Tolkien Gateway

The Lord of the Rings Foreword

The Foreword is the very first section appearing in The Lord of the Rings.

Contents

[edit] First edition

In the Foreword to the first edition of The Lord of the Rings,[note 1] Tolkien imposes himself as merely translator and editor of the text to come, thus sharing the in-universe character of the 1951 prefatory note to the second edition of The Hobbit.

[edit] Second and later editions

In the Foreword to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, first published in 1965,[note 2] Tolkien possibly revised the in-universe perspective,[1] after having pondered that he wishes the first edition Foreword "in any case to cancel" since "[c]onfusing (as it does) real personal matters with the 'machinery' of the Tale is a serious mistake".[2]

[edit] Mistakes

In the same text, recollecting the writing of the book 25 years earlier, Tolkien claims that he had a hiatus in 1940, after writing about Balin's Tomb, until late 1941. Christopher Tolkien says that this detail contradicts contemporary Letter 37 and was probably a false memory of that year; the hiatus was probably in 1939 until August 1940.[3][4]

[edit] See also

Notes

  1. Reprinted in "greater part" in The Peoples of Middle-earth (pp. 25-6), and in its entirety in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (pp. lxviii-lxx).
  2. The second edition Foreword first appeared in the 1965 edition of The Lord of the Rings published by Ballantine Books, partly in response to the Ace Books controversy.

References

  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. lxviii-lxx
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "II. The Appendix on Languages", p. 26
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, p. 461
  4. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p.xxiii


The Lord of the Rings
Foreword · Prologue · The Fellowship of the Ring · The Two Towers · The Return of the King · Appendices · Index