Although J.R.R. Tolkien is well known for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion,
the material which laid the groundwork for what must be the most
fully realised sub-creation ever to spring from a single imagination
was begun many years before the publication of The Hobbit, and indeed Tolkien continued to work upon its completion
until his death in 1973.
The History of Middle-Earth is one of the largest works of 'literary archeology', and was marvously undertaken by J.R.R tolkien's son Christopher Tolkien. During the 1980s and 1990s, Christopher Tolkien edited the vast collection of manuscripts together with maps and illustrations and published most of his father's Middle-Earth writings as the 12-volume History of Middle-earth series.
In addition to the source material and earlier drafts of several portions of The Lord of the Rings, these books greatly expand on the original material published in The Silmarillion, and in many cases diverge from it. Part of the reason for this is that Christopher Tolkien heavily edited The Silmarillion to ready it for publication, in places incorrectly because he was unaware of the existence of much material which had come to light only long after publication. These later books also reveal which parts of The Silmarillion Tolkien developed more than others.
Also exciting is that we will see a hardcover edition of the History of Middle-earth Index released that will match the original series!
Originally the books were planned to be released on 4 March 2010, but this has been delayed. The republication of the History of Middle-earth series is now planned to coincide with the relaunch of the Tolkien website, www.tolkien.co.uk. So, the books will be available from 7th April. Also the publication of the limited edition poster of Oliphaunt will be delayed to the 7th of April. We can except interviews and other special features on this new site.
History of Middle-earth 1: The Book of Lost Tales, Part One
The first of a two-book set that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.
The Book of Lost Tales stands at the beginning of the entire conception of Middle-earth and Valinor for the Tales were the first form of the myths and legends that came to be called The Silmarillion. Embedded in English legend and English association, they are set in the narrative frame of a great westward voyage over the Ocean by a mariner named Eriol to the lonely Isle where the Elves dwelt; from them he learned their true history, the Lost Tales of Elfinesse. In the Tales are found the earliest accounts of Gods and Elves, Dwarves, Balrogs and Orcs; of the Silmarils and the Two Trees of Valinor; of the geography and cosmology of tolkien's invented world.
History of Middle-earth 2: The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two
The second of a two-book set that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.
This second part of The Book of Lost Tales includes the tale of Beren and Lúthien, Túrin and the Dragon, and the only full narratives of the Necklace of the Dwarves and the Fall of Gondolin, itself the finest and most exciting depiction of a battle that Tolkien ever wrote. Each tale is followed by a commentary in the form of a short essay, together with texts of associated poems, and contains extensive information on names and vocabulary in the earliest Elvish languages.
History of Middle-earth 3: The Lays of Beleriand
The third volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.
This, the third volume of The History of Middle-earth, gives us a priviledged insight into the creation of the mythology of Middle-earth, through the alliterative verse tales of two of the most crucial stories in tolkien's world – those of Turien and Luthien. The first of the poems is the unpublished Lay of The Children of Hurin, narrating on a grand scale the tragedy of Turin Turambar. The second is the moving Lay of Leithian, the chief source of the tale of Beren and Luthien in The Silmarillion, telling of the Quest of the Silmaril and the encounter with Morgoth in his subterranean fortress. Accompanying the poems are commentaries on the evolution of the history of the Elder Days. Also included is the notable criticism of The Lay of The Leithian by CS Lewis, who read the poem in 1929.
History of Middle-earth 4: The Shaping of Middle-earth
The fourth volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.
In this fourth volume of The History of Middle-earth, the shaping of the chronological and geographical structure of the legends of Middle-earth and Valinor is spread before us. We are introduced to the hitherto unknown Ambarkanta or “Shape of the World”, the only account ever given of the nature of the imagined Universe, ccompanied by maps and diagrams of the world before and after the cataclyusms of The War of the Gods and the Downfall of Numenor. The first map of Beleriend is also reproduced and discussed. In The Annals of Valinor and The Annals of Beleriend we are shown how the chronology of the First Age was moulded: and the tale is told of Aelfwine, the Englishman who voyaged into the True West and came to Tol Eressea, Lonely Isle, where he learned the ancient history of Elves and Men. Also included are the original ‘Silmarillion’ of 1926, and the Quenta Noldorinwa of 1930 – the only version of the myths and legends of the First Age that J R R Tolkien completed to their end.
History of Middle-earth 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings
The fifth volume of the History of Middle-earth, containing the early myths and legends which led to the writing of tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.
At the end of 1937, J R R Tolkien reluctantly set aside his work on the myths and heroic legends of Valinor and Middle-earth and began The Lord of the Rings. This fifth volume of The History of Middle-earth completes the examination of his writing up to that time. Later forms of The Annals of Valinor and The Annals of Beleriand had been composed, The Silmarillion was nearing completion in a greatly amplified form, and a new Map had been made. The legend of the Downfall of Numenor had entered the work, including those central ideas: the World Made Round and the Straight Path into the vanished West. Closely associated with this was the abandoned ‘time-travel’ story The Lost Road, linking the world of Numenor and Middle-earth with the legends of many other times and peoples. Also included in this volume is the The Lhammas, as essay on the complex languages and dialects of Middle-earth, and an ‘etymological dictionary’ containing an extensive account of Elvish vocabularies.
History of Middle-earth 6: The Return of the Shadow
The first part of The History of The Lord of the Rings, an enthralling account of the writing of the Book of the Century which contains many additional scenes and includes the unpublished Epilogue in its entirety.
The Return of the Shadow is the story of the first part of the history of the creation of The Lord of the Rings, a fascinating study of tolkien's great masterpiece, from its inception to the end of the first volume, The Fellowship of the Ring. In The Return of the Shadow (the abandoned title of the first volume of The Lord of the Rings) we see how Bilbo's magic ring evolved into the supremely dangerous Ruling Ring of the Dark Lord; and the precise, and astonishingly unforeseen, moment when a Black Rider first rode in to the Shire. The character of the hobbit called Trotter (afterwards Strider or Aragorn) is developed, and Frodo's companions undergo many changes of name and personality. The book comes complete with reproductions of the first maps and facsimile pages from the earliest manuscripts.
History of Middle-earth 7: The Treason of Isengard
The second part of The History of The Lord of the Rings, an enthralling account of the writing of the Book of the Century which contains many additional scenes and includes the unpublished Epilogue in its entirety.
The Treason of Isengard continues the account of the creation of The Lord of the Rings started in the earlier volume, The Return of the Shadow. It races the great expansion of the tale into new lands and peoples south and east of the Misty Mountains: the emerence of Lothlorien, of Ents, of the Riders of Rohan, and of Saruman the White in the fortress of Isengard. In brief outlines and pencilled drafts dashed down on scraps of paper are seen the first entry of Galadriel, the earliest ideas of the history of Gondor, and the original meeting of Aragorn and Eowyn, its significance destined to be wholly transformed. The book also contains a full account of the original map which was to be the basis of the emerging geography of Middle-earth.
History of Middle-earth 8: The War of the Ring
The third part of The History of The Lord of the Rings, an enthralling account of the writing of the Book of the Century which contains many additional scenes and includes the unpublished Epilogue in its entirety.
The War of the Ring takes up the story of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents, continues with the journey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the Pass of Cirith Ungol, describes the war in Gondor, and ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor. The book is illustrated with plans and drawings of the changing conceptions of Orthanc, Dunharrow, Minas Tirith and the tunnels of Shelob's Lair.
History of Middle-earth 9: Sauron Defeated
The final part of The History of The Lord of the Rings, an enthralling account of the writing of the Book of the Century which contains many additional scenes and includes the unpublished Epilogue in its entirety.
In the first section of Sauron Defeated Christopher Tolkien completes his fascinating study of The Lord of the Rings. Beginning with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Cirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire, this section ends with versions of the hitherto unpublished Epilogue, in which, years after the departure of Bilbo and Frodo from the Grey Havens, Sam attempts to answer his children's questions. The second section is an edition of The Notion Club Papers. These mysterious papers, discovered in the early years of the twenty-first century, report the discussions of an Oxford club in the years 1986-7, in which after a number of topics, the centre of interest turns to the legend of Atlantis, the strange communications recevied by other members of the club from the past, and the violent irruption of the legend into the North-west of Europe.
History of Middle-earth 10: Morgoth's Ring
The first of two companion volumes which documents the later writing of The Silmarillion, tolkien's epic tale of war.
After the The Lord of the Rings was at last achieved, J R R Tolkien turned his attention once again to ‘the Matter of the Elder Days’. The text of the Annals of Aman, the ‘Blessed Land’ in the far West, is given in full; while in writings hitherto unknown is seen the nature of the problems that Tolkien explored in his later years, as new and radical ideas, portending upheaval in the old narratives, emerged at the heart of the mythology, and as the destinies of Men and Elves, mortals and immortals, ecame of central significance, together with a vastly enlarged perception of the evil of Melkor, the Shadow upon Arda. The second part of this history of the later Silmarillion is concerned with developments in the legends of Beleriand after the completion of The Lord of the Rings.
History of Middle-earth 11: The War of the Jewels
The second of two companion volumes which documents the later writing of The Silmarillion, tolkien's epic tale of war.
In The War of the Jewels Christopher Tolkien takes up his account of the later history of The Silmarillion from the point where it was left in Morgoth's Ring. The story now returns to Middle-earth, and the ruinous conflict of the High Elves and the Men who were their allies with the power fothe Dark Lord. With the publication in this book of all J.R.R. tolkien's later narrative writing concerned with the last centuries of the First Age, the long history of The Silmarillion, from its beginning in The Book of Lost Tales, is completed; and the enigmatic state of the work at his death can be understood. This book contains the full text of the Grey Annals, the primary record of The War of the Jewels, and a major story of Middle-earth now published for the first time: the tale of the disaster that overtook the forest people of Brethil when Hurin the Steadfast came among them after his release from long years of captivity in Angband, the fortress of Morgoth.
History of Middle-earth 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth
The concluding volume of The History of Middle-earth series, which examines the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings.
The Peoples of Middle-earth traces the evolution of the Appendices to The Lord of The Rings, which provide a comprehensive historical structure of the Second and Third Ages, including Calendars, Hobbit genealogies and the Westron language. The book concludes with two unique abandoned stories: The New Shadow, set in Gondor during the Fourth Age, and the tale of Tal-elmar, in which the coming of the dreaded Numenorean ships is seen through the eyes of men of Middle-earth in the Dark Years. With the publication of this book, the long history of J.R.R. tolkien's creation is completed and the enigmatic state of his work can be understood.
History of Middle-earth 13: The History of Middle-earth Index
Complete integrated indices of History of Middle-earth volumes to complement the hardcover reprint of the series.
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