Major Works

Whether you are new to Tolkien or need to replace a battered and well-loved old paperback, these books come highly recommended from The Tolkien Professor. Seeing as there are a dizzying number of editions of Tolkien’s works, it can be difficult to find the best one. The following books are excellent versions of the texts that The Tolkien Professor assigns in his classes at Washington College and uses for his own reading and podcast series. All references to page numbers in his lectures are taken from these editions.

At the bottom of the page are links to several unabridged audio recordings of these works, which are available on CD. As all of Tolkien’s major works are available as books-on-tape, The Tolkien Professor highly recommends experiencing them in this format. It is wonderful to hear Tolkien’s stories read aloud, and these performances are excellent.


The Hobbit and LOTR Boxed Set

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These editions are both scholarly and beautiful; they are by far my favorite versions of the four main books. The Lord of the Rings volumes are continuously paginated, emphasizing Tolkien’s original vision of the three volumes as one single book.

For those who want only one of the books, I have also included each one separately below.


The Hobbit

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A wonderful edition of the classic story and a perfect place at which to enter Tolkien’s world. This is the edition I am working from in the Hobbit Series.


The Annotated Hobbit (Douglas Anderson, ed.)

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Anderson’s notes on the text are fascinating, and the passages he provides from the first published edition of The Hobbit are priceless.


The Fellowship of the Ring

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Books I and II of  the Lord of the Rings.



The Two Towers

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Books III and IV of the Lord of the Rings.



The Return of the King

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Books V and VI of the Lord of the Rings, plus cool appendices!



The Silmarillion

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Written in the archaic style of ancient mythology, Tolkien’s legends of the First Age is a harder read than the LOTR, but it is extremely rewarding once you adapt to it.

The Children of Hurin

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A novel-length treatment of the Turin Turambar story from the Silmarillion. The book is beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee, but be warned: the story is very tragic.


Audio Books

 

lotr_audioLOTR Audio

Amazon  -  Barnes and Noble  -  Indiebooks
Read brilliantly by Rob Inglis. This is a true classic; it never leaves my iPod.

 

hobbit_audioThe Hobbit Audio

Amazon  -  Barnes and Noble
More Rob Inglis. Equally brilliant; Inglis really captures the spirit of the book.

 

silmarillion_audioThe Silmarillion Audio

Amazon  -  Barnes and Noble
Less perfect than Inglis’s reading, but still very good.

 

hurin_audioThe Children of Hurin Audio

Amazon  -  Barnes and Noble
Read by Christopher Lee, Saruman in the films.