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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Who read the books "out of order"? (LotR before Hobbit, Silmarillion before LotR, etc.)

N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mar 9 2007, 5:25am


Views: 341
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Who read the books "out of order"? (LotR before Hobbit, Silmarillion before LotR, etc.) Can't Post

I've just finished reading The Book of Lost Tales I, the first volume of The History of Middle-earth, which contains some of Tolkien's earliest writings on his mythology (I'd only skimmed it previously). I'm also pondering Gergely Nagy's Tolkien encyclopedia article on The Silmarillion, in which Nagy considers at length the published work's relationship to the "Silmarillion", the entire Middle-earth legendarium that Tolkien worked and reworked for more than fifty years. I'm not sure Nagy has managed to balance his article's presentation to help his three audiences: those who have not read The Silmarillion, those who have read The Silmarillion but not the HoMe volumes, and those familiar with the whole complex of texts. It would be no small task to strike that balance! And the published Silmarillion is an odd constraint on scholars addressing the "Silmarillion" corpus: it is by now well-known that the material was much manipulated by its editors, but the texts from which it was derived typically are presented (often incomplete) in HoMe with reference to the 1977 edition -- I have difficulty imagining the experience of a reader who first encounters the Silmarillion stories in one of the HoMe volumes, like the Lost Tales.

And yet, I know one contributor here read the Lost Tales and other early HoMe volumes before encountering the published Silmarillion, but rather than privately asking Beren IV whether Christopher Tolkien's explanatory notes relating the Lost Tales to The Silmarillion were confusing or frustrating, or what surprised him about The Silmarillion after having read the stories in the earlier form, I'd like to ask of anyone who read any of the major Middle-earth works out of the "usual" order (which is The Hobbit > The Lord of the Rings > The Silmarillion > Unfinished Tales > HoMe* -- not that most readers get that far; I haven't): What confused you? Surprised you? Disappointed you?

*I wonder where The Children of Húrin will fit in.

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Subject User Time
Who read the books "out of order"? (LotR before Hobbit, Silmarillion before LotR, etc.) N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 9 2007, 5:25am
    Well, I didn't read The Hobbit Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Mar 9 2007, 6:23am
        The LotR-related HoME is really fun Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 9 2007, 2:47pm
        "Approximately no one in the US read The Hobbit until after LotR was published." squire Send a private message to squire Mar 9 2007, 9:28pm
            "Bilbo of course would make a much better president" N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 9 2007, 9:54pm
                "You won't rescue Lotho, or the Shire just by being shocked and sad, my dear Frodo." Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Mar 11 2007, 4:13am
            US Hobbit in the 40s drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 9 2007, 11:05pm
                In other words, Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Mar 12 2007, 1:09am
    does fourth grade count? a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Mar 9 2007, 11:06am
    I read LotR out of order the first time. Does that count? Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 9 2007, 2:44pm
    I read the main 3 in order, but Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 9 2007, 8:22pm
    well, I read LOTR first... ringhead91 Send a private message to ringhead91 Mar 10 2007, 7:06pm
    LOTR, Hobbit, Sil, HoMe, UT diedye Send a private message to diedye Mar 10 2007, 10:48pm
    I read Silmarillion first omeron Send a private message to omeron Mar 15 2007, 3:49am
    The Hobbit Came First One Ringer Send a private message to One Ringer Mar 15 2007, 1:02pm
    I read HoME before the Sil Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Mar 16 2007, 11:11pm

 
 
 

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