Tolkien Gateway

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth
Tolkien Maker of Middle-earth.jpg
AuthorCatherine McIlwaine
IllustratorJ.R.R. Tolkien
PublisherBodleian Library, Oxford
Released1 June 2018
FormatHardcover; paperback

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, 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.

Some material from private collections were never previously viewable by the public.

It was published with its companion volume Tolkien: Treasures.


[edit] Contents

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.[1]

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.[2]

[edit] Reception

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.[3]

[edit] Table of content

  • Foreword
  • Essays
  • Catalogue
    • Reading Tolkien
    • Childhood
    • Student Days
    • Sheer Invention
    • The Silmarillion
    • The Professor's Study
    • The Hobbit
    • The Lord of the Rings
    • Mapping The Lord of the Rings
  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgements
  • Select Bibliography
  • Picture Credits
  • Exhibition Items
  • Index

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


  1. Book Review: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth (accessed: 11 June 2022)
  2. Exhibition: Tolkien – Maker of Middle-earth (accessed: 11 June 2022)
  3. Exhibition: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth by Catherine McIlwaine. Book review] (accessed: 11 June 2022)
Published exhibition catalogues of Tolkien
Drawings by Tolkien (1976)
The Manuscripts of J.R.R.T. (1983)
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit Drawings, Watercolors, and Manuscripts (1987)
Selections from the Marquette J.R.R. Tolkien Collection (1987)
Tolkien: Life and Legend (1992)
The Invented Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien (2004)
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth & Tolkien: Treasures (2018)