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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
a little help needed


Feb 1 2013, 4:51pm

Post #1 of 3 (2004 views)
a little help needed Can't Post

I do not have a full set of the HOME, so I am a bit confused on some things in the SIL. I have read it many times but come back to these things. Tolkien refers to many stories in the SIL as they were written from songs and poems. I know Tolkien was quite familiar with story poems of various western european origin. Did he actually write the story poems/songs out and the adapt the material into the SIL? If so, are they written out in the Volumes of HOME that I just don't have?

To Date I own:
The SIL,
The Lost Road
Book of Lost Tales 1 and 2
Lays of Beleriand
The Sahping Of Middle Earth
Unifinshed Tales

The Hobbit
Tolkien Miscelanny

Also is the Entire HOME published in a box set by someone? Any recommendations.

"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


Feb 1 2013, 9:56pm

Post #2 of 3 (1167 views)
A little help offered [In reply to] Can't Post

You have all the volumes of HoME up to the point where he began to write The Lord of the Rings. As you may notice by browsing through them, Tolkien rewrote his core Silmarillion stories many times, in different formats and "voices". But if he says that so-and-so tale is being "retold" from some song etc., and Christopher Tolkien doesn't direct you at that point to another place in the book where that earlier song can be found, you can depend on it that JRRT is "creating" an Elvish oral tradition out of thin air. We have to trust CT here: everything that exists, Sil-wise, is in HoME for all practical and literary purposes.

By the way, I found that an effective way to read HoME is not to try to read it through wholesale, but rather to pick just one of the tales (Creation of the world; Thingol and Melian; Beren and Luthien; Hurin/Turin; etc.) and find its occurrence in each of the successive volumes. You stay focused on one set of characters and episodes, and the process speeds you safely and sanely through a long sequence of modifications and improvements (The Lost Tales, The Lays, The Sketch, The Quenta, The Annals, the Quenta Silmarillion) and eventually, by the late 1930s, you realize you are reading the text more or less as it is found in the 1977 Silmarillion!

Having done it once, you've kind of learned how to "navigate" HoME, and finding other stories and details one is interested in is much easier after that first adventurous but limited read-through!

The following four volumes are all about LotR, to the point where it's considered a kind of separate "sub-series". And I won't even talk about the last three volumes, where he adapts the Sil to the sudden advent of LotR at the end of the 1940s. That's a whole 'nother layer, and well worth pursuing after you get your feet wet with the five volumes you have.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Feb 2 2013, 8:00pm

Post #3 of 3 (1909 views)
thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Your suggestion about how to read HoME seems quite doable. Now, I'll just have to pick a few more volumes...


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