The History of Middle-earth (HOME) Series
Edited by Christopher Tolkien. This series stands as one of the most unusual events in publishing history. Seemingly by chance, Tolkien wrote virtually all his great works using a method in which earlier versions of the manuscript were available for study. He apparently wrote the first draft of most of the manuscripts in pencil. This was followed by a second or final draft in ink over the penciled writing. He also apparently kept most of his earlier drafts even when they were not written in pencil. The end result was that his son Christopher Tolkien was able to reconstruct the writing history of the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. His editing, with voluminous notes, was published as the HOME series. This is a great achievement in literary scholarship. In no other case do we have such a complete record of how the author thought and constructed a major work of literature. Anyone who enjoyed the Lord of the Rings must at least buy the volumes pertaining to it. The emergence of the story is the tale here. The story began as a simple sequel to the Hobbit. By the time Bingo (Frodo) and the others hobbits heard their first Black Rider sniffing for them, the great tale began: who were the Black Riders, and why would they use smell to track them, and not vision? By the time Tolkien brought the Hobbits to Bree, he had discovered an understanding of the Fairy story and the New Hobbit became the Lord of the Rings. The HOME series tells that tale and others. Unfortunately, most of the volumes still in print are paperbacks (Vols 10, 11 and 12 are hardcover). The easiest way to get a number of volumes in hardcover, is to contact the Tolkien Society or try the book search services I have itemized on this site. Here are the links to the available paperbacks: HOME1: The Book of Lost Tales (Part 1)| HOME2: The Book of Lost Tales (Part 2) |HOME3: The Lays of Beleriand|HOME4: The Shaping of Middle Earth|HOME5: The Lost Road and Other Writings|HOME6: The Return of the Shadow-History of LOTR (Part 1)|HOME7: The Treason of Isengard|HOME8: The War of the Ring|HOME9: Sauron Defeated|HOME10: Morgoths Ring|HOME11: The War of the Jewels|HOME12: The Peoples of Middle-earth. Volumes 6, 7, 8, and 9 (The History of the Lord of the Rings) was also published as a four-book set: History of LOTR.
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