This book is a real treasure The book is large and the pages are thick and glossy, with frequent full page reproductions of artwork and letters I ve read Tolkien s biography and his letters as compiled by Humphrey Carpenter, and I was surprised by the many tid bits of information contained in this book that I had never heard before.The collection of essays in the first section of the book on Tolkien s life, influences, and work were also an unexpected treat For those who might wish to know, there is a brief biography, an account about the Inklings, an analysis of Tolkien s idea of faerie, a reflection on the influence of northernness and Nordic legends on his work, and my favorite an introduction to the historical and comparative structure of his meticulously created Elvish languages.The book did take just over a month to ship via , but considering the price I paid for a new copy here vs what I would have paid to order it through the Bodleian Library s site, the wait was well worth it This book is an obviously carefully and lovingly compiled glimpse into the life and mind of my favorite author If you love Tolkien s work, do yourself a favor and gift yourself this book I promise you won t regret it. This Richly Illustrated Book Explores The Huge Creative Endeavour Behind Tolkien S Enduring Popularity Lavishly Illustrated With Over Images Of His Manuscripts, Drawings, Maps And Letters, The Book Traces The Creative Process Behind His Most Famous Literary Works The Hobbit , The Lord Of The Rings And The Silmarillion And Reproduces Personal Photographs And Private Papers,some Of Which Have Never Been Seen Before In Print Tolkien Drew On His Deep Knowledge Of Medieval Literature And Language To Inform His Literary Imagination Six Introductory Essays Cover Some Of The Main Themes In Tolkien S Life And Work Including The Influence Of Northern Languages And Legends On The Creation Of His Own Legendarium His Concept Of Faerie As A Literary Construct The Central Importance Of His Invented Languages In His Fantasy Writing His Visual Imagination And Its Emergence In His Artwork And The Encouragement He Derived From The Literary Group Known As The Inklings This Book Brings Together The Largest Collection Of Original Tolkien Material Ever Assembled In A Single Volume Drawing On The Archives Of The Tolkien Collections At The Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, And Marquette University, Milwaukee, As Well As Private Collections, This Exquisitely Produced Catalogue Draws Together The Worlds Of JRR Tolkien Scholarly, Literary, Creative And Domestic Offering A Rich And Detailed Understanding And Appreciation Of This Extraordinary Author Absolutely the best book on Tolkien I ve read and I read a lot of Tolkien Wonderfully put together I love the part on his childhood he got his creativity from his parents proof to me his genius was hereditary Worth it s weight in gold get it before Smaug steals it. Beautiful book. This is the catalogue for a magnificent exhibition on J.R.R Tolkien s written and visual artistry currently being held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford As is only fitting, this is a work of consummate beauty and scholarship Whether you are a lover of Middle earth or not, you will find much within these pages to savor.The catalogue is magnificently illustrated throughout with Tolkien s own artwork,including some from his youth and others, like rough maps and sketches he created while writing his stories to help him better envision his landscapes, which were subsequently replaced by polished final products He was a notably meticulous artist, and even doodles on newspaper created while he was working on crosswords are drawn in very fine detail Calligraphy was another of Tolkien s interests, and there are numerous examples of his fine penmanship, many in the runes and other writing systems he created for his characters Some of this art will be familiar to his readers because it has been used to illustrate his books and in calendars and other materials, but much of it is new, and all of it has been given fresh descriptions and analyses in this catalogue There are also plenty of photographs of Tolkien and his family and friends, some of which have already been published but all given enhanced evaluations here Letters from and to Tolkien, including some to his wife Edith written during World War I and others from friends who were to die in battle, are also included.The value of this impressive catalogue is greatly increased by the scholarly essays, including a biographical sketch by its primary author The essays examine aspects of Tolkien s life, writings and artwork and were written by some of the most pre eminent of today s Middle earth scholars.There is a selection of letters Tolkien received from various notable readers throughout his life, including C.S Lewis, W.H Auden, Arthur Ransome, Terry Pratchett, Iris Murdoch, the future Queen Margrethe, and Lynda Johnson Robb on White House stationery And there is a selection of the fan mail Tolkien received, some written in his own runic scripts and other languages and all of it charming in the love it expresses for his writing Perhaps the most amusing of these letters is a famous one Tolkien received from a Mr Sam Gamgee I remember writing him a fan letter or two back in my own childhood, but they didn t make it into this collection.This catalogue is one to be savored and kept close at hand for long perusal Even if you do not manage to make a trip to the Bodleian the catalogue will provide an unparalleled view of Tolkien s rich artistic vision. The biggest J.R.R Tolkien event since the 2001 2003 movies is now underway in Oxford.The Bodleian Library s first exhibition on J.R.R Tolkien in 25 years opened June 1 The exhibition is important for a number of reasons The Bodleian is a major repository of papers, manuscripts, and artwork related to Tolkien, and its collection has grown considerably in that time The number of scholarly books and papers on Tolkien and his writings had grown considerably, and authors inevitably have to go to the Bodleian for research And there is much about Tolkien and his works that we are still learning, and exhibition like this can add immeasurably to public understanding.The title of the exhibition is Tolkien Maker of Middle earth The catalog book created for the exhibition is one of the most beautiful contemporary books I ve ever seen It s simply stunning Catherine McIlwaine, the Tolkien Archivist at the Bodleian, is the curator for the exhibition and the editor of and a contributor to the book catalog.The book is introduced by six essays, including a biographical sketch by McIlwaine and an overview of Tolkien and the Inklings by John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War The Threshold of Middle earth Other essays include a discussion of Tolkien s perilous land of faerie, inventing Elvish, Tolkien and that noble northern spirit, and Tolkien s art.The essays are followed by nine sections of artifacts on display, closing tracking the nine sections of the exhibition These include reading Tolkien, his childhood, student days, his sheer inventive genius, The Silmarillion, his teaching and lectures, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien s maps Letters to Tolkien from readers are included, including ones from W.H Auden, Lynda Johnson Robb, and Iris Murdoch And who knew that songwriter Joni Mitchell asked and received permission from Tolkien to use the names Lorien and Strider for her music and publishing company The featured artwork and maps drawn and painted by Tolkien are standouts Tolkien, write Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull in their opening essay, came from a generation when both men and women of an upper middle and upper class mentality were taught to draw In Tolkien s case, he continued drawing, painting and watercolors long after most would have set it aside And we see book covers, posters, drawings, and illustrations that are often as striking as his writing.And, oh, my, the maps Readers can pore over than 28 pages of maps drawn by Tolkien, many with his annotations and notes Tolkien Maker of Middle earth is an artifact and a treasure in and of itself Its main point is this The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings both arose from decades of creativity and inspiration, almost the tip of the iceberg that included extensive research, creation of languages, epic poetry, and creation of histories of elves, dwarves, hobbits, and men.