The Peoples of Middle-earth

The Peoples of Middle-earth

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Edited by: Christopher Tolkien
Foreword by: Christopher Tolkien
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Simultaneously published by: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 1996
Series: The History of Middle-earth
Series Number: 12

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When in 1937 J. R. R.Tolkien laid aside The Silmarillion, the extension of his original mythology into later Ages of the world had scarcely emerged. Tolkien himself noted that he knew nothing of the peoples and history of these Ages until he "met them on the way" "The Mines of Moria" had been a mere name; and of Lothlórien no word had reached my mortal ears until I came there, Fangorn Forest was an unforeseen adventure. I had never heard of the House of Eorl nor of the Stewards of Gondor. Saruman had never been revealed to me."

It was in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings that there emerged a comprehensive historical structure and chronology of the Second and Third Ages, embracing all the diverse strands that came together in The War of the Ring. Tolkien's difficulty—bordering on despair—in providing these appendices, leading to delay in the publication of The Return of the King is well known. In The Peoples of Middle-earth, however, Christopher Tolkien shows that the work had in fact been achieved years before, in essays and records differing greatly from the published forms. In these early texts is seen the evolution of the chronology of the later Ages: the Calendars, the Hobbit genealogies (with those of families that were printed but not published), and the Westron language, or Common Speech, from which many words and names are recorded that were afterwards lost.

A number of other writings by J. R. R. Tolkien are also included in this book; they derive chiefly from his last years, when new insights and constructions freely arose as he pondered the history that he had created.

This final volume of The History of Middle-earth concludes with two soon-abandoned stories, both unique in the setting of time and place: "The New Shadow" in Gondor of the Fourth Age, and the tale of "Tal-elmar," in which the coming of the dreaded Númenorean ships is seen through the eyes of men of Middle-earth in the Dark Years.

From the dust jacket of the 1st American Edition
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