A Douglas A. Anderson Page
This note is reprinted from the June, 1999 Mythprint by permission of the author
Douglas A. Anderson’s first book was The Annotated Hobbit (1988), and it is mostly for
his work on J. R. R. Tolkien that he is known today. Much of this work on Tolkien had its
origins in textual studies. In fact, the impetus behind The Annotated Hobbit was the
studying of the revisions made by Tolkien to the various editions of The Hobbit. When
Anderson learned that the revisions did not by themselves justify a variorum edition of
the book, he proposed an annotated edition, which was eagerly accepted by the publisher,
Houghton Mifflin. His study of Tolkien’s revisions to The Hobbit comprise Appendix A of
the published book. The Annotated Hobbit won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award.
His textual studies on The Lord of the Rings resulted in an updated American edition
published by Houghton Mifflin in 1987. This edition brings into print in America a large
number of Tolkien’s own revisions to the British editions which had never previously made
it into the American editions. It also includes Anderson’s summary of the textual history
of The Lord of the Rings as an introductory “Note on the Text”. In England, a further
update to the British text of The Lord of the Rings was published by Harper Collins in
1994, with a slightly revised “Note on the Text”. This revised “Note” and new text
appeared in the U.S. in a one-volume edition published by Houghton Mifflin in June 1999.
He also collaborated with Wayne G. Hammond on J. R. R. Tolkien: A Descriptive
Bibliography (1993). While the research for this volume covered many years, and while
the book itself went through many drafts, the final version was entirely compiled by
Hammond, and credits Anderson as the lesser co-author. J. R. R. Tolkien: A Descriptive
Bibliography also won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award.
Anderson also succeeded in bringing back into print after nearly seventy years E. A.
Wyke-Smith’s The Marvellous Land of Snergs, a children’s fantasy which Tolkien himself
cited as an influence on The Hobbit. With a new critical introduction by Anderson, and
an annotated list of Wyke-Smith’s writings, The Marvellous Land of Snergs was republished
in 1996 by Old Earth Books.
As with his championing of Wyke-Smith’s neglected children’s book, Anderson has also
found a specialty in promoting the works of neglected or forgotten writers of mythopoeic
and supernatural fantasy. Anderson’s work over a dozen years on the Welsh writer Kenneth
Morris (1879-1937) reached a high point in 1992 with the first publication of a lost
Morris fantasy novel, The Chalchiuhite Dragon, a mystical fantasy of the Toltecs of
ancient Mexico. This was followed in 1995 by a long-overdue collection of Morris’s best
work, his myth-based short stories. Entitled The Dragon Path, this volume collects
nearly forty of Morris stories, along with an extensive introduction by Anderson. Morris’
s work has been highly praised by some of keenest critics of the genre, including Ursula
K. Le Guin, Brian Stableford, and John Clute.
Some other of these projects resurrecting forgotten writers are still works-in-progress,
but one offshoot of his work on Leonard Cline (1893-1929) appeared in the form of a
collection of five stories, The Lady of Frozen Death and Other Weird Tales (1992).
Cline’s major writings, including The Dark Chamber (1927), an elegant burslesque of the
Gothic that was highly praised by H. P. Lovecraft, and Cline’s superlative modern novel
based on Finnish legends from the Kalevala, God Head (1925), have not yet been
Anderson has planned three presentations for MythCon 30/BreeMoot 4. The first will be a
slide show of illustrations done over the years to The Hobbit, compiled from foreign and
other special editions. The Annotated Hobbit reproduces a small selection of these
illustrations (in black and white only), whereas the slide show will contain many more,
including a large number of color ones.
Anderson’s second presentation will be a more informal talk about his own
experiences with researching and writing, entitled “Episodes in the Life of a Scholar/Researcher:
Rediscovering Snergs, Excavating Obscure Dead Authors, and Pleasant Encounters with
The third presentation will be a public reading of a one-act play by Kenneth Morris
entitled “The Archdruid”. It is very similar in content and style to Morris’s tales, and
should serve as an intriguing introduction to Morris for those who have not yet
encountered his writings.