Today marks the anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s death.
In honor of his life and work, we offer this reading guide to his works that flesh out the history and culture of Middle Earth, beyond the familiar Lord of the Rings Series.
How deeply have you read about Middle Earth beyond The Lord of the Rings?
2. Histories of Middle Earth (12 volumes)
The History of Middle-earth is a 12-volume series of books published between 1983 and 1996 that collect and analyse material relating to the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, compiled and edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. The series shows the development over time of Tolkien’s conception of Middle-earth as a fictional place with its own peoples, languages, and history, from his earliest notions of a “mythology for England” through to the development of the stories that make up The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. It is not a “history of Middle-earth” in the sense of being a chronicle of events in Middle-earth written from an in-universe perspective. In 2000–01, the twelve volumes were republished in three limited edition omnibus volumes. Non-deluxe editions of the three volumes were published in 2002 (via Wikipedia).
These are the 12 original volumes,
most of which have affordably priced paperback editions:
- The Book of Lost Tales 1 (1983)
- The Book of Lost Tales 2 (1984)
- The Lays of Beleriand (1985)
- The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986)
- The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987)
- The Return of the Shadow (The History of The Lord of the Rings v.1) (1988)
- The Treason of Isengard (The History of The Lord of the Rings v.2) (1989)
- The War of the Ring (The History of The Lord of the Rings v.3) (1990)
- Sauron Defeated (includes The History of The Lord of the Rings v.4) (1992)
- Morgoth’s Ring (The Later Silmarillion v.1) (1993)
- The War of the Jewels(The Later Silmarillion v.2) (1994)
- The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)
Or the 12 volumes have been compiled into three hardback volumes: