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Companion and Guide - Reader's Guide

Subject: Companion and Guide - Reader's Guide
by Urulöké on 2007/2/4 10:15:02

I finally (finally!) cleared out enough stuff to get my reading hands on Christina Scull's and Wayne Hammond's Reader's Guide. What this means (for me) is that I can put in about a half hour a night when I am going to bed. I'm going straight through for the first pass, so a lot of my thoughts and comments are going to be in the A's right now.

First, as a general overview, these two volumes (the Chronology is the other one) look to be absolutely indispensable to the collector in particular, as they are absolutely chock full of information on dates, ephemera, inside info on publications and people, brief notes on the contents of various fanzines, etc. I'm glossing over the usefulness for the researcher, book fan, etc., all of which I know are here as well.

The second entry of the Reader's Guide is the Ace Book controversy (pp. 2-7). Five pages of this dense book, well referenced for all claims and quotes, a definitive layout of how it got started, the troubles it caused, and how it was definitively answered (in the courts in the early 1990s, finally). It indicates to me that George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer is a key book to have for those interested in the publishing history of Tolkien's works. I myself have been unable to find a copy of this book so far, and definitely need to get one. It will show up often in the Reader's Guide as a reference, I am sure. Also, for those interested in the Ace controversy, some interesting letters appear in print in Lighthouse, August 1965, and Saturday Review, 23 October 1965. Two Beyond Bree issues are critical for tracing the Ace controversy in detail - September and December 1995.

The third entry (a small one on Acocks Green, Warwickshire, p. 7) mentions in passing that a letter from Tolkien to a group of school children was first reprinted in a Sotheby's catalog from 16 December 2004. I think this qualifies as a first edition of Tolkien's writings in print. Just an example of the gems hiding in this vast volume.

The fifth entry is Adaptations, pp. 8-23 and worth every page. It goes over media translations (plays, movies, audio broadcasts) in good detail. One item mentioned in particular that I would like more information on (p. 21) - William L. Snyder made an authorized motion picture of The Hobbit circa 1962... "the result, running only about twelve minutes, was composed simply of cartoon stills or three-dimensional contructions, in which the only action was created by movement of the camera." Crammed into those twelve minutes is a very different story from Tolkien's original. No dwarves (instead a watchman, a soldier and a princess), and so on. Does this still exist? Anyone heard or seen it?

More to come as I read further...