Two early drafts of poems by Tolkien have been unearthed, with a copy of a school annual from 1936 including versions of Noel and the substantially more famous The Shadow Man, both written right before he became the king of Middle-earth.
They were found in a copy of the 1936 annual put together by Our Lady's School in Abingdon, after Tolkien enthusiast Wayne G. Hammond followed up notes on their whereabouts left by the author himself.
Current school principal Stephen Oliver said: "At first we couldn't find the 1936 edition and referred Mr Hammond to the archives of the Sisters of Mercy in London. Then, 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."
They're quite the find for fans of the labyrinthine author, as their publication in 1936 pre-dates the arrival of The Hobbit the following year; a book that would push the then poet into the world of fiction. [BBC]