"IN THIS MUSIC THE WORLD WAS BEGUN…": FIRST EDITION OF TOLKIEN'S SILMARILLION
TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Silmarillion. London: George Allen & Unwin, (1977). Octavo, original gilt-stamped blue cloth, original dust jacket. $650.
First edition of "the work of Tolkien's heart," his monumental presentation of the personal mythology undergirding his epic adventure The Lord of the Rings, illustrated with a folding map of Tolkien's fantastic lands.
"The publication and success of The Lord of the Rings in 1954-55 left Tolkien in much the same position as the publication and success of The Hobbit in 1937. The publishers wanted a sequel… But Tolkien had no sequel ready to hand, or even in mind. What he had was… the work of his heart" (Shippey, 226): the vast body of myth, language and lore edited after Tolkien's death in 1973 by his son Christopher and published as The Silmarillion. Tolkien began crafting the rich, imaginative soil from which Middle-earth eventually sprang as early as 1913; over the decades, it became nothing less than an effort to construct for the English people a national mythology, akin to the Norse mythic legacy. "In The Silmarillion what is finally most moving is not the individual legends but the total vision, the eccentric heroism of Tolkien's attempt… [He] has taken on the incredible task of seeking to rejuvenate the medieval Christian way of seeing and feeling" (John Gardner). Red-and-black map of Beleriand tipped to blank page  (rather than rear free endpaper), priority undetermined. First edition, bound in dark blue cloth with blue topstain. Issued along with export copies, which contain a Clowes imprint on page  and without the price on front dust jacket flap: priority undetermined. Hammond & Anderson A15b.
Book fine; faint toning to spine of bright about-fine dust jacket.