Your Help Needed for Silmarillion Project!

For the upcoming Silmarillion project, I’m going to need a bit of your help. I plan on taking the book page-by-page, and need to know if the pagination matches up from edition to edition.

The only copy I have is the 1st printing of the first US edition. In this, the Ainulindalë starts on page 15. I know this is the case for a few other editions, but I’m not sure if it strays from this as the book goes on.

To check, I took four page samples from middle and end to see if they match up. If you could help me out by telling me which edition you have (ISBN or link to Amazon would work) and if it’s a match. In each, I used the first line of the text.

p108 – Now in Mithrim there dwelt Grey-elves, folk of Beleriand that had

p174 – Orcs did at time upon great wolves. Thus they made great speed,

p233 – about his neck; but the Dwarves in that moment withheld it from

p303 – to the land of the Periannath, the Little People, the Halflings, who

* = identical type.

(Update: I’m now almost 100% sure that the two trade paperbacks above are the same as the first edition hardcover above. Not really sure how that’s possible, but it seems to be true. Also, I’m not a bibliographer, so please excuse my obviously imprecise descriptions of the editions.)

My suspicion is that the current versions of the trade paperback and the hardcover keep this same type setting (and maybe this one too). The mass market paperback, of course, doesn’t.

According to Amazon, the most popular version is the mass market paperback, but I really don’t want to use that one. Ideally, I’d like to keep my 1st edition hardcover, but if I have to pick up the quality paperback, that’s fine too.

Anyway, if you could help me out by commenting on which version of the Silmarillion you have, and whether or not the pages match up, that would be a super huge help.


50 thoughts on “Your Help Needed for Silmarillion Project!

  1. Here’s the one I use. Got a sick person sleeping in the room where it’s stored. I’ll check it when I can get in there and drop you another line, but I fairly sure the pages aren’t going to match.

    The Silmarillion, Illustrated by Ted Naismith. 1998. Houghton-Mifflin. I can’t find the amazon link atm.

    • Do you mean this one:

      If so, that’s the Second Edition Hardcover. I’m at least hoping the pages will match up between that and the current trade paperback. I *think* my first edition’s pages somehow matched up with the current trade paperback, though I don’t know how that’s possible (I took photos on a recent visit to Barnes & Noble and it actually was a match, I just want to make sure).

        • Thanks! Me too, actually. I have no idea if I can make it work or keep it up, but I now have a history of ridiculously long blog projects (the five year Civil War one, for example), so I’m not super worried.

    • Oh weird, they made that cover into a mass market paperback, too? I love the font.

      I’m betting that the 1st edition mass market and the 2nd edition mass market are very different. If I could, I’d send everyone copies of the current trade paperback.

      I’ll start (or end – who knows) each Silm post with the first few words of the first paragraph tackled. Probably the last few words of the last paragraph, too. That should take care of the ebook people, too.

  2. Houghton Mifflin second edition (2001), ISBN 0-618-12698-8, matches yours. TPB cover has a lot of young adults in white tunics loitering by a shore, some looking at the starry sky.

    • Great! Thanks! That’s a huge help. That trade is, I think, recently out of print. The local B&N still has a few copies, though. I can’t remember, but I *think* the newer trade paperback (with black cover) has the same type setting – I think it’s just a different cover.

      So since the 2nd edition paperback matches my 1st edition hardback, what was the need for a 2nd edition, apart from adding the Waldman letter? Thanks so much!

  3. Yeah it’s basically a mass market version of the first american edition. Weirdly, no info inside distinguishes it from the hardcover. It says first edition. And the back has awesome ads from 1977 for other Ballantine books stuff. Publishing was an odd industry.

    • The late 70s/early 80s mass market industry was nutty and insane. It was basically fantasy/sci-fi and bodice rippers. And you could always write for more books! Also, the covers were almost always bizarre.

  4. I have the exact same edition as you have (Blue cover with Luthien’s flowery device).
    First edition hardcover.
    The four pages are a match.
    I was lucky enough to find it on a second hand shop and got it for a couple of Euros, map and all! 🙂

    Hope it helps!

    • That’s great! Thank you so much! I’m hoping the old trade matches the new trade – that it’s just a new cover. That would make me endlessly happy.

  5. Here’s an ISBN someone sent me on Twitter. Twitter communiciation on this sort of thing is kind of hard to parse, but I believe they are telling me the pages match. ISBN 0 04 823138 8, hardback pub 1977

    • Thanks! That’s my edition as well (0048231398 – they had the next to last digit as “8” rather than “9”).

      Twitter utterly baffles me. I feel bad for just having my posts automatically pushed to it, but any kind of interaction there is just confusing for me. I wish I could interact, but I stare at it like I’m Grandpa from the Simpsons.

      • Believe me, I understand. It took me months to figure out Twitter. Other things suffered because of the time I spent doing it. But it is a useful place to ask the Internet a question. You can thank Twitter and Middle Earth News for much of the helpful info you’ve gotten today 🙂 (Maybe this tweet will come through)

        • Yep! I saw that one – thanks! I’m good at seeing tweets. Looking at stuff – man, I’m a pro. I find Twitter useful for local news, traffic, seeing if a server is down, that kind of stuff. But actually using it beyond a random post about something is just beyond me. I’m more visual, I guess, which is why I use Instagram. But even that is only for my film photography. So maybe I don’t really even get that, either. Damn fool kids.

          • yar. I know. I haven’t even touched instagram yet, despite the fact that my photos would probably do well there. I use lists to keep up with people on Twitter. I have many private lists. And just make a habit of retweeting and sending silly things to people who tweet with me often. The Middle Earth News account doesn’t even follow Sourcerer, but I’ve had online conversations with some of the people who support it, and they’ve featured my Tolkien blogging. So tweeting them your link seemed like it was worth the shot. I was already here, and it only took a second to use the button and edit the tweet.

            • It’s appreciated. It definitely helped in trying to figure this out. And I’m almost there to solving this without buying a copy of every edition of the Silmarillion. Still need the new trade and new hardback. But we’ll get them.

            • With something like this, I am always happy to help if I can figure out how to do it. We got lucky today because I was online and happened to see the post, and had a nice intuitive moment.

  6. I’ve got the Harper Collin’s hardcover deluxe (ISBN 9780007264896).

    P108 for me is – loved in the reverence of Ulmo should be wholly in the power of

    p174 – Then the hearts of the Noldor grew hot, thd their captains wished

    p233 – time, and it may be that in valinor all shall be forgiven and forgot

    p303 (Ths is actually the index in mine) Eol called the Dark Elf, the great smith who dwelt in Nan Elmoth, and

    It’s got a lot of extra stuff in it, like a forword and one of Tolkien’s letters at the start, the index and at least one map, so that might be what changes it so much, but I know nothing about the other editions so that’s just a guess.

    I hope this helps!

      • No worries man. Yeah, that’s the one, when I got it I was under the impression it was the truest to what Tolkien originally wrote, as far as spelling and editing goes, so I knew I’d have to get it.

        • And that’s one of the things I want to explore in this Silmarillion project – to see just what Tolkien wrote, as opposed to how it was edited and changed from the drafts he actually wrote. It’s just fascinating to me.

          • Awesome! It’s something that I’ve spent a decent amount of time looking into and I’ve found it;s incredilby interesting. You’re a bit (or a lot) more well versed in his stuff than I am, so it’ll be a very interesting read I’m sure.

  7. The paperback from the mid-80s with the Akallabeth scene on the cover with the gold background does not match. I’ve been wondering about that one all day. I had it at one time, and read it until it fell apart. Lost it in a bad breakup, I think.

    • That’s the smaller mass market paperback, right? That would probably match the other mass market ones (like the gray one pictured above).

      I really want to do the page-a-day thing, I just want to know which edition is most common. My pages match up with those in the HoME series, as well as most commentaries, so I think I’m on the right track.

      • I think so. It was small, and I bought it at Waldenbooks (remember them?) in ’86 or so. Before that I had one form the 70s with a white cover that had a mountain/lightning scene on the cover. That was my mom’s originally and we wore it out, so had to get a new one.

        I’ve asked for more info.

        • I used to divide my mall time between Walden Books and Listening Booth record store. The smell of books, pizza and vinyl records (the two stores were separated by a pizza shop) is a smell that is forever etched in my mind, but one that I’ll never smell again.

          I think the white one is the one that Ryan (posts here and will be doing the Tolkien podcast with me) has.

          It’s pretty awesome that your mom had a copy. My folks definitely did not.

          I’ll probably end up buying the black paperback and lovely hardback with the Ted Nasmith art on it.

          • I recommend the Naismith version. The art is worth the money. There are several good plates there, but there is one of Ulmo and Tuor that really stands out. The original should be in a gallery. It looks an AWFUL lot like Poseidon talking to Odysseus.

            My mom read me the Hobbit when I was six. It took forever. She read me LOTR before I was 11, and I know that year is good because I tried to read Fellowship on my own for the first time that year. There were a couple of years in-between where I begged for LOTR, but wasn’t really old enough for it.

            My mom is pretty swell 🙂

            • I’ll probably pick up a copy of that one. Did you check the pages on your copy?

              You’re lucky. It took me way too long to discover Tolkien.

            • “A Shadow of the Past” (I hope i got that title right?) Is very challenging for an 11-year-old. I only made it as far as “The Departure of Boromir” the first time I attempted it,. But yes. With this one thing, I am oh. So. Lucky. Leaving Ryan a humorous comment on his about page right this sec.

  8. My copy doesn’t match, it’s the small paperback edition published by Harper Collins in 1999, ISBN 9780261102736 🙂 It’s black with mountains and a blue sun on it

    • Thanks! That’s also a mass market. In the US, that cover was only used for the larger trade paperback, oddly enough. I was really hoping that more people would have the same pageation that I do. I can’t really expect everyone to buy my version.

      However, a couple of weeks prior to starting, I’ll make a post about which versions will match up. I just have to track down a couple more.

  9. Woohoo… OrcWeek. And wow, this is gonna be HUGE, isn’t it? Why sweat by the teacup when there’s the bucket, eh? 😀

    OK, this is my edition’s cover *crossed fingers the html maia is with me*

    First Del Rey Books Edition: January 2002.

    And of course, doesn’t line up with any of your sample pages.

    • That’s basically it, isn’t it? I’m all in! At least for the Ainulinadle. We’ll see where I go from there. I mean, obviously, the Valaquenta. But we’ll see just when that happens.

      Nope, the Del Rey mass market books won’t match up. It looks like it’s most of the hardbacks and most of the trade paperbacks only. It’s kind of a bummer that so many people have the small mass market paperbacks. But everyone will have a couple of weeks to get their hands on the proper copies if they want. If not, it’ll all work out. The words are still the same.

      • Yeah.

        Would you be providing reference for the start and end of the page you’re on as you sweat through it? (like the first and last 3 words)

        I’m just going to rely on my non-compliant copy, and I’m thinking the page size may be different too, or am I not looking at this right?

        • Yep. Page size is totally different. They were able to fit the page of the first edition hardback onto the pages of the trade paperbacks. But not the smaller mass market paperbacks.

          And yup, I’ll be putting the first and last lines and paragraph count on each post. Handy!

  10. I have the mass market paperback (I know, for shame), and you already know that one doesn’t match. But that’s okay. It’d still be easy enough to follow along, especially starting from the beginning… and I need a nicer edition anyways. (By the way, if you need any other info from a physical copy, just let me know. I always have it handy from blogging about it. 🙂 )

    • Treat yo’self! A nice quality paperback is just lovely! But yes, it’ll be pretty easy to follow along. I’ll note the start and end of the text as well as the number of paragraphs. Chapter, too. It’ll all work out, I bet.

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