Books by Tolkien

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

  • 1975 – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo (translations)
  • 1976 – The Father Christmas Letters
  • 1977 – The Silmarillion (ed. Christopher Tolkien)
  • 1980 – Unfinished Tales (ed. Christopher Tolkien)
  • 1981 – The Letters of JRR Tolkien (ed. Christopher Tolkien & Humphrey Carpenter)
  • 1982 – Finn and Hengist (ed. Alan Bliss) – A collection of Tolkien’s lectures.
  • 1982 – Mr. Bliss
  • 1983 – The Monsters and the Critics (a collection of essays)
  • 1983-1996 – The History of Middle-Earth (Twelve Volumes)
    • Book I – The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (1983)
    • Book II – The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (1984)
    • Book III – The Lays of Beleriand (1985)
    • Book IV – The Shaping of Middle Earth (1986)
    • Book V – The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987)
    • Book VI – The Return of the Shadow (1988)
    • Book VII – The Treason of Isengard (1989)
    • Book VIII – The War of the Ring (1990)
    • Book IX – Sauron Defeated (1992)
    • Book X – Morgoth’s Ring (1993)
    • Book XI – The War of the Jewels (1994)
    • Book XII – The Peoples of Middle Earth (1996)
  • 1992 – Pictures by JRR Tolkien (text by Christopher Tolkien)
  • 1998 – Roverandom
  • 2007 – The Children of Hurin
    • Forthcoming in April 2007, and the first full-length cohesive piece of fiction set in Middle Earth since The Silmarillion.