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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Previously unpublished J.R.R. Tolkien writings on Middle-earth coming in 2021

By Don Kaye
J.R.R. Tolkien

Fans of The Lord of the Rings rejoice: a collection of previously unpublished writings by author J.R.R. Tolkien will arrive next summer.

According to the Guardian, the collection includes essays by Tolkien on a number of topics related to his fictional realm of Middle-earth. Among them will be musings on Elvish immortality and reincarnation, the nature of the god-like spirits of Middle-earth known as the Valar, the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the kingdom of Gondor, and even whether hobbits and elves could grow beards.

The book is titled The Nature of Middle-earth and will be published next June by HarperCollins. The same company has published other posthumous Middle-earth works by Tolkien, including The Children of Hurin, Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin. All these books, including the upcoming one, have been authorized by the Tolkien estate.

Tolkien was an unassuming English professor when he published The Hobbit, a children's fantasy tale, in 1937, followed by the massive The Lord of the Rings in three volumes in 1954 and 1955. Although he published little else about the realm of Middle-earth before his death in 1973, he continued to write about the fantastical world until his final years.

HarperCollins deputy publishing director Chris Smith said, "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.”

Smith added that the new book was "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."

The book will undoubtedly be greeted ecstatically by the fan base for Tolkien's Middle-earth writings, and might serve as an interesting complement to Amazon Prime's upcoming The Lord of the Rings-adjacent series, which will also draw on material from Tolkien's vast archives and appendices.

The author's work was previously curated by his son Christopher, who died last January at the age of 95. The Nature of Middle-earth will be edited by Tolkien expert and NASA computer engineer Carl F. Hofstetter, who is also the head of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship.