Why does Boromir not stop in Isengard on his journey north to find Imladris?

JJ48

Well-Known Member
I will stick with 'and' instead of 'the' unless I can figure out that J.R.R. changed it. I think we should accord J.R.R. the respect of knowing that he is a careful proof reader, and consider that the word he published was his word, unless we are sure that it was someone else's error, which he later changed.
I don't have a First Edition, or any other early edition. However, my electronic copy does begin with a "Note on the Text", where Douglas Anderson goes over the publishing history. He mentions:

"In the production of this first volume, Tolkien experienced what became for him a continual problem: printer’s errors and compositor’s mistakes, including well-intentioned ‘corrections’ of his sometimes idiosyncratic usage."

"Tolkien had made a few small corrections, but further errors entered The Fellowship of the Ring in its December 1954 second impression when the printer, having distributed the type after the first printing, reset the book without informing the author or publisher. These include misrepresentations of the original printed text – that is, words and phrases that read acceptably in context, but which depart from Tolkien’s wording as originally written and published."

"For this new edition <the unauthorized, American edition> by Ace Books the text of the narrative was reset, thus introducing new typographical errors; the appendices, however, were reproduced photographically from the hardcover edition, and remain consistent with it."

It wasn't until 1966 that the revised text was published, and even then, there were further corrections which Tolkien was making but didn't manage to submit in time for publication of that volume. Most of these issues appear to have been in the appendices, but there were some in the text as well. Whether the line in question was changed at this time or not, this discussion reminds me that errors could not only arise from the author, but also from the publisher, as they had to take the text and set it.

I agree that Boromir is seeking out 'Elrond' and 'Halfelven' as he travels north, since they have been associated to Imladris by Denethor. Imladris, however, is in the poem, and Elrond is not. So Imladris is what he is primarily seeking. That's probably one of his problems, in that there might be many people who have some idea where Rivendell is, but don't know the name 'Imladris'. He might have better luck asking if people have heard of someone called Elrond.
"Loth was my father to give me leave, and long have I wandered by roads forgotten, seeking the house of Elrond, of which many had heard, but few knew where it lay." It sounds like Boromir is explicitly using Elrond's name in asking directions. Granted, that's not an exact quote, but the only other way I can see to take that would be that "Imladris" and "house of Elrond" are so synonymous that he doesn't feel a distinction needs to be made.

Sure, he might consider the possibility that Elrond is an Elf, or Wizard, and might still be alive, but equally, Elrond might have been a Man, long departed from Middle Earth.
I find it very unlikely that there is any confusion over Elrond's identity. Even if the blood of Numenor is waning, it is not yet spent; and stewards and kings, at least, should still be remembered. Elrond is the brother of Elros, who was the first king of Numenor. I find it almost certain Denethor knows this, and Boromir may very well know it too, considering his interests.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
I don't have a First Edition, or any other early edition. However, my electronic copy does begin with a "Note on the Text", where Douglas Anderson goes over the publishing history. He mentions:

"In the production of this first volume, Tolkien experienced what became for him a continual problem: printer’s errors and compositor’s mistakes, including well-intentioned ‘corrections’ of his sometimes idiosyncratic usage."

"Tolkien had made a few small corrections, but further errors entered The Fellowship of the Ring in its December 1954 second impression when the printer, having distributed the type after the first printing, reset the book without informing the author or publisher. These include misrepresentations of the original printed text – that is, words and phrases that read acceptably in context, but which depart from Tolkien’s wording as originally written and published."

"For this new edition <the unauthorized, American edition> by Ace Books the text of the narrative was reset, thus introducing new typographical errors; the appendices, however, were reproduced photographically from the hardcover edition, and remain consistent with it."

It wasn't until 1966 that the revised text was published, and even then, there were further corrections which Tolkien was making but didn't manage to submit in time for publication of that volume. Most of these issues appear to have been in the appendices, but there were some in the text as well. Whether the line in question was changed at this time or not, this discussion reminds me that errors could not only arise from the author, but also from the publisher, as they had to take the text and set it.



"Loth was my father to give me leave, and long have I wandered by roads forgotten, seeking the house of Elrond, of which many had heard, but few knew where it lay." It sounds like Boromir is explicitly using Elrond's name in asking directions. Granted, that's not an exact quote, but the only other way I can see to take that would be that "Imladris" and "house of Elrond" are so synonymous that he doesn't feel a distinction needs to be made.



I find it very unlikely that there is any confusion over Elrond's identity. Even if the blood of Numenor is waning, it is not yet spent; and stewards and kings, at least, should still be remembered. Elrond is the brother of Elros, who was the first king of Numenor. I find it almost certain Denethor knows this, and Boromir may very well know it too, considering his interests.
Hi JJ8,

Thanks for finding that note by Douglas Anderson. He mentions three types of errors publishers and editors introduced into the text. Of those three, 'printers errors' and 'compositors mistakes' might have substituted 'and' when J.R.R. had written 'the'. For the third category of errors, 'well intentioned 'corrections' of his sometimes idiosyncratic usage', it is much more likely that the 'correctors' changed 'and' to 'the'. "Wait a minute. What is this 'Elrond and Halfelven'? Elrond is 'Halfelven'. Better change that 'and' to 'the'." Not realizing that Tolkien had deliberately written 'and' to signify how remote, legendary and garbled knowledge of Imladris had become in Gondor.
 

Florian

New Member
We know that "and Halfelven" is in the 1962 12th impression, one of the version of the text we know for sure Tolkien has never proof read (at least not before reading it in 1965 while preparing the second edition, which appeard in 1966). The original German translation, which claims to be based on the 1966 second edition, also still has "und Halbelben".

In adition, we know that the 1967 second impression of the Allen & Unwin second edition contains the last major corrections by Tolkien, and most later editions which claim to be based on the second edition seem to have "the Halfelven" (I have decaying remnants of the 1983 3rd edition of the one one volume Unwin paperback edition and the 2004 50th anniversary edition). This seems to be the favoured reading.

The Treason of Isengart (p.120) has: "where Elrond the Half-elven dwelt" in the third version of the Council.
 
Once I realized, I bought the Ballantine paperback edition, but it was read so often it disintegrated, so I no longer have it to see when it was published, and what word it used).

So, sometime between 1966 and the 1993 edition which Anthony Lawther cited, the word must have been changed. But why? And when? And by whom?
My printing of the Ballantine (after copyright was renewed in 1982) still has "and". I can't check my later edition as it's loaned out at the moment. We're narrowing down the dates. I bought this brand-new in about 1985/6. Is it possible that this was simply an exact reprinting of the old plates without corrections, though? I'm not well-versed in how that process works.
 

Taliesin

New Member
I have checked my twelve copies of The Lord of the Rings and The Fellowship of the Ring and all bar one have "the" not "and". The earliest edition is from 1974. The one copy that has "and" is the US edition from Ballantine, published in 1984. Use of "and" is not the only unusual think in this edition: the maps are drawn by a third party and include a map of Numenor for some reason.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Thank, Taliesin,.

You have helped narrow it down. So far, no editions before or including 1966 have been found that did not have 'and' (and some later editions have 'and'). The earliest edition yet reported to have 'the' is your 1974 edition.

It looks like the 'the' came in in some editions sometime between 1966 and 1974. It would be interesting to know how and when.
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
It looks like the 'the' came in in some editions sometime between 1966 and 1974. It would be interesting to know how and when.
I have an e-book of all three volumes in one that contains an interesting discussion of the textual history from a typesetting perspective. It is far from detailed, and certainly doesn't touch on this specific point, but every time the book was reset in type new errors crept in, and it wasn't until digital typesetting that successive editions could be at all counted on to have only "corrections" (which can still be errors, from the author's point of view!).
 
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