalided back to England at the beginning of October. The rest of his battalion was virtually wiped out a few weeks later.
The T.C.B.S. stands for 'Tea Club and Barrovian Society' - a typically silly name; the sort given by English schoolboys to any group of lads who met together for a mutual interest. The interest in this case being literature. They'd meet up in the school library, where they'd have illicit teas (hence the 'Tea Club' ) - then they moved to Barrow's Stores near the school - this is when 'Barrovian Society' came into the name. part of the fun was that is was meant to be 'secret' - only the initiated were supposed to know why some of the chaps used 'T.C.B.S' after their names.
Tolkien, Wiseman, Gilson and Smith were the four core members. There were others, of course: the Payton Brothers for example, and a lad called T.K. Barnsley (of course, they called him 'tea-cake). The youngest Payton - Ralph - was nicknamed 'the baby'. I've done a fair bit of reading on my own account of Tolkien's times at King Edwards' - Tolkien and these lads belonged to various official school societies, eg, the Debating Society - Tolkien gave many amusing speeches there. And Football (this being Rugby football, of course) . The doings of each of the Societies were printed in the school newspaper, the King Edward School Chronicles. In one report (poss. written by Tolkien) young Payton was described as being a little 'gentle' in the tackling.
Of all the youngsters in the TCBS, only Tolkien and Wiseman survived. Gilson died on July 1st 1916; Smith some little time later. Tea Cake Barnsley died leading his men into battle (all these young men were officers) and Ralph Payton - nicknamed 'the baby' at school - this young man described as being a little too gentle at Rugby football died leading his machine gun detatchment. What a waste.
These are from my own reading of original materials. The best source for knowledge of Tolkien and his friends at this time is 'Tolkien and the Great War' by John Garth. I recommend this book; it's one of the best biographical studies of Tolkien.
Thank you for this information. It made me cry, for I felt such pain of heart as I read of friend after friend, innocent ordinary chaps, full of dreams and plans, now lying silent, soon forgot by the world; and poor JRR left to cope with the horror of it. It is the same feeling I always have when I think of the once noble elves, captured and turned into thralls, the hideousness of it shakes me up. Poor dear man, what he must have suffered in his heart.