Books by Tolkien

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JRR Tolkien was one of the foremost writers of the 20th century. Many books by Tolkien are considered classics, and continue to be extremely influential today.

The release of the three movies in The Lord of the Rings sequence has also helped to bring about a resurgence of interest in Professor Tolkien’s books. Many fans of Tolkien’s books, however, may not know that Tolkien wrote more than simply The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

JRR Tolkien wrote many stories during his lifetime, some of which were only published posthumously.

The Silmarillion, a collection of Tolkien’s early writings, was published posthumously in 1977. It is a beautiful compilation of Tolkien’s early mythology of Middle Earth, the elves, men, the “Wars of the Silmarils” (these predate the events in The Lord of the Rings by many, many years), and the rest of the history of Tolkien’s created world.

Tolkien’s appeal has been such that his son, Christopher Tolkien, undertook to publish a complete twelve book “History of Middle Earth” series, consisting primarily of notes, unfinished drafts, false starts, unrevised stories, and editorial commentary. These are not necessarily “books by Tolkien” per se, but collections of his notes and unfinished stories along with editorial commentary.

Some of this will not appeal to the casual fan. But those interested in the true depth of Tolkien’s mythologies and early ideas of Middle Earth, the synthesis and difficulties he faced in writing The Lord of the Rings, and some of the source material in which Tolkien was immersed will find it fascinating reading.

Still lesser known are some of the other stories and books by Tolkien, such as Smith of Wootten Major, Farmer Giles of Ham, “Leaf by Niggle”,Roverandom, and his collections of verse.

For the most part, these writings can be considered entirely separate from the “Middle Earth” sequence of books by Tolkien. They do not share characters, peoples, or settings with the Middle Earth writings.

Here is a full list of books by Tolkien, by date of publication. I have omitted those minor works which were originally published only in academic journals, as nearly all of those writings were published in book form at a later date.

Fiction and Verse

Nonfiction and Translations

  • 1925 – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (translation, edited with E.V. Gordon)
  • 1937 – Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
  • 1962 – Ancrene Wisse: The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle

Posthumous Publications

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