The total volume of Tolkien's Middle-Earth manuscripts is vastly
greater than that of the completed Lord of the Rings, but it seems
to be a near-hopeless tangle of variants and unfinished reworkings
in both prose and verse. From the great body of material dealing
with the "First Age" of Middle-Earth, Tolkien's son Christopher has
compiled a prose narrative of the events surrounding the making and
eventual loss of the three jewels called the Silmarils, many
centuries before the Wars of the Ring. The protagonists are chiefly
Elves. They appear here not as the steadfast, transcendent figures
of the Ring books, but in their youth as a fiery and much-divided
race capable of uglier passions than any of the "good" characters
in the trilogy. The telling is uniformly solemn and distanced,
compressing a great range of events into a schematic summation that
is a far cry from the varied, immediate narrative of the Ring
story. Taking a negative view, one might say that this is not a
book or even a fragment of one; it is a grandiose outline showing
the Tolkien style at its most determinedly pseudo-biblical. But the
alternative view is more to the point: even these truncated
materials shed an astonishing amount of "historical" light on The
Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion proper is the largest single
chunk of "history," but it is accompanied by four shorter
chronicles which first establish the foundations of Middle-Earth
(an explicit Creation-myth) and then convey the great sweep of
history from the Silmaril wars to the Wars of the Ring. Turning
back to the trilogy from this new prologue, one finds the intrinsic
grandeur of Tolkien's design re-illuminated at every stage. It is
now sadly clear that we shall have no more Middle-Earth books -
that is, books in their own right. But thanks to the efforts of
Christopher Tolkien, we may be privileged in coming years to follow
a progressive and dazzling enrichment of the book we all thought we
knew. (Kirkus Reviews)
Designed to take fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
deeper into the myths and legends of Middle-earth The Silmarillion
is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien's
world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord
of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as
Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are
set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in
Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery
of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.
Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is
a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers
of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the
downfall of the great island kingdom of Numenor at the end of the
Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at
the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.
This pivotal work features the revised, corrected text and
includes, by way of an introduction, a fascinating letter written
by Tolkien in 1951 in which he gives a full explanation of how he
conceived the early Ages of Middle-earth.
|Country of origin:
J. R. R. Tolkien
||178 x 111 x 30mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Mass Market
Genre fiction >
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