by Verlyn FliegerAs a scholar of medieval languages and literature, J.R.R. Tolkien brought to his fiction an intense interest in myth and legend. When he died in 1973, he left behind a vast body of unpublished material related to his fictive mythology. Now edited and published as "The History of Middle-earth" by his son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien, these 12 volumes provide a record of the growth of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythology from its beginnings in 1917 to the time of his death more than 50 years later. The material in these volumes offers an unparalleled insight into Tolkien's process of myth-making and is a guide to the world of his literary works. This book is the first comprehensive critical examination of Christopher Tolkien's compilation of his father's Middle-earth legends.
An opening essay by Rayner Unwin, Tolkien's publisher for many years, surveys the publication history of the collection. The essays that follow, each written by an expert contributor, explore a wide range of topics related to "The History of Middle-earth." Included are discussions of Tolkien's languages, the evolution of his vision over time, the shifting importance of central characters, and the effect of his mythology on "The Lord of the Rings." By exploring this mythological compendium, the volume sheds further light on the entire body of J.R.R. Tolkien's works and is a valuable resource for all readers interested in his writings.
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