Unfinished Tales

From Tolkien Gateway
Unfinished Tales
of Númenor and Middle-earth
Unfinished Tales 1980.png
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorChristopher Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released2 October 1980 (UK)
18 November 1980 (US)
FormatHardcover; paperback; deluxe-edition; audio-book
Pages472
ISBN0048231797
Preceded byThe Silmarillion {1977)
Followed byThe Book of Lost Tales: Part One (1983)
"They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited 'first chapters'. I have indeed written many."
― J.R.R. Tolkien on writing A Long-expected Party, and on his tendency to abandon and revisit his writings.[1]

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, or simply Unfinished Tales, is a collection of stories and essays by J.R.R. Tolkien that were never completed during his lifetime, but were edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and published in 1980.

Many of the tales within are retold in The Silmarillion, albeit in modified forms; the work also contains a summary of the events of The Lord of the Rings told from a less personal perspective.

Overview[edit]

Unlike The Silmarillion, also published posthumously (in 1977), for which the narrative fragments were modified to connect into a consistent and coherent work, the Unfinished Tales are presented as Tolkien left them, with little more than names changed (the author having had a confusing habit of trying out different names for a character while writing a draft). Thus some of these are incomplete stories, while others are collections of information about Middle-earth. Each tale is followed by a long series of notes explaining inconsistencies and obscure points.

As with The Silmarillion, Christopher Tolkien edited and published Unfinished Tales before he had finished his study of the materials in his father's archive. Unfinished Tales provides more detailed information about characters, events and places mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings. Versions of such tales, including the origins of Gandalf and the other Istari (Wizards), the death of Isildur and the loss of the One Ring in the Gladden Fields, and the founding of the kingdom of Rohan, help expand knowledge about Middle-earth.

Of particular note is the tale of Tar-Aldarion and Erendis, the only known story of Númenor before its fall. A map of Númenor, the only one Tolkien ever made, is included in the book.

The commercial success of Unfinished Tales demonstrated that the demand for Tolkien's stories several years after his death was not only still present but growing. Encouraged by the result, Christopher Tolkien embarked upon the more ambitious twelve-volume work entitled The History of Middle-earth which encompasses nearly the entire corpus of his father's writings about Middle-earth.

Contents[edit]

  • Introduction
Part One: The First Age
Part Two: The Second Age
Part Three: The Third Age
Part Four

Inscriptions[edit]

There is an inscription in the Tengwar characters in the title page, it reads:

"In this book of unfinished tales by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien which was brought together by Christopher Reuel Tolkien his son are told many things of men and elves in Numenor and in Middle-Earth, from the Elder Days in Beleriand to the War of the Ring and an account is given of the Druedain, the Istari, and the Palantiri."

Publication history and gallery[edit]

Please see Publication history and gallery.

See also[edit]

References

A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by Tolkien or based on his writings
Of Arda Authorized 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 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 of Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ·
Letters from Father Christmas · Mr. Bliss · Roverandom ·
Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictions 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 · Finn and Hengest: The Fragment and the Episode ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays ·
Tolkien On Fairy-stories · A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages
Other The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Reference book The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
Scholarly books containing Tolkien's writings J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · The Road to Middle-earth ·
A Question of Time · Tolkien and the Great War ·
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly journal containing Tolkien's writings Tolkien Studies various issues
Other published works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar issues 1-50 · Parma Eldalamberon issues 1-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · 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 only includes the major published works, for the full bibliography of Tolkien, see here or here