New Tolkien Projects, Part One
It has already become clear to us, just halfway through the first month of the new year, that 2014 is going to be very busy for our work with Tolkien, so much so that we’ve had to call this post ‘Part One’. Here we’ll include as much news as we can give at this time, pending the signing of contracts and the settling of details.
In our last Tolkien Notes on November 3rd, we announced the return to print of our 50th anniversary edition of Farmer Giles of Ham. Since then, we’ve read two proofs and have written a brief note to introduce a gallery of Pauline Baynes’s later full-page illustrations for Farmer Giles, drawn for the Tolkien collection Poems and Stories (1980). The text of the new edition of Farmer Giles follows the previous one (1999), with adjustments to our introduction and notes to reflect the fact that Tolkien’s story has been newly typeset rather than, as before, reproduced in facsimile. The result will be another handsome volume in HarperCollins’ series of pocket-size editions of Tolkien’s works, following on The Hobbit and Roverandom.
Also scheduled to appear in this series, on October 9th, is The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book. We had proposed a new edition of this book for its 50th anniversary in 2012, but the timing seems not to have been right for it. Instead, we were given approval to begin work on it last year, and are now making a final revision. This new edition will contain the sixteen poems as published in 1962, together with the original drawings by Pauline Baynes. But it will also include earlier versions of the poems, where earlier versions exist – some of these were published in magazines and journals which are now hard to find – and it will reprint a later ‘Bombadil’ poem, Once upon a Time. In addition, we are very pleased to be allowed to publish for the first time, from Tolkien’s manuscript, the predecessor of Perry-the-Winkle, called The Bumpus, and the complete, tantalizingly brief fragment of a prose story featuring Tom Bombadil, in the days of ‘King Bonhedig’. To these, we have added an introduction, comments on the poems and on Tolkien’s preface, and glosses for unusual words, as we did previously for Roverandom and Farmer Giles of Ham.
On June 19th, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion will return to hardback in the U.K. Our Reader’s Companion, first published in 2005 simultaneously in hardback and A format (mass-market) paperback, provides annotations for The Lord of the Rings, including some drawn from unpublished writings by Tolkien, and documents our work on the corrected 50th anniversary text of The Lord of the Rings as it stood at the time. (This year of course, and 2015, mark the 60th anniversary of the first publication of The Lord of the Rings.) In the U.S.A., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have kept the original hardback Reader’s Companion in print, while HarperCollins allowed it to go out of print, retaining instead a B format (trade) paperback with a revised and slightly expanded text. We will be looking carefully at the 2008 edition and considering corrections and additions besides those noted on our website, as space permits within the present number of pages.
Images (cover art), top to bottom: the new edition of Farmer Giles of Ham; The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book (1962); the 2008 trade paperback of The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion.