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The Histories of Middle Earth, Volumes 1-5 Mass Market Paperback – Box set, August 26, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of "The Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings", and other tales of Middle-earth, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Slp Rep edition (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345466454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345466457
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 4.3 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Lord of the Rings" was the climax. Silmarillion was the Bible. And the Histories of Middle-Earth series is the big stack of history books. Author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a vast fictional history of Middle-Earth, and the first five volumes of the Histories are compiled here.
The evolving backdrop of stories about Elves, Men, and the rich tapestry of fictional history is shown here, such as earlier versions of the legendary romance of Beren and Luthien, or the history of the Valar. Not the finished product of "Silmarillion," but older drafts riddled with footnotes and commentary from Tolkien's son Christopher. What's more, it includes linguistic evolution, exquisite poetry, and a time travel story that evolved into something much greater.
It takes a certain amount of geeky dedication to read these books. They are not light reading, and it takes knowledge of the final material to understand their significance. In many of the stories, there is greater detail than is found in the Silmarillion. And in many cases, there are huge differences, such as the mortal Beren originally being an Elf. (Which changes the whole story of Beren and Luthien, and also how we see their distant descendants, Aragorn and Arwen)
Fans of "Lord of the Rings" and "Silmarillion" will undoubtedly enjoy seeing how the unrivalled fantasy stories came to be. Not for newbies, but fascinating for major fans and anyone who likes seeing how Tolkien's writing evolved.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
With this compilation of the mammoth HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH, we get the literary backstory, so to say, of J. R. R. Tolkien's turmoil and travails of the composition of one of the most complex fantasies every constructed. Admittedly difficult reading, you must have a deep, abiding interest in mythology and Tolkien's desire to create one to get through this, and you need a working knowledge of Tolkien's work to really understand the HISTORY. Do not buy this expecting anything as nearly accessible The Lord of the Rings or The Annotated Hobbit. The real meat, to literary historians who are not specialized in Tolkien and to the causal fan, is the volumes VI-IX, which deal with the creation of "The Lord of the Rings", one of the most significant volumes ever released the world, online with Homer, Virgil, and Dante. This is a graduate level look at what goes in the making of a literary masterpiece. These four volumes are The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 6), The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 7), ...Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first feel the need to level a good-natured attack at the reviewer who claimed that Christopher Tolkien spent uncounted exhausted hours reviewing and annotating his father's mountains of notes and manuscripts to "line his pockets." The very notion is ludicrous. The publication of the Histories was a labor of love, nothing more, and I for one appreciate it immensely.
"The Histories of Middle-Earth" is an invaluable collection for anyone who would know the process behind the creation of a literary world as vast as Tolkien's. For someone who has read "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit," and "The Silmarillion" (I recommend also reading "The Unfinished Tales" first) and is interested in knowing more about the origins of Middle-Earth and Valinor, these volumes are fascinating. For someone who simply loves the story of LOTR and sees the greater history of Middle Earth as nothing more than a setting, these books probably aren't for you. Hence the four stars rather than five.
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By A Customer on November 13, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These are excellent books which explore the writing of J. R. R. Tolkien which eventually led to the Silmarillion. Granted, these books are not for everyone. They are definately for the very dedicated fan who is willing to take the time to slave over the often difficult writing (these were rough drafts often)and the allusions to things that one has no capability of understanding without reading the rest of the book. Though at first I was very confused when reading The Book of Lost Tales 1, by the time I got to the end of it I understood it perfectly. It was a joy to read all of these books, and it really stinks that they weren't offered as a box set when I bought mine. One of the best books in this set is, The Lays of Beleriand. It is a book of essentially two very long epic poems and they are excellent. I didn't like fantasy until I read Tolkien and the same is true of poetry. The Tolkien devotee will get true enjoyment out of these tales of the ancient days of Middle Earth and will revel in the archaic language of the Ainur, elves and men of the first age of Middle Earth.
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