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Published Tolkien drafts and annotations in book form: a quick guide

The publication of Scull and Hammond’s expanded edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil basically completes the set of publications of drafts and associated papers, and annotated editions, of all of Tolkien’s books published during his lifetime. (What’s come out posthumously is all “drafts” in a sense.) Omitting his purely technical publications, only “Leaf by Niggle” and a few miscellaneous poems remain unpublished in this format. I thought it might be useful to have a bibliography of these items, so here are all the ones published in book form, with The Silmarillion also treated in this format.

“Drafts” include associated writings of various kinds, and all also include extensive commentary; in one case there is also a book of third-party textual commentary. “Annotations” are notes on specific points in the published texts; most of these books also include the full text of the published work, except as noted. “Published variations”: The Hobbit is the only work for which variations and changes in the published text are significant; variations and changes in other books up to the date of compilation are listed in Wayne G. Hammond with Douglas A. Anderson, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography (St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1993). Publishers listed are of the first editions, with significant revised editions noted.

“Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” (1936)
Drafts and annotations: Michael D.C. Drout, ed., Beowulf and the Critics (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2002, rev. 2011) [does not include the published version, but the annotations for the drafts are full]

The Hobbit (1937)
Drafts: John D. Rateliff, The History of The Hobbit (HarperCollins, 2 vols. 2007, rev. in one volume 2011)
Annotations and published variations: Douglas A. Anderson, ed., The Annotated Hobbit (Houghton Mifflin, 1988, rev. 2002)

“On Fairy-stories” (1947)
Drafts and annotations: Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson, ed., Tolkien on Fairy-stories (HarperCollins, 2008)

Farmer Giles of Ham (1949)
Drafts and annotations: Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ed., Farmer Giles of Ham, 50th anniversary edition (HarperCollins, 1999)

The Lord of the Rings (1954-55)
Drafts: Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Return of the Shadow (Unwin Hyman, 1988), The Treason of Isengard (1989), The War of the Ring (Unwin Hyman, 1990), Part One of Sauron Defeated (HarperCollins, 1992), Part One of The Peoples of Middle-earth (HarperCollins, 1996)
Annotations: Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (HarperCollins, 2005) [omits the work’s text; annotations are page- and quotation-keyed]

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962)
Drafts and annotations: Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ed., The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, expanded edition (HarperCollins, 2014)

Smith of Wootton Major (1967)
Drafts and annotations: Verlyn Flieger, ed., Smith of Wootton Major, extended edition (HarperCollins, 2005)

And, just to complete the set,
The Silmarillion (1977)
Drafts: Christopher Tolkien, ed., “The History of Middle-earth,” especially: The Shaping of Middle-earth (Allen and Unwin, 1986), Part Two of The Lost Road and Other Writings (Allen and Unwin, 1987), Morgoth’s Ring (HarperCollins, 1993), The War of the Jewels (HarperCollins, 1994)
Commentary: Douglas Charles Kane, Arda Reconstructed (Lehigh University Press, 2009)

About the Author: David Bratman

David Bratman is co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, and former editor of Mythprint, the bulletin of The Mythopoeic Society. He likes to write about Tolkienian biography and bibliography.


  • Michael Flowers

    Wonderful, but shouldn’t the recent reprint of The Lord of the Rings: Reader’s Companion merit a revised edition date?

  • Colly66

    Oh that’s a great resource! Thanks 😀