Just in time for Tolkien Reading Day: our friends at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have sent us exciting news! Later this year, a new edition of The Lord of the Rings will be published, featuring – for the first time since the original 1954 publication – artwork by the Professor himself.
Here’s their full press release:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media will publish a brand-new edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien that, for the the first time since its publication in 1954, will feature paintings, drawings and sketches by the author, in the U.S. on October 19, 2021.
Deb Brody, HMH’s VP and Publisher, says: ‘Professor Tolkien is known the world over for his literary and academic achievements, most especially as author of The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and the critically acclaimed and worldwide bestselling The Lord of the Rings.
‘His charming and evocative illustrations that accompanied The Hobbit, particularly the now-iconic image that appears on its cover, have become as beloved as the story they accompany.”
‘Yet the author himself was characteristically modest, dismissive of the obvious and rare artistic talent he possessed despite having had no formal training. This modesty meant that relatively little else of his artwork was known of or seen during his lifetime, and generally only in scholarly books afterwards.
‘This all changed in 2018, with the first of three record-breaking Tolkien exhibitions in Oxford, New York and Paris, at which hundreds of thousands of people were able to appreciate at first hand the extraordinary artistic achievement of a man known primarily for the written word. Among the exhibits was a selection of the paintings, drawings and sketches that Tolkien produced when writing The Lord of the Rings. Originally intended by him purely for his personal pleasure and reference, after such an overwhelmingly positive response by people to Tolkien the Artist it seemed fitting to finally reunite this art with the words it enhances, and we are delighted that in so doing it will allow people to enjoy this masterpiece anew.’
The Hobbit was first published in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. Each has since gone on to become a beloved classic of literature and an international bestseller translated into more than 70 languages, collectively selling more than 150,000,000 copies worldwide.
The Lord of the Rings, illustrated by the author, will be published subsequently in translation around the world.
In 2003, The Tolkien Society established an annual tradition, designating one day of the year for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien worldwide to celebrate their love of Tolkien’s writings by, well, reading them! March 25 was chosen for the celebration as it is the date in The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, when the ring of power was destroyed and the dark lord Sauron was defeated.
Each year the Society selects a theme for the day, with this year’s theme being Home and Hearth: the many ways of being a Hobbit. This opens up a wide array of things that could be read to explore the ‘inner Hobbit’ in all of us. You might join Bilbo in The Hobbit, as he opens his home to Gandalf and the dwarves, feeding them most of the goodies in his pantry! Another option would be to settle around the dinner table with Frodo, Merry, Sam and Pippin, as they eat the delicious mushrooms offered to them by Farmer Maggot during their journey through The Shire. What favorite Hobbity thing will you pull off of your bookshelves to read today?
In The Lord of The Rings, The Return of the King, March 25, 3019 marked the day the Ring of Power was destroyed and Sauron was defeated. In ‘modern day’ 2017, March 25 marks the day Tolkien fans around the world, in groups or individually, read from their favorite works by author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Tolkien Reading Day is a tradition stared in 2003 by the Tolkien Society. From their Tolkien Reading Day webpage: It has been organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. We particularly encourage schools, museums and libraries to host their own Tolkien Reading Day events.
Each year, the Society selects a theme for the day, and this year’s theme is Poetry and Song. This opens up an amazing number of possibilities for reading for today. One of the most delightful aspects of The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in particular, was how Tolkien interspersed poems and songs throughout the story. They added a depth of understanding of Tolkien’s characters and cultures that were unique to his works.
Who doesn’t feel Bilbo and Frodo’s sense of adventure when they read: “The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began”? No less is the thrill of reading “Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden!”, or the amusement at Sam’s: “Troll sat alone on a seat of stone and munched and mumbled a bare old bone.”
Tolkien’s poems weren’t limited to his novels. If you haven’t read it, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil offers a collection of 16 poems not published elsewhere. In it, we learn that old Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil were acquainted, enjoy an alternate version of The Man in the Moon, and learn the haunting story of the traveler in The Sea Bell:
There still afloat waited a boat, in the tide lifting, its prow tossing. Weary I lay, as it bore me away, the waves climbing, the seas crossing
One of my favorites is The Mewlips:
through the wood of hanging trees and gallows-weed, you go to find the Mewlips – and the Mewlips feed.“
Makes me shiver every time!
So, indulge yourself today! Get one (or more) of those Tolkien books from your bookshelf, crack it open,, and spend a few minutes (or hours), reading! If you’d like to join other fans, check out the Tolkien Society links above for planned gatherings. Which poem or song is your favorite? Which makes you smile? Which makes you sad? Which is your all-time favorite? Let us know!
Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship are celebrating Tolkien Reading Day on the weekend of 19-20 March this year. The theme for Tolkien Reading Day 2016 is Life, Death, and Immortality in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. So if you’re in the Brisbane area or are visiting Queensland during March why not drop by and join in the fun.
Yesterday, March 25, was officially Tolkien Reading Day. Celebrated annually by the Tolkien Society since 2003, Reading Day is exactly what it sounds like: a day “to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages.” March 25th was chosen to commemorate the day in Middle-earth history of the destruction of the One Ring and the downfall of Sauron, but events are often held throughout the week surrounding the official date.
The theme for this year’s Reading Day is Friendship, chosen not only to commemorate how Frodo and Sam’s friendship triumphed in Mordor, but also to “celebrate the deep friendships that Tolkien developed in his own life and in his work.” By extension, a shared love of Tolkien’s work has inspired countless friendships, traversing continents and oceans. So share your love of Tolkien by joining a Reading Day event, or simply sharing your favorite passage with a friend!