Currently running at The Bodleian Library in Oxford is the largest ever exhibition of the works of JRR Tolkien. This very impressive tome, put together by Catherine McIlwaine, the Tolkien archivist at said library and curator of the exhibition, quite simply outdoes all previous works on the subject. It’s a large format book, printed on top quality art paper, and was created specifically for the exhibition. It begins with six in depth essays on various parts of Tolkien’s life and work, and these alone are worth the price of admission. Beyond that is the catalogue itself, comprising nine sections mirroring the nine sections of artefacts on display. Many of the maps, letters and drawings are seen in public for the first time – interestingly, one of the letters to Tolkien is from a nineteen year old Terry Pratchett, while another comes from none other than Joni Mitchell, seeking permission to use the names Lorien and Strider for her music and publishing companies! The level of detail throughout the book is just incredible, showing the development of the numerous characters, locations and storylines in The Hobbit, Lord of The Rings and The Silmarillion, not to mention the years of extensive work and research that went into his tales.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
If you’re a fan then this book is simply a must have, as it is surely the final word on the man and his work. It’s expensive but worth every penny, as this is a volume to keep coming back to time after time – and you’ll need to in order to absorb all the information here.
One thing you’ve learned
The exhibition is reaching the end of its run on 28th October – it’s free but ticketed admission. If you are a fan of Tolkien it’s simply a must see, so if you were wavering about paying it a visit then hesitate no more – it’s a super experience and this book is the perfect accompaniment to it.