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Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

4.76  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The range of J. R. R. Tolkien’s talents is remarkable. Not only was he an accomplished linguist and philologist, as well as a scholar of Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature and Norse folklore, but also a skillful illustrator and storyteller. Drawing on these talents, he created a universe which is for many readers as real as the physical world they inhabit daily.

Tolkien: M
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 15th 2018 by Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
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4.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  116 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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[Original review, Jul 5 2018]

OMG. Well, I started off thinking I should do my best to maintain a critical distance and point out certain structural weaknesses and so on and so forth, but, really, what's the point? Tolkien brings out the fanboy or fangirl in a startling number of readers, and I am not ashamed to count myself a member of the same group as, just to name a few of the more prominent examples listed here, Terry Pratchett, Joni Mitchell, Iris Murdoch, W.H. Auden and Queen Margrethe II
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read Tolkien's fiction several times and dived into the genesis of his works with the "History of Middle-Earth" books, but I have never actually engaged with JRR Tolkien, the person. This was perfect for filling that gap, allowing me to discover both the man and the artist along a catalogue of wonderful items, superbly annotated by Catherine McIlwaine. It's a shame I could not visit the exhibition in Oxford, but this is the next best thing.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous overview of the man and the many facets of his work.
Matthijs Krul
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Catalogue and guide to a magnificent exhibition.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating—Tolkien himself, more so (for me) even than his work.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to overstate the influence of the Inklings on the shape of today’s cultural and imaginative life. While we grieve that we only have one surviving member of the original group—Tolkien’s son, Christopher, who in the last several decades has edited much of his father’s posthumously published work (don’t miss this exquisite profile of Christopher Tolkien)—latter-day Inklings can rejoice at the publication of Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, which draws together essays on Tolkien’s life, inf ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is THE BEST. <3
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies, tolkien
A beautiful collection of drawings, drafts, maps, and family photos, this book is well worth the hefty price tag. The chapters are divided into different elements of Tolkien's life and writings, such as his experiences fighting in WWI, his language development, and various versions of illustrations for his books. If the forthcoming Morgan Library exhibit is half as good, it will be amazing!
Gabriel Benitez
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Un libro precioso e indispensable para los fans y los estudiosos de la figura y la obra del profesor Tolkien. Extrañamente recibimos el libro ANTES de que saliera a la venta formalmente. Es un libro grueso lleno de fotografías privadas de Tolkien y su familia, así como fotografías de las cartas que el profesor enviaba y recibía (¡entre ellas una foto de una carta de Terry Pratchett cuando estaba jovencito al profesor!) también están sus ilustraciones propias, los mapas desarrollados por él para ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tolkien
A gorgeous book, worth every penny.
Vivian Wiltshire
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to say I really enjoyed this book. I learned so much about Tolkien the person and a lot about how middle earth all came about...totally fascinating! The letters and photos were amazing and the art work was beautiful. I enjoyed this book so much I am now going to the-read Lord of the Rings this fall. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars!
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Worth a read for the photographs, featuring elements from the Bodleian Library exhibit. Original artwork by Tolkien, family photographs, fan letters, and more are included.
The Mole
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A simply wonderful book, masterfully arranged and created -- a sincere delight for the eyes of any Tolkien fan!
Barbara Zimotti
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tolkien
I bought this book after visiting the major exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and in my opinion it is a milestone publication. Having a book is not the same as seeing the original material, but it is completely worth it.
In this large collection of Tolkien material (images of his drawings, manuscripts, maps, pictures and letters) with six essays a comprehensive portrait of Tolkien is produced: the scholar, the professor, the storyteller, the illustrator, the man.
It is a volume that c
Daniel Alejandro Penagos betancur
This book is the catalog of the homonymous exhibition prepared by the Oxford library to celebrate Tolkien's legacy.

It is a very beautifully edited work that allows those of us who, because of distance, could not be present in the exhibition, to go through the material that was prepared very dedicatedly for such a great event. It also serves as a beautiful souvenir for those who could go through the exhibition and as a reference material to have on hand in a couple of conversations between fans o
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
An awesome catalog of the contents of the Oxford exhibition of the same name, in full color, plus bonus content. While it’s not quite the same as seeing the originals, it’s like a highlight reel for the “History of Middle-earth” series.
Ben Goller
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is part biography, art gallery and creative writing archive all rolled into one. It opens with some fascinating essays on Tolkien's life and writings and then follows the development of his various literary works. Each chapter is full of gorgeous watercolor paintings or hand-drawn maps. I do wish I could have seen all of the artifacts in the Bodleian Library this summer, but this book was the next best thing!
Tres Herndon
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent illustrated journey through JRRT's life and creative process. Tons of letters, illustrations, maps, etc. I had no idea he was such a prolific visual artist. If I have one nit is the relative lack of content from the Silmarillion (no maps in the map chapter, for instance), but I suppose the author had to make a cut somewhere. Highly recommended for any Tolkien fan.
Josh Fillingham
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A really great book on Tolkien and Middle Earth. It starts off with several fascinating essays on his influences. After that, it shares wonderful artifacts.

This is a wonderful book for any fan of Tolkien.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely exhibition catalog from the Bodliean library. Some really good reproductions of Tolkien's art.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic resource and an engaging read. Highly recommended.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Delightful companion book to a delightful exhibit!
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, non-fiction
A wonderful collection of essays and archived materials, a must for any Tolkien fans
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book significantly enhanced my admiration and appreciation for Tolkien in so many respects. An absolute treasure!
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The exhibit this book covers made me cry, dear reader. A fitting memento if you went, or facsimile if you didn't. It makes me a very happy nerd to have it on my bookshelf.
Alana Ellsworth
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was an excellent contribution to the section of the library dedicated to one of the world’s most gifted authors. Complete with stimulating visuals and relevant text, it is as practically informative as it is delightfully engaging. I learned a plethora of facts I did not already know about Tolkien, (even as a huge fan), including the fact that he was so much of an artist. There are pictures upon pictures included that he drew in his journey creating Middle Earth. The book is also broken ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, fantasy
A stunning book in art alone, the section articles by leading Tolkien experts add good perspective and insight for the most part. Some of their commentary is too literary scholarly pontification.

The copies of letters, rough drafts and simple drawings add much to the history and development of the vision that is Middle Earth.

This is a wonderful addition to any selection of Tolkien art books, comprehensive and well written.
Mark Marshall
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent exhibition in Oxford. And this is an excellent exhibition book. A must have for any interested in J. R. Tolkien.
Emily Bridges
rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Nov 18, 2018
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