Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Lost Tales, Part I (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Book of Lost Tales, Part I (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Lost Tales, Part I (The History of Middle-Earth #1)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  10,060 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
The Book of Lost Tales was the first major work of imagination by J.R.R. Tolkien, begun in 1916-17 when he was twenty-five years old and left incomplete several years later. It stands at the beginning of the entire conception of Middle-earth and Valinor, for these tales were the first form of the myths and legends that came to be called The Silmarillion. Embedded in Englis ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published November 4th 1991 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jeffrey In some ways. You certainly can read them out of order, because each book is a collection of writings and not a single narrative. You will lose some…moreIn some ways. You certainly can read them out of order, because each book is a collection of writings and not a single narrative. You will lose some of the references if you read later books first, as the order of books is more to do with the chronological order of J. R. R. Tolkien's writing.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Terry
3.5 stars

My first attempt to read _The Book of Lost Tales_ was made way too early in my life and made certain that my response was to put it on the shelf and decide that all of this background stuff, especially taken from this early phase in Tolkien’s life as a writer, was way too different from the Middle-Earth stories that I loved for me to waste any time on it. Looking at where the book mark from my first attempt still sat when I picked it up again, I noticed that I didn’t even get much beyon
...more
Ted Wolf
STOP: Ask yourself if you read and enjoyed The Silmarillion?

If the answer is 'yes', then you might like this book.
If the answer is 'no, I haven't read The Silmarillion', then read that before this book.
If the answer is 'no, I don't like like The Silmarillion', then you won't like this book.

This book will give you insight into the early thoughts and ideas that eventually became the Silmarillion. If you are or want to be a hardcore Tolkien fan then this book is a must, but for most casual fans of
...more
Jay
Jul 07, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion many times since I was a teen, as well as Tolkien's papers, letters, and biographies, I decided it was time to go the last mile and read his son Christopher's annotated compilation of the Professor's earlier drafts. BoLT/I is the first of the five-volume collection. It covers topics familiar to anyone who has read The Silmarillion--the creation of the world, the making of Valinor, the Valars' conflict with Melkor, the Awakening ...more
Melda
"A story must be told or there'll be no story, yet it is the untold stories that are most moving. I think you are moved by Celebrimbor because it conveys a sudden sense of endless untold stories: Mountains seen far away, never to be climbed, distant trees never to be approached - or if so only to become near trees..."
Dru
Jul 11, 2012 Dru rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This will be my 12-volume write-up of the entire series "The History of Middle Earth".
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This series is ONLY for the hardcore Tolkien fanatic. Predominantly written by
JRR's son, based on JRR's notes on the creation of The Silmarilion and
The Lord of the Rings (much less on The Hobbit). It is somewhat interesting to
see the evolution of the story (for example, "Strider" was originally conceived as
a Hobbit (one of tho
...more
Lisa Burgess
Dec 18, 2015 Lisa Burgess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Auch wenn ich für den Band verhältnismäßig lang gebraucht habe, bedeutet das nicht, dass ich keinen Spaß hatte. Vielmehr hat er so viel Inhalt, dass ich nicht zu viel auf einmal lesen konnte.
Sicherlich nur für Leute interessant, die die Geschichten im Silmarillion mochten und vor allem mehr zu Tolkiens Schaffungsprozessen wissen möchten. Ich bin beim Lesen so tief abgetaucht, dass es mir tatsächlich vorkam, als würde ich ein richtiges historisches Buch lesen. Mittelerde und Co. sind für mich no
...more
SiMo
Apr 07, 2016 SiMo marked it as abbandonati  ·  review of another edition
Questo è il secondo libro che decido di abbandonare in questo 2016: odio mollare a metà ma non posso nemmeno torturarmi quando arrivo allo stremo...
So che questo abbandono suona un po' come un'eresia ma in realtà io trovo che questa raccolta sulla mitologia della Terra di Mezzo sia qualcosa di incredibilmente complesso e perfetto, se si ha il desiderio e la pazienza di leggerla ci si rende conto immediatamente della grandezza di quello che Tolkien ha creato. Però per me è troppo pesante, un po'
...more
Artnoose Noose
Sep 24, 2011 Artnoose Noose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard Tolkein fans
I had thought that this book was a bunch of stories in the Tolkien mythology that had never been published. It was only after picking this book up at the library that I discovered what it actually is. After his father died, Christopher Tolkien first compiled, edited, and published The Silmarillion and then later made this twelve volume (yes, twelve!) set of what is essentially all of his father's unpublished and generally unfinished writings.

This first book is what eventually was rewritten as T
...more
Regitze
I've been wanting to start this massive series, The History of Middle-Earth, for a long, long time. Because as anyone knows, I bloody love Tolkien and Middle-Earth.

However, it took me a while to start, mostly because I don't have more than the first two books yet and I have a feeling that I'll be wanting to read book 3 right after I finish book 1.

Now, book 1.

If you have read The Silmarillion, you'll know that it is largely the story of the elves, their origins and such. Way, way before the event
...more
Steve Cran
Apr 08, 2013 Steve Cran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The History of the Middle Earth was put together by Christopher Tolkien, JRR's son. The effort involved sifting through his fathers notes and organizing them, which in itself is a difficult task. Oft time names were changed from story to story and Christopher had to decipher outlines and light pencil markings. In many a case we have just outlines and scant poems thrown around. But this is the backstory to the Simarrilion. This is where Middle Earth according to Tolkien was created. The story lin ...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1581275.html

The Book of Lost Tales was published in 1983, interpreted from a series of longhand notebooks started by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1917, as later interpreted by his son Christopher. Tolkien's series of linked short stories were written in his spare time from his academic career and family obligations; once he decided to abandon the Lost Tales and start over, he probably did not expect that they would ever see the light of day - this is essentially a private set
...more
Dave Mosher
Don't pick this up unless you were very bummed about finishing the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, and other greats -- and are craving more. So much that you're willing to essentially sit back in a college-level literary analysis course.

The stories are magical, and definitely "Tolkienesque", but at times it can be a tough read.

That's primarily because most of what Christopher Tolkien (J.R.R.'s son) used to put this -- not to mention the rest of the History of Middle-Earth series
...more
Sam
This is the first volume of Tolkien's short stories that I've read and although I enjoyed the stories themselves I did miss his usual epic endings (many of the stories here are incomplete hints at greatness) and I wasn't so keen on the lengthy notes and commentary. I think I would've preferred something more concise with each tale and longer notes to the back where I could refer to them if I wanted to. That's just my preference though and I'm sure many will love the length and detail of these. S ...more
Michael
May 12, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of a 12-book series written by JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien. After his father died, his son collected and studied both his father's published and unpublished works, and decided to organize them into a readable collection, complete with explanations and footnotes. For anyone who loved the Lord of the Rings and hungers for more; also for anyone who is curious about how Tolkien developed his imagined world in the first place.
Tori
Jul 20, 2011 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are even a little bit curious about the history of Middle Earth, this is an essential volume. This, along with part 2, elucidate some of the more obscure mythological beginnings of Arda. The commentary section at the end of each 'chapter' is very enlightening both linguistically and in terms of the development of certain motifs that crop up in Tolkien's works.
I would suggest reading this after The Silmarillion (which is considered the polished product of the tales in these volumes). It ma
...more
Legolas Greenleaf
Jun 12, 2012 Legolas Greenleaf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien fans
If you wanted to know how things came about in Middle Earth and the Undying Lands, this is a wonderful book to have for informational reference. From tales about the chaining of Melko ('Melko' was the original name, but it seems few people know that - perhaps they didn't read the book ;) ), to the coming of the Eldar, and the awakening of Men, the stories in this book are essential to fully understand the beginnings of Tolkien's world.
Francesco
Vote: 3,50
Class: P-A3 (FP)

(first volume, out of twelve!, of the History of Middle-Earth)

I'm a Tolkien fan since I was a boy and I've put off reading this for many years, well knowing that this is not something like the Lord of the Rings or the Silmarillion even.
Maybe we could say that this (this book at least) is not a work of fiction... Well, by J.R.R.T. this was meant to be a work of fiction like, let us say, Omero's Iliad or the Aeneid... mixed with Boccaccio's Decameron... But he couldn't f
...more
Danny
This book drove me crazy. I started it/restarted it/restarted it many times over several years, and recently determined to finish what was a very difficult, unwieldy and in some ways unpalatable chore. This is the edited recounting, by J.R.R.'s son, Christopher Tolkien of his father's notebooks, printed first in rough hand in pencil then laboriously erased and copied over in pen, with additions sent to his wife from trenches of France during WWI. This is the history of how J.R.R. invented a crea ...more
Dave Maddock
I feel bad criticizing Tolkien for something published posthumously that he may not have considered worthy of publication in the state it is in. That's not going to stop me from doing it however. It is as if Tolkien went out of his way to ruin good ideas with bad execution. His prose style is turgid, tedious, and unconscionably self-indulgent. Thankfully, he refined the worst excesses in future reformulations and The Silmarillion became acceptably turgid. Occasionally, Tolkien stops tripping ove ...more
Annette
Feb 20, 2014 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not for casual Tolkien readers, this is more like a "making of" documentary, presenting previous drafts of stories eventually published in final versions in The Silmarillion.

There are some lovely gems of poetry previously unseen interspersed here, The Song of Aryador being one that is quite haunting, set in the time of darkness before the creation of the Sun and the Moon. An excerpt:
"In the mountains by the shore
In forgotten Aryador
There was dancing and was ringing;
There were shadow-people sin
...more
RE de Leon
Jan 05, 2011 RE de Leon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only the hardcore Tolkienite.
The degree to which you enjoy this book will depend on exactly how much you like Tolkien. Unlike The Silmarillion, this piece, as with the rest of the books in these series, is comprised of fragments of text cobbled together by JRR Tolkien's son Christopher, with Christopher's notes on the evolution of the material. It will give you insight into Tolkien's process of writing. And it will show you the various directions Tolkien was headed in whilst writing the Silmarillion. And yes, there is great ...more
Maja Shinigami
Sep 14, 2016 Maja Shinigami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's great wen you can read the first and fresh versions of what will once become the world of Middle-earth and how story was changed and how it will be if it was not. And of course all followed by Christoper's comments. Thank you for sharing, Christopher and thank you for being such a beautiful weird human being with a wonderful brain, Mr. Tolkien.
Patrick
Jan 25, 2008 Patrick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Serious Tolkien fans only
It's really impossible to rate this book. If you are a hardcore Tolkien fan, I think you'll love it. If you thought The Silmarillion was a difficult read, you'll probably want to skip this one.

Basically, this book is a printing of Tolkein's early drafts of tales that eventually came to comprise the Silmarillion, along with his son Christopher's commentary. Much of this material was ultimately rejected in the final versions, and there were some major changes to much of the material.

So, if you are
...more
Tommy Grooms
Oct 23, 2014 Tommy Grooms rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An invaluable look into the early shape of Tolkien's legendarium, the stories (and the framing device) that existed long before "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." Christopher Tolkien is a great editor, although his use of endnotes rather than footnotes is a choice of endless consternation for someone who owns all 12 volumes of the History of Middle-earth.

In many ways the stories in this volume look very different from those in the published Silmarillion, but they are nevertheless fu
...more
Jane
Oct 02, 2011 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classic, fiction
I've only read one other History of Middle-earth volume, although the set has been on my "to read" list for decades. I finally read The Book of Lost Tales part 1. It provides background on the tales that went on to become the Simarillion. I am not a fan of the Silmarillion; I agree with the person who said it's like reading a phone book written in Elvish. Although I was not bored by the background, I was not fascinated either. I'm one of those readers (obviously) who is happy to enjoy the brilli ...more
M.kenosian
I'm still reading this book. In some ways, I like it much better than the 3 star rating would indicate. Still, the book has a lot of 1st draft qualities, and feels artificial, especially compared with LOTR, and even the Silmarillion.

What makes it fascinating is to see the textual variants, and the way that Tolkien was constructing his languages and names even as he wrote his books.

It's work keeping track of the names, some change between the Lost Tales and the Silmarillion, and there are also na
...more
Azariah Alfante
I must say this book was both interesting and challenging to read. The myriad of elegant names led me to do a lot of page turning and going back a couple of chapters to remind myself of figures I'd already forgotten. This first book of the Middle Earth history series is a comprehensive volume. Each chapter/story has a commentary and notes by JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien. It’s fascinating to read the author’s notes surrounding the original versions and various revisions of Tolkien’s tal ...more
Chris Whisonant
I was thinking of reading "The Silmarillion" this year, but instead I'm going to start going through The Lost Tales. I liked this first book and what Christopher Tolkien has done with providing some commentary about the history of the Tales as his father was formulating and starting the story 100 years ago now.

I believe that my favorite section in this book was the discussion about the trees lighting the day and night and how they were destroyed and eventually revived for a last, and greater, pu
...more
Sooperk
Sep 24, 2015 Sooperk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book. It is only for the die hard Tolkienite however. Also if you have the desire to get yourself into this book it is a good idea to read the Silmarillion at least twice. C. Tolkien did an absolutely amazing job with all 12 volumes. The way he organizes the books and his commentaries are exquisite. The level of detail he goes into explaining the evolution of the history of his fathers world is breath taking. For me, there was never a dull moment of reading this book, every page there ...more
Becky
Did I enjoy reading The Book of Lost Tales, Part One? Yes and no. I'll try my best to explain why. First, The Book of Lost Tales traces Tolkien's writings about Middle Earth from the very beginnings. Many of these stories and poems (yes, poems) date from around the first World War. Tolkien sets up a framework for his fantasy stories. A man, Eriol, stumbles across The Cottage of Lost Play, and, meets a bunch of storytellers essentially. Tolkien's mythology is at its earliest and in some ways its ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
J.R.R. Tolkien: Group Reads October-December 2015 6 53 Dec 30, 2015 06:13PM  
Mythgard Academy: Book of Lost Tales I: General Discussion 12 29 Jun 02, 2014 04:32PM  
Tolkien's T.C.B.S: The History of ME: Challenge 2 18 May 08, 2013 01:04PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Editing possible edition errors? 4 30 Jun 24, 2012 04:31PM  
  • The Tolkien Companion
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy
  • The Map of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • The Journeys of Frodo
  • A Tolkien Bestiary
  • A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
  • J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth
  • The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth
  • The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
656983
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
...more
More about J.R.R. Tolkien...

Other Books in the Series

The History of Middle-Earth (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, #2)
  • The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-earth, #3)
  • The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-earth, #4)
  • The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-Earth, #5)
  • The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #6)
  • The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-earth, #7)
  • The War of the Ring: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Three (The History of Middle-earth, #8)
  • Sauron Defeated: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Four (The History of Middle-Earth, #9)
  • Morgoth's Ring (The History of Middle-earth, #10)
  • The War of the Jewels (The History of Middle-earth, #11)

Share This Book