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The Notion Club Papers Part One

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Sauron Defeated chapters
Part One: The End of the Third Age
  1. The Story of Frodo and Sam in Mordor
  2. The Tower of Kirith Ungol
  3. The Land of Shadow
  4. Mount Doom
  5. The Field of Kormallen
  6. The Steward and the King
  7. Many Partings
  8. Homeward Bound
  9. The Scouring of the Shire
  10. The Grey Havens
  11. The Epilogue
Part Two: The Notion Club Papers
Part Three: The Drowning of Anadûnê
  1. The Third Version of The Fall of Númenor
  2. The Original Text of The Drowning of Anadûnê
  3. The Second Text of The Drowning of Anadûnê
  4. The Final Form of The Drowning of Anadûnê
  5. The Theory of the Work
  6. Lowdham's Report on the Adunaic Language

The Notion Club Papers Part One is a chapter included in Sauron Defeated, being the first part of The Notion Club Papers.

J.R.R. Tolkien divided the Papers into two parts at some point of its composition, but ultimately he rejected it and removed the headings of each part; however, Christopher Tolkien kept that division for editorial reasons.[1] The heading of Part One read as:[2]

"Part I
The Ramblings of Michael Ramer
Out of the Talkative Planet"

[edit] Synopsis

Night 54
16 November 1986

Only Philip Frankley and Rupert Dolbear attended the Notion Club, and they simply read a couple of poems and made some comments before leaving.

Night 60
20 February 1987

Michael Ramer finished reading a story (which is lost according to the editor) to the crouded Club. The audience began criticizing with reluctance, but Nicholas Guildford finally gave his main objection with the story, which were the spaceships. He rejected the idea that spaceships could exist and criticized their use in literature with a false scientific approach. He and Flankley mentioned different examples from early century books and how these became more unbelievable as science evolved. Thus Guildford expressed his dissatisfaction with mechanical transports for space travel and pointed the need for other means, to which Wilfrid Trewin Jeremy added that there was no need for anything but the author's storytelling to see distant places of space. However, Guildford explained one cannot write a story about space travel with other natural laws or imaginary places (unlike the Fairy-stories), as they are set in our Universe.

Then Dolbear woke up from dozing off, but showing he was aware of the conversation. He explained they had been overlooking an important detail: the spaceship from Ramer's story was obviously made up by Ramer to give a narrative frame, while the story in between was unrelated to it. This moved Dolbear to ask Ramer what he had been up to and what was the place of his story. Ramer acknowledged the place was real and he had seen it, raising a great silence in the Club. The members tried to get some answers from him, but he refused to elavorate. Soon after, the meeting finished and Ramer said he would come the next week. While in the street, Guildford told Ramer they believed him, and Ramer promised telling his secret in the next meeting.

Night 61
27 February 1987

All the members of the Club attended, being Ramer the last to come. They all expected him to bring an essay or anything to explain them what he promised in the last meeting, but he told them he will just talk instead. Ramer began explaining the story read in the last meeting was a real experience, but he made up the travelling with the spaceship, which had not convinced the Club. Moved by some fiction books, he had been wondering how to travel with the mind and see places from space beyond human reach. At the same time, he had been thinking about dreams and how they work, being sure that if dreams allow us to see things from other time (past and future), they can also be used to experience other places. Ramer gave the example of literary creation: when the mind is absorved, it can evoke some images with details we can notice later, when we pay attention to them; he also noticed that these images do not usually come at his will, but independent. Then Ramer explained the problem of travelling with the mind, as humans are incarnated beings and therefore mind cannot be separated from the body.

Thus, he wondered if it was possible to inspect the memory of places and objects nearby. He began training his mind to awake awareness of the history of some objects and places; and at the same time, he trained his memory on dreams, which became affected by his mental inspection of objects. His experiences were blurry and abstract at first, but he wished to use his method to travel outside Earth, so he began visiting a meteor in a park in Matfield. From the meteor he got odd dreams of pure physical experiences, like Weight, Fire, temporal Lenght; and he realized he would never be able to control the history of such an object in his life-time, neither use the meteor to inspect the places it came from. Therefore, Ramer turned his attention to dream-inspection, noticing that he could experience the same dream in different and disordered times. He could not choose to have those dreams, and while dreaming a fragment, he could remember the whole sequence of that dream, even after years without thinking about it. However, there were some "marginal dreams" created by Ramer's distracted mind which now he was able to remember more easily, accompanied with strong emotions. He gave a couple of examples to the Club: a man having a fortunate encounter at night, and a librarian with a dilemma. That kind of dreams were not much of Ramer's interest, as despite they seemed real, they were fictional and in many cases he did not even bothered finishing them.

[edit] Literary references

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Two: The Notion Club Papers: Introduction", p. 146
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Two: The Notion Club Papers: Notes [for the Introduction]", p. 153, note 2