Tolkien Companion and Guide 2nd Ed.
Ten years after its publication in autumn 2006, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide is out of print in both the U.K. and the U.S. The decade has passed as if in the blink of an eye. During that time, our book has been praised as essential and authoritative, but also criticized on several counts, some of them legitimate. Kind readers have sent us corrections and suggestions, many of which may be found in our addenda and corrigenda. It’s gratifying to have so many readers that stocks of the Companion and Guide have sold out: it has not always been clear that our book was being noticed, let alone read, as when a question was asked on an online Tolkien site and no one thought to find the answer in ‘Scull and Hammond’.
We were honoured to learn this past spring that HarperCollins want to continue to publish the Companion and Guide, not simply as a reprint of the existing text but in a new edition, corrected, revised, and enlarged. When we were commissioned to write a general book about Tolkien’s life and works, our first model was C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide by Walter Hooper, a thick volume of nearly a thousand pages; but we gathered so much material that our Chronology alone reached that length. Fortunately, HarperCollins agreed to give us two volumes, though we had to cut the text of the Reader’s Guide to fit the maximum number of pages the binding process would allow. Readers of our addenda and corrigenda know that we have continued to gather information about Tolkien, and in the ten years since the Companion and Guide appeared more works by Tolkien have been published, as well as a considerable amount of Tolkien scholarship and criticism. With so much additional material at hand, and so much more ground to cover, HarperCollins suggested that the Companion and Guide now expand from two volumes to three.
The first edition of our book was published both as a boxed set in a slipcase and separately as the Chronology and Reader’s Guide; and because the two volumes could be bought separately, our Preface, bibliography of Works Consulted, and Index were included in each. For the new edition, which will be published only as a hardback set, the Preface will appear only in the first volume and the bibliography of sources only in the third, but for convenience of use each volume will include a comprehensive, improved index. The Chronology will remain a distinct volume, while the encyclopaedic Reader’s Guide will now have two volumes, the first of which will include a list of topics covered, a feature more than one reader has requested. Further, running heads for easier navigation, which had to be omitted in 2006 for reasons discussed on our website, will be included in the new edition of the Reader’s Guide, as well as a greater number of cross-references.
When HarperCollins commissioned this new work, they asked us not to discuss it until they could arrange publicity to be released at an optimal time. But partial information about the book slipped out to Amazon UK and was soon noticed by fans. We asked for permission to announce the new edition formally in this space, and received it this morning. The publication date of 7 September 2017 mentioned in the Amazon listing is probably correct, but the number of pages given, 2,400, is just an early estimate.