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

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  10,781 Ratings  ·  245 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
Library Binding, 0 pages
Published October 28th 1999 by Rebound by Sagebrush (first published 1983)
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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)
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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
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
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
Feb 20, 2015 Melda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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..."
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
Sep 03, 2012 Simona 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'
Lisa Burgess
Nov 23, 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
Artnoose Noose
Sep 17, 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
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
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

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
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
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.
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
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth #1), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor)
May 23, 2017 Booky_Wookiee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017, fantasy
Oh Tolkien! This book was about the beginning of Middle Earth (even though it is not called that yet) all these stories Tolkien wrote when he was young...all these poems I had never read before. There were times I would just stop and re-read something because it was so beautiful. The first story was my favorite, "The Cottage of Lost Play." It was beautiful!
The description of the tree Laurelin in "The Coming of the Valor,"..."Behold from that place that had been watered from Kulullin rose a slen
Marko Vasić
In one sentence - I'm fascinated. This book is real gem and beacon to all blurred and unclear parts in the final version of The Silmarillion. This book is missing link to onset of Tolkien's creation of his own mythology. It's all about Valar and their deeds in creation of Arda. Also, Valar and their traits are much more developed than in The Silmarillion (but many details from The Silmarillion are unmentioned or were unknown then). Special part is devoted to Sun and Moon creation, after darkenin ...more
Mehmet Ali Yıldırım
Christopher Tolkien'in kitap boyunca bazı açıklamaları gereksizlik seviyesinde tekrarlansa da, tolkien kurgusal evreninin gelişim aşaması yerel mitlerin, bölgelerin, tarihi karakterlerin bu kurgudaki yerleri ve son halini alana kadar geçirdiği değişimlere detaylı şekilde yer veren, okuyanın kurgunun dil yapısı hakkında bilgisinin bir hayli artacağını düşündüğüm başarılı bir derleme.
Çevirilerin yol açtığı bazı yanlış anlaşılmaların dışında okunmasını tavsiye ederim.

Örneğin, Noldor,eski hali ''g
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
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
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
Feb 12, 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
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
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
Jun 16, 2015 Unorthodoxcaveman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't envy Christopher Tolkien his position. He seems to be caught in an unfortunate catch 22 wherein every time he edits and releases works from the Tolkien estate, he catches endless ire of fans who believe he's an incompetent out for the money. Yet, were he to withhold Tolkien's unpublished work, he'd be a miser, a selfish child keeping the great man's work hidden out of spite.

I find his editorial voice to be able and competent, and appreciate the in depth and scholarly look into the very e
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
Tommy Grooms
May 24, 2013 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
Apr 17, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
What can I say? I freely admit that my two passes through the Silmarillion left me wanting for more.

I found the analysis fairly interesting, but must confess that I was constantly just hoping for longer passages of uninterrupted story. Changes in names and between races and major plot points were confusing, as was to be expected - but it seems as though how the story played itself out by the time it reached the Silmarillion was superior in almost all instances.

One critique would be that the boo
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
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  • 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
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 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)

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