The Histories of Middle-earth Box Set

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
If reading J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga wasn't enough to satiate your hunger for Middle-earth, the five-volume Histories of Middle-earth box set is guaranteed to do the trick -- with dozens of lost tales, epic poems, maps, author notes, sketches, and a fully detailed history of Middle-earth!

The Book of Lost Tales (Part One and Two) not only contains the only full explanation of the fall of the secret elven city of Gondolin but also a fascinating account of the First Awakening of Men as told by the elf Gilfanon, as well as notes and commentary on the coming of the elves and the darkening of Valinor. The Lays of Beleriand features two epic poems dealing with the legends of the Elder Days: "The Lay of the Children of Hurin" in alliterative verse and "The Lay of Leithian" in octosyllabic couplets. The Shaping of Middle-earth contains prose fragments and historical tales of what would become The Silmarillion. Finally, The Lost Road and Other Writings is a companion work of sorts to C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet. (In 1968, the two authors agreed to write tales about what Lewis termed "what we really like in stories." Lewis tried his hand at space travel, while Tolkien took on time travel. The resulting work was The Lost Road.)

Tolkien's Middle-earth is unarguably the most richly described and utterly complex realm in fantastical literature. Anyone who doubts this has only to read the books in this truly impressive five-volume set. Paul Goat Allen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345466457
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/26/2003
  • Series: History of Middle-Earth Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Boxed Set
  • Sales rank: 96,323
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 4.30 (d)

Meet the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien
It seems an unlikely formula for success: an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon, and a book that begins with a little man who lives in a hole in the ground. But The Hobbit, followed by The Lord of the Rings, created the modern genre of heroic fantasy and made J.R.R. Tolkien one of the most widely-read authors in the world.

Biography

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January, 1892 at Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, but at the age of four he and his brother were taken back to England by their mother. After his father's death the family moved to Sarehole, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures.

His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King Edward's School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shine in his classical work. After completing a First in English Language and Literature at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme. After the war, he obtained a post on the New English Dictionary and began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called "The Book of Lost Tales" but which eventually became known as The Silmarillion.

In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The Hobbit and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge story that took twelve years to complete and which was not published until Tolkien was approaching retirement. After retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wife's death in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion to be edited for publication by his son, Christopher.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins (UK).

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 3, 1892
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)
    1. Date of Death:
      September 2, 1973
    2. Place of Death:
      Oxford, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    A reviewer

    Now before I sing the praise of this series/ A warning must be given,/ You may find yourself hopelessly weary/ If this is your first look at J.R.R. Tolkien./ These books were compiled by that great master's son/ As a glimpse into his father's deep mind./ These tales never could claim being 'done',/ And thus are a motley combine./ Yet for all of you who have read that master's works/ And wish that more about Middle-Earth could be,/ Behold! Here it is, down to the origin of Orcs/ And the singing of the Ainu in sweet melody./ The great elves in battle against Morgoth and Sauron/ Men of the West in their earliest days./ Battles with dragons--like the mighty Glaurung./ A multitude of tales told in multiple ways/ Many of these tales are in a more coherent book--/ The Silmarillion is its name. / Yet though it is beautiful--more fluid to look--/ It does not delve as deep, page upon page./ There is the Lay of Leithian / In its poetic might,/ Unlike the version in the Silmarillion,/ Which does not pierce the heart with a sword so bright./ And so you come to ask me,/ 'Why four stars, not five?'/ I must give you my answer,/ And be honest--not lie./ The Histories of Middle-Earth, I must confess--/ As enjoyable as they may be-- / It is, for the most part, an utter mess/ That often confused and baffled me./ Tales told by the old, the young, and great scribes/ Each varying by telling/ Difficult on the mind,/ Sending my head spinning, like the tide swelling,/ Like the Earth rending, in fire and ice./ And yet still an entertaining/ Legend-revealing device. ---Ryan Robledo Author of the Aelnathan

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    In-Depth Research Pays Off

    This set is only the first five books of the 11-book set loosely grouped under the heading of "The History of Middle Earth". Based on the writings of JRR Tolkien, and compiled by his son, Christopher, these books go into detail and depth on the many versions and side-themes/plots that surround the more well-known published tomes of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". These books are NOT easy reading. But, for people truly interested in the history of Middle Earth and the events that are touched on in other books of the series such as "The Silmarillion" and "The Children of Hurin", they are absolutely invaluable. If you get this set and are happy reading them, then I recommend purchasing the remaining volumes in the HoME grouping to get the full story.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Incredible Collection of Tolkien's Stories.

    Incredible Collection of Tolkien's Stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2009

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    Posted November 30, 2009

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