Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth is only a couple of months away now

And I can't wait! I only wish I was able to visit Oxford to see the actual exhibit.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth
Ed. Catherine McIlwane
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Release Date: July 15, 2018

The product description:
The range of J. R. R. Tolkien’s talents is remarkable. Not only was he an accomplished linguist and philologist, as well as a scholar of Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature and Norse folklore, but also a skillful illustrator and storyteller. Drawing on these talents, he created a universe which is for many readers as real as the physical world they inhabit daily.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores the huge creative endeavor behind Tolkien’s enduring popularity. Lavishly illustrated with three hundred images of his manuscripts, drawings, maps, and letters, the book traces the creative process behind his most famous literary works—The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion—and reproduces personal photographs and private papers, many of which have never been seen before in print.

Six essays introduce the reader to the person of J. R. R. Tolkien and to main themes in his life and work, including the influence of northern languages and legends on the creation of his own legendarium; his concept of “Faërie” as an enchanted literary realm; the central importance of his invented languages in his fantasy writing; his visual imagination and its emergence in his artwork; and the encouragement he derived from his close friend C. S. Lewis and their literary group the Inklings.

The book brings together the largest collection of original Tolkien material ever assembled in a single volume. Drawing on the extensive archives of the Tolkien collections at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, which stretch to more than five hundred boxes, and Marquette University, Milwaukee, as well as private collections, this hugely ambitious and exquisitely produced book draws together the worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien – scholarly, literary, creative, and domestic—offering a rich and detailed understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary author.

This landmark publication, produced on the occasion of a major exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford in 2018 and at the Morgan Library in New York in 2019, is set to become a standard work in the literature on J. R. R. Tolkien. 
Over 400 pages of essays and Tolkien material from the Bodleian Library, Marquette University and private collections! I'm almost drooling just thinking about it! Of course, some of it may have been reproduced in other volumes (I'm thinking of the Letters from Father Christmas for example). I just wish I could see somewhere a list of who the essay-writers are. I can definitely think of some well-recognized Tolkien scholars who I'd love to read more from: Verlyn Flieger, Dimitra Fimi, Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, John Garth, etc...

With the sentence in the description "...his concept of “Faërie” as an enchanted literary realm; the central importance of his invented languages in his fantasy writing; his visual imagination and its emergence in his artwork..." I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two of the above named scholars having contributed. I know that two of the more recent Hammond and Scull books were on Tolkien's artwork in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Dimitra Fimi has written on Tolkien and language, and Flieger has written a fair bit on Tolkien and Faerie in the past. However, those are just my guesses. I guess I'll just have to wait until I order and receive a copy of Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth to see who's contributed.

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