Unpublished Writing by J.R.R Tolkien?

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Post by Orwell Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:15 pm

Bluebottle wrote:Hey, were trying to ignore those. Rolling Eyes

{{{Sorry. Sofa}}}

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Post by Bluebottle Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:20 pm

Orwell wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:Hey, were trying to ignore those. Rolling Eyes

{{{Sorry. Sofa}}}

{{{As a kindness to you, I would just remind you that some of our Forumlegal arguments here are a little beyond the ken of your average real lawyer... not saying you're average, mind, though, at all.... Shocked }}}

{{{Errrr... what? scratch

I didn't catch a word of that. Shrugging}}}

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Post by malickfan Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:24 am

Been doing a bit of research into this topic recently, so thought I'd bump this thread with a long post of what I've discovered (how has it been 6 years already?!!!)

I certainly can't claim to be an expert on Tolkien's writing, and fully expect to have made some mistakes compiling this post, but this is something that has interested me for a while so I've enjoyed researching this subject anyway, and lots of new info has come to light since I made the original post.

As mentioned in my original post, The Tolkien Gateway website lists various unpublished writings and manuscripts:




Two of the more interesting items listed in my opinion are:

Note about the location of the Dúnedain ("In January of 2000, David Salo shared the following information on the Internet: 'There is a short but hardly legible note which Tolkien wrote for insertion into the story of Aragorn and Arwen (and which was not in the event used); it includes information about the location of the Dunedain. Because of the difficulty of the note, the information is not entirely clear, but it suggests that the Dunedain lived in woodlands between the Mitheithel and Bruinen. Source: microfilms at Marquette University, Series 3, Box 9, Folder 3.'"[4]

Essay, written in response to seeing Pauline Baynes's depiction of various characters from The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien described each member of the Fellowship of the Ring and some other persons as he pictured them — an invaluable aid to any illustrator of his work. [Bodleian Library, Oxford: Dept. of Western Manuscripts, Mss Tolkien A61, fols. 1—31.]

See this old reddit thread for more infomation on this essay:



(Pauline Baynes illustrated the original editions of Tolkien's The Adventures Of Tom Bombadil, Farmer Giles Of Ham and Smith Of Wooton Major amongst other projects related to his work, it seems Tolkien was generally very fond of her work and praised her illustrations for Farmer Giles in particular...but reading between the lines it seems he wasn't particularly keen on her illustrations for this map, Pauline Baynes died in 2008, so I assume if this essay was ratehr critical of her work, it was left unpublished so as to not hurt her feelings)

Some of the other texts listed above have actually been published-either in part, or in obscure journals/fanzines etc:

-Some of the The Tales And Songs of Bimble Bay can be found in Douglas A Anderson’s The Annotated Hobbit (2nd edition, 2003), together with a previously unpublished poem Elvish Song In Rivendell and a lengthy draft of The Quest of Erebor different to the version found in *Unfinished Tales*.

-The Biographical work Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth by John Garth (a rather excellent read in itself) publishes some of Tolkien’s earliest poems/letters which can be found nowhere else in print.

-The 3rd edition of Tom Shippey’s The Road to Middle-earth (2005) reprints some of the 13 poems Tolkien initially wrote for inclusion in http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Songs_for_the_Philologists

(I'm not certain, but I think some of the other poems may have been reprinted elsewhere as well)

Tolkien was a prolific poet, some of the poems listed below have not been reprinted in many years or have only seen print in specialised journals or fanzines:






Again, that isn't necessarily a complete list. The 2016 edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun also published for the first time (or so I believe, I haven't read the book yet so can't be sure, but I have read the poem itself) several previously unknown related poems by Tolkien ''The Corrigan''.

The lists above are by no means exhaustive, 'new’ writings by Tolkien continue to be published/discovered even now, and understandably much of Tolkien’s more personal and private papers remain sealed to researchers-such as his diaries, many letters and most of the manuscripts relating to his invented languages.

The vast amount of writing relating to Tolkien's academic career remains largely unpublished, though various extracts from essays, lecture notes etc have been quoted over the years in various books.

In recent years 'extended editions' of some of Tolkien's essays have been released, incoporating previously unpublished notes, drafts and commentary by Tolkien into standalone books:




The Old English Exodus has not been reprinted since its first publication and remains one of the lesser known/rarer Tolkien books:


The recent book by John M. Bowers Tolkien's Lost Chaucer, explores the development of Tolkien’s unfinished ‘Clarendon Chaucer’, I haven’t actually read this book myself but as I understand Tolkien’s manuscript on Chaucer itself remains largely unpublished:


Despite the publication in 2014 of Tolkien’s prose translation of Beowulf (Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary) his alliterative translation of Beowulf remains largely unpublished (though extracts have been printed in several books).

Several years ago a collabaration between Tolkien and CS Lewis came to light:


-As intriguing as this project sounds, it appears that Tolkien himself had little direct involvement with the discovered manuscript:


The academic journal *Tolkien Studies* published annually, has re-printed various obscure (or previously unpublished writings) by Tolkien click on the entries for eahc volume for more info:


The 12 Volume  series (1982-1996, edited by Christopher Tolkien) The History Of Middle Earth series published much, but not all of the writing relating to  the textual history/development of The Silmarillion and The Lord Of The Rings. (As I recall much of the development of the The Council Of Elrond chapter is skipped over, as it is for The Tale Of Aragorn and Arwen.)

IIRC the HOME also doesn't cover the development of the narrative work Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age which was published in its final form in The Silmarillion. Even in a series as large as the HOME, omissions for lack of space were needed, in his editorial commentary Christoher Tolkien often references or summarises some of the missing and lengthier texts/alternate drafts which weren’t able to be included (whilst in many cases the changes between different drafts of texts aren't that major except minor changes of wording, occasionally Christopher Tolkien mentionsinteresting bits of lore or description that were deleted from the text-I wonder what other interesting nuggets of info are in those unpublished notes/drafts?)

(I haven't read through the H.O.M.E in several years, so can't claim to be hugely familar with the texts within, no doubt there a few other relevant points I've not mentioned)

Unfinished Tales is (understandebly) similarly selective in the material it publishes (though some of the missing texts referenced by Christopher Tolkien were later published in the H.O.M.E or elsewhere)

I will say thought, that the extant manuscripts for The Silmarillion and The Lord Of The Rings (not to mention The Hobbit), run to many thousands of pages each, so it is understandable that not every variant draft or related lore fragment could be published within the constraints of The H.O.M.E.

Despite the publication of the three stand alone volumes *The Children Of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and The Fall Of Gondolin* in recent years, not all the existing material relating to these stories has been published. In the one of the links above it is noted:

'The Children of Hurin. Another version of The Children of Hurin, with the same title, unpublished, is in rhyming couplets’’

There is another version of the Beren and Luthien narrative that remains unpublished (a lengthy but unfinished prose text based on The Lay of Leithian (Christopher Tolkien mentions it in his commentary for The Lays Of Belerian but it was not included due to lack of space)



Tolkien scholars Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull have published or edited numerous books about Tolkien and his writing. This includes three art books (*J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Art Of The Hobbit, and The Art Of The Lord Of The Rings*) which publish much (but not all) of Tolkien’s artwork, calligraphy, maps and illustrations, and also quote from unpublished manuscripts.

The following PDF compiled by the two is a very useful list of all of Tolkien's published art (up to July 2018):


The book Tolkien: Maker Of Middle-earth published in 2018, publishes more new artwork (I haven't read that volume myself yet)

Hammond and Scull also authored the following two books:


The Readers Companion is an extremely useful and very interesting read in itself, but it also publishes for the first time various bits and peices including a newly transcribed version of Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, formerly unpublished parts of "The Hunt for the Ring" and "Index Questions", various minor unpublished notes/extracts from the LOTR manuscripts (including information on the frequency/length of an Ent' stride, info on http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Tarlang's_Neck), and extracts from several previously unpublished letters by Tolkien.

Selected parts  of Tolkien’s ''synoptic time scheme’' are also quoted in the book, though this text itself remains largely unpublished:

During the writing of The Lord of the Rings (more so in the later stages), Tolkien found that in order to keep all of the characters' movements synchronized with travel distances, the correct day of the week  etc he had to come up with a 'synoptic' time-scheme (or to put it more simply a ‘Chronology Of The Lord Of the Rings’). As I understand it this document takes the form of a series of multiple columns, it relates in brief what each character was doing that particular day, and includes some unpublished detail on what the various characters were doing on particular days ‘offscreen’ (well, off-page).

e.g IIRC in the Readers Companion extracts from this time scheme confirm it was Bill Ferny and co who ransacked the Hobbits rooms in Bree, rather than the Ringwraiths as often supposed, we also learn that the orc Shagrat delivered Frodo's mithril shirt to and was personally executed by Sauron after informing him of the intruders into Mordor-that's how the 'Mouth Of Sauron' obtained Frodo's mithril shirt and was able to taunt Aragorn and co with it at the Black Gate


-The Companion And Guide publishes for the first time a huge variety of unpublished writings (including extracts from Tolkien's diaries, unpublished lecture notes and letters, private correspodence with his publishers and the following essays):




In this book Hammond and Scull note that as of 2006 (a much revised and expanded edition of the Companion And Guide was released in 2017, this time second edition is split into three books rather than two) more than 1,500 Letters by J.R.R Tolkien were known to exist with more continuing to come to light each year, some of the unpublished letters are listed here:


The book The Letters Of J.R.R Tolkien (first published in 1981), quotes from 354 letters or unsent drafts (only some of which are printed in full), in the decades since the book was first published many other letters have been published or quoted in part, in journals, fanzines and other books etc.

As a comparison a quick google shows that the Collected Letters Of CS Lewis runs to three(?) volumes and over 4,000 pages in length!

Hammond and Scull also edited stand alone editions of Tolkien's shorter fiction Roverandom (1998, 2nd edition 2013), Farmer Giles Of Ham (1999, 2nd edition 2014) and The Adventures Of Tom Bombadil (2014), these all include  previously unpublished material (e.g extracts from earlier drafts, unpublished poems letters, unpublished notes etc).

In 2005 Verlyn Flieger edited an 'extended edition' of Smith Of Wooton Major (a revised 2nd editon followed in 2015):


In addition to editorial Notes and Commentary, the edition includes much material that was hitherto unpublished, including facsimiles of manuscripts and typescripts of previous versions, a Time Scheme, new essays (especially one dealing with the background of the story and the nature of Faerie) and notes by J.R.R. Tolkien, and a list of characters.[2]

On 26 February 2015, the extended edition was reissued by HarperCollins as a pocket hardback, with an additional gallery displaying the illustrations redrawn by Pauline Baynes for appearance in the 1980 deluxe edition of Poems and Stories.

Flieger's own books on Tolkien are highly acclaimed (though I haven't read any of them myself), and I believe also quote from unpublished writing:


The BBC Written Archives Centre (Reading),  Bodleian Library (Oxford), Leeds University (England), Marquette University (Milwaukee, United States) and Marion E. Wade Center (Wheaton College, Illinois, United States), amongst other locations, maintain sizeable collections of Tolkien's manuscripts, correspondence, artwork etc, much of which is unpublished or sealed to researchers.

The following books also print previously unpublished material (though I've not read any of these books myself...I'm noticing a pattern here...so many books to read but so little spare time/budget...)




Whilst much of the stuff I've mentioned was probably never intended for publication by Tolkien, we also know of two very intriguing books which were going to be published, only to be cancelled at a late date:



Perhaps one or both of those books may be published eventually one day.

The forthcoming book The Nature Of Middle-earth (due for release in June 2021) will publish for the first time various previously unseen writings, according to its amazon.uk listing:

First ever publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s final writings on Middle-earth, covering a wide range of subjects and perfect for those who have read and enjoyed The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth, and want to learn more about Tolkien’s magnificent world.

It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. What may be less known is that he continued to write about Middle-earth in the decades that followed, right up until the years before his death in 1973.

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. From sweeping themes as profound as Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to the more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!

The editor of the book Carl F. Hostetter has for many years acted as head of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship (a organization devoted to the scholarly study of Tolkien’s invented languages), and has frequently edited issues of



These journals are largely focussed on publishing unpublished manuscripts and texts relating to Tolkien’s invented languages, an ongoing process to this day (This particular area of Tolkien's writing is not something i have much knowledge about), see this old reddit thread for infomation on one of the more notable/lengthy unpublished texts:


Although most of the writings published in these journals are linguistic and rather fragmentary in nature, more lengthy 'general interest' texts published include:



According to wiki:


...With the publication of much linguistic material during the 1990s, especially in the History of Middle-earth series, and the Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon material published at an increasing rate during the early 2000s from the stock of linguistic material in the possession of the appointed team of editors (some 3000 pages according to them...



La Feuille de la Compagnie, vol.3, J.R.R. Tolkien, l'effigie des Elfes is an issue of the French journal La Feuille de la Compagnie. It includes the full versions of J.R.R. Tolkien's manuscripts "Converse of Manwë and Eru" (1959), "Reincarnation of Elves" (1959-1966), and "Some Notes on 'Rebirth', Reincarnation by Restoration, among Elves" (1972). These manuscripts were originally published in part or summarised in Morgoth's Ring and The Peoples of Middle-earth.

See these links for further detail on the latter:



Perhaps its possible some of this content will be republished in The Nature Of Middle-earth?

Going back to my early comments on the HOME, this old, but interesting thread from the ‘Hall Of Fire’ forum is particularly relevant:


In my Foreword to The Peoples of Middle-earth, pp.ix-x, I referred to the forerunner of the History as 'an entirely "private" study, without thought or purpose of publication: an exhaustive investigation and analysis of all the materials concerned with what came to be called the Elder Days, from the earliest beginnings, omitting no detail of name-form or textual variation.' This work, which I called The History of the Silmarillion, and which I began after the publication of my 'constructed' text, runs to more than 2600 very closely typed pages, and it does not even touch on the Second and Third Ages. When the possibility arose of publishing at least part of this work, in some form, it was obvious that it would have to be heavily reduced and curtailed, and the part of The History of Middle-earth dealing with the Elder Days is indeed a new presentation of The History of the Silmarillion, and a severe contraction of it, especially in respect of the sheer quantity of variant manuscript material reproduced in full.

(Aelfwine is the online name of Carl Hostetter)

This recent thread on the tolkienforum is also rather interesting:


There are also some unpublished materials that Tolkien wrote on this subject that will not see the light of day for several decades, as both JRRT and CJRT did not want them exposed (Tolkien felt ashamed that he had even contemplated their contents). I have seen one of these in 1982, just prior to Christopher Tolkien taking possession of the entirety of the Bodleian Library’s collection of JRRT’s writings for the First/Second Ages. It is very likely that collectively these could answer more definitively the issue of “What are Orcs?” despite none of these essays themselves reaching a firm conclusion...

And lead me to do some further research on the subject of orc women and I came across this old forum thread:


...Also, it may be likely that the Dwarves didn't do a lot of fighting, and probably only provided engineering services (making battlefield works and working as sappers or engineers to bring down fieldworks throw up by the good guys)… I'll see if I can find the source for why I got that idea… It's in some of the photocopies I got to make of Tolkien's stuff at Marquette University (The source was just a scribbling of some numbers of troops at the Battle of the Last Alliance, and the number of Dwarves was really small compared to the other troops)

...Unfortunately, most of what I have has already shown up in CJRT's The History of Middle Earth. I plan to make another trip when I can get some more brownie points to spend to get me access to the library again, this time, trying to sort out what is in some of the harder to read materials that are probably about Orcs, and Morgoth's early attempts to kidnap elves to turn to his cause… I got the feeling that Morgoth wanted the elves to join him voluntarily, but didn't understand (or, more likely, was just beyond his understanding) why the elves refused to have anything to do with him (I'd also like to see if there is anything about Sauron in the earlier materials and when he first appears in the earlier works, as Sauron WAS able to corrupt some elves later -albeit not how Morgoth had hoped. The elves would have never helped or fought for Sauron if they had a clue as to his real identity, but it does pose a good question, of would the elves of Eregion have fought for Sauron while he still had his more attractive guise if Sauron had concocted some scheme to get those elves to oppose Gondor, Lorien, or Imladris)…

Anyway… I do still have a lot about Orcs that I was able to dig up, including how they were created after Morgoth's original corruption of the elves. It was a MESSY and REALLY GROSS process.

Well, there is one version of Orc creation that never changed. Creation is probably the wrong word for it, as it is really how Orcs were mass produced after the creation of the first Orcs via the corruption of the Elves stolen from Cuiviénen by the infamous Black Rider (the first such figure, who was an opposition to Oromé).

Tolkien was not happy with the Orc creation stories because they all took him to places that he felt that no sane person should ever consider, and he remarked to himself once "How can I ever have allowed myself to consider this." on the side of a page that was remarking on how Orc Farming might be accomplished.

He did eventually rule out the breeding of Orcs by natural means (that means no female Orcs, ever), and stated that no Elve woman would allow herself to conceive such a monstrosity, and that humans who had been successfully impregnated by Orcs would usually die of the pregnancy (there is a crossed out bit that looks to read "Except in cases where the woman…"). I speculate that he might have suggested that very corrupted and evil human women might survive a pregnancy from an Orc fertilization, but the really awful part is that any such offspring would only be chopped up to be used as seed or fertilizer for other Orcs being grown in the pits of filth where they are farmed (with various other ingredients added during the gestation in their womb of filth in order to specialize the crop). This is where the addition of human remains would be important to the creation of your "Man-Orc" or Uruk-Hai, but even this would take many generations. Maybe 20 years for five to ten generations, depending upon the quality of Orc wanted, the longer the time, the better the quality of Orc. So, Uruks would probably be four to five years per generation. That is still a very short time to breed Orcs, as a HUGE Army could be raised in relatively short times.

Also, many of the Orcs in a batch might not make it, or they might be cannibalized as food by those "Hatching" early.

So, yes, Tolkien thought that it was best left to the Imagination. PJ in the movies did use the same passages that I read to show the "birthing pits" beneath Isengard when he was raising the Uruk-Hai.

On that subject… What people probably don't realize is that Saruman had probably been at his Orc breeding for quite a few generations before he even openly considered opposing the rest of the council… Probably since the assault on Dol Goldur, in fact. (given that his first batch was probably only 10 to 50 Orcs, with 1/5 of those being Uruk-Hai, and he would have needed to use almost all of the Uruk-Hai as seed crop (meaning that they would be killed in the process), it would take him about 10 generations to raise his army of 10,000 Uruk-Hai, or around 40 to 80 years. So, that could be another reason he was not so keen to attack Dol Goldur, as he knew that he would immediately have Sauron back in Mordor, breeding his own competitive hoard on a much larger breeding farm… Again, just speculation, but it does match with the numbers…

On the subject of Orc Women see also the infamous 'Munby Letter':


And no doubt there is more we don't know about, this is something I continue to investigate from time to time...


TLDR: There's quite a lot still unpublished, and much of it sounds very interesting indeed...

Last edited by malickfan on Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:11 am; edited 2 times in total

The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect

I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:46 am

{{ Lots to mull over here Malick- your mention of Pauline Baynes reminds me of a something I read recently in Letters where Tolkien talks about her ilustrations, and in particular about clothing in ME. So Im off to try to find which Letter it was- back shortly (well relatively depending how much buckie gets in the way between this thought and that! drunken }}

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Post by halfwise Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:23 pm

Holy cripes, Malick! In one post you suddenly live under threat of being elevated to a lore master.

I find it hopeful that Tolkien had at least a partial version of an alliterative Beowulf. I have his prose version, and actually find it less vigorous than some other translations, which was a great disappointment to me.

It makes sense that it was Bill Ferny who ransacked the hobbit rooms in the Prancing Pony rather than the Nazgul - it never sat right with me that they could be only a doorway away and not sense the ring. Now that's cleared up.

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