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Reading Tolkein

Credit : Amazon

Because I am due to go on holiday I thought I would get ahead with the course. From the last link you can see that the syllabus included reading  J.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring – “Prologue, Concerning Hobbits, and other matters” and Book One of the novel. I know I have read this book before, probably about 40 years ago. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the house. I have a French volume but I didn’t think that would match the course requirements. So I just bought another set. Luckily Amazon’s second hand selection had the complete set for less than the cost of postage or the Kindle edition. I will probably now come across the book as I have received my new copy.

What I did find whilst searching the house was a copy of the Bestiary by David Day. This was bought for me by my mother for Christmas 1987  and she has written a note to me on the fly leaf – Excuse me whilst I just have a trip down memory lane…….I am sure this will come in handy during the course. The

Credit:tolkiengateway.net/

pictures are amazing and I love the descriptions of all the different beast, monsters, races, nations, deities, fauna and flora of Middle-earth. It’s lovely to revisit.

During an arduous visit to the launderette to wash duvets too big for my machine I started reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I know that my first reading would not have included the prologue or the preface. In those days I was keen for the story and would have flipped those pages. I now know that I made the right decision. Reading it in French would not have given me the subtleties of language that Tolkien took such pains over. It was amazing to read just how long it took for printer and publisher to get to to an acceptable version. Subtleties in language such as the difference between elvish and elfin could never have been realized in the French version.  I feel like doing a very geeky English teacher review of this……

Credit: 99-levels.fr

The chapter on Hobbits took me back even further to my years in school. I can’t recall the year – it might have been for my O’level English year but I am uncertain. I read the description of Hobbits and remember reading this and then being asked to now draw and paint a Hobbit using that description. Mine looked a lot more like this one than the film version of today.

I hope that I will enjoy the re read of The Lord of the Rings. The film version encompassed so much of what I remembered as my view of the book.

In the reading was also the poem “Itheca” by  Constantine P. Cavafy. Here is a link to the online translation from the Greek reproduced below. It is lovely and fits well with the theme.

Ithaca
Print
As you set out on the way to Ithaca
hope that the road is a long one,
filled with adventures, filled with understanding.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
Poseidon in his anger: do not fear them,
you’ll never come across them on your way
as long as your mind stays aloft, and a choice
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them
unless you carry them within your soul,
unless your soul sets them up before you.Hope that the road is a long one.
Many may the summer mornings be
when—with what pleasure, with what joy—
you first put in to harbors new to your eyes;
may you stop at Phoenician trading posts
and there acquire fine goods:
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and heady perfumes of every kind:
as many heady perfumes as you can.
To many Egyptian cities may you go
so you may learn, and go on learning, from their sages.Always keep Ithaca in your mind;
to reach her is your destiny.
But do not rush your journey in the least.
Better that it last for many years;
that you drop anchor at the island an old man,
rich with all you’ve gotten on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.Ithaca gave to you the beautiful journey;
without her you’d not have set upon the road.
But she has nothing left to give you any more.And if you find her poor, Ithaca did not deceive you.
As wise as you’ll have become, with so much experience,
you’ll have understood, by then, what these Ithacas mean.

The original Greek – just because it is so beautiful to look at 🙂

Ιθάκη Αναγνωρισμένα
Εκτύπωση
Σα βγεις στον πηγαιμό για την Ιθάκη,
να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος,
γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον θυμωμένο Ποσειδώνα μη φοβάσαι,
τέτοια στον δρόμο σου ποτέ σου δεν θα βρεις,
αν μέν’ η σκέψις σου υψηλή, αν εκλεκτή
συγκίνησις το πνεύμα και το σώμα σου αγγίζει.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον άγριο Ποσειδώνα δεν θα συναντήσεις,
αν δεν τους κουβανείς μες στην ψυχή σου,
αν η ψυχή σου δεν τους στήνει εμπρός σου.Να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος.
Πολλά τα καλοκαιρινά πρωιά να είναι
που με τι ευχαρίστησι, με τι χαρά
θα μπαίνεις σε λιμένας πρωτοειδωμένους·
να σταματήσεις σ’ εμπορεία Φοινικικά,
και τες καλές πραγμάτειες ν’ αποκτήσεις,
σεντέφια και κοράλλια, κεχριμπάρια κ’ έβενους,
και ηδονικά μυρωδικά κάθε λογής,
όσο μπορείς πιο άφθονα ηδονικά μυρωδικά·
σε πόλεις Aιγυπτιακές πολλές να πας,
να μάθεις και να μάθεις απ’ τους σπουδασμένους.Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη.
Το φθάσιμον εκεί είν’ ο προορισμός σου.
Aλλά μη βιάζεις το ταξείδι διόλου.
Καλλίτερα χρόνια πολλά να διαρκέσει·
και γέρος πια ν’ αράξεις στο νησί,
πλούσιος με όσα κέρδισες στον δρόμο,
μη προσδοκώντας πλούτη να σε δώσει η Ιθάκη.Η Ιθάκη σ’ έδωσε τ’ ωραίο ταξείδι.
Χωρίς αυτήν δεν θάβγαινες στον δρόμο.
Άλλα δεν έχει να σε δώσει πια.Κι αν πτωχική την βρεις, η Ιθάκη δεν σε γέλασε.
Έτσι σοφός που έγινες, με τόση πείρα,
ήδη θα το κατάλαβες η Ιθάκες τι σημαίνουν.

Here is a reading of the Poem by Sean Connery with music by Vangelis.

 


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