Tolkien portrait
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Source: The Tolkien Trust 1977

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth archival exhibit coming to Oxford

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May 30, 2018

Oxford University was legendary author J.R.R. Tolkien’s home for much of his life. The creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was a student and professor there, and now his work is returning — some of it never seen before.

According to a release, Bodleian Libraries — with its Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibit — is bringing more than 200 items from the Tolkien Archive and Marquette University’s Tolkien Collection (along with a few private collections) to the public from June 1 to the end of October.

From drafts of The Hobbit that show the story’s evolution to the author’s personal letters from his years as a student, the archive promises unprecedented access and insight into one of the most impactful authors of the modern age. Watercolor paintings, letters from fans, and personal effects will also be on display. And the maps! A 3D, specially commissioned map of Middle-earth accompanies many paper maps, including one (recently discovered) map personally annotated by Tolkien.

You can see some of the incredible pieces at the free exhibition below, and if you can’t make it out to Oxford, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth will be at the Morgan Library in New York from January 25 to May 12 in 2019.

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