Frodo — or is that Maura Labingi? — Lives!

Over at the Toast, Austin Gilkeson explains how he survived his legal battle with the Tolkien estate over his new translation of the Red Book of Westmarch.

Gilkeson, a post graduate student in Hobbit Studies, serendipitously found a copy of the Red Book hidden in a back corner of the University of Chicago library. He decided to translate the manuscript “to provide a more literal translation into English and fix Tolkien’s errors. [He] also wanted to restore the real names of the characters and settings, in place of Tolkien’s whimsical anglicizations.”

The Tolkien estate was quick to bring legal action after publication of Gilkeson’s The Lord of the Rings: A New English Translation. His “defense was simple but impassioned: Tolkien explicitly stated in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings that he was merely translating the Red Book of Westmarch, not writing an original story.”

More here at the Toast site.

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1 Comment

  1. Eugene R.

    Ah, the Hobbit Studies program at U. of C.! If I had not been distracted by the classical Greeks, I might have delved into the sociological evolution of the Shire.

    As for Mr. Gilkeson’s discovery, good for him! Though I must say, in looking at some of the alleged discrepancies that Prof. JRRT introduced, “gone is the Fellowship’s graphic struggle with dysentery in the Mines of Moria” … and good riddance to it.

    Only slightly more seriously, several commentators like Tom Shippey and Ursula Le Guin have pointed out just how mad LotR is once you penetrate the Appendices and discover that Prof. Tolkien created the “modern” word “Hobbit” from the Anglo-Saxon “Holbytla” (“hole dweller”) as a loose parallel to the “real” contemporary “Kuduk” (“hobbit”), which derives from the original Rohirric “Kud-dukan” (“hole dweller”). So, yes, Maura Labingi lives!

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