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Talk:Michael Tolkien (b. 1920)

Revision as of 16:20, 9 October 2010 by Mithrennaith (Talk | contribs)
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[edit] Disambig

Since it's going to have to be disambiguated with the other Michael Tolkien, I prefer calling this page "Mick Tolkien" rather than his full name. -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 20:04, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

This was moved back to Michael Tolkien using the rational that Michael Tolkien redirected to the MT senior article and it was linked for the junior article. I left it that way until we agree as a community what to do to distinguish between the two Michael Tolkiens. I distinguised the two by using the birth date in parentheses after the name for the time being. I just want to know what everyone would like to see done to distinguish the two prior to changing and pages linking to the disambiguated page and linking them to the correct Michael Tolkien.

I wasn't going to submit my opinion on the matter since I'm rather ignorant what names the two referring to themselves to. Yet, I do think that we ought to name the article after the name that the person refers to themself to. For example, we refer to Royd Baker as Royd Tolkien since he himself prefers to take his mother's surname over his father's surname. If they both refer to themselves as Michael Tolkien I would like to see the distinguished by giving their birth date in parentheses after their name.

Just my suggestion. I would like to hear other's. --Pinkkeith 10:28, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Well, I don’t pretend to know what Michael Tolkien used to call himself or what Michael George Tolkien calls himself, or what the family called and calls them. I could of course ask Joanna Tolkien next Oxonmoot, but I don’t think this is important enough to bother the Tolkiens with, and I’m sure she would agree with that herself. Maybe I could ask a few people in The Tolkien Society who know the family well.
But I do know the usage in The Tolkien Society: it is ‘Michael Tolkien’ for JRRT’s second son, and ‘Michael George Tolkien’ for his son, JRRT’s grandson. I have also been looking at a few relevant sources.
  1. In Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond’s The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, they are distinguished in the index as ‘Tolkien, Michael’ and ‘Tolkien, Michael George’; in the Reader’s Guide volume Michael Tolkien’s lemma is under ‘Tolkien, Michael Hilary Reuel’, but in it he is consistently called ‘Michael’, and in that same lemma his son is called ‘Michael George’, whereas his daughter is called ‘Joanna (Joan Anne)’ (none of the grandchildren have lemmata of their own). In the lemma ‘Children’, JRRT’s son is called ‘Michael’, the grandson ‘Michael George’ and the granddaughter ‘Joanna’. In the family tree in the Chronology volume it is ‘Michael Hilary Reuel’, ‘Michael George’ and ‘Joanna’. All this suggests that while Joanna is actually not called by her unchanged baptismal names, her brother is by his, and ‘Michael’ is consistently only used to refer to JRRT’s son.
  2. In The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, they are distinguished in the index (by Hammond&Scull) as ‘Tolkien, Michael Hilary Reuel’ and ‘Tolkien, Michael George Reuel’, in the editorial text (by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien) they are again consistenty identified as ‘Michael Tolkien’ and ‘Michael George Tolkien’ respectively. In those of the letters to Michael Tolkien where the opening greeting is actually included, JRRT adresses his son as ‘Mick’, most of the time, once as ‘Michael’, once as ‘M.’. None of the letters to Michael George Tolkien has the opening greeting included, unfortunately, but in a letter to Michael, JRRT refers to his grandson as ‘M.G.’, the first occurence of which has editorially been expanded to ‘M[ichael] G[eorge]’.
I think all that goes a long way to confirm the established usage. As a result, when I set out to clean up indirect links to Michael [Hilary Reuel] Tolkien and, in the process, distinguish him from his son by name in family trees and make sure that all redlinks for the latter pointed at the same article title, I saw no reason to depart from the usage that Humphrey Carpenter (with help from Christopher Tolkien), The Tolkien Society and established scholars have been following for 30 years. I thought it a bit infelicitous that this was immediately changed again, breaking all the direct links to Michael Tolkien and inconsistently scattering the redlinks to Michael George Tolkien.
Conclusion: established usage says that Michael Tolkien (b. 1920) should be under ‘Michael Tolkien’, Michael Tolkien (b. 1943) should be under ‘Michael George Tolkien’. There is then no need for a disambiguation page, a disambiguation template on ‘Michael Tolkien’ pointing to ‘Michael George Tolkien’ will be quite sufficient. I only didn’t want to put it on as long as it points people to a page that doesn’t yet exist. — Mithrennaith 04:32, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I entirely concur with Mithrennaith. After all, we manage perfectly well with John Tolkien, John Benjamin Tolkien, and J.R.R. Tolkien without any further clutter in the titles. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 09:59, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
For completeness’ and balance’s sake, I should mention that a book written by Michael George Tolkien was recently published. On its cover, he is identified as ‘Michael Tolkien’, otherwise, in advertisments, reviews and descriptions on the internet he seems to be identified as ‘Michael G. R. Tolkien’. So there is at least one example of him being called (possibly qualifying as calling himself) ‘Michael’. I don’t see this, however, as changing the grounds for distinguishing him from his father as ‘Michael George’ from ‘Michael’ argued above. — Mithrennaith 03:12, 31 August 2010 (UTC)