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The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion Hardcover – December 27, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0618642670 ISBN-10: 0618642676 Edition: 1ST

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 894 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1ST edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618642676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618642670
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wayne G. Hammond is Assistant Librarian in the Chapin Library of Rare Books, Williams College, and the author of standard bibliographies of J.R.R. Tolkien and Arthur Ransome. His wife, Christina Scull, is the former Librarian of Sir John Soane's Museum, London, and editor of the occasional magazine The Tolkien Collector. Together they have written J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, compiled the new index to Tolkien's published Letters, and edited Tolkien's Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, and the 50th anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings. They are currently completing their long-awaited J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide for HarperCollins. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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For one, LOTR is a much, much longer book than its prequel.
Mike London
This spectacular volume, by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull is the ultimate annotated handbook to Tolkien's work.
Lucinda
I strongly recommend this book to any reader who has or will read LOTR more than once.
W. White

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Larry D. Curtis on January 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is amazing that it has taken 50 years for a book like this to come to Tolkien's readers, but at last and with great scholarly authority, comes annotations to "The Lord of the Rings."

Make no mistake, this is a scholarly book and its pretty dense and at times it will push the average LOTR reader. It is full of (appropriately) word origins and possible source info, word meanings and linguistic notes. Still, because of Tolkien's own linguistics background and motivations, this is a must to have at the core of the book and there is plenty of other types of info as well to add roundness and variety to the content.

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond obviously read and write about LOTR in a way that the casual reader cannot and their considerible knowledge and resources (such as Christopher Tolkien himself) come into play. The book can be used as a side-by-side volume or can be read on its own chronologically. Also included is Tolkien's own, previously out of print "Nomenclature" or guide to names that he used to help potential translators of LOTR and a history of "The Lord of the Rings" The scholars also reference Tolkien's other works such as "The Hobbit", "Unfinished Tales", "The Silmarillion" and Christopher Tolkien's history of Middle-earth.

This is a 900 page work packed with information that can either be read completely or used as a help for those reading "The Lord of the Rings" and wish to get more depth and perspective from further Middle-earth exploration.

It is probably the most important Tolkien publication since (at least) Unfinished Tales in 1980.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull are among the most authoritative of scholars researching the literary creations of J.R.R. Tolkien. In The Lord Of The Rings: A Reader's Companion, they have surpassed even their previous masterpiece: J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator. (As a matter of full disclosure I should mention that I met Christina Scull some years ago in London, and I have maintained a friendship with her and her husband Wayne G.Hammond ever since. Three articles I wrote for the Mensa Tolkien Special Interest Group's newsletter "Beyond Bree" have been referenced in A Reader's Companion, and I am also among those Wayne and Christina thank in their Preface. Even without these connections I would still be highly impressed with this work!)

This Reader's Companion consists of annotations to The Lord of the Rings. The length of Tolkien's masterwork, which is often mistakenly called a trilogy, made the normal method of including annotations alongside the text impossible, and so this separate volume has been produced. The annotations illuminate some interesting and sometimes obscure sections of the book and assist readers in interpreting Tolkien's rich but occasionally (to modern and American eyes) puzzling vocabulary. Tolkien readers and scholars will find it almost as fascinating as the book itself and many will probably read it straight through not once, but many times.

In addition to the annotations, A Reader's Companion also contains a wealth of material, including Wayne and Christina's own history of the writing of The Lord of the Rings.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on December 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The content of this book looks like superlative scholarship. Something that might be overlooked, however, but that deserves applause, is the publisher's use of sewn signatures for the book's binding. Very few books are made this way any more, as far as I can see, being instead bound just with glue; but a book made with sewn pages is likely to last longer and look better. The publisher is to be commended for this extra care, and encouraged to continue to use this method in subsequent printings - - especially while holding the price down so remarkably. Even at full price rather than Amazon's discount price, this book is very good value for they money.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on April 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Two of the foremost Tolkien scholars, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull have managed to produce in this volume one of the most essential books in any Tolkien library. A READER'S COMPANION carefully annotates, line by line, chapter by chapter, Tolkien's great masterpiece.

When the revised version of THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT came out in 2002 with Douglas A. Anderson's annotations, I was thrilled, as the original from 1988 was out of print. The way they handled THE HOBBIT was a large, oversized hardback, with the main text printed on wide sheets but only taking up the half closet to the binding, with the annotations on the outer edges of the sheets. The book is beautiful to hold, and it was very enlightening during rereadings of THE HOBBIT. It also noted all revisions, and gave original readings, including the original version of "Riddles in the Dark" chapter, which has been out of print for over fifty years. The natural question, of course, was when would LOTR get similar treatment? After all, LOTR had been in print for over fifty years, and such a publication has been long overdue.

Although the method described above worked well with THE HOBBIT, it proved unfeasible for LOTR. For one, LOTR is a much, much longer book than its prequel. So Hammond and his wife opted for a separate volume, and what a volume it is.

Due to the size of LOTR, the way READER'S COMPANION is broken up to cover each chapter in the book. Each annotation is proceeded by the first few words of whatever paragraph the two scholars are analysing at that point. This makes A READER'S COMPANION very easy to use, and to locate in your copy of LOTR the passage in which they are discussing.
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