Unfinished Tolkien work to be published in '07

NEW YORK (AP) – An unfinished tale by J.R.R. Tolkien has been edited by his son into a completed work and will be released next spring, the U.S. and British publishers announced Monday.

Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on “The Children of Hurin,” an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned. Excerpts of “The Children of Hurin,” which includes the elves and dwarves of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and other works, have been published before.

“It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father’s long version of the legend of the ‘Children of Hurin’ as an independent work, between its own covers,” Christopher Tolkien said in a statement.

The new book will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the United States and HarperCollins in England.

Movie rights to Uwe Boll?

I’ve read all the published versions of this tale, which can currently be found in the Silmarillion and scattered throughout the 12 volume History of Middle Earth. I’m not sure what Christopher hopes to accomplish by presenting it alone, or which version(s) he intends to use. I’ll have to keep an eye on this.

Shouldn’t the fact it’s taken 30 years to edit be a warning?


Hardly. Christopher Tolkien doesn’t need money but he is really into the huge detailed world that his father created. He probably just enjoyed composing another epic to stand alongside the Silmarillion.

Do the Silmarillion and the History works have cohesive stories to them? I could never get very far into any of the works outside the trilogy and Hobbit because they seemed more like historical timelines and mythologies than actual novels.

As I recall the Silmarillion was at least thematically centered on the war against Morgoth, and there were some cohesive stories in there, too, such as Beren and Luthien. I don’t really consider them good reading either, and Christopher’s new edition is probably going to be roughly the same.

I’ve been slowly getting into the “History of Middle Earth” and finished Unfinished Tales a few months ago. It had a few nice stories and additional filler pieces that really help grow the incredibly detailed world of Middle Earth quite a bit. Then again, I skipped over most of the 1st Age tales and went straight for the 2nd and 3rd age because they actually had people places I recognized, vs. the confusing jumble that the Simarillion left me with from the first age.

Try the Silmarillion again. It’s not that hard, and it richly rewards multiple readings.

Is there actually a narrative (or multiple narratives) in the History of ME ? I glanced at a few volumes and it seemed to me there were more footnotes than actual stories.
Loved the Silmarillion, though.

There are many, often contradictory narratives. Each book explores one phase of Tolkien’s writing in depth, in roughly chronological order. Concepts, characters, and setting constantly change over time.

That said, HoME is for the hardcore fan only. Many of the narratives largely duplicate previous ones; others are very rough. Those who want to study Tolkien will appreciate the books, those who want to enjoy him will not.

Thanks for the info. I’ll keep away, then, as I just enjoy the stories.

Without question. The Silmarillion is his real claim to writer’s writer fame, in my opinion. Gorgeous stuff that the snobby “Gormenghast is Tolkien for the literary-minded” crowd seem to have completely overlooked in their rush to pick on anything populist.

I believe this book was released today. Has anyone had the chance for an early reading?

Nope, ordered it this morning from Amazon so hopefully it arrives by this weekend.

I’m looking forward to checking it out. Loved the Silmarillion, which was a similar project, so I have high hopes for this.

Same here. If it’s on par with that I’ll be thrilled.

From the previews and reviews I’ve seen, “Children of Hurin” is supposed to be much more of a narrative than Silmarillion, Unfinshed Tales or HoME. While the characters and background are taken from those works, there is apparently a more cohesive story to this one. It’s being comapred to the original Trilogy in terms of “readability”.

Salon review here.