The Book of Lost Tales: Part One

From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about the first book in The History of Middle-earth series. For the conceptual phase of the legendarium, see The Book of Lost Tales.
The Book of Lost Tales: Part One
Publication Information
authorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorChristopher Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released27 October 1983 (UK)
22 February 1984 (US)
FormatHardcover; paperback
Pages304
ISBN0048232386
Preceded byUnfinished Tales (1980)
Followed byThe Book of Lost Tales: Part Two (1984)

The Book of Lost Tales: Part One, published in 1983, is the first volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume book series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The book is a collection of early stories, which were the earliest form (begun in 1917) of the legendarium that would eventually comprise The Silmarillion. Each of the Tales is followed by notes and a detailed commentary by Christopher.

In these Tales are found the earliest accounts and original ideas of the Gods and the creation of the world, the Elves and their coming to Valinor, the Two Trees and the Silmarils, the theft of Melko, and the Exile of the Noldoli. These are continued in The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two.

Overview

Though they cover a broadly similar history, the Tales are very different from The Silmarillion. Firstly, the Tales are more complex and detailed than The Silmarillion: they are written in a less formal but more archaic style and include many obsolete words and phrases. Secondly, the interaction between the different elf-races is profoundly different: the exiled Noldoli (or "Gnomes", the Noldor of the later histories) suffer decisive defeat much earlier and become slaves of the enemy they had sought to punish.

In the frame story of the book, a mortal Man visits the Elvish Isle of Tol Eressëa, where he learns the history of its inhabitants. In the earlier versions this man is named Eriol, and is of some vague north European origin. In later versions he becomes Ælfwine, an Englishman of the Middle-ages.

Contents

  • Foreword
  • Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales - Part I
  • Index

Inscriptions

There is an inscription in the Tengwar characters in the first pages of every History of Middle-earth volume, written by Christopher Tolkien and describing the contents of the book. The inscription in Book I reads:

"This is the first part of the Book of the Lost Tales of Elfinesse which Eriol the Mariner learned from the Elves of Tol Eressëa, the Lonely Isle in the western ocean, and afterwards wrote in the Golden Book of Tavrobel. Herein are told the Tales of Valinor, from the Music of the Ainur to the Exile of the Noldoli and the Hiding of Valinor."

From the publisher

The first of a two-book set that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.

The Book of Lost Tales stands at the beginning of the entire conception of Middle-earth and Valinor for the Tales were the first form of the myths and legends that came to be called The Silmarillion. Embedded in English legend and English association, they are set in the narrative frame of a great westward voyage over the Ocean by a mariner named Eriol to the lonely Isle where the Elves dwelt; from them he learned their true history, the Lost Tales of Elfinesse. In the Tales are found the earliest accounts of Gods and Elves, Dwarves, Balrogs and Orcs; of the Silmarils and the Two Trees of Valinor; of the geography and cosmology of Tolkien's invented world.

Publication history and gallery

UK editions
1983 hardcover
1983 hardcover  
1985 paperback
1985 paperback  
1985 paperback 4th impression
1985 paperback 4th impression  
1991 hardcover
1991 hardcover  
1994 paperback
1994 paperback  
2002 & 2015 paperback
2002 & 2015 paperback  
2010 hardcover
2010 hardcover  
2023 hardcover
2023 hardcover  
2024 paperback
2024 paperback  

External links

A content guide for this volume at Tolkienbooks.net

The History of Middle-earth series
i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand ·
iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow ·
vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated ·
x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · (Index)
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not on Arda Short stories
and others
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · Letters from Father Christmas ·
Mr. Bliss · Roverandom · Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · The Old English Exodus · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Letters & poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
Other
academic works
A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse
Books by other authors
Books on Arda The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Maps of Middle-earth
Tolkien biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Scholarly books The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.