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New Addenda & Corrigenda

March 17, 2010

This evening we posted to our website substantial new additions and corrections to The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, as well as addenda and corrigenda to J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, and the 50th anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings. Included is much new information about the Tolkien and Suffield families, gleaned from U.K. Census records which we were able to examine online during January. Three of the family trees that appeared in our Chronology (vol. 1 of the Companion and Guide) have been completely revised.

Separate lists of additions and corrections by date are available for the Reader’s Companion and both volumes (Chronology and Reader’s Guide) of the Companion and Guide. A table of contents to ‘Addenda and Corrigenda to Our Writings’ may be found here.

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2 Comments
  1. March 18, 2010 8:51 am

    Thank you, Wayne and Christina; you continue to improve what are already the best references on Tolkien ever published! 🙂

    The proliferation of addenda, in particular, elicits a question: will there ever be wholesale new print editions of the affected books, incorporating these changes into single, physical form? As it stands now, researchers much first check your books, then carefully check your online addenda (if they are even aware of this treasure trove). I can see this becoming more and more onerous as the number of addenda grow, especially if the timing of discoveries is being investigated. (Not to mention, websites must be regarded as far less permanent than published books.)

    Of course, I don’t know what alternative(s) you have if the publisher doesn’t wish to issue periodic new editions, and I would certainly rather have than not have the additions you are making — but it presents a bit of ‘version anxiety’ for researchers. Any thoughts?

    • March 18, 2010 1:49 pm

      Some of our corrections to Artist and Illustrator made it into later printings, some corrections to the 2004 Lord of the Rings were made in 2005, and many emendations to the Reader’s Companion were incorporated in the HarperCollins trade paperback edition. In almost all cases, new or altered text had to be fitted into existing text blocks or blank space left at the end of the last page of a section. The dense setting of the Companion and Guide doesn’t lend itself well to alteration or addition, which would also affect the index; and we were already at the limit of allowable pages for the Reader’s Guide. Then there are factors of unsold stock, the tendency of Tolkien enthusiasts to purchase relatively few books about Tolkien rather than by him, and the cost of publishing a work in multiple volumes which work against the possibility of a new, reset edition of the Companion and Guide, at least for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, and acknowledging what you say about the impermanence of web sites, our online addenda and corrigenda are the best we can do.

      What publisher, anyway, issues periodic new editions of a trade book (as opposed to a reference book or textbook)? It would be theoretically possible to republish complete books with updated text (ignoring the indexing nightmare) with print-on-demand or eBook technology – but how frequently to do this, would enough buyers care to make it financially feasible, and what bibliographic chaos would ensue with multiple ‘printings’ that were outwardly similar but contained different texts?

      We follow Jason Fisher’s blog, Lingwë: Musings of a Fish, available here.

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