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Tolkien Companion and Guide 2nd Ed.

October 4, 2016

Companion and Guide boxTen 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.

  1. Douglas Bailey permalink
    October 4, 2016 11:46 pm

    I’m thrilled to hear of the new edition. Looking forward to it!

  2. October 5, 2016 1:08 am

    Great to hear guys, good luck with the new edition 🙂 I know how important your Companion and Guide has been for my own Tolkien knowledge.

  3. Floss Gibson permalink
    October 5, 2016 1:43 am

    Great news guys. Could one of you mail me please? I can’t seem to track down an email address for you and I have something for the corriegenda of “Chronology” which in the light of this post I really should send you.


  4. October 5, 2016 4:52 am

    Wonderful news, indeed. I am sure people the world over will be starting to save money for this 🙂

  5. October 5, 2016 7:05 am

    So happy to hear this. Congratulations!


  6. October 5, 2016 11:20 am

    I am so glad of this, as the original set is out of print (and therefore, crazy expensive via marketplaces).

    I look forward to more official details as time goes by: what the slipcase will look like, the dustjackets of the three volumes, page count, what the three volumes will be titled, etc…

    • October 18, 2016 9:25 pm

      Thanks to everyone for your kind words. It’s too early to say what the slipcase will look like, etc. As for volume titles, we had imagined that vol. 1 will be the Chronology, and vols. 2 and 3 the Reader’s Guide 1 and 2. Everything will expand, but the Guide most of all. The back matter presently in the Chronology may or may not move to the Guide, depending on how we need to balance length between the three volumes.

  7. Colin Harper permalink
    October 5, 2016 6:42 pm

    Great news, indeed. While it must be frustrating to know that people online continue to ask questions and either shrug shoulders or peddle speculation without bothering to look in ‘Scull and Hammond’ for definitive information, where such is possible, do be assured that MANY people surely know and greatly appreciate the quality and breadth of your work!

  8. October 6, 2016 9:24 am

    Great news, my copy is in need of a replacement as it is used often! I hope that it is listed on Amazon DE before long so I can pre-order it there.

  9. P.C. permalink
    October 20, 2016 8:49 pm

    Great news indeed. Your LOTR Reader’s Companion is excellent and I’ve been looking to acquire these for a reasonable price and in good condition. Instead of buying an insanely expensive second-hand copy I will get the revised and expanded second edition. Obviously, I’ve already pre-ordered.

  10. John permalink
    October 30, 2016 9:29 pm

    Are there plans for this to be published in the US?

    • October 30, 2016 9:49 pm

      We don’t know yet, John. We hope so, but Houghton Mifflin Harcourt haven’t taken up all of the Tolkien titles published by HarperCollins, and in the case of our The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion they’ve chosen to keep reprinting the original edition rather than use any of the revisions.

  11. Phillip Dekars permalink
    January 7, 2017 3:20 pm

    I see there is now a 800 page release scheduled on Amazon UK for 30th November. Any info on this?

    • January 8, 2017 11:19 pm

      There’s also a 960-page hardback release scheduled, in addition to the 800-page paperback, and we know nothing about either of them! We’ll ask HarperCollins, but suspect that these are erroneous listings. We know only about a three-volume hardback, boxed, to come out in September.

      • Phillip Dekars permalink
        January 9, 2017 7:05 am

        Thank you for the reply. The 800-page is now the 960-page listed as both a hardback and paperback version.

  12. steve Finken permalink
    January 19, 2017 10:42 pm

    will this new edition be in ebook format as well?

    • July 12, 2017 8:26 pm

      Hi, Steve, sorry to take so long in replying. HarperCollins could create an e-book version from our files, and Amazon UK in fact are showing a UK Kindle version of the third volume (only!), but we have no definite news. We’ll pass it along when we do.


  1. Second edition of “Tolkien Companion and Guide” announced – The Tolkien Society

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