HarperCollins publishers has just announced that a new “treasure trove” of essays by J.R.R. Tolkien will be released in 2021 in the book The Nature of Middle-earth.
While few details on the exact content in the book were made known, Chris Smith, the Deputy Publishing Director said:
It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. What may be less known is that he continued to write about Middle-earth in the decades that followed, right up until the years before his death in 1973.
For him, Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation. From sweeping themes as profound as Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to the more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!
This new collection is a veritable treasure-trove offering readers a chance to peer over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder at the very moment of discovery: and on every page, Middle-earth is once again brought to extraordinary life.
With the details and notes available in all the various Histories of Middle-earth books, not to mention the more recent Great Tales of Middle-earth books (which include the Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien, and The Fall of Gondolin), I hope this is more of an insight into Tolkien’s inspiration, rather than the copious expounding that Tolkien’s son Christopher could get into when he edited these books.
Who is editing these essays?
This time, this book was edited by Carl F. Hostetter (as Christopher Tolkien passed away in January 2020). Though a computer scientist, Hostetter has spent many years studying Tolkien’s invented languages and has edited a Middle-earth languages journal since 1989. He was also an editor on the book Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth (a book I’m not familiar with), which was published in 2000.
The Nature of Middle-earth is set to be published on June 24th, 2021 by HarperCollins in the UK and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in North America, and is not yet available for pre-order. We’ll let you know when you can grab a copy!