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The Silmarillion

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|image=[[Image:Silmarillioncover.jpg]]
 
|image=[[Image:Silmarillioncover.jpg]]
 
|author=[[J.R.R. Tolkien]]
 
|author=[[J.R.R. Tolkien]]
|publisher=[[Houghton Mifflin]]
+
|publisher=[[Allen and Unwin|George Allen and Unwin]] (UK)<br/>[[Houghton Mifflin]] (US)
|date=[[2004]]
+
|date=[[15 September]] [[1977]]
 
|format=Hardcover
 
|format=Hardcover
 
|pages=386
 
|pages=386
 
|isbn=0618391118
 
|isbn=0618391118
|amazon=http://www.amazon.com/Silmarillion-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0618391118/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4874231-7435249?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181617326&sr=8-1
 
|amazonprice=$35.00
 
 
}}
 
}}
{{quote|The Silmarillion is the history of the War of the Exiled Elves against the Enemy, which all takes place in the North-west of the world (Middle-earth).  Several tales of victory and tragedy are caught up in it; but it ends with catastrophe, and the passing of the Ancient World|J.R.R. Tolkien}}
+
{{quote|The Silmarillion is the history of the War of the Exiled Elves against the Enemy, which all takes place in the North-west of the world (Middle-earth).  Several tales of victory and tragedy are caught up in it; but it ends with catastrophe, and the passing of the Ancient World|J.R.R. Tolkien{{fact}}}}
  
'''''The Silmarillion''''' is a collection of [[J.R.R. Tolkien|J.R.R. Tolkien's]] works, edited and published posthumously by his son [[Christopher Tolkien|Christopher R. Tolkien]], with assistance from fantasy fiction writer [[Guy Gavriel Kay]].
+
'''''The Silmarillion''''' is a collection of [[J.R.R. Tolkien]]'s works, edited and published posthumously by his son [[Christopher Tolkien]], with assistance from fantasy fiction writer [[Guy Gavriel Kay]].
  
 
==Overview==
 
==Overview==
 
''The Silmarillion'' comprises five parts:
 
''The Silmarillion'' comprises five parts:
# ''The [[Ainulindalë]]'' - the creation of Eä, Tolkien's universe.
+
# ''The [[Ainulindalë (chapter)|Ainulindalë]]'' - the creation of Eä, Tolkien's universe.
 
# ''The [[Valaquenta]]'' - a brief description of the [[Valar]] and [[Maiar]], the supernatural beings
 
# ''The [[Valaquenta]]'' - a brief description of the [[Valar]] and [[Maiar]], the supernatural beings
 
# ''The [[Quenta Silmarillion]]'' - the history of the events before and during the First Age, which forms the bulk of the collection.
 
# ''The [[Quenta Silmarillion]]'' - the history of the events before and during the First Age, which forms the bulk of the collection.
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## [[Of Men]]
 
## [[Of Men]]
 
## [[Of the Return of the Noldor]]
 
## [[Of the Return of the Noldor]]
## [[Of Beleriand and Its Realms]]
+
## [[Of Beleriand and its Realms]]
 
## [[Of the Noldor in Beleriand]]
 
## [[Of the Noldor in Beleriand]]
 
## [[Of Maeglin]]
 
## [[Of Maeglin]]
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Among the notable chapters in the book are:
 
Among the notable chapters in the book are:
*&quot;Of [[Beren Erchamion|Beren]] and [[Lúthien]]&quot;
+
*&quot;Of [[Beren]] and [[Lúthien]]&quot;
*&quot;Turin Turambar (closely associated with [[Narn i Hîn Húrin|Narn i Hîn Húrin: The Tale of the Children of Húrin]] in ''Unfinished Tales'' and ''[[The Children of Húrin]]'')&quot; <!-- please note Chîn is the correct spelling -->
+
*&quot;Turin Turambar (closely associated with [[Narn i Hîn Húrin|Narn i Hîn Húrin: The Tale of the Children of Húrin]] in ''Unfinished Tales'' and ''[[The Children of Húrin]]'')&quot;  
 
*&quot;Of Tuor and The Fall of [[Gondolin]]&quot;
 
*&quot;Of Tuor and The Fall of [[Gondolin]]&quot;
  
 
==Development of the text==
 
==Development of the text==
The earliest drafts of ''The Silmarillion'' date back to as early as 1925, when Tolkien wrote a 'Sketch of the Mythology'.  However, the concepts for characters, themes, and specific stories were developed starting in 1917 when Tolkien, then a British officer stationed in France during [[World War I]] was laid up in a military field hospital with trench fever.  At the time, he called his collection of nascent stories [[The Book of Lost Tales]].  These stories comprised an English mythology intended to explain the origins of English history and culture (as Greek mythology explains the origins of Greek history and culture).
+
The earliest drafts of ''The Silmarillion'' date back to as early as 1925, when Tolkien wrote a 'Sketch of the Mythology'.  However, the concepts for characters, themes, and specific stories were developed starting in 1917 when Tolkien, then a British officer stationed in France during [[World War I]] was laid up in a military field hospital with trench fever.  At the time, he called his collection of nascent stories [[The Book of Lost Tales Part One]].  These stories comprised an English mythology intended to explain the origins of English history and culture (as Greek mythology explains the origins of Greek history and culture).
  
 
Many years after the war, encouraged by the success of ''[[The Hobbit]]'', Tolkien submitted an incomplete but more fully developed version of [[The Silmarillion]] to his publisher, but they rejected the work as being obscure and "too Celtic".  The publisher, George Allen & Unwin, instead asked Tolkien to write a sequel to ''The Hobbit'', which became his significant novel ''The Lord of the Rings''.  
 
Many years after the war, encouraged by the success of ''[[The Hobbit]]'', Tolkien submitted an incomplete but more fully developed version of [[The Silmarillion]] to his publisher, but they rejected the work as being obscure and "too Celtic".  The publisher, George Allen & Unwin, instead asked Tolkien to write a sequel to ''The Hobbit'', which became his significant novel ''The Lord of the Rings''.  
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For several years after his father's death, Christopher Tolkien compiled a ''Silmarillion'' narrative. Christopher's intentions seem to have been mostly to use the latest writings of his father's that he could, and to keep as much internal consistency (and consistency with ''The Lord of the Rings'') as possible.  As explained in ''[[The History of Middle-earth]]'', Christopher drew upon numerous sources for his narrative, relying on post-LoTR works where possible, but ultmately reaching back as far as the 1917 ''Book of Lost Tales'' to fill in portions of the narrative which his father had planned to write but never addressed. In one later chapter of the "Quenta Silmarillion" which had not been touched since the early 1930s he had to construct a narrative practically from scratch. The final result, which included genealogies, maps, an index and the first-ever released Elvish word list was published in 1977.
 
For several years after his father's death, Christopher Tolkien compiled a ''Silmarillion'' narrative. Christopher's intentions seem to have been mostly to use the latest writings of his father's that he could, and to keep as much internal consistency (and consistency with ''The Lord of the Rings'') as possible.  As explained in ''[[The History of Middle-earth]]'', Christopher drew upon numerous sources for his narrative, relying on post-LoTR works where possible, but ultmately reaching back as far as the 1917 ''Book of Lost Tales'' to fill in portions of the narrative which his father had planned to write but never addressed. In one later chapter of the "Quenta Silmarillion" which had not been touched since the early 1930s he had to construct a narrative practically from scratch. The final result, which included genealogies, maps, an index and the first-ever released Elvish word list was published in 1977.
  
Due to Christopher's extensive explanations (in [[The History of Middle-earth]]) of how he compiled the published work, much of ''The Silmarillion'' has been debated by the hardcore fans. Christopher's task is generally accepted as very difficult given the state of his father's texts at the time of his death: some critical texts were no longer in the Tolkien family's possession, and Christopher's task compelled him to rush through much of the material. Christopher reveals in later volumes of [[The History of Middle-earth]] many divergent ideas which do not agree with the published version.  Christopher Tolkien has suggested that, had he taken more time and had access to all the texts, he might have produced a substantially different work. But he was compelled by considerable pressure and demand from his father's readers and publishers to produce something publishable as quickly as possible. One must remember this version is more a product of the son than of the father.
+
Due to Christopher's extensive explanations (in [[The History of Middle-earth]]) of how he compiled the published work, much of ''The Silmarillion'' has been debated by the hardcore fans. Christopher's task is generally accepted as very difficult given the state of his father's texts at the time of his death: some critical texts were no longer in the Tolkien family's possession, and Christopher's task compelled him to rush through much of the material. Christopher reveals in later volumes of [[The History of Middle-earth]] many divergent ideas which do not agree with the published version.  Christopher Tolkien has suggested that, had he taken more time and had access to all the texts, he might have produced a substantially different work. But he was compelled by considerable pressure and demand from his father's readers and publishers to produce something publishable as quickly as possible.  
  
 
In October 1996, Christopher Tolkien commissioned illustrator [[Ted Nasmith]] to create full-page full-colour artwork for the first illustrated edition of ''The Silmarillion''. It was published in 1998, and followed in 2004 by a second edition (ISBN 0618391118) featuring corrections and additional artwork by Nasmith.
 
In October 1996, Christopher Tolkien commissioned illustrator [[Ted Nasmith]] to create full-page full-colour artwork for the first illustrated edition of ''The Silmarillion''. It was published in 1998, and followed in 2004 by a second edition (ISBN 0618391118) featuring corrections and additional artwork by Nasmith.
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==Editions==
 
==Editions==
* George Allen & Unwin, 1st edition, [[1977]]
+
* George Allen & Unwin, 1st edition, [[1977]] ([[15 September|September 15]])
 
* George Allen & Unwin for Methuen Publications, 1st edition, presentation copy, [[1977]]
 
* George Allen & Unwin for Methuen Publications, 1st edition, presentation copy, [[1977]]
 
* Book Club Associates, BCA Edition, [[1978]]
 
* Book Club Associates, BCA Edition, [[1978]]
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* HarperCollins, Illustrated Edition, [[1998]]
 
* HarperCollins, Illustrated Edition, [[1998]]
 
* HarperCollins, Deluxe Illustrated Edition, [[1998]]
 
* HarperCollins, Deluxe Illustrated Edition, [[1998]]
 +
* HarperCollins, Unabridged Audio Edition [[1998]]
 
* HarperCollins, 2nd Edition, [[1999]]
 
* HarperCollins, 2nd Edition, [[1999]]
 
* HarperCollins, 1999 Edition, [[1999]]
 
* HarperCollins, 1999 Edition, [[1999]]
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''Silmarillion'' is [[Quenya]] plural genitive of the word "Silmaril", therefore it means "of the Silmarils".  
 
''Silmarillion'' is [[Quenya]] plural genitive of the word "Silmaril", therefore it means "of the Silmarils".  
  
It could be either a contraction of the full title ''Quenta Silmarillion'' ("Tale of the Silmarils") or also a 'Genitive of reference' (in Ancient Greek) used for "about" expressions; it is also used in poetic English where "of" replaces "about" or "concerning"; the Silmarillion chapter names themselves are an example (''Of'' the Sindar, ''Of'' Men)
+
It could be either a contraction of the full title ''Quenta Silmarillion'' ("Tale of the Silmarils") or also a plain Genitive which (as in Ancient Greek) signifies reference. This genitive is translated in English with "about" or "of" constructions; the Silmarillion chapter names themselves are an example of this genitive in poetic English (''Of'' the Sindar, ''Of'' Men, ''Of'' the Darkening of Valinor etc) where "of" replaces "about" or "concerning". In that case, ''Silmarillion'' means "Of/About the Silmarils".{{fact}}
  
A similar device is seen in Latin, with the book title ''[[Wikipedia:De Bello Gallico|De Bello Gallico]]'' ("Of the Gaulish War" = "About the Gaulish War").
+
==See also==
 
+
*[[The Silmarillion/Quotations|''The Silmarillion''/Quotations]]
''Silmarillion'' also brings in mind the ''[[Wikipedia:Mabinogion|Mabinogion]]'', another mythological book, mainly due to its rhyming title.
+
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
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* [http://www.nytimes.com/1977/10/23/books/tolkien-silmarillion.html NY Times Review]
 
* [http://www.nytimes.com/1977/10/23/books/tolkien-silmarillion.html NY Times Review]
  
[[Category:Books|Silmarillion]]
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{{title|italics}}
[[Category:Books by J.R.R. Tolkien|Silmarillion]]
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{{DEFAULTSORT:Silmarillion}}
[[Category:Books by Christopher Tolkien|Silmarillion]]
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[[Category:Fiction books]]
[[Category:The Silmarillion]]
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[[Category:Books by J.R.R. Tolkien]]
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[[Category:Books by Christopher Tolkien]]
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[[Category:The Silmarillion| ]]
 +
[[Category:Publications by title]]
  
 
[[de:Das Silmarillion]]
 
[[de:Das Silmarillion]]
 +
[[fr:tolkien/biblio/silm]]
 
[[fi:Silmarillion]]
 
[[fi:Silmarillion]]

Revision as of 17:32, 27 May 2013

"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
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The Silmarillion
Silmarillioncover.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released15 September 1977
FormatHardcover
Pages386
ISBN0618391118
"The Silmarillion is the history of the War of the Exiled Elves against the Enemy, which all takes place in the North-west of the world (Middle-earth). Several tales of victory and tragedy are caught up in it; but it ends with catastrophe, and the passing of the Ancient World"
― J.R.R. Tolkien[source?]

The Silmarillion is a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien, with assistance from fantasy fiction writer Guy Gavriel Kay.

Contents

Overview

The Silmarillion comprises five parts:

  1. The Ainulindalë - the creation of Eä, Tolkien's universe.
  2. The Valaquenta - a brief description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural beings
  3. The Quenta Silmarillion - the history of the events before and during the First Age, which forms the bulk of the collection.
    1. Of the Beginning of Days
    2. Of Aulë and Yavanna
    3. Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
    4. Of Thingol and Melian
    5. Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië
    6. Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
    7. Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
    8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
    9. Of the Flight of the Noldor
    10. Of the Sindar
    11. Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor
    12. Of Men
    13. Of the Return of the Noldor
    14. Of Beleriand and its Realms
    15. Of the Noldor in Beleriand
    16. Of Maeglin
    17. Of the Coming of Men into the West
    18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
    19. Of Beren and Lúthien
    20. Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad
    21. Of Túrin Turambar
    22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
    23. Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
    24. Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath
  4. The Akallabêth - the history of the Second Age
  5. Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

This five-part work is also informally associated by some readers with Bilbo's three-volume Translations from the Elvish, mentioned in The Lord of the Rings.

These five parts were initially separate works, but it was the elder Tolkien's express wish that they be published together. Because J.R.R. Tolkien died before he could complete a full rewrite of the various legends, Christopher scavenged material from his father's older drafts to fill out the book. In a few cases, he completely devised new material.

The Silmarillion, along with other collections of Tolkien's works, such as Unfinished Tales, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and The Road Goes Ever On, form a comprehensive, yet incomplete narrative that describes the universe within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place. The History of Middle-earth is a twelve-volume examination of the processes which led to the publication of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

The Silmarillion is a complex work that explores a wide array of themes inspired by many ancient, medieval, and modern sources, including the Finnish Kalevala, the Hebrew Bible, Norse sagas, Greek mythology, Celtic mythology, and World War I. For instance, the name of the supreme being, Ilúvatar (Father of All) is clearly borrowed from Norse mythology. The archaic style and gravitas of the Ainulindalë resembles that of the Old Testament. The island civilization of Númenor is reminiscent of Atlantis—one of the names Tolkien gave that land was Atalantë, although he gave it an Elvish etymology.

Among the notable chapters in the book are:

Development of the text

The earliest drafts of The Silmarillion date back to as early as 1925, when Tolkien wrote a 'Sketch of the Mythology'. However, the concepts for characters, themes, and specific stories were developed starting in 1917 when Tolkien, then a British officer stationed in France during World War I was laid up in a military field hospital with trench fever. At the time, he called his collection of nascent stories The Book of Lost Tales Part One. These stories comprised an English mythology intended to explain the origins of English history and culture (as Greek mythology explains the origins of Greek history and culture).

Many years after the war, encouraged by the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien submitted an incomplete but more fully developed version of The Silmarillion to his publisher, but they rejected the work as being obscure and "too Celtic". The publisher, George Allen & Unwin, instead asked Tolkien to write a sequel to The Hobbit, which became his significant novel The Lord of the Rings.

But Tolkien never fully abandoned The Silmarillion. In fact, he regarded it as the most important of his works, seeing in its tales the genesis of Middle-earth and later events as told in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He renewed work on The Silmarillion after completing The Lord of the Rings, when he greatly desired to publish the two works together. But when it became clear that would not be possible, Tolkien turned his full attention back to preparing The Lord of the Rings for publication.

In the late 1950s he again began work on The Silmarillion, but much of his writing from this time is concerned not as much with the narratives themselves as with the theological and philosophical underpinnings of the work. During this time he wrote extensively on such topics as the nature of evil in Arda, the origin of Orcs, the customs of the Elves, the nature and means of Elvish rebirth, and the "flat" world and the myth of the Sun. Serious doubts had entered about some of the fundamental aspects of the work that had gone back to the earliest versions of the stories, and it seems that he felt the need to solve these problems before he could produce the "final" version of The Silmarillion. In any event, with one or two exceptions, he never did much work on the narratives in the remaining years of his life.

After Tolkien's death

For several years after his father's death, Christopher Tolkien compiled a Silmarillion narrative. Christopher's intentions seem to have been mostly to use the latest writings of his father's that he could, and to keep as much internal consistency (and consistency with The Lord of the Rings) as possible. As explained in The History of Middle-earth, Christopher drew upon numerous sources for his narrative, relying on post-LoTR works where possible, but ultmately reaching back as far as the 1917 Book of Lost Tales to fill in portions of the narrative which his father had planned to write but never addressed. In one later chapter of the "Quenta Silmarillion" which had not been touched since the early 1930s he had to construct a narrative practically from scratch. The final result, which included genealogies, maps, an index and the first-ever released Elvish word list was published in 1977.

Due to Christopher's extensive explanations (in The History of Middle-earth) of how he compiled the published work, much of The Silmarillion has been debated by the hardcore fans. Christopher's task is generally accepted as very difficult given the state of his father's texts at the time of his death: some critical texts were no longer in the Tolkien family's possession, and Christopher's task compelled him to rush through much of the material. Christopher reveals in later volumes of The History of Middle-earth many divergent ideas which do not agree with the published version. Christopher Tolkien has suggested that, had he taken more time and had access to all the texts, he might have produced a substantially different work. But he was compelled by considerable pressure and demand from his father's readers and publishers to produce something publishable as quickly as possible.

In October 1996, Christopher Tolkien commissioned illustrator Ted Nasmith to create full-page full-colour artwork for the first illustrated edition of The Silmarillion. It was published in 1998, and followed in 2004 by a second edition (ISBN 0618391118) featuring corrections and additional artwork by Nasmith.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Christopher Tolkien published most of his father's Middle-Earth-related writings as the 12-volume History of Middle-earth series.

In addition to the source material and earlier drafts of several portions of The Lord of the Rings, these books greatly expand on the original material published in The Silmarillion, and in many cases diverge from it. There is much that Tolkien intended to revise but only sketched out in notes, and some new texts surfaced after the publication of The Silmarillion.

Editions

  • George Allen & Unwin, 1st edition, 1977 (September 15)
  • George Allen & Unwin for Methuen Publications, 1st edition, presentation copy, 1977
  • Book Club Associates, BCA Edition, 1978
  • Unwin Paperbacks, 1st paperback edition, 1979
  • Guild Publishing, Guild Edition, 1981
  • George Allen & Unwin, 1st edition, Collector's Edition, 1982
  • Unicorn/Unwin Paperbacks, 2nd Edition, 1983
  • Guild Publishing, Guild Edition, 1990
  • HarperCollins, 1st edition, 1992
  • Book Club Associates, BCA Edition, 1992
  • The Folio Society, Folio Edition, 1997
  • HarperCollins, Illustrated Edition, 1998
  • HarperCollins, Deluxe Illustrated Edition, 1998
  • HarperCollins, Unabridged Audio Edition 1998
  • HarperCollins, 2nd Edition, 1999
  • HarperCollins, 1999 Edition, 1999
  • HarperCollins, Collector's Box Edition, 2001
  • HarperCollins, Illustrated Edition, 2000
  • Voyager, Voyager Classics Edition, 2002
  • HarperCollins, Deluxe Edition, 2002
  • The Folio Society, Deluxe Folio Society Edition, 2004
  • HarperCollins, 2nd Illustrated Edition, 2004
  • HarperCollins, 2006 Edition, 2006
  • HarperCollins, 30th Anniversary Edition 2007

Etymology

Silmarillion is Quenya plural genitive of the word "Silmaril", therefore it means "of the Silmarils".

It could be either a contraction of the full title Quenta Silmarillion ("Tale of the Silmarils") or also a plain Genitive which (as in Ancient Greek) signifies reference. This genitive is translated in English with "about" or "of" constructions; the Silmarillion chapter names themselves are an example of this genitive in poetic English (Of the Sindar, Of Men, Of the Darkening of Valinor etc) where "of" replaces "about" or "concerning". In that case, Silmarillion means "Of/About the Silmarils".[source?]

See also

External links

Reviews