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Tolkien Publications for the Year 2000

updated 05/01/00

The following is a compilation from various sources of information that I’ve been able to gather about forthcoming Tolkien-related books for the year 2000. Thanks especially to Clay Harper for the Houghton Mifflin information, and to Locus magazine for the British schedule of HarperCollins UK.

In the United States, on the Spring list, Houghton Mifflin will be reissuing two titles, both scheduled to appear in June. The first is a trade paperback edition of J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography, by Humphrey Carpenter ($14.00, 0-618-05702-1). This is the standard biography of Tolkien, and it first appeared in 1976. It is highly readable, and an excellent guide to the man behind The Lord of the Rings.

The second title coming from Houghton Mifflin in June will be the first American paperback edition of The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien ($15.00, 0-618-05699-8). Yeah, I know, the idea of a collection of letters doesn’t sound that intriguing at first, but this book really is wonderful. Most of the letters have new nuggets of Middle-earth related information (whether it be the elvish word for bull–"mundo", or Tolkien’s comments on a proposed film-script of The Lord of the Rings done in 1958, or some postcards by Tolkien written in runes, reproduced in facsimile). This is a highly interesting book, and this new edition will contain an expanded index (and I know that we folks at GreenBooks will appreciate that!).

Also in the U.S., Ballantine Books will be putting new covers on their mass market editions of The Hobbit and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings. These are scheduled for May.

And the Science Fiction Book Club (again in the US) is publishing their own special hardcovers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings, in one volume, is due out in March, while their edition of The Hobbit is scheduled for June.

For the Fall list (and here the shipping dates are still rather tentative), Houghton Mifflin has several choice items on the docket. The most exciting, which will probably come out in October, will be a trade paperback edition of J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull ($25.00). This book came out in hardcover in 1995 and seems to have been missed by many fans. It’s a large sized book, with about two hundred illustrations by Tolkien, in black and white and in color, for various things like The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Father Christmas Letters, and other writings. It is a beautiful book, with lots of erudite text from the editors in relating Tolkien’s illustrations to his writings. The visual dimension it adds to Tolkien’s invented world of Middle-earth makes this book essential for every Tolkien fan.

Also scheduled for October will be some trade paperbacks of three and a half volumes of The History of Middle-earth series. These volumes include volumes six through nine of the twelve volumes, though only half of volume nine is being republished here (with a new title). The reason is that these three and a half volumes all relate the story of the writing of The Lord of the Rings. There are many early drafts, excised passages from the published book, and many notes Tolkien wrote to himself while working on the book. This series, called "The History of the Lord of the Rings", is a fascinating look at a great author writing his best book. Besides the four individual volumes (The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard, The War of the Ring, and The End of the Third Age–this last volume is the first half of the book originally titled Sauron Defeated), each priced around $14, there will be a boxed set of all four at $50. These books are a great entry point for learning how a master like Tolkien came to write his greatest tale of Middle-earth.

Houghton Mifflin will also be releasing some Tolkien audio-cassettes, probably in November. There will be a set of four cassettes of Martin Shaw reading The Hobbit in an abridged form ($25.00). And there will be a set of two cassettes of Derek Jacobi (along with a few other performers) reading Letters from Father Christmas ($15.00).

In England, HarperCollins UK is planning a trade paperback edition of The Hobbit with illustrations by Alan Lee. This is due in April. A twentieth anniversary hardcover edition of Unfinished Tales was scheduled for May (though according to the March issue of Locus, this might have gotten bumped forward to October). Also scheduled for May is The Lord of the Rings Postcard Book, with twenty illustrations by different artists.

The Tolkien Calendar for 2001 is scheduled for June; it will contain illustrations by John Howe. (I believe, like last year’s calendar, this will be available in the US from the American division of HarperCollins.)

In September, new trade paperback editions are due for The Hobbit and for The Silmarillion, as well as the trade paperback edition of last year’s Farmer Giles of Ham: 50th Anniversary edition, edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond.

For October, a nonfiction book is scheduled, The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff, along with The Hobbit, or There and Back Again: Facsimile First Edition, as a hardcover for collectors.

Greenwood Press has two academic titles for Tolkienists this year. The first, Tolkien’s Legendarium, edited by Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter, was due out in January/February ($59.95, 0-313-30530-7). I’ve heard that it is out, but haven’t seen an actual copy yet. It is an anthology of scholarly essays about the series "The History of Middle-earth". Here’s the publisher’s description of the book:

"As a scholar of medieval languages and literature, J.R.R. Tolkien brought to his fiction an intense interest in myth and legend. When he died in 1973, he left behind a vast body of unpublished material related to his fictive mythology. Now edited and published as The History of Middle-earth by his son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien, these 12 volumes provide a record of the growth of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythology from its beginnings in 1917 to the time of his death more than 50 years later. Thematerial in these volumes offers an unparalleled insight into Tolkien's process of myth-making and is a guide to the world of his literary works. This book is the first comprehensive critical examination of Christopher Tolkien's compilation of his father's Middle-earth legends.
"An opening essay by Rayner Unwin, Tolkien's publisher for many years, surveys the publication history of the collection. The essays that follow, each written by an expert contributor, explore a wide range of topics related to The History of Middle-earth. Included are discussions of Tolkien's languages, the evolution of his vision over time, the shifting importance of central characters, and the effect of his mythology on The Lord of the Rings. By exploring this mythological compendium, the volume sheds further light on the entire body of J.R.R. Tolkien's works and is a valuable resource for all readers interested in his writings."

The table of contents of the book can be found at the publisher’s website (http://info.greenwood.com/books/0313305/0313305307.html), and the book looks very enticing. My library has it on order, and I’m looking forward to reading it when it arrives.

The second Greenwood title is due in June/July, J. R. R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances, edited by George Clark and Daniel Timmons. Here’s the publisher’s description of this volume:

"Although Tolkien's literary works have, over the past few decades, attracted a considerable and varied body of criticism, much of this material is inaccessible, unreflective, and repetitive. Most criticism has concentrated on his sources and biographical influences, but such studies generally do not look beyond his interest in medieval literature. Nonetheless, Tolkien's writings have links and resonances with the whole of English literature from Old Norse traditions to contemporary literary thought. This book corrects a striking imbalance in Tolkien scholarship by placing his works within a larger literary context.
"The volume ranges over the entire history of English literature, including oral narrative tradition, Anglo-Saxon poetry, medieval romance, Renaissance poetics, 19th-century adventure stories, modern art, and contemporary fantasy. Each chapter is written by an expert contributor who demonstrates Tolkien's relation to an earlier literary movement and examines the literary resonances of his works from a variety of informed perspectives. By grounding Tolkien's writings within the larger canon of literature, the book argues that his works actually fall within the mainstream literary tradition."

And again, the table of contents can be found at Greenwood’s website (http://info.greenwood.com/books/0313308/0313308454.html). This volume, too, sounds very interesting.

So, all in all, it looks like an exciting year for Tolkieniana, as things gear up for 2001, the year of the first movie.



Several readers have written in and given some valuable information on new Tolkien publications.

First, there is one that I didn’t mention previously, and that is a new book by Tom Shippey, author of The Road to Middle-earth, which is one of the best books out there on Tolkien. Shippey’s new book will be called J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, and it is apparently Shippey’s response to the controversy of The Lord of the Rings winning the Waterstones poll as Book of the Century in England a few years ago, and the subsequent outcry from the literati. The book is listed on Amazon.co.uk as a September 2000 publication, thought I’ve also heard that it might not come out until 2001. I’ll report on this further when I have more up-to-date information. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to this book myself.

It has also been reported to me that the announcement in Locus for John D. Rateliff’s book on The History of The Hobbit is premature. This books has evidently been in the works for some time, and still isn’t ready. Amazon.co.uk does have a listing for it, as a January 1994 publication, though it says it is "not yet published"! The title, according to amazon.co.uk, is Mr. Baggins: A History of [the] Hobbit.

Carl F. Hostetter, one of the editors of the Greenwood Press collection Tolkien’s Legendarium, wrote in to say that he’s created a website with further information on the book. Check it out at: http://www.elvish.org/legendarium/

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