Finding lost works by an author always makes big headlines, but special things happen when the author in question happens to be a beloved fantasy creator. Two lost J.R.R. Tolkien poems were discovered in a school magazine from 1936, after a U.S. Tolkien historian found a brief mention of their publication among the author's papers. Our Lady's School in Abingdon, Oxfordshire now plans to display the poems as part of its history.
Historian Wayne Hammond's discovery is unlike many of its kind in that the works in question have not gone unpublished. These two Tolkien poems — "The Shadow Man" and "Noel" — were published in Our Lady's Abingdon Chronicle, but all memory of their existence was lost in the last 80 years. In all fairness, however, Tolkien had not yet become a sensation at the time; he would not publish The Hobbit until the fall of 1937.
"The Shadow Man" is an early version of "Shadow-Bride," which appeared in Tolkien's 1962 compilation, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Middle-earth lore says that "Shadow-Bride" was found in the margins of the Red Book of Westmarch, in which Bilbo and Frodo Baggins wrote of their adventures.
"Noel" is a Christmas poem that focuses on Mary. According to The Guardian's Alison Flood, the poem "would not be out of place in Middle-earth," thanks to scenes of dark halls and a figure called "the lord of snows."
It's likely that fans will eventually see both poems published elsewhere. A revised edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, published in 2014, contained some previously unpublished material. In 2007, Tolkien's son, Christopher, edited his father's notes and manuscripts to publish The Children of Húrin: the first published Tolkien novel since 1977's The Silmarillion. Later this year, fans will finally get to read The Story of Kullervo , which publisher's copy calls "a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien's invented world."
You can read "The Shadow Man" and "Noel" on Our Lady's website. The Story of Kullervo is now available for pre-order, and will hit store shelves on April 5.
Images: Bustle/Dawn Foster; Giphy