- As anyone who’s read the appendices to The Lord of the Rings knows, both it and The Hobbit are Tolkien’s translations from the so-called “Red Book of Westmarch,” an ancient manuscript written in Late Vulgar Adûni. How Tolkien came to possess the Red Book is a mystery, and the Tolkien Estate has never allowed other scholars access to it.
Tolkien’s original translation is justly famous and beloved. He treeherds an unwieldy ancient text into lyrical modern English and captures the vast scope and romance of the epic.
It is also deeply flawed.