August 29, 2016

Tolkien Tuesday: Supplementary Books

In some of my earlier Tolkien Tuesday posts, I mentioned how I own some Tolkien books that are not 'on the shelf'. Of course, I have no desire to 'hide' them, but a) 'the shelf' is reserved for the MAIN books. and b) If I would put everything by Tolkien on the shelf, I fear it may get too full, or too heavy for everything. So I keep them in another area, yet still all together. Please note that this post will be the last of "things I own" in regards to Tolkien Tuesday. If I obtain another Tolkien book, I'll most likely do a post just about it. 

This post will list them all:

- The Annotated Hobbit (Revised Edition)

"Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale, The Hobbit. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals: Alice, Pooh, Toad…
As with all classics, repeated readings continue to bring new detail and perspectives to the reader’s mind, and Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a vast mine of treasures and knowledge, its roots delving deep into folklore, mythology and language. The Hobbit is, therefore, an ideal book for annotation: as well as offering a marvellous and entrancing story, it introduces the reader to the richly imagined world of Middle-earth, a world more fully and complexly realised in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
Douglas Anderson’s annotations make fascinating reading. Additionally, many of Tolkien’s own illustrations embellish the text, and numerous illustrations from foreign editions exhibit an extraordinary range of visual interpretation. In an appendix there are details of the revisions made by Tolkien at various times to the publsihed text, which provide an uncommon and privileged glimpse into the special concerns of an exceptional and painstaking writer."

Because I already own The Hobbit, I've never been inclined to get this. That's not to say that I was against it, or never wanted it, it just never crossed my mind to add to the collection. I was definitely interested in getting it, but just never got around to it. I got it as a gift, and I guess, that was the best way for me to get it.

The reason for me not getting it, or not having it near the top of my 'want' list was because of the fact I was striving for uniformity with my Tolkien hardbacks. However, this is jam packed full of info and is definitely of interest for those wishing to delve beneath the surface, or learn a little bit more about the story 'behind' the story.

As mentioned, this book contains the story of The Hobbit inside, as well as notes, annotations, remarks, footnotes, etc. The Lord of the Rings is too large to present the entire text in one volume, plus all the annotations (although they could have it done it in three, with the annotations mixed in...), so it got it's own sort of volume as the Reader's Companion, which is included within my box set. If it were presented in a different manner, however, "The Annotated Lord of the Rings" would sit right next to my Annotated Hobbit.

- The Complete Guide to Middle-earth

"J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion have delighted millions of readers over the years.

Middle-earth, the world in which the stories take place, is as real and complex as our own. Events, geography and names were created with care and loving attention by Tolkien, who wanted every single detail of his books to fit into their total pattern. A belief in perfection, the fun of the sub-creation and the desire to create something totally convincing involved him in map-making, endless charts of dates and events and the development of his many invented languages.

The Complete Guide to Middle-earth was designed to add to the enjoyment of the reader of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion by bringing together in an A–Z sequence facts and information about names, languages, places and events from these central books which will provide an indispensable aid to every reader’s discovery of Tolkien’s world – and the new edition has been enhanced by stunning illustrations, courtesy of celebrated Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith."
This is the ultimate Tolkien companion. It covers material from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, which are the three main, primary works of Tolkien. It's a terrific A-Z of Middle-earth, as well as a fantastic reference guide should you want to look something up in a hurry. The illustrations are quite lovely - not why I got this edition, but I'm glad for their inclusion.

I should add that this goes really with the illustrated hardback editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Alan Lee, as well as The Silmarillion by Ted Nasmith (imagine the box set THAT would be!) of course, it also works really on its own, and near as I can tell, pretty accessible no matter which editions or formats of Tolkien's books you own.

- The Art of The Hobbit 

"When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The Hobbit as first printed had ten black and white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust-jacket designs by its author. Later, Tolkien also painted five scenes for colour plates which are some of his best work. His illustrations for The Hobbit add an extra dimension to that remarkable book, and have long influenced how readers imagine Bilbo Baggins and his world.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, the complete artwork created by the author for his story has been collected in The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Including related pictures, more than one hundred sketches, drawings, paintings, maps, and plans are presented here, preliminary and alternate versions and experimental designs as well as finished art. Some of these images are now published for the first time, and others for the first time in colour. Fresh digital scans from the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and Marquette University in Wisconsin allow Tolkien’s Hobbit pictures to be seen more vividly than ever before.

The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien has been written and edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, two of the leading experts on Tolkien and authors of the acclaimed 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."

This is more in-depth look at Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit that has been presented in Artist & Illustrator. There are some great pieces included - early, famously seen, as well as some that many have seen before. This of course goes quite well on its own, but pairs quite well with the following Art of The Lord of the Rings, The Annotated Hobbit, History of the Hobbit, or any edition of The Hobbit you happen to own (but most especially the 'classic' edition)

- The Art of The Lord of the Rings

"As he wrote The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s mental pictures often found expression in drawing, from rough sketches made within the manuscript to more finished illustrations. Only a few of these were meant for publication; most were aids to help Tolkien conceive his complex story and keep it consistent. Many do not illustrate the final text, but represent moments of creation, illuminating Tolkien’s process of writing and design. In addition to pictorial sketches, numerous maps follow the development of the Shire and the larger landscape of Middle-earth, while inscriptions in runes and Elvish script, and ‘facsimile’ leaves from the burned and blood-stained Book of Mazarbul, support Tolkien’s pose as an ‘editor’ or ‘translator’ of ancient records.

The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien collects these drawings, inscriptions, maps, and plans in one deluxe volume. More than 180 images are included, all of them printed in colour from high-quality scans and photographs, more than half not previously published. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, two of the world’s leading Tolkien scholars, have edited the book and provide an expert introduction and comments. Readers who have enjoyed The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, with which the new book is uniform, will find much of interest also in The Art of The Lord of the Rings."

I've yet to go through this one cover-to-cover, but based on The art of the Hobbit, I'm looking forward to seeing what Tolkien has done up for The Lord of the Rings. I've seen some of his artwork before for The Lord of the Rings (due in thanks to the material that's surfaced and been published for the 50th Anniversary). It looks like this will be a great 'sequel' to The Art of The Hobbit, as well go very well together with the Reader's Companion, and any edition of The Lord of the Rings, most especially those with Tolkien's own artwork as the dustjacket. 

- J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator

"A lavishly-illustrated study of Tolkien's paintings and drawings, set in the context of his writings. J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), renowned author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion was an artist in pictures as well as in words. In fact, for him the two were closely linked, and in his paintings and drawings he displayed remarkable powers of invention that equalled his gift for words. His books have been read by many thousands; most of his art, however, has only been seen by a few. This book explores Tolkien's art at length, from his childhood paintings and drawings to his final sketches. At its heart are his illustrations for his books, especially his tales of Middle-earth. Also examined are the pictures Tolkien made for his children (notably in his 'Father Christmas' letters and for the story Mr. Bliss), his expressive calligraphy, his love of decoration, and his contributions to the typography and design of his books. J.R.R. Tolkien, Artist and Illustrator contains 200 reproductions, over half of which are in colour and many published for the first time."

This is a great collection of Tolkien's own artwork, without a set focus like The Art of The Hobbit or The Art of The Lord of The Rings. Lots of material here, and is a great mixed-bag offering of various Tolkien artwork, inside Middle-earth and out. 

- The Atlas of Middle-earth
(revised edition)

"Find your way through every part of J.R.R. Tolkien's great creation, from the Middle-earth of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to the undying lands of the West...The Atlas of Tolkien's Middle-earth is an essential guide to the geography of Middle-earth, from its founding in the Elder Days - as recounted in The Silmarillion - to the Third Age of The Lord of the Rings, including the journeys of Bilbo, Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring. Hundreds of maps and diagrams survey the journeys of the principal characters day by day - including all the battles and key locations of the First, Second and Third Ages. Plans and descriptions of castles, buildings and distinctive landforms accompany thematic maps describing climate, vegetation, languages and population throughout the history of Middle-earth."

This revised edition will be out in November, so I haven't received it yet, and thus, can't comment on it. However, it looks like it'll offer an incredible geographical look at Tolkien's lands. It will definitely fit well in any Tolkien collection.

So that's pretty much it! I can definitely recommend all of the supplementary / reference books I've mentioned, depending on what you're into or after.

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