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This Edition is a Disgrace!
on November 6, 2000
This is not a critique of Tolkien's work; rather it is a condemnation of Houghton Mifflin's hardcover boxed set. Thirty years after first reading "The Lord of the Rings" I decided to read it again. Besides the engrossing and detailed story, I had a renewed interest in the technical aspects of Tolkien's craft and his use of the English language. I am not disappointed and I am enjoying the reading immensely.
I bought the Hardcover Boxed edition published October, 1988, by Houghton Mifflin Co (Trd); ISBN: 0395489326 ; because I wanted a high quality, permanent copy with good typesetting and larger print. When I received this particular edition I was shocked at the extremely poor quality of print and generally poor quality of every aspect of the presentation. In two of the volumes the maps are incorrectly bound so that they are impossible to unfold. It is not even possible to cut the map out of the book because important parts of the middle of it have been sewn up in the binding.
But the damning point of this edition is the printed page. Every single page has both drop outs and extra ink everywhere. The printing weight varies from page to page, at times fading to a medium gray, at other times a dense bold face. I am not exaggerating when I proclaim that most paperbacks are printed more carefully and more clearly than this.
Buy the books, read them and enjoy them. But benefit from my misfortune and stay far far away from this edition.