Tolkien's manuscripts at Bodleian Library will get a place to be shown to the public (09.03.08 by Pieter Collier) - Comments

Mountain drawings from a page of Tolkien's manuscript for Lord of the Rings


A rare collection of books and artifacts will be open to the public for the first time after a £5 million donation was made to the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford University by Oxford publisher Julian Blackwell, president of the Blackwell’s academic bookshop chain.

Original manuscripts from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will be among a number of national treasures put on display in a new exhibition hall. The new centre will be named the Blackwell Hall in recognition of the donation and will form part of a £70m redevelopment of the New Bodleian Library. The gift cements the relationship between the Bodleian Library and the University of Oxford with Blackwell’s, the library’s neighbour and long-established partner, which opened its Broad Street store in 1879. Blackwell's operates over 60 bookshops throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Most of know that the manuscripts of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are located at the Marquette University, yet there are a few exceptions; for example Tolkien's art for the Lord of the Rings (and the page shown above) are being held at the Oxford Bodleian Library. At the same time some of the art also went to the Marquette University rather than to the Bodleian, and the few pages held by the Bodleian Library are seen as exceptions. Still it is wonderful news that soon we will be able to go to Oxford and see them on display!

The material at the Bodleian seems to be growing however because Christopher Tolkien deposits materials there after he has finished publishing all that he wishes to publish of them. In addition, part of a collection of material that was once at the University of Liege has been moved to the Bodleian, including many private letters. Who knows the original manuscripts of the Children of Hurin have now also found their way to the Bodleian Library? Only scholars with access to the documents will know, and we will maybe find out when the new Blackwell Hall opens his doors.

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