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J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) [Box set] [Hardcover]

Christina Scull , Wayne G. Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 6, 2006 0618391134 978-0618391134 Slp
Designed to be the essential reference works for all readers and students, these volumes present the most thorough analysis possible of Tolkien's work within the important context of his life. The Reader's Guide includes brief but comprehensive alphabetical entries on a wide range of topics, including a who's who of important persons, a guide to places and institutions, details concerning Tolkien's source material, information about the political and social upheavals through which the author lived, the importance of his social circle, his service as an infantryman in World War I -- even information on the critical reaction to his work and the "Tolkien cult." The Chronology details the parallel evolutions of Tolkien's works and his academic and personal life in minute detail. Spanning the entirety of his long life including nearly sixty years of active labor on his Middle-earth creations, and drawing on such contemporary sources as school records, war service files, biographies, correspondence, the letters of his close friend C. S. Lewis, and the diaries of W. H. Lewis, this book will be an invaluable resource for those who wish to gain a complete understanding of Tolkien's status as a giant of twentieth-century literature.

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J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) + The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion + The Lord of the Rings (50th Anniversary Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wayne G. Hammond is a librarian at the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Massachusetts. He is the author of 'The Graphic Art of C.B. Falls' (1892), 'J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography' (1993), and regular notes on Tolkien in the journal 'Mythlore'. Christina Scull is the former librarian of Sir John Soane's Museum, London. She is the author of 'The Soane Hogarths' (1991), edits the journal 'The Tolkien Collector', and frequently writes and speaks about Tolkien. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2300 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Slp edition (October 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618391134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618391134
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 6.5 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
In the Preface to their long-awaited J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, Hammond and Scull write that the book "has been designed to serve as a reference of (at least) first resort", but I would daresay that in a great many cases, theirs will be not only the first but the *only* reference work needed. It's *that* exhaustive!

The first volume is mainly a chronology of Tolkien's life, with several satellite chapters detailing his published works, poems, art, a series of Tolkien's family trees, etc. To say that the chronology is detailed would be a considerable understatement. It's really an almost daily accounting of the events of Tolkien's life: essentially an 800-page biography of dates. Staggering!

The second volume, the Reader's Guide, is even larger at well over 1000 pages. This volume, meant to compliment the chronology (and vice versa) provides alphabetized entries for just about every person, place, and literary idea of importance to Tolkien studies. Many of these are in quite astonishing detail, and even the short ones are extremely valuable little gems. For example, in the entry for Jennie Grove, Hammond and Scull provide the basic facts, of course -- but they also point out where to find a photograph of her as well as a portrait of her drawn by Tolkien. These are fantastic kernels of information, and nowhere else are so many collected together in one place. Not only that, but the list of unpublished and archival sources Hammond and Scull consulted is very impressive indeed! Many details represented here have never been brought to light before.

Another excellent feature of the set is the common index; that is, a single index at the back of both volumes covers references *in* both volumes.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Work of Scholarship March 4, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an enormous work and a stupendous achievement. Christina Scull and her husband Wayne G. Hammond have created, in two large volumes, an indispensable compendium for students of JRR Tolkien. Although the two volumes can be obtained separately, I recommend that both be purchased, preferably at the same time, so that you can turn from one to the other as your studies lead you down one fascinating avenue to countless others.

The Chronology Volume is an amazing achievement. JRR Tolkien's entire life is chronicled, many times day by day, so that we know what classes he taught, lectures he gave, conferences he attended, and guests he invited for dinner throughout a long, active life. This may seem to be inconsequential minutiae, but all of it is important in revealing the personality and character of the author and the many sources from which his own writings sprang. Historians and sociologists will also find this volume extremely useful since it reveals one man's daily life through three quarters of the twentieth century.

Equally as impressive is Volume 2, the Reader's Guide. Here Scull and Hammond have provided a multiplicity of information on every bit of extant writing by Tolkien, other authors and thinkers with whom he conversed or otherwise communicated, and so much else that it is impossible to enumerate it all. Scholars studying other writers besides Tolkien will do well to consult this volume, since he had contact with so many of them.

As a matter of full disclosure I should reveal that I met Christina Scull some years ago in London, and I have maintained a friendship with her and with Wayne ever since. I am honored that an article I wrote for the Tolkien journal "Beyond Bree" has been referenced in this Reader's Guide. But I hasten to assure you that I would be just as impressed with this work and would recommend itjust as highly even if these connections did not exist.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incomparable Reference Work on an Incomparable Author February 26, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Scull and Hammond's "The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide" is an unparalleled reference work about Tolkien as author. The "Chronology" volume examines his life in extraordinary detail, often day-by-day. It draws heavily from Tolkien's letters. The Reader's Guide" volume discusses in equal detail the persons, institutions, and literary works that influenced Tolkien's great cration. Published in a boxed, two-volume set of excellent physical quality, Scull and Hammond's "The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide" would be a handsome addition to any library, and a fountain of sparkling interest to any serious Tolkien student.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most significant addition in Tolkien scholarship January 6, 2007
The long delay was well worth the wait: the depth and detail of the work are astounding. I daresay the two volume work is exhaustive, but I have been hardpressed to find any topic or date of significance that is not addressed.

The chronology may seem overwhelming for the reader without an agenda. Tolkien's letter collection edited by Humprey Carpenter is a great resource for cross referencing. Even if you aren't interested in what day Tolkien had lunch with a comittee at Leeds, don't ignore the chronology! The bibliography towards the rear is well worth the big bucks--plenty of bread crumbs to helpful sources.

The reader's guide is excellent and ranges from Tolkien's work to his life. Hammond and Skull are very good about pulling information from primary sources. Even more so, they do well at avoiding speculation on more subjective matters, and limit their own interpretation to those primary sources (though I am sure it is valuable).

This is type of book that should occupy the reference area of every college library. The companion is certainly a scholarly work, and is the best reference material on Tolkien to date. It is also, however, valuable to readers who are equally fascinated with Tolkien as they are with his creations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) [Box set]...
J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) [Box set] [Hardcover]

The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (2006) by Wayne G. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Joe Zika
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous added enjoyments to my readings, with the Companion, and...
Wonderful, enjoyable companion to my Tolkein library, and I love the background and insights these boods give to me, a self-teaching Tolkein scholar- Wonderful, wonder-filled... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is amazing
I think that this book is really useful if you have to study Tolkien in depth because it gives you lots of information about his life and creative works. I love it.
Published on March 25, 2011 by Trilli86
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing amount of info !!!!!
This set of 2 books has got to be the most informative, fun-to-read, amazing books on Tolkien I have read. Wayne & Christina have done it again. Read more
Published on March 16, 2009 by Ryan D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Xmas Gift for a relation
I am a Williams alumni, and I was pleased to present this definitive Tolkien guide to my brother for Xmas this year. Bravo to the librarians!
Published on January 21, 2008 by Nevin House
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you ever wanted to know about Tolkien and then some
Like the title of my review says, this set has everything you ever wanted to know about Tolkien and then some. Read more
Published on October 14, 2007 by Brian & Randy
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, it is finally out
After long wait and anticipation, the Companion and Guide Box Set is out.

I reviewed the two volumes separately. Read more
Published on January 4, 2007 by Ran Bar Zik
5.0 out of 5 stars As of May 2006, this hasn't been published yet
In reply to the above poster: this book hasn't been published yet, and may not come out for a while (the authors were delayed by work on the "Reader's Companion to the Lord of the... Read more
Published on May 14, 2006 by Jeff Chadwick
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Topic From this Discussion
Tolkien's Ghost?
When our book was conceived, more than seven years ago, we and our publishers imagined that it would run about a thousand pages. But we found so much new information about Tolkien, and realized that some topics needed to be discussed in such detail, that it became two thick volumes and took much... Read More
Jan 18, 2007 by Wayne G. Hammond |  See all 2 posts
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