New Illustrated Edition of the Silmarillion

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    New Illustrated Edition of the Silmarillion

    New paintings for the first time. Looking forward to this. Available in March 2021

    Click image for larger version

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    From the J. R. R. Tolkien official Facebook page:

    We are delighted to unveil the cover of the new illustrated edition of The Silmarillion, featuring a dramatic painting by Ted Nasmith depicting the fall of Númenor. This new edition will be published in March 2021 in time for Tolkien Reading Day and will feature new paintings appearing here for the first time. It is now available to pre-order here:

    Published originally in 1977, The Silmarillion represented, as Christopher Tolkien wrote on the dustjacket copy to the first edition, ‘the central stock of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginative writing, a work that he could not publish in his lifetime because it grew with him. Its origins stretch back sixty years…’

    Incredible to consider now, but that sixty-year span leads back to the mud and the trenches and carnage of the battlefields of the First World War, where J.R.R. Tolkien served with distinction in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He fought at the Battle of the Somme but was invalided home on 8 November of 1916, and it was while recovering in hospital that he started to write, filling battered schoolbooks with hastily written pencilled tales. Out of the darkness and horror he had experienced would arise the light and beauty of the Book of Lost Tales, early forms of the myths that would evolve into The Silmarillion.

    Christopher Tolkien was born in November 1924, just six years after his father’s release from the bondage of battle, and it is fitting in this month of Thanksgiving and of Christopher’s birth to reflect anew upon the unique and peerless contribution that he has given the world.

    For Christopher’s entire life, his father’s legendarium had been an essential part of his world. He himself said: ‘As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created. For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.’ And as Tolkien realized that he would not personally be able to bring his life’s work to a publishable conclusion he and Christopher discussed in close detail how this might eventually be achieved. Christopher diligently followed his father’s wishes and The Silmarillion was published in 1977, just four years after his father’s death. It was an international bestseller, and was critically acclaimed around the world, hailed as ‘a creation of singular beauty’ (Washington Post) and ‘at times rises to the greatness of true myth’ (Financial Times).

    This landmark literary achievement would for many be the culmination of a life, but for Christopher it marked just the beginning. In his preface to Beren and Lúthien, he remarks that ‘he then spent several years investigating the earlier history of The Silmarillion… It is done partly for my own satisfaction in getting things right, and because I wanted to know how the whole conception did in reality evolve from the earliest origins…’ There, in that statement, is the singular, wonderful essence of the man who found unceasing delight in his father’s literary creation; both a scholar who placed the highest demands on the rigor of his research and a romantic who found endless joy travelling through the tales of Valinor and Middle-earth.

    He would continue his quiet, scholarly endeavours for the next four decades, producing many further volumes that have enriched our understanding of Middle-earth, from his monumental 12-volume History (which would evolve from that towering History of The Silmarillion) through to the three books that would be the capstone to his literary achievement: The Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin.

    He would write in the preface to The Fall of Gondolin: ‘Looking back over my work, now concluded after some forty years, I believe that my underlying purpose was at least in part to try to give more prominence to the nature of “The Silmarillion” and its vital existence in relation to The Lord of the Rings.’

    With the publication of this new edition of The Silmarillion we have an opportunity to marvel anew at the literary brilliance of both Tolkiens, father and son. Out of the darkness of war, J.R.R. Tolkien brought forth the shining jewels that are the tales of The Silmarillion, and thanks to the tireless devotion of Christopher Tolkien these tales and many more will light our imaginations for ever.

    Instagram: randy_baggins

    The Silmarillion is my favorite Tolkien book, so this is very exciting news! Thank you for posting this. I believe the second illustrated edition is already the most fully illustrated book in the series. So it'll be interesting to see if this third version keeps all of the existing illustrations while adding more, or replaces the old ones.