Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth
|Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth|
|Publisher||Bodleian Library, Oxford|
|Released||1 June 2018|
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is a 2018 art book exploring 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, it draws on the collection at the Bodleian Library, Marquette University, and private collections, some of which were never previously viewable by the public. The book and exhibition have been widely admired by commentators.
It was published with its companion volume Tolkien: Treasures.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part is a series of essays on key aspects of Tolkien's Middle-earth creation. 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.
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. 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.
The British Fantasy Society found the book "incredibly impressive" and the level of detail "astounding". It stated that it surpassed earlier attempts at documenting Tolkien's creative process, with the inclusion of many unpublished personal photographs and private papers.
Table of content
- "J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biographical Sketch" by Catherine McIlwaine
- "Tolkien and the Inklings", by John Garth
- "Faërie: Tolkien's Perilous Land", by Verlyn Flieger
- "Inventing Elvish", by Carl F. Hostetter
- "Tolkien and 'that noble northern spirit'", by Tom Shippey
- "Tolkien's Visual Art", by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull
- Reading Tolkien
- Student Days
- Sheer Invention
- The Silmarillion
- The Professor's Study
- The Hobbit
- The Lord of the Rings
- Mapping The Lord of the Rings
- Select Bibliography
- Picture Credits
- Exhibition Items
- Tolkien: Life and Legend (Bodleian's 1992 exhibition catalogue)
- J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
- Tolkien Exhibitions
- Tolkien’s Maker of Middle-earth Exhibition at The Bodleian - A Retrospective A review of the 2018 Exhibition at Tolkienguide.com.
- One exhibition to rule them all – Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth in Oxford at Thetolkienist.com
- Overview of the exhibition and some selected images at Morgan Library & Museum
- Denis Bridoux, Review of the book, Tolkien Studies. 16
- Book Review: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth (accessed: 11 June 2022)
- Exhibition: Tolkien – Maker of Middle-earth (accessed: 11 June 2022)
- Exhibition: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth by Catherine McIlwaine. Book review] (accessed: 11 June 2022)