The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Boxed Set

The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Boxed Set

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

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Stunning three-volume slipcased set containing the most comprehensive in-depth companion to Tolkien’s life and works ever published, including synopses of all his writings, and a Tolkien gazetteer, who’s who and chronology. The three volumes contained in this slipcase, written by two of the foremost experts on J.R.R. Tolkien, comprise the definitive handbook to one of the most popular authors of the 20th century. Tolkien's progress is traced from his birth in South Africa in 1892, to the battlefields of France and the lecture-halls of Leeds and Oxford, to his success as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, until his death in 1973. His many academic and literary achievements, his public reception, and his enduring fame are examined in detail. The first volume in this set is a Chronology of Tolkien's life and works, the most extensive biographical resource about him ever published. Thousands of details have been drawn from letters, contemporary documents in libraries and archives, and a wide variety of other published and unpublished sources. Assembled together, they form a portrait of Tolkien in all his aspects: the distinguished scholar of Old and Middle English, the capable teacher and administrator, the devoted husband and father, the brilliant creator of Middle-earth. The second and third volumes, the Reader's Guide, is an indispensable introduction to Tolkien's life, writings, and art. It includes histories and discussions of his works; analyses of the components of his vast 'Silmarillion' mythology; brief biographies of persons important in his life; accounts of places he knew; essays on topics such as Tolkien's interests and attitudes towards contemporary issues, ideas found in his works, adaptations, and invented languages; and checklists of his published works, his poetry, his pictorial art, and translations of his writing.
To clarify: This is not an updated or expanded version of "The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion." That work is entirely separate and still quite useful. The "Companion and Guide" covers much new ground about Tolkien's life and writings. "The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion" is of interest to many readers of the Lord of the Rings. The Companion and Guide includes a two-volume Reader's Guide, an encyclopedia of articles on topics related to Tolkien, covering a good bit that may only be of interest to specialists and the most devoted Tolkien fans. The Chronology volume in the set gives an extraordinarily detailed account of Tolkien's activities throughout his life.

- branson_white

A wonderful reference. I bought this edition because it has so much more than the first.

If you want a reference this is probably the place to start.

- adrien_parker

Two volumes have an alphabetical guide to topics related to Tolkien; one volume is a chronological listing of biographical data on Tolkien. All is excellently done.

- kristina_peterson

Another stellar work of scholarship from Hammond and Scull, improving upon and updating the first edition.

- ruben_taylor

Glad to have this update.

- tyler_garcia

It goes without saying that the content of this expanded and revised edition of the Companion & Guide is of a high quality, as we have come to expect from Hammond & Scull. The original edition was already very comprehensive, and it will depend on your apetite for the material, whether you need to "upgrade". If you don't have the first edition and you have an interest in Tolkien's life and works, this is one of those must-have editions, though.

In terms of the physical construction of the books, this review is for the 1st printing of the boxed set. They are - unfortunately - printed in China (I knocked off a star for that), but unlike some of the other recent HarperCollins Chinese editions (which have been awful), the books are well-made and have curved spines and high quality jackets. The slipcase is solid (more solid than the first edition), and the only downside is that the first batch had excess glue, which can stick to the edges of the dustjackets. If you get such a set, you will need to remove the books very gently. A little bit of paper from the inside of the slipcase will come off onto the jackets, but this can easily be removed with a thumbnail. Presumably later printings will not have this problem, and certainly some of the initial run were sent back by the publisher to be re-jacketed and slipcased.

- kamryn_williams

I hardly know where to begin describing these books. The amount of work that has gone into this and the sheer wealth of detail is phenomenal. The three books (hardbacks in dust jackets) are all encased in a very hard thick card slip cover. The books are quite tightly squeezed into the slipcase so I found I have to tip the case up in order to get a volume out, and they do have a tendency to all want to come out together. The first volume is a chronology of Tolkien's life. The detail increases throughout, ie the latter part of his life is better documented than the beginning, as one would expect. The two other volumes comprise a Reader's Guide, which includes histories & discussions of Tolkien's works, analyses of the mythology, brief biographies of people Tolkien knew and various essays on all sorts of other things. A must buy for any Tolkien enthusiast.

Incidentally I have noticed that the price of these volumes has varied quite significantly. I have seen them on here as much as £130 per set and as low as £72 per set. (All brand new on Prime)

- isaac_allen

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