Among the most central of Tolkien’s myths is the creation of the Sun and Moon as the last fruit and flower of the Two Trees of Valinor. The death of the Trees is central in a long chain of events that directly leads to the later battles, kin slayings, and geological upheavals in Middle-earth. It is therefore curious that during the writing of The Lord of the Rings (and continuing into the later 1950s and 1960s), Tolkien began second-guessing himself, and became concerned with what he called “the astronomically absurd business of the making of the Sun and Moon.” Beginning with the experimental 1948 “Round World” cosmology of the Ainulindalë C*, the elder Tolkien explores what his son terms a “radical transformation of the astronomical myth,” changes that appear jarring to his son’s sensibilities concerning what his father came to call a “primitive” mythology but Christopher defends as “in conception beautiful.” As the cosmological writings become further removed from the medievalist geocentric worldview reflected in writings Christopher (himself a medieval scholar) had been carefully collecting and editing for nearly two decades, his commentary seems severely curtailed, mainly limited to philology and drawing a few cursory connections to similar passages within the same volume.



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