A Tolkien Compass

From Tolkien Gateway
A Tolkien Compass
EditorJared Lobdell
PublisherDel Rey, Open Court
Pages216 (1st ed), 208 (2nd ed)

A Tolkien Compass: Fascinating Studies and Interpretations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Most Popular Epic Fantasies is a collection of essays on J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, edited by Jared Lobdell. Most contributors were, like Lobdell, part of the University of Wisconsin Tolkien Society.[1]

The first edition was published in 1975, a second printing followed in 1980 and then a revised second edition was released in 2003. The first edition also contained Tolkien's Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings (pp. 153-201), but this has been omitted from the second edition due to complaints from the Tolkien Estate, who are the legal owners of the text.

First Edition (1975)[edit | edit source]

From the Publisher[edit | edit source]

"For those who have dismissed Tolkien's writings as simply escapist literature, the sophisticated tome and perceptive, probing insights of most of the collected articles may be an awakening to a deeper appreciation of these complex classics"
― The A.R.E. Journal

The intricacies of Tolkien's puns, the moral geography of Middle-earth, the true character of the Fellowship of the Ring and the hobbits' friends and foes, the sheer musical beauty of the names Tolkien invents - all are given careful attention. Tolkien's consuming involvement in his books merits this loving exactness.

W.H. Auden wrote that he was especially astounded by Tolkien's gift for inventing proper names. Auden would have avidly studied the final offering of this book. For here is a true polestar for all wondering Tolkien fans: Tolkien's own unpublished "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings." Originally, Tolkien prepared this guide for translators of his work. Here, he shares his dragon-hoard of etymological treasures. His asides to the reader on how he came to choose some of the names bring us into Tolkien's own studyroom.[2]

Contents[edit | edit source]

Second Edition (2003)[edit | edit source]

From the Publisher[edit | edit source]

A Tolkien Compass offers surprising insights into the mind of the creator of Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's political, religious, cosmological, and psychological principles are explored by ten writers with different backgrounds and divergent approaches. As leading authority Tom Shippey observes in his foreword, A Tolkien Compass lives up to its name by providing vital guidance to both new and seasoned travelers in Middle-earth.

Contents[edit | edit source]


  1. Jared Lobdell, A Tolkien Compass, "Introduction"
  2. Jared Lobdell, A Tolkien Compass, Front endpaper