Dust jacket of 1978 edition
|Cover artist||The Brothers Hildebrandt|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||0-345-44976-2 (2001 edition)|
|Preceded by||A Guide to Middle-earth, Mirage Press, 1971|
The Complete Guide to Middle-earth is a major expansion of Foster's A Guide to Middle-earth, which was published in a limited edition by Mirage Press in 1971. Almost twice the length of the original (573 pages vs. 292 pages), the 1978 version incorporates extensive entries related to The Silmarillion (1977). A further revised edition (ISBN 0-345-44976-2) was published in 2001 in time for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The Complete Guide to Middle-earth is generally recognised as an excellent reference book on Middle-earth. Christopher Tolkien has commended it himself as an "admirable work of reference". However, as it does not include information on post-Silmarillion material (i.e. Unfinished Tales and the series The History of Middle-earth), the 1978 edition contains some assertions contradicted by later publications. For example, the Star of Elendil jewel (Elendilmir) is identified with the Star of the Dúnedain given to Samwise Gamgee, but Christopher Tolkien refutes this. It also includes speculation on matters later confirmed in subsequent works. For example, Foster proposes Gandalf and Olórin are one and the same - confirmed in Unfinished Tales.
A German edition, Das Große Mittelerde-Lexikon, revised and translated by Helmut W. Pesch, was published in 2002.
- See, for example, Drout, Michael D. C., ed.: J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, editor's Introduction, p. xxix, where Drout refers to the book by the title of the 1971 edition
- Tolkien, Christopher "Introduction" to Tolkien, J. R. R. Unfinished Tales, p.6 : "If I have been inadequate in explanation or unintentionally obscure, Mr Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle-earth supplies, as I have found through frequent use, an admirable work of reference."
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Footnote 33 in 'The Disaster of the Gladden Fields', p. 284, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1990), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Footnote 8 in 'Many Roads Lead Eastward (1)', p. 309, ISBN 0-395-56008-X
- Drout, J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, p. 240