A new book of unpublished essays by J.R.R. Tolkien is set to be published next year, reports The Guardian. The volume, The Nature of Middle-earth, will be edited by Tolkien scholar Carl F. Hostetter, and will feature new insights into the mechanics of his fantasy world.
According to Chris Smith, HarperCollins deputy publishing director, Tolkien continued to write about the world long after completing The Lord of the Rings, producing a raft of work that his son Christopher Tolkien later collected into a number of expanded, standalone volumes like The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, The Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien, and The Fall of Gondolin.
This new collection, he says, is 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.”
Word of the book first surfaced in 2019 in a catalogue blurb for the Frankfurt Book Fair, which noted that the book will cover the nature of the world’s flora and fauna, as well as its metaphysical components. The blurb also reveals that Christopher Tolkien recruited Hostetter shortly before his death earlier this year.
In a press release from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publisher and VP Deb Brody says that the book will cover a range of topics:
“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 book is slated for release on June 24th, 2021.