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5.0 von 5 Sternen An overview of the History of Middle-earth series
Collections of an author's work are often confusing, particularly when what the author has created is as complex as Tolkien's writings. Here's an overview of the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien. Hopefully, it will help you select which book or books in the series to buy.

Keep something in mind. In the U.S...
Veröffentlicht am 6. Dezember 2008 von Michael W. Perry

versus
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3.0 von 5 Sternen For real fans
the following is only a very personal view, and perhaps doesn't agree with other opinions referring to the "History Of Middle Earth"
I thought it a good idea to buy more Works of Tolkien after The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I was a little bit suprised (and sad) since you won't find new or unknown stories, since...
Veröffentlicht am 22. März 2002 von realedwin


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5.0 von 5 Sternen An overview of the History of Middle-earth series, 6. Dezember 2008
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Book of Lost Tales 1: The History of Middle-earth 1 (Taschenbuch)
Collections of an author's work are often confusing, particularly when what the author has created is as complex as Tolkien's writings. Here's an overview of the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien. Hopefully, it will help you select which book or books in the series to buy.

Keep something in mind. In the U.S. Houghton Mifflin and HarperCollins publish Tolkien's authorized works in hardback and trade paperback editions, while Ballantine/Del Rey Books publishes them as cheaper mass-market paperbacks. For some reason, Ballantine/Del Rey doesn't always make it clear that some of their titles are part of the same History of Middle-earth series as those published by Houghton Mifflin. If the title is the same, the content is the same. Which you buy depends on your taste in books and finances. I have copies of both.

GROUP ONE, VOLUMES I - V, EARLY TALES

These five volumes deal primarily with Tolkien's writings before the publication of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). In them, Tolkien was struggling as a still unknown author to create his first history of Middle-earth.

Vol 1 & 2, The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 ( 1983) & 2 (1984). The Book of Lost Tales was written during the 1910s and 1920s. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The framework for the book is that a mortal Man visits the Isle of Tol Eressëa where the Elves live. In the earlier versions of the `Lost Tales' this man is named Eriol, of some vague north European origin, but in later versions he becomes Ælfwine, an Englishman of the Middle-ages."

Vol. 3, The Lays of Beleriand (1985). These are collections of poems, many of them incomplete, written between the 1920s and the late 1940s.

Vol 4, The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986). As you might guess by the title, in this book Christopher describes how his father shaped his vision of Middle-earth from the primitive The Book of Lost Tales to early versions of The Silmarillion. This theme is taken up again in volumes 10 and 11.

Vol 5. The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987). Along with other writings this volume includes Tolkien's drafts of a tale about time travel. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The Lost Road itself is a fragmentary beginning of a tale, including a rough structure and several intiguing chunks of narrative, including four entire chapters dealing with modern England and Numenor, from which the entire story as it should have been can be glimpsed. The scheme was of time-travel by means of 'vision' or being mentally inserted into what had been, so as to actually re-experience that which had happened. In this way the tale links first to Saxon England of Alfred the Great, then to the Lombard Alboin of St. Benedict's time, the Baltic Sea in Old Norse days, Ireland at the time of the Tuatha's coming (600 years after the Flood), prehistoric North in the Ice Age, a 'Galdor story' of Third-Age Middle-Earth, and finally the Fall of Gil-Galad, before recounting the prime legend of the Downfall of Numenor/Atlantis and the Bending of the World. It harps on the theme of a 'straight road' into the West, now only in memory because the world is round."

GROUP TWO, VOLUMES VI - IX, LORD OF THE RINGS

If you or the friend you're buying for is primarily interested in the LOTR, then these four volumes are the books to have. Just keep in mind that you'll find in them many unfinished plots that may or may not fit well into LOTR. Tolkien was a perfectionist, always trying to improve plots and fill in details. These are his drafts and what his son says about those drafts.

Vol. 6, The Return of the Shadow (The History of The Lord of the Rings v. 1, 1988). Describes the initial stages of writing LOTR and covers the first three-fourths of The Fellowship of the Ring (until the Mines of Moria).

Vol. 7, The Treason of Isengard (The History of The Lord of the Rings, v. 2, 1989). Covers from the Mines of Moria until Gandalf meets Théoden about one-fourth of the way into The Two Towers.

Vol. 8, The War of the Ring (The History of The Lord of the Rings, v. 3, 1990). Continues the tale up to the opening of the Black Gate not quite three-quarters of the way through The Two Towers.

Vol. 9, Sauron Defeated (The History of The Lord of the Rings, v. 4, 1992). Completes the tale and includes an alternate ending in which Sam answers questions from his children. There is also a much shortened version of Vol. 9 called The End of the Third Age, which leaves out material that isn't related to LOTR.

GROUP THREE, VOLUMES X - XI, SILMARILLION

Just as The Hobbit created a public demand for more tales about hobbits, The Lord of the Rings created a demand for more tales about Middle-earth. To meet that demand, Tolkien struggled to reconcile and adapt many of his earlier tales to the historical framework made well-known by his two published works. He never completed those labors, so it was left after his death to his son Christopher to do so in The Silmarillion (1977). If you or a friend is interested in knowing more about The Silmarillion, these two volumes may be of interest.

Vol 10, Morgoth's Ring (The Later Silmarillion, v. 1, 1993). Contains material from earlier (1951 and later) drafts of The Silmarillion. Wikipedia notes that: "The title of this volume comes from a statement from one of the essays: 'Just as Sauron concentrated his power in the One Ring, Morgoth dispersed his power into the very matter of Arda, thus the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring.'"

Vol. 11, The War of the Jewels (The Later Silmarillion v. 2, 1994). Addition material about the earlier drafts of The Silmarillion. Includes information about the origin of the Ents and Great Eagles.

GROUP FOUR, VOLUME XII AND INDEX, WRAP-UP

Vol. 12, The People's of Middle-earth (1996). Contains material that did not fit into the other volumes. The most interesting include additional appendices like those at the back of LOTR, essays on the races of Middle-earth, and about 30 pages of a sequel to the LOTR called The New Shadow. It was set a century after the LOTR. Tolkien abandoned the tale as too "sinister and depressing."

The History of Middle-earth Index (2002) is an index of all twelve volumes. Keep in mind that the index needs to be that for the series you own. The pagination for trade and mass-market editions can be different.

******

Keep in mind that books in The History of Middle-earth are nothing like reading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. What J. R. R. Tolkien wrote is fragmentary and unpolished rough drafts, while what Christopher wrote is literary scholarship, concerned more with sources and texts than plots. If you or the friend you are buying for is more interested in understanding LOTR better, you might be happier with a reference works such as:

Karen Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-Earth (Revised Edition)

Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth

Or my own detailed, day-by-day chronology Untangling Tolkien: A Chronology and Commentary for The Lord of the Rings

All three will give you a richer, deeper understanding of LOTR.

******

If you're interested in reading books with the same flavor as Tolkien, you might consider reading William Morris, a nineteenth century English writer who influenced Tolkien. For tales like the warriors of Rohan, see his The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains. For arduous quests through enchanted woods much like the journey's in the LOTR, read his The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at the World's End. The four tales have also been collected into two inexpensive volumes:

More to William Morris: Two Books that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien-The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains

On the Lines of Morris' Romances: Two Books That Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien-The Wood Beyond the World and the Well at the World's End

******

I hope this helps you to select wisely based on your own interests. You can save some money by buying collections of The History of Middle-earth in multi-volume sets. You can also sometimes save by buying mass-market paperback instead of trade paperback or hardback edition, although the former may have smaller type and you may need to use both hands to keep it open while you read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Another superb gem in Tolkien's treasury, 18. Dezember 1998
"The Lost Tales" are the early versions of the tales which were expanded and polished to become those in the Silmarillion. It is fascinating to see the evolution of these stories. (One can only imagine the level of perfection Tolkien would have reached had he ever completely finished his epic.) The Tales give a unique glimpse into the life of Elves on Tol Eressea as the human Eriol is introduced to it. This fascinating vision of life in the Western Lands is augmented with history of the Elves as told in their own oral tradition. Both books 1 and 2 are fabulous and intriguing, answering many questions and yet engendering many others. I became so enveloped in the tales that I read both books plus "The Lays of Beleriand" all at the same time! If you are interested in the internal and external history of Middle-Earth, this is a book you cannot afford to miss.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An insite on the early Silmarillion, 25. September 1998
In Christopher Tolkien's first volume in The History of Middle Earth series he brings to light his father's original conception of what became known as the Silmarillion. This volume deals with the central theme in Tolkien's early works where an Englishman named Elfwine (or Eriol in Elvish) is told the history of the Elves after finding the "straight road" to Tol Eressea. This book deals mostly with Elvish history before the coming of men, and the later histories can be found in another great book, The Book of Lost Tales 2. I would recommend this book, along with all twelve of the other volumes, to anyone who enjoyed Tolkien's works but found them to be too short and would like more information. Also, for those interested in making a career out of writing this series is a very good example of the hardship required to write a classic work of fiction.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen "The Book of Lost Tales", a second "Silmarillion"?, 3. Juli 1997
Von Ein Kunde
This book gives great insight to Tolkiens first ideas of Middle-Earth, the first ideas of Orcs, Elves, Balrogs, Valar and Ents. The seafarer Ælfwine (or Eriol, his name given by the Elves), comes upon the Elven island Tol Eressea, where he finds the city of Kortirion and the friendly elves Vaire and Lindo, who gives him a place to sleep and rest for several days. On the island his great lust for seafaring ceases, and he starts to learn the true story of the World from the Elves. He is told about the great Valar, the terrible Morgoth, the glory of the Early Days, and of the highest himself: Eru Iluvatar.
This is a magnificent work which combines Tolkien's magic of writing with a anazing mytology, simply a masterwork, yes i would say a second Silmarillion
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Another superb gem in Tolkien's treasury, 15. April 2002
Von Ein Kunde
"The Lost Tales" are the early versions of the tales which were expanded and polished to become those in the Silmarillion. It is fascinating to see the evolution of these stories. (One can only imagine the level of perfection Tolkien would have reached had he ever completely finished his epic.) The Tales give a unique glimpse into the life of Elves on Tol Eressea as the human Eriol is introduced to it. This fascinating vision of life in the Western Lands is augmented with history of the Elves as told in their own oral tradition. Both books 1 and 2 are fabulous and intriguing, answering many questions and yet engendering many others. I became so enveloped in the tales that I read both books plus "The Lays of Beleriand" all at the same time! If you are interested in the internal and external history of Middle-Earth, this is a book you cannot afford to miss.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen For real fans, 22. März 2002
the following is only a very personal view, and perhaps doesn't agree with other opinions referring to the "History Of Middle Earth"
I thought it a good idea to buy more Works of Tolkien after The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I was a little bit suprised (and sad) since you won't find new or unknown stories, since the books give the reader more a (very) good idea HOW Tolkien CREATED the hole Middle-Earth idea.
His Son Christopher did a very good job, by collecting probably ALL pieces of paper he found, which had something to do with the story, and tried to order them in a time-line-based(that means, realtime, like 1930 in our time, and not in Middle-Earth-Counting) story
In the first 4 Books of "The History Of Middle Earth" (HOM) as probably in the Volumes 5-12 (which i didn't read yet) you can find a extraordinary large amount of unfinished manuscripts, starting and evolving narratives (in a very un-Tolikienish style; very easy to understand with much less referings and links than in the S) and so on. I would recommend those books only to readers, who are already very firm in understanding the complexity of the first three ages of ME, since you'll get sometimes 2 or 3 ways in which the story is telled and you've got to understand, when Tolien himself wrote those and which one finally was chosen for i.e. The Silmarillion (since the "HOM-works" where done by Tolkien till he started the LotR, and sleeped about 20 years i think) in the latest.
But you'll probably very much suprised, how Tolkien must have thought about all this, when he wrote those stories.
If you are interested in how the HOM was created, you'll get probably no better idea, than this work, but i buyed "only" the cheaper 6,99$(i think)-Version, since i don't have THAT much mony to get all 12 Volumes as Hardcover, and i wouldn't recommend the books for this price. Please don't crucified me for this =)
Viel Spass beim Lesen.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Series Overview, 4. Juli 2010
Collections of an author's work are often confusing, particularly when what the author has created is as complex as Tolkien's writings. Here's an overview of the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien. Hopefully, it will help you select which book or books to buy.

Keep something in mind. In the U.S. Houghton Mifflin publishes Tolkien's authorized works in hardback and trade paperback editions, while Ballantine Books publishes them as cheaper mass-market paperbacks. For some reason, Ballantine doesn't always make it clear that some of their titles are part of the same History of Middle-earth series as those published by Houghton Mifflin. If the title is the same, the content is the same. Which you buy depends on your taste in books and finances. I have copies of both.

GROUP ONE, VOLUMES I - V, EARLY TALES

These five volumes deal primarily with Tolkien's writings before the publication of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). In them, Tolkien was struggling as a still unknown author to create his first history of Middle-earth.

Vol 1 & 2, The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 ( 1983) & 2 (1984). The Book of Lost Tales was written during the 1910s and 1920s. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The framework for the book is that a mortal Man visits the Isle of Tol Eressëa where the Elves live. In the earlier versions of the `Lost Tales' this man is named Eriol, of some vague north European origin, but in later versions he becomes Ælfwine, an Englishman of the Middle-ages."

Vol. 3, The Lays of Beleriand (1985). These are collections of poems, many of them incomplete, written between the 1920s and the late 1940s.

Vol 4, The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986). As you might guess by the title, in this book Christopher describes how his father shaped his vision of Middle-earth from the primitive The Book of Lost Tales to early versions of The Silmarillion. This theme is taken up again in volumes 10 and 11.

Vol 5. The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987). Along with other writings this volume includes Tolkien's drafts of a tale about time travel. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The Lost Road itself is a fragmentary beginning of a tale, including a rough structure and several intiguing chunks of narrative, including four entire chapters dealing with modern England and Numenor, from which the entire story as it should have been can be glimpsed. The scheme was of time-travel by means of 'vision' or being mentally inserted into what had been, so as to actually re-experience that which had happened. In this way the tale links first to Saxon England of Alfred the Great, then to the Lombard Alboin of St. Benedict's time, the Baltic Sea in Old Norse days, Ireland at the time of the Tuatha's coming (600 years after the Flood), prehistoric North in the Ice Age, a 'Galdor story' of Third-Age Middle-Earth, and finally the Fall of Gil-Galad, before recounting the prime legend of the Downfall of Numenor/Atlantis and the Bending of the World. It harps on the theme of a 'straight road' into the West, now only in memory because the world is round."

GROUP TWO, VOLUMES VI - IX, LORD OF THE RINGS

If you or the friend you're buying for is primarily interested in the LOTR, then these four volumes are the books to have. Just keep in mind that you'll find in them many unfinished plots that may or may not fit well into LOTR. Tolkien was a perfectionist, always trying to improve plots and fill in details. These are his drafts.

Vol. 6, The Return of the Shadow (The History of The Lord of the Rings v. 1, 1988). Describes the initial stages of writing LOTR and covers the first three-fourths of The Fellowship of the Ring (until the Mines of Moria).

Vol. 7, The Treason of Isengard (The History of The Lord of the Rings, v. 2, 1989). Covers from the Mines of Moria until Gandalf meets Théoden about one-fourth of the way into The Two Towers.

Vol. 8, The War of the Ring (The History of The Lord of the Rings, v. 3, 1990). Continues the tale up to the opening of the Black Gate not quite three-quarters of the way through The Two Towers.

Vol. 9, Sauron Defeated (The History of The Lord of the Rings, v. 4, 1992). Completes the tale and includes an alternate ending in which Sam answers questions from his children. There is also a much shortened version of Vol. 9 called The End of the Third Age, which leaves out material that isn't related to LOTR.

GROUP THREE, VOLUMES X - XI, SILMARILLION

Just as The Hobbit created a public demand for more tales about hobbits, The Lord of the Rings created a demand for more tales about Middle-earth. To meet that demand, Tolkien struggled to reconcile and adapt many of his earlier tales to the historical framework made well-known by his two published works. He never completed those labors, so it was left after his death to his son Christopher to do so in The Silmarillion (1977). If you or a friend is interested in knowing more about The Silmarillion, these two volumes may be of interest.

Vol 10, Morgoth's Ring (The Later Silmarillion, v. 1, 1993). Contains material from earlier (1951 and later) drafts of The Silmarillion. Wikipedia notes that: "The title of this volume comes from a statement from one of the essays: 'Just as Sauron concentrated his power in the One Ring, Morgoth dispersed his power into the very matter of Arda, thus the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring.'"

Vol. 11, The War of the Jewels (The Later Silmarillion v. 2, 1994). Addition material about the earlier drafts of The Silmarillion. Includes information about the origin of the Ents and Great Eagles.

GROUP FOUR, VOLUME XII AND INDEX, WRAP-UP

Vol. 12, The People's of Middle-earth (1996). Contains material that did not fit into the other volumes. The most interesting include additional appendices like those at the back of LOTR, essays on the races of Middle-earth, and about 30 pages of a sequel to the LOTR called The New Shadow. It was set a century after the LOTR. Tolkien abandoned the tale as too "sinister and depressing."

The History of Middle-earth Index (2002) is an index of all twelve volumes.

******

Keep in mind that books in The History of Middle-earth are nothing like reading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. What J. R. R. Tolkien wrote is often fragmentary and unpolished rough drafts, while what Christopher wrote is literary scholarship, concerned more with sources and texts than plots. If you or the friend you are buying for is more interested in understanding LOTR better, you might be happier with a reference works such as:

Karen Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-Earth (Revised Edition)

Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth

Or my own book-length, detailed, day-by-day chronology of The Lord of the Rings, Untangling Tolkien: A Chronology and Commentary for The Lord of the Rings

Places, terms and dates, together all three will give you a richer, deeper understanding of LOTR.

******

If you're interested in reading books with the same flavor as Tolkien, you might consider reading William Morris, a once well-known writer who influenced Tolkien. For tales like the warriors of Rohan, see his The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains. For arduous quest journeys much like Frodo and Sam's quest to be rid of the Ring, read his The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at the World's End. The four tales have been collected into two inexpensive volumes:

More to William Morris: Two Books that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien-The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains

On the Lines of Morris' Romances: Two Books That Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien-The Wood Beyond the World and the Well at the World's End

NOTE: The individual volumes in the 12-volume History of Middle-Earth series are also published in three large 'Parts' in a series inconsistently titled either The Complete History of Middle-earth and The History of Middle-earth

Part 1 contains volumes I-V from the single-volume series.
Part 2 contains volumes VI to IX from the single-volume series.
Part 3 contains volumes X-XII from the single-volume series.

Which you might buy depends on your taste and how you plan to use the books. Would you rather have three bulky volumes of about 1500 pages each or twelve volumes that are typically 450 pages long?

******

I hope this helps you to select wisely based on your own interests. You can save some money by buying collections of The History of Middle-earth in multi-volume sets. You can also save by buying the Ballantine mass-market paperback instead of the Houghton Mifflin trade paperback edition, although the former may have smaller type and you may need to use both hands to keep it open while you read,
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Not a review of lost books..., 14. Februar 2000
The Book of Lost Tales 1 is certainly not a lost book. Although the prose may sometimes be quite confusing, not to mention the subject matter, it is nonetheless a very intriguing book. It sheds light to the spark that created the conflagration that is now the entire Middle-Earth legacy. If you truly wish to unravel the history of Middle-Earth, this book is one of the tools to do so. Enjoy reading this book and the secrets it contains.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Beautiful but dense, 7. Dezember 1999
Von Ein Kunde
The writing is beautiful but it's sometimes tough going. Unlike the Hobbit and LOTR, where the hobbits brought the ideas down to earth, this book is all "high fantasy." It's easy to get lost here.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Mi è piaciuto moltissimo., 24. April 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Leggete questo libro se volete scoprire un mondo magico,pieno di meravigliose avventure.
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