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Revision as of 14:06, 4 May 2016 by Herzbube (talk | contribs) (editor Humphrey Carpenter should not be credited as author for "The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien")
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This page contains personal notes related to J. R. R. Tolkien.

General TODO list

  • Get bibliographic source (J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography)
  • Review current state and formulate a plan what needs to be done. Notably unclear:
    • How should interior art be recorded? Difficulties are the different maps in LotR, but also the apparently innumerable variations of illustrations in The Hobbit.
    • How to fix collections that consist of other containers (e.g. The Tolkien Reader); possibly change them into omnibuses?
  • Remove Christopher Tolkien as co-author of the "History of Middle Earth" series, as per this Help Desk discussion. And here's another discussion, not yet concluded at the time of adding this reference (December 2015).
  • The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien has not only J. R. R. Tolkien as the author, but also the editor Humphrey Carpenter. In the case of one publication even Christopher Tolkien is recorded as author, although the title page credit clearly is "with the assistance of". I think this should be changed to J. R. R. Tolkien only, although it could be debated that Carpenter contributes many notes that are important to understand the context.
  • Also see TODOs on my wiki


The Lord of the Rings

  • 2nd edition
    • Confirm from some primary bibliographic source that there is a second edition
    • Some information is present in the biography
    • Compile the necessary information with citations to biblio sources and add it to the title record
  • Add a general interiorart entry that represents the illustration of the doors of durin etc.
  • Foreword 2nd edition
    • Wait for Phileas' answer on his talk page
    • Confirm publication date for 2nd edition foreword from some reliable biblio source (currently the source is Wikipedia's Tolkien bibliography page) and add the info to the title record
  • Foreword 1st edition
    • Add a title for the foreword to the original edition???
  • Prologue
    • There is a title "Prologue : Concerning Hobbits"
    • This should probably be merged with the normal prologue ("concerning hobbits" is only one of several chapter titles)
    • First check with other verifiers
  • Maps
  • Appendix: The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen
    • This title is part of appendix A and surely does not exist by itself
    • Merge it
  • Indices
    • According to wikipedia:The_Lord_of_the_Rings, the indices were added 1966. The information is uncited.
    • Find another biblio source for this information and add the info to the title record

The Silmarillion


  • 2nd edition
    • Since my copy of the book includes a "Preface to the Second Edition", dated 1999, I would like to find a biblio source that states that there was an official 2nd edition of "The Silmarillion"
    • If such a source can be found, add a corresponding statement to the Silmarillion's main title record
  • Letter to Milton Waldman
    • Cite where the notes to this title come from
      • Appears in almost all publications of The Silmarillion
      • It's a reprint of letter no. 131
        • The source is the "Preface to the Second Edition" by Christopher Tolkien
  • Missing price
    • Wait for Locus index of the year 2007
    • I paid £34.99 on (November 2009)
  • Replace notes for interior art with actual title records
    • Pub record
    • Halls of Manwë (Taniquetil), by J. R. R. Tolkien
      • add note to title record about where the title comes from (copyright page)
    • Lúthien Tinúviel (emblem, heraldic device, etc.), by J. R. R. Tolkien
      • add note to title record about where the title comes from (copyright page)
    • Fold-out map, Artist = ?, Date = ?
      • Artist is probably Christopher Tolkien
    • Interior map, Artist = ?, Date = ?
      • Artist is probably Christopher Tolkien


When I started out as ISFDB editor "The Silmarillion" title and publication records were all typed as NOVEL. There have been discussions whether this is correct:

  • In April 2013 there has been a (relatively short) discussion on the community portal (triggered by these edits made by user MLB) whether the Silmarillion should be converted into a COLLECTION. The discussion did not lead to any actions, although all participants agreed that for them the Silmarillion could very well be regarded as a COLLECTION
  • In January 2015 another discussion took place, which this time resulted in the records being converted into COLLECTION.

I wrote down my thoughts about the matter on my private wiki sometime in mid-2014. I am preserving them here, in case a dispute crops up again in the future.

  • From personal experience when I last read the Silmarillion many many years ago, I remember the book not as a novel, but as a series of well-connected stories that blend into a large-scale narrative structure. However, that may well be because at the time I was totally immersed in Tolkien's Middle-Earth universe.
  • When I look at the TOC these days, I cannot help but notice that the book indeed consists of several parts that are not so well-connected
    • Ainulindalë
    • Valaquenta
    • Quenta Silmarillion (making up the bulk of the book [roughly 200 pages in my edition], and what I probably remember best from my last reading)
    • Akallabêth
    • Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
    • Appendix-style material (Genealogies, Note on Pronunciation, Index of Names)
  • So what to do? After mulling over the ISFDB definition of publication types, I believe that the difficulty in deciding between NOVEL and COLLECTION comes from the length of the central piece of the Silmarillion, the "Quenta Silmarillion"
  • If we split up the "Quenta Silmarillion" into 24 individual pieces of SHORTFICTION (instead of treating them as chapters of a novel-length work), it becomes very easy to define the Silmarillion as a COLLECTION, since the other parts of the book are definitely of SHORTFICTION length
  • However, this is clearly inappropriate because it would clearly contradict the intentions of the author. For instance, Tolkien submitted a single work titled "Quenta Silmarillion" to his publishers as early as 1937.
  • If we consider the "Quenta Silmarillion" to be a single work, then we clearly have a NOVEL of 200 pages length
  • But still, we have a single book that collects this NOVEL-ish piece of work with 4 more SHORTFICTION pieces. From the Foreword by Christopher Tolkien: "The book, though entitled as it must be The Silmarillion, contains not only the Quenta Silmarillion, or Silmarillion proper, but also four other short works. The Ainulindalë and Valaquenta, which are given at the beginning, are indeed closely associated with The Silmarillion; but the Akallabêth and Of the Rings of Power, which appear at the end, are (it must be emphasised) wholly separate and independent. They are included according to my father's explicit intention [...]"
  • Clearly, none of the publication types defined by the ISFDB fully fits the Silmarillion, so the question becomes: Which of our self-imposed rules do we want to break?
  • My personal conclusion is to go for COLLECTION
  • As a consequence, there must be separate title records for the 4 shorter works

The Hobbit

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth

  • My pub
  • Add interior art title for the map (front dustjacket says "Christopher Tolkien [...] also reproduces the only map of numenor that J. R. R. Tolkien ever made")

Tree and Leaf

  • Add note to title record about facsimile of Tolkien's signature