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Unseen JRR Tolkien writes to shed new light on his medieval creations

LONDON – Fans of famed British author JRR Tolkien known for “The Lord of the Rings” fantasy trilogy are in for an unexpected treat.

Previously unseen collections of writings by the author will be published next year, shedding new light on works including “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Silmarillion,” and “Unfinished Tales,” U.S. publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said Thursday.

“This new collection is a true treasure trove that gives readers a chance to look over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder,” said Deb Brody, vice president at publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in a statement.

“On each side, the Middle Earth is brought back to extraordinary life.”


Brody said it was not well known that the author continued to write about Middle-earth until the years before his death in 1973. “For him, Middle-earth was part of a whole world to be explored,” she added.

The book – entitled “The Nature of Middle-earth” – will be published in the US on June 24, 2021 and in the UK by HarperCollins, also in June.

It has been edited by Carl F. Hostetter, who previously worked closely with Tolkien’s late son, Christopher, and is a member of the Elven Linguistic Scholarship, a nonprofit dedicated to the study of Tolkien’s invented language.

The scriptures will touch on ideas including Elvish immortality and reincarnation, Valar’s powers, Númenor’s animals, and the geography of rivers and lighthouses in Gondor.

Tolkien Estate did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A selection of JRR Tolkien’s books for sale.Clarence Williams / Getty Images file

Born in South Africa to English parents, Tolkien, an ardent Catholic, moved to Britain at the age of three. Later orphaned, he and his brother lived in a boarding house in Birmingham, where he attended school, mastered Latin and Greek, and showed remarkable linguistic gifts before studying at Oxford University.

He later served on the front lines during the Battle of the First World War at the Somme, before returning to Oxford as a professor of Anglo – Saxon, specializing in Old and Middle English.

Tolkien published “The Hobbit” in 1937 and “The Lord of the Rings” in three parts between 1954 and 1955.

He died in 1973, aged 81, but his works continue to attract fans with more than 150 million copies of “The Lord of the Rings” sold worldwide and major film adaptations of his work, earning more than $ 5 billion at global box office .

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Indiana-based Tolkien fan Matt Graf, 36, who runs YouTube fan site “Nerd of the Rings,” told NBC News that the excavated writings were an exciting development.

“For those of us who dive through Tolkien’s writings, having something completely new and fresh that no one has read before is very exciting,” he said.

The new collection will even touch on which characters had beards, which for Graf is proof that the careful writer “left no stone unturned” in the “rich world” he created.

During a grim year of coronavirus pandemic social constraints, Graf said he encouraged “fleeing to the Middle Earth when our world gets a little too crazy.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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