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Tolkien Notes 18

July 15, 2020

Well Known?

The Spring number of the journal The Book Collector refers (p. 135) to a ‘well known’ story ‘about Tolkien being advised by a friend to whom he showed his first manuscript to stick to teaching Anglo-Saxon’. Well known to whom? Not to us. And what was the ‘first manuscript’?

The same number, and same page, tells a story about Anthony Price, who as a young reporter on the Oxford Mail was asked to review The Fellowship of the Ring. His editor thought that the book looked ‘a bit dull’ and was worth only 400 words maximum. Price ‘disagreed and arranged an interview with Tolkien, who thereupon handed over proofs for the next two volumes, with handwritten annotations’. Price asked if he could write a feature article on Tolkien for the Mail; no, replied his editor, because Tolkien had written ‘a very odd book’, and the editor had talked with ‘some dons about Tolkien – they say he’s a real weirdo. But do the 400.’ Price’s review of The Fellowship of the Ring was published on 16 September 1954, as ‘Fairy Story for Grownups Too’; its length, however, is closer to 800 words than to 400. We know that Price spoke with Tolkien in September 1954, as Tolkien mentions it in a letter, but his interview was not published until 27 January 1956, and in the Oxford Times rather than the Mail. In the meantime, Price also reviewed for the Mail, in January and October 1955, The Two Towers (comparatively briefly) and The Return of the King.


Addenda and Corrigenda Updates

After a very long gap of time – nearly two years! – we have made new updates to many of the pages on our website listing addenda and corrigenda to our several books. These are:

  1. Peter permalink
    July 16, 2020 5:12 am

    Hi, this isn’t a comment on the post, but thought you might be interested in these Hobbit illustrations by Peter Klúcik –
    There are some by Mikhail Belomlinsky also –

  2. Doug Kane permalink
    July 16, 2020 9:06 am

    I chuckled at the idea of a ‘story’ about Tolkien being “well-known” but not known by the two of you. Sounds like a fictional ‘story’ to me.

    The story about Price and his editor is an interesting one, however.

  3. July 16, 2020 9:31 am

    Thank you C&W as always for the continued dedication to the corrections and updates to the many excellent publications from you both. It is always very welcome.

    A question if I may about the digital editions of the companion and guide. Are your corrections and additions reflected in the amazon Kindle version or are they recorded here alone for our use?

    Again thanks for all the hard work from you both.


    • July 16, 2020 11:23 am

      The digital edition includes (we presume; we’ve never seen it) only what went into the printed edition. We incorporated addenda and corrigenda to the 2006 edition in the edition of 2017, and then some; but later addenda and corrigenda are only on our website.

      • July 16, 2020 12:20 pm

        Many thanks for the reply and clarification.

        An A5 notebook has now become an unofficial 4th volume to your excellent 3 volumes with extra notes and information. At first I added them loose to the books themselves but now they are too fat for the slipcase.

        Thanks again.

  4. July 19, 2020 5:41 am

    Hi again, your correction to “The Owl and the Nightingale” says to omit the redundant words “Modern English Translation”.

    Is that both instances?

    The entry currently reads “Owl and the Nightingale, The C 46, 69, 148, 435, 444, 450, 502, 510, 589, G 954, 964; Modern English translation C 174, 731, 732, Modern English translation G 1000”

    Should the entry read “Owl and the Nightingale, The C 46, 69, 148, 174, 435, 444, 450, 502, 510, 589, 731, 732 G 954, 964, 1000”?

    Thanks as always.

    • July 19, 2020 8:20 am

      We meant, just to delete the second instance of the words — the redundant instance — thus joining G 1000 to the preceding string of C 174, 731, 732.

      • July 19, 2020 8:52 am

        Many thanks for the reply. I was clearly being thick with that one but was suffering brain fade.

  5. July 21, 2020 2:01 pm

    Hi again, I am sorry to be a constant pain. I am a little confused by one of the corrections. “p. 456, entry for 1 June 1964: For ‘1964’ read ‘1954’.” Can I double check this is correct?

  6. August 4, 2020 9:09 pm

    I’ve a new (trivial) corrigendum for the 2014 edition of The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion. On p. 257, in the first note for p. 258 of The Lord of the Rings, the extract from Appendix A incorrectly reads “thought” where it should read “though” in the first paragraph quoted:

    […] and they say that it was given to the King of Khazad-dûm, Durin III, by the Elven-smiths themselves and not by Sauron, thought doubtless his evil power was on it […]

    Appendix A itself is correct in my 2004 and later editions, so this looks to be just a slight garbling of the quoted matter.

  7. Mauro permalink
    August 24, 2020 5:28 am

    Hi, thanks for your great and invaluable work.
    On page 567 of Reader’s Guide I (voice “Imram”), you wrote “Navigatio Sancti Bendani”, but the correct form should be “Navigatio Sancti Brendani” (
    Best regards

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