From 17 April 2007 we have The Children of Hurin fully restored from tolkien's manuscripts. His youngest son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien, now 82, did the editing. The tale takes us back to tolkien's imaginary world of Middle-Earth from times long before the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. It is a part of a larger Legendarium, meaning "a collection of legends", which Tolkien used in reference to his works.
In 1977 we saw the publication of The Silmarillion, now 30 years ago. For four years after his father's death, Christopher Tolkien compiled a Silmarillion narrative. Christopher's intentions seem to have been mostly to use the latest writings of his father's that he could, and to keep as much internal consistency (and consistency with The Lord of the Rings) as possible.
The Silmarillion is actually tolkien's first book and also his last. In origin it precedes even The Hobbit, and is the story of the First Age of tolkien's Middle Earth. It shows us the ancient history to which characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, talk, rhyme and sing about. Tolkien worked on it, changed it, and enlarged it throughout his entire life.
Now to celebrate 30 years of the Silmarillion we will see a new de luxe edition of The Silmarillion, featuring the revised, reset text, a colour frontispiece illustration, bound in special materials and presented in a matching slipcase.
This good is good news of course, since at first this celebration edition was said to be bound in cloth and leather and set in a clothbound slipcase. While such editions, as we saw in the past, really look brilliant on the shelves, I'm very happy that the 30th anniversary edition of the Silmarillion will complete the set of the current Deluxe Editions of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary Edition and The Children of Hurin. The four will really make a fabulous set in any Tolkien collection. I have asked David Brawn about the publishing numbers of these other deluxe editions and this was his reply:
"The Lord of the Rings deluxe is reprinting at the moment - it will be the third printing, there having been 3,000 then 750 before. Now we are doing another 1,500. The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin deluxes are still available (original print runs of 4,000 and 10,000 copies)."
The Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition of The Silmarillion will be published on the 5th of November 2007 and cost 60 GBP, you can now start pre-ordering this edition at amazon.co.uk. If this deluxe edition sells as well as the deluxe edition of The Children of Hurin you will need to pre-order if you want to make sure you will get a 1st impression.
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