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The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (2005)

by Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull

Series: The Lord of the Rings (A Reader's Companion)

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563743,547 (4.47)6
A unique companion to The Lord of the Rings which relates the textual history of the Nation's Favourite Read; with a previously unpublished Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings, written by Tolkien himself. In The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion internationally acclaimed scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull examine Tolkien's masterpiece chapter by chapter, offering expert insights into its evolution, structure, and meaning. They discuss in close detail important literary and historical influences on the development of The Lord of the Rings, connections between that work and other writings by Tolkien, errors and inconsistencies, significant changes to the text during its fifty years of publication, archaic and unusual words used by Tolkien, and words and passages in his invented languages of Middle-earth. Thousands of notes, keyed to standard editions of The Lord of the Rings but universally accessible, reveal the richness and complexity of one of the most popular works of fiction in our time. Hammond and Scull frequently draw upon comments by Tolkien himself, made in letters to family, friends, and enthusiasts, in draft texts of The Lord of the Rings, and in works written in later years which amplify or illuminate characters and events in the story. Extensive reference is made also to writings by Tolkien not previously or widely published, including elaborate time-schemes, an unfinished manuscript index to The Lord of the Rings, and most notably, the important Nomenclature or guide to names in The Lord of the Rings prepared for the use of translators, long out of print and now newly transcribed and printed in its entirety. With these resources at hand, even the most seasoned reader of The Lord of the Rings will come to a greater enjoyment and appreciation of Tolkien's magnificent achievement.… (more)
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English (6)  Italian (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I recently reread (for the nth time, although for the first time in years) “The Lord of the Rings” along with this reader’s companion. If you are one of those people who became a LOTR fan in your youth, learned how to write in Elvish, love the Simarillion, and read the book many times, I highly recommend reading it again along with this commentary. It helped me appreciate even more how the depth of Tolkien’s academic scholarship permeates every word in LOTR. It also helped change my mind and I now consider Tolkien not only a great story teller and world builder, but an incredible writer. I even for the first time appreciate and enjoy his poetry.

I should add that 57 years after I first read LOTR, I appreciate even more his incredible world building, and his deep exploration of human psychology in a fantasy setting. He is truly the master of the genre and has never yet been surpassed. But he also deserves to be appreciated as a great writer, not just in his genre.

As a side note, perhaps it is related to my current age, but I now find LOTR incredibly sad and depressing. The commentary just helped deepen that feeling. I never before fully appreciated how Catholicism is such a pessimistic religion and how deeply it’s despairing view of human nature permeates Tolkien’s writing. ( )
1 vote aront | Sep 13, 2023 |
An invaluable resource for the Tolkien enthusiast. ( )
  AldusManutius | Jul 5, 2020 |
Should it interest you, click to read my 7000+ words analysis, about Free Will and Moral Choice in LOTR

It’s a treasure trove for hardcore fans for sure. I’d even say it is mandatory if you’re the type of fan that has read The Lord of the Rings multiple times, and plan to read it again. It’s 894 pages, with 15 pages of bibliography and a 64-page index.

There's a lengthy introduction on the history of the book’s origin and publication history, notes on the chronologies, calendars and moons, and some pages on the different maps. It also includes 30 pages of notes on the nomenclature, written by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. The main part follows the text, and offers thousands of notes – some trivial and short, others long, quoting from letters or earlier drafts, and from other scholars, including Christopher Tolkien’s extensive work.

It is meticulous about different ways of spelling dwarfs/dwarves/Dwarfs/Dwarves and lots of other words, should stuff like that float your boat. There’s also an index of all the changes that were made for the 2014 60th Anniversary edition by HarperCollins, but that would be interesting for scholars only.

Anyhow: you do not need it as a casual reader, not at all, but it is a tremendous achievement in itself. ( )
  bormgans | Feb 27, 2020 |
The book's quality varies widely-from the little known but fascinating to the tedious and lengthy quotes taken from better known works. Do we need to see entire paragraphs lifted from Unfinished Tales or History of Middle Earth? This book suffers from inadequate editing. ( )
  Cole_Hendron | Oct 15, 2009 |
The only reason this doesn't rate 5 stars is that I found one or two errors in the appendicies. Even so, this volume is a welcome addition, chronicling the various errors, omissions, and erronious edits in the published text of LotR. ( )
1 vote Edrys | May 4, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hammond, Wayne G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scull, Christinamain authorall editionsconfirmed
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In Memory of Our Parents
 
Luella Belle Thauvette
Wayne Gordon Hammond, Sr.
 
Eileen Hannah Abbott
Robert Stanley Scull
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PREFACE
The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of storytelling, and needs no assistance to entertain those sensitive to its qualities.
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Disambiguation notice
This is a different to Hammond and Scull's "The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide", please don't combine it with any of the volumes of that.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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A unique companion to The Lord of the Rings which relates the textual history of the Nation's Favourite Read; with a previously unpublished Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings, written by Tolkien himself. In The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion internationally acclaimed scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull examine Tolkien's masterpiece chapter by chapter, offering expert insights into its evolution, structure, and meaning. They discuss in close detail important literary and historical influences on the development of The Lord of the Rings, connections between that work and other writings by Tolkien, errors and inconsistencies, significant changes to the text during its fifty years of publication, archaic and unusual words used by Tolkien, and words and passages in his invented languages of Middle-earth. Thousands of notes, keyed to standard editions of The Lord of the Rings but universally accessible, reveal the richness and complexity of one of the most popular works of fiction in our time. Hammond and Scull frequently draw upon comments by Tolkien himself, made in letters to family, friends, and enthusiasts, in draft texts of The Lord of the Rings, and in works written in later years which amplify or illuminate characters and events in the story. Extensive reference is made also to writings by Tolkien not previously or widely published, including elaborate time-schemes, an unfinished manuscript index to The Lord of the Rings, and most notably, the important Nomenclature or guide to names in The Lord of the Rings prepared for the use of translators, long out of print and now newly transcribed and printed in its entirety. With these resources at hand, even the most seasoned reader of The Lord of the Rings will come to a greater enjoyment and appreciation of Tolkien's magnificent achievement.

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