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New book of unseen JRR Tolkien writings about Middle-earth coming in 2021

The Nature of Middle-earth delves into everything from Elvish immortality to the importance of beards.

The new book will be published in June 2021.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Author J.R.R. Tolkien, beloved creator of The Lord of the Rings saga, has been gone since 1973, but a new book of his previously unseen writings is coming in 2021. 

The book, The Nature of Middle-earth, will return fans to the legendary world of Middle-earth. 

The book will expand on the world Tolkien created in The Hobbit, which was published in 1937, and The Lord of the Rings books, published in three volumes in 1954 and 1955.

"For (Tolkien), Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation," Deb Brody, vice president and publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media, said in a statement. "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 Numenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!"

The new book will be published on June 24, 2021. Tolkien's son Christopher edited much of his father's work, but Christopher Tolkien died in January at age 95. The new book will be edited by Tolkien expert Carl F. Hostetter. 

"It's an absolute joy to anticipate more original Tolkien work," David Rowe, the author of the 2017 book The Proverbs of Middle-earth, told me. 

While some recent Tolkien publications have focused on already familiar stories, that's not the case here, Rowe said.

"This new book appears to be genuinely new: new investigations and explorations into a world that we already love, and are looking forward to loving more," he said. "As with many Tolkienists, I had presumed that we would be reading no new JRRT material after (Christopher Tolkien's death). So the joy we are all feeling is an unexpected party."