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Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

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Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth
Tolkien Maker of Middle-earth.jpg
Cover of first edition, showing Tolkien's painting "Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft-Elves"
AuthorCatherine McIlwaine
IllustratorJ. R. R. Tolkien
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
SubjectTolkien's legendarium
GenreArt
Published1 June 2018
PublisherThe Bodleian Library
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages416
ISBN978-1851244850

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is a 2018 art book exploring images of the artwork, illustrations, maps, letters and manuscripts of J. R. R. Tolkien. The book was written by Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien archivist at the Bodleian Library. It was timed to coincide with an exhibition of the same name, also curated by McIlwaine.

The book documents Tolkien's creative processes behind his Middle-earth books with essays by Tolkien scholars and a catalogue of his artworks, each image accompanied by a descriptive and historical text. With some 300 illustrations, mainly in double-page spreads of image and text, the book draws on the collection at the Bodleian Library, Marquette University, and private collections. The book and exhibition have been widely admired by commentators.

Discover more about Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth related topics

Tolkien's maps

Tolkien's maps

J. R. R. Tolkien's maps, depicting his fictional Middle-earth and other places in his legendarium, helped him with plot development, guides the reader through his often complex stories, and contributes to the impression of depth in his writings.

J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer and philologist. He was the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It derives its name from its founder, Sir Thomas Bodley. With over 13 million printed items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom, and under Irish law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as "Bodley" or "the Bod", it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.

Middle-earth

Middle-earth

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of much of the English writer J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy. The term is equivalent to the Miðgarðr of Norse mythology and Middangeard in Old English works, including Beowulf. Middle-earth is the human-inhabited world, that is, the central continent of the Earth, in Tolkien's imagined mythological past. Tolkien's most widely read works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, are set entirely in Middle-earth. "Middle-earth" has also become a short-hand term for Tolkien's legendarium, his large body of fantasy writings, and for the entirety of his fictional world.

Marquette University

Marquette University

Marquette University is a private Jesuit research university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Established by the Society of Jesus as Marquette College on August 28, 1881, it was founded by John Martin Henni, the first Bishop of the diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Work

Publication history

The 416-page book was written by Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien archivist at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It was published in a large format, 23.5 cm × 25.4 cm (9+14 in × 10 in) hardcover by the Bodleian in 2018, and in a smaller paperback format later the same year. A hardcover German edition was published by Stuttgart Hobbit Presse Klett-Cotta, also in 2018.[1]

Exhibition

The book's appearance was timed to coincide with an exhibition of the same name, also curated by McIlwaine. The exhibition ran from 1 June 2018 (the publication date of the book) to 28 October 2018. It presented some 200 of the book's images of Tolkien's life and work.[2][3] The exhibition visited the Morgan Library & Museum in New York in 2019.[4]

Contents

"Bilbo woke up with the sun in his eyes": a double-page spread from the book, showing the combination of detailed text, Tolkien's artwork, and a spacious layout[5]
"Bilbo woke up with the sun in his eyes": a double-page spread from the book, showing the combination of detailed text, Tolkien's artwork, and a spacious layout[5]

The book is divided into two parts. The first part is a series of essays on key aspects of Tolkien's Middle-earth oeuvre. There is a brief biography of Tolkien by McIlwaine, and a chapter by John Garth on how the Inklings, a literary group that included C. S. Lewis, influenced Tolkien. Verlyn Flieger describes Tolkien's concept of faerie, referencing works such as On Fairy-Stories and Smith of Wootton Major as well as his Middle-earth books. Carl F. Hostetter introduces Tolkien's invented Elvish languages, Quenya and Sindarin. Tom Shippey comments on Tolkien's creative use of Norse mythology, and the northern ethos of courage without hope of victory, citing Beowulf and the Poetic Edda's Lay of Fafnir, to suit his own taste, faith, and knowledge of philology. Finally, Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull introduce Tolkien's visual art, arguing that his artwork was as thorough as his writing.[5]

The second part is a catalogue of the exhibition, divided into chapters covering Tolkien's letters, his childhood, student days, inventiveness, his long effort on The Silmarillion myths, his work at home, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and his maps of Middle-earth.[5] It provides some 300 illustrations, mainly in double-page spreads of image and text. Some are from the collection at the Bodleian Library; others are from the archive at Marquette University and from private collections.[6]

Illustrations

The book has some 300 colour illustrations.[1] Many illustrations occupy a full page, usually with a description facing it to form a double-page spread on a single item. Each image or group of similar images has an exhibition-like title and summary, stating the image's date, materials used, size, exhibition date and number, appearances in published literature (whether by Tolkien or others), and the manuscript number. There follows a description of the image in text.[5]

Discover more about Work related topics

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It derives its name from its founder, Sir Thomas Bodley. With over 13 million printed items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom, and under Irish law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as "Bodley" or "the Bod", it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.

Morgan Library & Museum

Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum, formerly the Pierpont Morgan Library, is a museum and research library in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It is situated at 225 Madison Avenue, between 36th Street to the south and 37th Street to the north.

Middle-earth

Middle-earth

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of much of the English writer J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy. The term is equivalent to the Miðgarðr of Norse mythology and Middangeard in Old English works, including Beowulf. Middle-earth is the human-inhabited world, that is, the central continent of the Earth, in Tolkien's imagined mythological past. Tolkien's most widely read works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, are set entirely in Middle-earth. "Middle-earth" has also become a short-hand term for Tolkien's legendarium, his large body of fantasy writings, and for the entirety of his fictional world.

J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer and philologist. He was the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

John Garth (author)

John Garth (author)

John Garth is a British journalist and author, known especially for writings about J. R. R. Tolkien including his biography Tolkien and the Great War and a book on the places that inspired Middle-earth, The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien.

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis was a British writer and Anglican lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. He is best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, but he is also noted for his other works of fiction, such as The Screwtape Letters and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, including Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

On Fairy-Stories

On Fairy-Stories

"On Fairy-Stories" is an essay by J. R. R. Tolkien which discusses the fairy story as a literary form. It was written as a lecture entitled "Fairy Stories" for the Andrew Lang lecture at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, on 8 March 1939.

Carl F. Hostetter

Carl F. Hostetter

Carl Franklin Hostetter is a Tolkien scholar and NASA computer scientist. He has edited and annotated many of J. R. R. Tolkien's linguistic writings, publishing them in Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon.

Elvish languages

Elvish languages

Elvish languages are constructed languages used by Elves in a fantasy setting. The philologist and fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien created the first of these languages, including Quenya and Sindarin.

Norse mythology

Norse mythology

Norse, Nordic, or Scandinavian mythology is the body of myths belonging to the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Old Norse religion and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, and into the Nordic folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology and stemming from Proto-Germanic folklore, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.

Beowulf

Beowulf

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem in the tradition of Germanic heroic legend consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is one of the most important and most often translated works of Old English literature. The date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating is for the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025. Scholars call the anonymous author the "Beowulf poet". The story is set in pagan Scandinavia in the 6th century. Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by the monster Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland and becomes king of the Geats. Fifty years later, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is mortally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants cremate his body and erect a tower on a headland in his memory.

Poetic Edda

Poetic Edda

The Poetic Edda is the modern name for an untitled collection of Old Norse anonymous narrative poems, which is distinct from the Prose Edda written by Snorri Sturluson. Several versions exist, all primarily of text from the Icelandic medieval manuscript known as the Codex Regius, which contains 31 poems. The Codex Regius is arguably the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends. Since the early 19th century, it has had a powerful influence on Scandinavian literature, not only through its stories, but also through the visionary force and the dramatic quality of many of the poems. It has also been an inspiration for later innovations in poetic meter, particularly in Nordic languages, with its use of terse, stress-based metrical schemes that lack final rhymes, instead focusing on alliterative devices and strongly concentrated imagery. Poets who have acknowledged their debt to the Codex Regius include Vilhelm Ekelund, August Strindberg, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, and Karin Boye.

Reception

Book

Tolkien's first prose fiction was the 1914 The Story of Kullervo, inspired by the Finnish Kalevala.[7] Painting Kullervo Rides to War by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1901
Tolkien's first prose fiction was the 1914 The Story of Kullervo, inspired by the Finnish Kalevala.[7] Painting Kullervo Rides to War by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1901

Fafnir, the Nordic journal of science fiction and fantasy, wrote that McIlwaine is an authoritative editor who had assembled "an excellent textual and visual compendium". It noted some repetition between the essays and the catalogue, but admired McIlwaine's correlation of Tolkien's artwork with events in his life and his work on the three major Middle-earth books, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.[5]

The British Fantasy Society found the book "incredibly impressive" and the level of detail "astounding".[8] It stated that it surpassed earlier attempts at documenting Tolkien's creative process, with the inclusion of many unpublished personal photographs and private papers.[8]

Exhibition

The National Review described the exhibition as "the most thorough collection in years of Tolkien's wide-ranging creative gifts".[7] It notes the starting-point in 1914 where the 22-year-old Tolkien, about to go to the Western Front, spent his Christmas holiday writing the Kalevala-inspired The Story of Kullervo. The next year, one of his paintings depicted an Elvish city, Kor, and a poem next to the painting spoke of Valinor, the Undying Lands of The Silmarillion. The review praised McIlwaine for the exhibition's "tremendous vitality" achieved by putting Tolkien in "the full context of his life".[7]

The Claremont Review of Books stated that, seeing the English countryside after visiting the exhibition, "the significance of the most easily overlooked part of the Bodleian exhibition becomes clear: the family and personal mementos of a life lived in an England that was even then disappearing before Tolkien's eyes".[9] In its view, the book "demonstrated in glorious detail" many items of Tolkien's art not shown the exhibition, along with essays "that will become new standards, rich in detail while elegant in economy of prose".[9]

The Guardian's Samantha Shannon reported McIlwaine as saying she wanted exhibition visitors "to leave with the impression of the whole man and his work – not just Tolkien as the maker of Middle-earth, but as a scholar, a young professor, a father of four children".[10] Shannon wrote that McIlwaine had succeeded in this: "I am comforted to have glimpsed the man behind the myth, and I am more inspired than ever by the scope of his creation."[10]

The Daily Telegraph called the exhibition "tremendous ... an immersive experience". It noted that the Bodleian had assembled materials from the Marquette University collection as well as its own larger body of Tolkien papers.[11]

Christianity Today reported that the exhibition was "nearly comprehensive" but had one "glaring omission": "any mention of the author's devout, lifelong Christian faith".[12] It mentions Michael Ward's comment that Tolkien's faith is not obvious in Middle-earth, unlike his friend C. S. Lewis's Narnia, and concludes that "Only if we recognize Tolkien's deep Christian faith can we hope to understand the life and work of the 'Maker of Middle-earth'".[12]

The Norwegian American stated that the exhibition had record-breaking ticket sales on its visit to New York's Morgan Library & Museum. This contributed to a "Tolkien mania" in the city, coinciding with the arrival of the 2019 biographical film Tolkien.[4]

Discover more about Reception related topics

Kalevala

Kalevala

The Kalevala is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology, telling an epic story about the Creation of the Earth, describing the controversies and retaliatory voyages between the peoples of the land of Kalevala called Väinölä and the land of Pohjola and their various protagonists and antagonists, as well as the construction and robbery of the epic mythical wealth-making machine Sampo.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela was a Finnish painter who is best known for his illustrations of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. His work is considered a very important aspect of the Finnish national identity. He changed his name from Gallén to Gallen-Kallela in 1907.

Fafnir (journal)

Fafnir (journal)

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a peer-reviewed online academic journal published by Suomen science fiction - ja fantasiatutkimuksen seura ry.

British Fantasy Society

British Fantasy Society

The British Fantasy Society (BFS) was founded in 1971 as the British Weird Fantasy Society, an offshoot of the British Science Fiction Association. The society is dedicated to promoting the best in the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres.

National Review

National Review

National Review is an American conservative editorial magazine, focusing on news and commentary pieces on political, social, and cultural affairs. The magazine was founded by the author William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955. Its editor-in-chief is Rich Lowry, while the editor is Ramesh Ponnuru.

Claremont Review of Books

Claremont Review of Books

The Claremont Review of Books (CRB) is a quarterly review of politics and statesmanship published by the conservative Claremont Institute. A typical issue consists of several book reviews and a selection of essays on topics of conservatism and political philosophy, history, and literature. Authors who are regularly featured in the Review are sometimes referred to as "Claremonsters."

The Guardian

The Guardian

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian; it changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders. It is considered a newspaper of record in the UK.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph, known online and elsewhere as The Telegraph, is a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed across the United Kingdom and internationally.

Marquette University

Marquette University

Marquette University is a private Jesuit research university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Established by the Society of Jesus as Marquette College on August 28, 1881, it was founded by John Martin Henni, the first Bishop of the diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Christianity Today

Christianity Today

Christianity Today is an evangelical Christian media magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham. It is published by Christianity Today International based in Carol Stream, Illinois. The Washington Post calls Christianity Today "evangelicalism's flagship magazine". The New York Times describes it as a "mainstream evangelical magazine". On August 4, 2022, Russell D. Moore—notable for denouncing and leaving the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention—was named the incoming Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief.

Michael Ward (scholar)

Michael Ward (scholar)

Michael Ward is an English literary critic and theologian. His academic focus is theological imagination, especially in the writings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G.K. Chesterton. He is best known for his book Planet Narnia, in which he argues that C.S. Lewis structured The Chronicles of Narnia so as to embody and express the imagery of the seven heavens. On the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis's death, Ward unveiled a permanent national memorial to him in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.

Christianity in Middle-earth

Christianity in Middle-earth

Christianity is a central theme in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional works about Middle-earth, but always a hidden one. This allows the book to be read at different levels, and its meaning to be applied by the reader, rather than forcing a single meaning on the reader.

Source: "Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolkien:_Maker_of_Middle-earth.

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See also
References
  1. ^ a b "Tolkien maker of Middle-Earth". WorldCat. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  2. ^ "About the Exhibition - Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth". The Bodleian Library. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  3. ^ Kidd, Patrick (1 June 2018). "Exhibition review: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford". The Times. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b Hofmo, Victoria (9 July 2019). "J.R.R. Tolkien and the Norse connection". The Norwegian American. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e Cossio, Andoni (2019). "Book Review: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth". Fafnir. 6 (2): 65–68.
  6. ^ "Exhibition: Tolkien - Maker of Middle-earth - The Tolkien Society". The Tolkien Society. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Loconte, Joseph (18 August 2020). "The Maker of Middle-earth, in Gorgeous Detail". National Review. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ a b Lockley, Craig (18 July 2018). "Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth by Catherine McIlwaine. Book review". The British Fantasy Society. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  9. ^ a b Anderson, Bradley. "Visiting Tolkien's Middle-Earth". Claremont Review of Books. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  10. ^ a b Shannon, Samantha (31 May 2018). "How Tolkien created Middle-earth". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  11. ^ Garth, John (2 June 2018). "Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, Bodleian Libraries, review: 'A once-in-a-generation event'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  12. ^ a b Ordway, Holly (21 August 2018). "The Maker of the Maker of Middle-earth". Christianity Today. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
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