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J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) Slp Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0618391134
ISBN-10: 0618391134
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

WAYNE G. HAMMOND is a leading expert on Tolkien and coauthor of the acclaimed The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator,The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide with Christina Scull.


CHRISTINA SCULL is a leading expert on Tolkien and coauthor of the acclaimed The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator,The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide with Wayne G. Hammond.
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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: 10.6 x 6.6 x 4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,076,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jason Fisher on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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