Talk:Unfinished index

From Tolkien Gateway

There's a chronology thing which makes me a bit confused. On p. xxxiv in the LotR: A Reader's Companion, Hammond and Scull write:

Probably during 1953 Tolkien began to prepare a glossary-index to The Lord of the Rings, as promised in the original Foreword to The Fellowship of the Ring, and continued to work on it at least into 1954, but completed only a list of place-names.

However, on p. lxxxi they write that the index:

...promised in the Foreword to the first edition of The Lord of the Rings (I:8) was not completed in time to appear in 1955 in The Return of The King. Tolkien seems to have begun work on it in summer 1954 but abandoned it by 1955.

Was the index begun in 1953 or 1954? Are they referring to two different indexes (though it doesn't seem like that)? --Morgan 23:49, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

In The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide I, Chronology, p. 403 they date the beginning of this work to "?August 1953–?first half of 1954" but in the Addenda & Corrigenda on their website they elaborate their dating: "In his introduction to Unfinished Tales Christopher Tolkien comments on the planned index of names in The Lord of the Rings: 'it seems that my father began to work on it in the summer of 1954, after the first two volumes had gone to press' (p. 12). We have dated the beginning of this work instead roughly to August 1953, on the basis of Tolkien’s remark to Rayner Unwin on 31 August 1953 that he had found The Lord of the Rings to need 'the making of a rough index of place-names (and distances)' (see p. 407)..." — so it seems that in The Reader's Guide they (by mistake) refer both to their own dating ("probably during 1953", p. xxxiv) and to Christopher Tolkien's dating ("in summer 1954", p. lxxxi). --Tik 21:57, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Well spotted, Tik (and I feared my question was too obscure to yield any interest)! I'll see if I can contact H&S directly about the matter.--Morgan 22:39, 21 November 2013 (UTC)