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JRR books question

The Shire

Jul 25 2013, 12:50pm

Post #1 of 4 (316 views)
JRR books question Can't Post

quick one

Are Silmarilion and Unfinished tales included in History of Middle earth and if are in what amount?

Thank you very much


Jul 25 2013, 4:01pm

Post #2 of 4 (157 views)
Welcome Tommy! [In reply to] Can't Post

To answer in brief, the Silmarillion is quite separate than the other two works.

All represent editorial compilations. HoME deal with the background texts and analyses ideas about the Silmarillion and about LOTR, while not telling the tales in itself.

Unfinished Tales will give insight into things relating more to Middle-earth and Numenor, and are (as the title suggests) in a somewhat rough state, with less editorial finishing but lots of insight to LOTR and pre-LOTR events.

All are a fun read; HoME can be a bit daunting as it is 12 volumes, and rather referential in nature. Squire has an excellent suggestion for HoME reading: pick a topic of interest and follow it through the Indexes, instead of reading straight through and therefore leaping about from topic to topic with the text.

Children of Hurin is a wonderful read too, detailing the chapters in the Silmarillion a bit more in relation to its longest tale, that of Turin.

So you can certainly get them all, without technically duplicating (if that is what you were concerned about.)


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Jul 25 2013, 5:59pm

Post #3 of 4 (132 views)
They overlap. [In reply to] Can't Post

Many of the stories that Christopher Tolkien edited into the published Silmarillion and later Children of Hurin are included in their original forms (they evolved over many years) in the HoME volumes, with commentary by Christopher. Likewise, early drafts of Lord of the Rings are included in volumes 6-9. There are also a number of essays similar to the ones in UT, especially in the later volumes. Some of my favorites are in V. 10, Morgoth's Ring.

History of Middle Earth is more accurately described as a history of Tolkien's writings about Middle Earth.


Jul 27 2013, 5:49pm

Post #4 of 4 (124 views)
A bit of elaboration [In reply to] Can't Post

The Silmarillion, published in 1977 by JRRT's son Christopher, was put together from numerous documents composed over a period of close to 60 years relating to Tolkien's myths of the First Age. Christopher decided to edit the various texts together into one more or less coherent volume that presented an overview of the entire First Age without any major inconsistencies (which had cropped up over the course of Tolkien's numerous revisions).

Unfinished Tales, published in 1980, is a collection of short stories, descriptive narratives, and other texts relating to The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. They were, of course, unfinished but most of them are relatively close to complete and they fill in numerous gaps of backstory for the three aforementioned books. Because the stories are incomplete they are accompanied by informative editorial notes written by Christopher Tolkien. They are mostly consistent with the three published works, though in at least one case that was due to editorial alteration by Christopher.

The History of Middle-earth, published in 12 volumes between 1983 and 1996, is an academic study and analysis of the evolution of Tolkien's stories that became The Silmarillion (along with about four volumes detailing the creation of The Lord of the Rings). It contains numerous stories but most of them are in severe states of incompletion and are presented in the context of a serious scholarly attempt to make sense of Tolkien's creative process and invented mythology. Much of the books consists of Christopher's findings about the evolution of the mythos and in a few places he comments on his earlier attempts to create a consistent version (for the 1977 Silmarillion) and questions some of his own decisions. They contain early versions of many of the texts that had been published to that date but their interest is mainly academic. If you just want to read stories set in Middle-earth I wouldn't recommend HoME, though it is an extremely rewarding experience if you want to gain a deeper knowledge of Tolkien.

Hope this helps! Wink

There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...

(This post was edited by Eldorion on Jul 27 2013, 5:51pm)


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