Wayne and Christina


Addenda and Corrigenda to
Roverandom (1998)

by J.R.R. Tolkien
Edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond

pp. x–xi: In The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien (2020) John Garth, attempting to fit the events of the Tolkien family’s holiday within the dates Tolkien recorded (6–27 September), suggests that the great storm ‘seems to be [on the date] 19 September, when “wind rose to gale force on exposed parts of the southern and eastern coasts”’ and heavy rain fell on Filey, and that the moon on 6 September was ‘still near enough full’ (p. 192, n. 45). But the storm of 5 September notably caused destruction of a sort recalled by John Tolkien, reported in newspapers, and described in Roverandom, while John’s vivid memory of the moon seemed to us to require it to be more than ‘near enough full’.

p. xv, l. 6: There are sixty sheets in this file at the Bodleian Library, of which one is a title-page and fifty-seven numbered sheets comprise the typescript story.

p. 59, l. 6: Jessica Yates suggests that Tolkien wrote ‘the bottom of the Deep Blue Sea’, here and later in Roverandom, because the line appears in the traditional song ‘The Mermaid’ (‘Oh, ’twas in the broad Atlantic’, to the tune of which was sung Ofer Widne Garsecg in Songs for the Philologists). The words and music were printed in The Scottish Students’ Song Book, a collection which Edith Tolkien had owned. The phrase also appears, however, in the nursery rhyme ‘A Sailor Went to Sea’. Tolkien turns ‘deep blue sea’ from a familiar phrase into a place-name by capitalizing each word.

p. 81, second paragraph: Jessica Yates suggests that Tolkien wrote the list of sea-creatures on this page, and other passages earlier in Roverandom, in imitation of Charles Kingsley in The Water-Babies (who was, in turn, imitating Rabelais). Compare Tolkien’s ‘sea-worms, sea-cats, sea-cows, sea-lions’, and so forth, with Kingsley: ‘Are there not water-rats, water-flies, water-crickets, water-crabs, water-tortoises, water-scorpions, water-tigers and water-hogs, water-cats and water-dogs, sea-lions and sea-bears, sea-horses and sea-elephants, sea-mice and sea-urchins, sea-razors and sea-pens, sea-combs and sea-fans. . . .’

p. 94, ll. 1–5 from bottom: In The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien (London: Frances Lincoln, 2020) John Garth states that the story’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ was not suggested by the actual Isle of Dogs in London, but ‘by Dogger Bank, a huge submerged sandbank sixty miles (95km) east of the Yorkshire coast – the remnant of Doggerland (so named by archaeologists in the 1990s), a prehistoric landmass linking Britain and mainland Europe’ (p. 71). It seems to us that the existence of an actual Isle of Dogs, with its evocative name, would have been sufficient for Tolkien’s adaptation without having to adapt Dogger Bank, if he knew of it.

p. 94: A useful addition to our existing note for p. 20 would be:

yaps and yelps, and yammers and yowls, growling and grizzling, whickering and whining, snickering and snarling, mumping and moaning. In this context, among less common verbs, grizzling means showing the teeth, whickering and snickering both mean laughing in a smothered manner, and mumping means grimacing or grinning. The behaviour is decidedly canine as well as alliterative.

The sequence of words is reminiscent of lines in the poem ‘Goblin Market’ by Christina Rossetti:

[The goblins]
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces. . . .

Also compare The Hobbit, Chapter 4, describing angered goblins: ‘The yells and yammering, croaking, jibbering and jabbering; howls, growls and curses; shrieking and skriking, that followed were beyond description.’

p. 105: This may be a useful note for p. 80, pointed out to us by Paul S. Person:

‘We don’t want to lose you, but we think you ought to go.’ These words are from the second verse of ‘Your King and Country Want You’ by Paul Rubens (‘Oh, we don’t want to lose you but we think you ought to go. / For your King and your country both need you so.’). One of the most popular songs in Britain at the start of the World War in 1914, ‘Your King and Country Want You’ was used to persuade young men to enlist for military service. Links to recordings of the song may be found at this web site.

Copyright © 2005–2020 by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull
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