The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide

From Tolkien Gateway
The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Companion and Guide ed1 v1.png
AuthorChristina Scull, Wayne G. Hammond
PublisherHarperCollins (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released11 November 2006 (UK)
6 October 2006 (US)
FormatHardcover boxed set

The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide is a most comprehensive reference book on the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. This work is by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, first published in 2006.

The first edition consists of two volumes, one is an extraodinarily detailed Chronology of Tolkien's life, the other is a Reader's Guide containing entries on all things, places, and persons that Tolkien was concerned with, arranged in alphabetical order. The whole work totals up to 2300 pages.

A second edition was published in 2017, with much revision and addition to the first edition that the Reader's Guide has to be divided into two volumes. The book is now expanded to have 2720 pages.

Overview[edit | edit source]

1. Chronology

The Chronology, being the first of the three volumes, traces J.R.R. Tolkien's progress from his birth in South Africa in 1892, to the battlefields of France and the lecture-halls of Leeds and Oxford, to his success as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, until his death in 1973.

It is the most extensive biographical resource about Tolkien ever published. Thousands of details have been drawn from letters, contemporary documents in libraries and archives, and a wide variety of other published and unpublished sources. Assembled together, they form a revealing portrait of Tolkien in all his aspects: the distinguished scholar of Old and Middle English, the capable teacher and administrator, the devoted husband and father, the brilliant creator of Middle-earth.

2. Reader's Guide

The Reader's Guide, being the two remaining volumes, is an indispensable introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien's life, writings and art. It includes histories and discussions of his works; analyses of the components of his vast Silmarillion mythology; brief biographies of people important in his life; accounts of places he knew; essays on topics such as Tolkien's interests and attitudes towards contemporary issues, ideas found in his works, adaptations and invented languages; and checklists of his published works, his poetry, his pictorial art, and translations of his writings.

Reception[edit | edit source]

David Oberhelman, writing in Mythlore, call the work "undoubtedly a seminal if not the definitive reference work on the Professor". He states that "in true Tolkien fashion, [it] grew in the telling". In his opinion, "the breadth of the coverage and the authority with which Scull and Hammond document Tolkien's life and times will make these books an invaluable supplement to Humphrey Carpenter's classic 1977 biography and their own 2005 The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion". Oberhelman notes that rather than studying the fictional Middle-earth, the work focuses on Tolkien himself, describing "people, places and things" linked to Tolkien. Where there is interpretation beyond what Tolkien or his son Christopher write, the work tends to cite scholars like Verlyn Flieger and Tom Shippey. Arguments are presented in a balanced way, and the discussions are "always informative as well as entertaining". Oberhelman calls the work "truly a monumental achievement".[1]

John Garth, in Tolkien Studies, describes Scull and Hammond's work as a "super-heavyweight contribution by two highly regarded veterans of Tolkien studies." In his view, while Michael D.C. Drout's The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia may have the edge on matters of criticism, Scull and Hammond is best on "biographical matters". The work's encyclopedic structure "rightly" avoids having entries on fictional people, places, and "totems", an approach that works like Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth had incautiously adopted. Instead, it "ambitiously" aims to cover the whole of Tolkien's life in diaristic detail, as The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien did for 1944, given that Tolkien had written repeatedly to his son Christopher in that year detailing small events in his life. The result is to offer the scholar and the interested reader a wealth of detail on why and how Tolkien wrote as he did.[2]

Publication history and gallery[edit | edit source]

First edition
boxed set  
First edition
vol. 1  
First edition
vol. 2  
Second edition
boxed set  
Second edition
vol. 1  
Second edition
vol. 2  
Second edition
vol. 3  

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


  1. Oberhelman, David D. (2007). "Review of The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide". Mythlore. 25
  2. Garth, John (2007). "The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, Volume I: Chronology, and: Volume II: Reader's Guide (review)". Tolkien Studies. 4
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth ·
The Fall of Númenor · The Maps of Middle-earth
Not on Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · Letters from Father Christmas ·
Mr. Bliss · Roverandom · Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Collected letters and poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
Edited old texts A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse · The Old English Exodus
Books by other authors
Biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Reference works The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly studies The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer ·
Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection of works, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.