The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion
|The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion|
|Author||Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull|
|Illustrator||J.R.R. Tolkien (cover)|
Houghton Mifflin (US)
The Reader's Companion was designed to accompany the revised one-volume 50th anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings. It is available in both hardcover and paperback.
The book contains many hard-to-find or previously unpublished material by Tolkien. Among those material is a significant text "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings", (previously known as Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings, first published in A Tolkien Compass,) in which Tolkien explains the source or meaning of many of the names in the book, to aid translators in rendering his work into foreign languages.
Hammond and Scull proceed chapter-by-chapter from the original foreword through to the end of The Lord of the Rings. Appendices, examining the evolution of the text, changes, inconsistencies, and errors, often using comments from Tolkien's own notes and letters. Other sections cover the numerous maps of Middle-earth, chronologies of the story and its writing, and notes on the book and jacket design of the first editions of 1954–1955.
- A Brief History of The Lord of the Rings
- (The development and publication history of the book)
- Chronologies, Calendars, and Moons
- (Time scheme used by Tolkien, utilising lunar calendar)
- (Dust-jacket design (1954-55 edition) and Title-page design of The Lord of the Rings)
- The Maps of The Lord of the Rings
- (Details on the maps appearing in most editions)
- Foreword to the Second Edition
- (Notes to Tolkien's Foreword to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, 1956)
- The Reader's Companion
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King
- Extracts from a Letter by J.R.R. Tolkien to Milton Waldman, ?late 1951
- (Tolkien giving an account of the structure of the whole book)
- Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- (Notes by Tolkien explaining the ways in which the names should be translated)
- Changes to the Editions of 2004-5
- (Text changes made during the 2004 and 2005 edition of The Lord of the Rings)
Rare or new writings
- A newly transcribed version of "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings". A less complete version of it was published as "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings" in A Tolkien Compass (1975).
- Two versions of a formerly unpublished index of poems, characters, places, and names or things in LotR: "Index questions" and "The Lord of the Rings Index". Notes regarding characters and etymologies have been preserved.
- The unpublished part of Tolkien’s 1951 letter to Milton Waldman, regarding the events of LotR. The other part, regarding The Silmarillion, has been published as Letter 131.
- The scheme used by Tolkien to summarise the events of the entire book, including new contents and notes.
- Several early versions, drafts, and schemes of LotR, most of them unpublished in The History of Middle-earth.
- Unpublished parts of "The Hunt for the Ring", in particular "The Hunt for the Ring: Time Scheme - Black Riders" and other missing manuscripts, schemes, or drafts.
The art on the cover of this book was drawn by Tolkien in 1954 for an experimental dust-jacket for The Fellowship of the Ring. It shows a ribbon running behind the central Ring of Sauron, around which is written in Tengwar the Ring inscription in the Black Speech. The runic letters on the ribbon read, from the Ring Verse, 'In the land of shadows where the Mordor lie', shadows and Mordor inverted in error. Above this, in symbolic opposition to the One Ring, is Narya, the Ring of Fire worn by Gandalf. The complete design of the experimental dust-jacket is reproduced in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, fig. 176.
- See also Original dust-jacket designs
The book won the 2006 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies.
David Bratman, reviewing the work for Tolkien Studies, described it as "simply ... an Annotated Lord of the Rings that for reasons of space omits the text of the work being discussed", by contrast with Douglas A. Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit. He notes that the omission makes keying the notes to the text difficult: page numbers are given for the three-volume Allen and Unwin 1954-1955 edition, and the HarperCollins/Houghton Mifflin one-volume 2004 edition. Since many readers have neither of those, it also provides the first words of every cited paragraph, which in his view is at least workable. As an annotated edition, it succeeds "admirably", Bratman writes, in documenting many words and phrases "worthy of specific relevant commentary", and in providing a scholar capable of doing such a task justice. He notes that at 900 pages "of small type" it is similar in length to the text, while the comments range from brief glosses to "a five-page essay" on the Elf-lady Galadriel, which he calls "by itself a major essay on the subject".
Publication history and gallery
- First Edition
- First Revised Edition
- Second Revised Edition
- Addenda and Corrigenda to The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (2005)
- Addenda and Corrigenda to The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (first revised edition 2008)
- Addenda and Corrigenda to The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (second revised edition 2014)
- David Bratman, Review of the book, Tolkien Studies. 3
- "The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (review)" (accessed 31 May 2022)