Maker of Middle-earth
Catherine McIlwaine
Published by Bodleian Library Publishing

The largest collection of original Tolkien material ever assembled. 

‘If you really want to know what Middle-earth is based on, it’s my wonder and delight in the earth as it is, particularly the natural earth.’

  1. J. R. R. Tolkien

Written by the Bodleian Library’s J. R. R. Tolkien archivist and published to coincide with major exhibitions on the author in 2018 and 2019, this remarkable new book explores the huge creative endeavour behind Tolkien’s most famous literary works and casts light on his academic realm and personal life.

It is lavishly illustrated with over 300 images of Tolkien’s manuscripts, drawings, maps and letters. It also reproduces materials never seen in print before, such as draft manuscripts of The Hobbit, Middle-earth illustrations and paintings by Tolkien, beautifully illustrated Christmas letters to his children and correspondence from various admirers, such as W. H. Auden, Iris Murdoch and Joni Mitchell.

Tolkien drew on his deep knowledge of medieval literature and language to inform his literary imagination. Six introductory essays cover some of the 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 a literary construct; 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 the literary group known as the Inklings.

This book brings together the largest collection of original Tolkien material ever published in a single volume. Drawing on the archives of the Tolkien collections at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and Marquette University, Milwaukee, as well as private collections, this exquisitely produced catalogue 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. A landmark publication, it is set to become the definitive work on J. R. R. Tolkien’s life and work.

Published by Bodleian Library Publishing

416 pages
c.300 illustrations
259mm x 237mm

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The Folio Society UK
© The Folio Society 2019