Two previously unknown poems by famous, genre-defining author J.R.R. Tolkien were recently discovered in a school magazine in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. The poems are thought to have been written while Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. The poems were discovered in the 1936 annual issue of Our Lady’s School magazine.
The existence of the poems was uncovered when the US Tolkien scholar Wayne Hammond saw that Tolkien mentioned that he had published two poems in a magazine he named as the Abingdon Chronicle, which Hammond soon realized was the magazine, Our Lady’s School.
Upon learning this Hammond contacted Stephen Oliver, the headteacher of Our Lady’s School. Oliver was initially unable to locate the relevant issue of the magazine.
The correct edition of the magazine was eventually uncovered. Mr. Oliver’s account of the discovery is as follows: “While preparing for an event for former pupils of the school, we uncovered our own copy and I saw the two poems Mr. Hammond had been looking for. My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming. I am a great Tolkien fan and was thrilled to discover the connection with the school”.
The first poem, The Shadow Man, is an early version of a poem that was published in the 1962 collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (The version found in this book is called Shadow-Bride). The second poem, entitled Noel, is a Christmas poem set in a fantasy world.
As of now the school is planning to show the poems at an exhibition about its history. When the larger public will get to read these poems is unknown, although as with some of the other freshly discovered pieces of Tolkien’s writing there is a strong possibility that they will be picked up for publication at some point in the future.
Are you so excited by this news that you are screaming at your computer screen? Has this article put a damper on the rest of your week? Have you no idea who this J.R.R. Tolkien person is? We would love for you to tell us about it in the comments section below.
Trent Katzenberger is a writer, youtuber, gamer, nerd, and just all around a strange sort of guy. He loves trying new stuff and creating odd things.