The Silmarillion

TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Silmarillion.

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TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Silmarillion London: George Allen & Unwin, 1977.

8vo., navy blue cloth, lettered and decorated in gilt direct to spine; original unclipped pictorial dust jacket, upper edge stained blue, pp. 365, with fold-out map and 5 diagrams within the text, a near-fine copy, internally very clean, just slightly spotted to the prelims; with original jacket sunned along spine, as is common, else very good.
The publication history of The Silmarillion is complicated. Hammond identifies "export" and "domestic" issues, with no priority. The "domestic" issue notes that the printing was "by offset lithography by Billing" and carries a price on the dust jacket. By contrast, the "export" issue was printed by William Clowes and carries no price on the dust jacket. This is the former, and therefore the first edition for the UK market.
The Silmarillion itself is a contentious work, mostly due to the idiosyncratic style influenced heavily by Tolkien's love for tinkering with his cosmology…leaving little time for editing or streamlining. His obsession, in fact, with correcting and expanding his creation caused him to die before he finished it - the book we know as the Silmarillion is in fact a collection of finished and unfinished segments of a greater whole, with parts filled in and rearranged by Tolkien's son Christopher. The inspirations for his writing can be seen more clearly here than elsewhere, with hints of Finnish epic, Norse and Greek mythology and Christian parallels in the battle between Eru Iluvatar and his fallen angel Melkor.