TolkienBooks.net has published plans for a series of fourteen articles tracing the early publishing history of The Lord of the Rings.
While the process of writing The Lord of the Rings has been described in detail by Christopher Tolkien in The History of Middle-earth series, less is known of the production and early publishing history of the books.
Some of Tolkien’s thoughts and actions are recorded in the selection of his letters that have been published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and Wayne Hammond’s Tolkien bibliography includes a fairly detailed chronology of events up to the publication of The Return of the King in October 1955, but there is great deal more information that is not so widely available. This includes Rayner Unwin’s account of his relationship with Tolkien in his book George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer, and correspondence held in the Allen & Unwin archive at Reading University.
The articles will cover a variety of aspects of the bibliography of The Lord of the Rings and will, when completed, trace the publishing history from Tolkien’s attempts to secure the publication of both LotR and The Silmarillion in the early 1950s through to the publication of the Second Edition in the mid-1960s. The article titles are:
1. Who will publish this “Monster”?
2. The Early Publishing History of The Fellowship of the Ring
3. The Early Publishing History of The Two Towers
4. The Early Publishing History of The Return of the King
5. The First Impression of The Return of the King
6. The First Boxed Edition
7. The Readers Union Edition
8. The First Deluxe Edition
9. Print Run Sizes and Dates
10. A Brief Guide to the Houghton Mifflin Edition
11. The Ace Books Affair
12. The Second Edition
13. The Lord of the Rings – An Illustrated Bibliography
14. The Lord of the Rings – A Bibliography of Boxed Sets
For further details visit An Illustrated Tolkien Bibliography.