Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tolkien Studies 6 has arrived — and an exciting discovery!

The latest issue of Tolkien Studies (Volume 6) has begun to reach its subscribers. John Rateliff, whose essay “A Kind of Elvish Craft: J.R.R. Tolkien as Literary Craftsman” is the lead article, wrote Tuesday that he had received his copy. My own copy arrived in the mail yesterday. For those who have been trolling Amazon, it is apparently not yet available for order there; however, it has been available for a little while direct from WVUP. To order it, you can follow this link.

One interesting mistake: the cover image shown at the WVUP website is actually the cover for Volume 5! So, to my knowledge, the public at large has not yet seen the cover. Well, until now (see above right — click to enlarge). The cover image was clearly chosen to synergize with John Rateliff’s essay. It’s from Tolkien’s Plot Notes A, from the original manuscripts of The Hobbit. I do not think this holograph page has been published anywhere else before. Considering Tolkien’s eye-splitting handwriting, readers will be glad to refer to Rateliff’s The History of The Hobbit, p. 293, for a transcription of the manuscript page.

And speaking of manuscripts, there is BIG NEWS is the world of C.S. Lewis today. Professor Steven Beebe of the Texas State University at San Marcos (almost in my back yard, so to speak) has apparently come across Lewis’s unfinished and unpublished manuscript for Language and Human Nature, a book Lewis planned to write in collaboation with J.R.R. Tolkien during the 1940s. (See Tolkien’s letter #92, and its second footnote.) The book was never published, but I was unaware until now that any substantial material for it existed. Dr. Beebe has written an essay on the discovery, “Language and Human Nature Manuscript Fragment Found: C. S. Lewis On Language and Meaning”, to be published in the next volume of Seven. I’ll be bringing you more on this very exciting new development in Lewis studies as soon as I have anything concrete to share, but in the meantime, you can read a little bit more here.


  1. Mr Fisher, could you tell me what the ISBN number for the sixth volume of Tolkien Studies is? This would make searching for it here in the Netherlands a lot easier, especially since most Dutch bookshops seem to be unable to distinguish between the various volumes of the journal in any other way than through the ISBN. Thanks in advance.

  2. Aye, there’s the rub!

    The first five volumes of Tolkien Studies have all had both an ISSN and an ISBN, which is why they show up on, etc. But — for reasons unknown to me — the sixth volume has only an ISSN (a number for identifying periodicals). It does not have an ISBN this year, which means that (among other consequences), you aren’t going to find it on So far as I know (at the moment), the only way to get it is through the West Virginia University Press website, here. Click on the International Individual Price, and you can then add it to a cart and proceed to checkout.

  3. Thank you!

  4. You’re welcome, whoever you are. ;)