- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New Ed edition (7 May 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0261102222
- ISBN-13: 978-0261102224
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Book of Lost Tales 1 (The History of Middle-earth) (Pt. 1): Pt. 1 Paperback – 1 Jun 1991
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‘Christopher Tolkien shows himself to be his father’s son… Tolkien devotees will rejoice’ The New York Times Book Review
‘In these Lost Tales we have the scholar joyously gambolling in the thicket of his imagination… a Commentary and Notes greatly enrich the quest’ Daily Telegraph
‘The Tales will be appreciated by those who have read The Silmarillion andwish to examine how Tolkien improved his story and style from their original form, and how weventually The Lord of the Rings came to stand independently with only a few hints from the early mythology’ British Book News
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. This series of fascinating books has now been repackaged to complement the distinctive and classic style of the 'black cover' A-format paperbacks of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.See all Product description
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The original drafts of what would become the Silmarillion unfold the stories as a device of another story: a sailor with apparent ancient saxon roots named Eriol finds himself in an Island called Tol Eressëa (an alternate Britain), where he meets the exiled fairies (later transformed into the elves) known as the Noldoli (early version of the Noldor). There he learns about their history and how they left the immortal lands of Valinor only to find themselves trapped in their bittersweet destiny in Middle Earth.
The stories in this book are well different in many aspects, yet the main motifs are the same, and they are very detailed, as unfortunately they never made into the Silmarillion. There is, for example, a detailed description of how were the silmarils created and how were the houses of the Valar, the position of the Trees of Valinor and a description of the Solosimpi (Teleri) havens when the Noldoli/Noldor left.
If you are a fan of The Silmarillion, definitely give this book a try. Courtesy of Christopher Tolkien, I think a massive amount of effort was put into this book, first of a large collection. I will surely read the others.
Luckily, J.R.R. Tolkein was in the habit of keeping his early drafts, his notes and his prototype story. And due to the hard work and dedication of his son Christopher, we can take a journey into the mind of the great man as, over the course of his life, he developed the classic stories we know and love.
This initial volume collects the very earliest work on the world of Arda, and those readers who have enjoyed the Silmarillion will find much of it familiar; here are the prototype tales for the first half of that book, although some names and events vary considerably. At this early stage, Tolkein was intending a mythological history for the British Isles, so the stories are framed with a narrative device involving a travelling sailor visiting the elves and hearing of their travails. Also thrown in are works of verse that tie in to a certain extent with this period.
Each segment of fiction is followed with an explanatory section by Christopher Tolkein, explaining further how these ideas developed, and more about his father's life and franme of mind as he wrote them.
While not one for the casual Middle-Earth reader, for serious lovers of the world, and particularly students of literature, this is a fascinating and well put-together exploration of the birth of a modern mythology.
For the hard core Tolkienian this and its companion volume are ESSENTIAL reading. They give an insight unavailable elsewhere into the early prehistory of what would become the published Tolkien mythos, and an insight that is nothing short of riveting into the evolution of a 'sub-creative' imagination like no other.
Here, you will find early versions of stories later published in almost unrecognisably different forms; nomenclature abandoned by JRRT long before any of his works saw the light of day, yet which gives vital clues to the genesis of the world of Arda and Valinor; and clues to the evolution of his Elvish languages - not originally Quenya and Sindarin, but Qenya and ... Gnomish.
Yes, the Noldor were Gnomes once. Perhaps it is as well that JRRT abandoned this term, but the Noldor remained spirits of Earth, manipulators of the physical elements, in the published works, so it is not irrelevant even to one who is only interested in the later redaction.
Readers who have only encountered the original five volumes (Hobbit - LOTR - Silmarillion) may be in for some shocks, and may even be distressed by some elements. For instance, it's evident from material in the Books of Lost Tales that Tolkien did not merely dislike cats, he really did hate them; the prototype of Sauron was a cat-lord. He came distressingly close to calling the Queen of Doriath 'Wendolene', before deciding that her name was in fact Melian. And, perhaps most disturbing of all (to me), Eriador used to be called Aryador.
Think about it.
But in making such comments, one has to remember that most of these tales were written, in the forms they take in these volumes, during and not long after the First World War. Tolkien was a very young man; some of these sketches might indeed be designated 'juvenilia'. But all are fascinating, essential components of his development as a writer and a 'sub-creator'.
If you are prepared to discover just how jejune Tolkien could be in his early years, and to regard these volumes as what they are meant to be, explorations of the development of a writer's mind, then please, please buy them. The insight they provide into the background to the Tolkien Mythos is unparalleled. If you'd rather restrict yourself to the output of the mature Tolkien (and *certainly*, if you expect these volumes to be some kind of continuation or expansion of the 5 major Middle-Earth related works), then please, please look elsewhere. That is not what the Books of Lost Tales are about.
5 stars for sheer interest and Tolkien-nerd satisfaction; if I was judging this simply on literary merit it would be about 2 1/2, but as stated, that is not what these volumes are about.
A note: I bought the Kindle edition, and am glad I did, it meets my needs and was inexpensive. I also hoped to be able to buy Kindle editions of other volumes of the History of Middle-Earth series - but for some incomprehensible reason most of them (other exceptions are Unfinished Tales and the Narn i Hin Hurin) are flagged as being available for Kindle in ... 2019! So be warned. If you really want to read all 12 volumes of the Christopher Tolkien edited History, and you will only buy Kindle editions, you are going to have to wait.
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