The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Reader's Guide v. 2 Hardcover – 6 Nov 2006
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About the Author
Wayne G. Hammond is a librarian at the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Massachusetts. He is the author of ‘The Graphic Art of C.B. Falls’ (1892), ‘J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography’ (1993), and regular notes on Tolkien in the journal ‘Mythlore’.
Christina Scull is the former librarian of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. She is the author of ‘The Soane Hogarths’ (1991), edits the journal ‘The Tolkien Collector’, and frequently writes and speaks about Tolkien.
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Top Customer Reviews
The only reason I took a star off is that I find it hard to know WHO exactly this volume is aimed at. The entries on people, places etc. are useful and interesting for anyone with an interest in his life and works, but it seems to me that anyone who is serious enough in their study of Tolkien to want to know about the lives of people mentioned in the 'Letters' is unlikely to need a summary to tell them what is in a particular story. If on the other hand a person is just getting into Tolkien, and wants to find out what a particular essay or story which they have heard mentioned, (for example online) is about, they are unlikely to need to know that the illustrator Pauline Baynes also illustrated the Sunday Times Cookery Book. I can't help feeling as if this is two books mixed together: one being a summary guide of his writings for those who are not familiar with his wider work, the other being a biographical encyclopedia for extreme Tolkien-geeks!
Finally, it might be worth noting what this is not. In contrast to the 'Readers Companions' which I have seen for the works of other popular authors it is NOT an encyclopedia of the characters and places in the fictional world he created; if you are looking for a quick guide to look up who yet another elf you can't keep straight in the Silmarillion is, this won't help you. This is not intended as a crticism (there are planty of works already which serve that function), but it is something to be aware of.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The main attraction is that you can find there entry about each chapter from the Silmarillion (the one that was published in 1977) with summary and complete analysis and references to the texts that Christopher used in order to build the chapters.
Scull and Hammond surely invested tremendous work in this volumes, the Bibliographical list is very impressive. Every entry is very detailed and although (As H&S wrote themselves in the foreword) you can't find there the whole information about some subjects, you can find in each entry enough to make you understand the basics. This book will not replace Shippey or even Carpenter, the Reader's Guide is something on a very different level: more like encyclopedia and less interpretation book.
This book is useful to everyone that wants to know more about Tolkien and Tolkien's creation. I think that this is tremendous achievement and great contribution to Tolkien study. If you read part or all of H.O.M.E and If you are making you own research - You should use this book, it will upgrade your research in a ways that you never dream that was possible.