Those of you who spend more time thinking about the fantasy land of Middle-Earth than the real world will be pleased to learn that a previously unpublished essay written by J.R.R. Tolkien is set to be published next year. Called The Nature of Middle-Earth, the essay tackles a number of topics about the iconic fantasy land, from the details of Elvish reincarnation, to which races could grow beards. The new collection has been authorised by the Tolkien estate and will be published by HarperCollins.
Set to be published next Summer in June, HarperCollins promises the book will “transport readers back to the world of The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The Lord of the Rings“.The upcoming essay will join a host of works that were published after Tolkien’s death, including The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Children of Hurin, and Beren and Lúthien. While most readers are familiar with the two main stories in Tolkien’s legendarium, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien continued to flesh out and expand his world right up to his passing. Many of his posthumous works were edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien, who passed away earlier this year in January.
As The Guardian reports, Chris Smith, HarperCollins’ deputy publishing director, said of J.R.R. Tolkien: “For him, Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation.”
Smith describes the essay as “a veritable treasure trove offering readers a chance to peer over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder at the very moment of discovery: and on every page, Middle-earth is once again brought to extraordinary life.”
Readers will learn more about the world Tolkien created, including the Valar, the lands of Númenor, and the region of Gondor. Fans have long debated which races in Middle-Earth could grow beards, including speculation that Dwarf women could, and this essay will touch on that, no doubt adding fuel to the debate! With Christopher Tolkien’s passing, this new book will be edited by Tolkien expert and head of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, Carl F Hostetter, who has previously worked with Tolkien’s son. In these uncertain times, I think we can all look forward to escaping to Middle-Earth.