Monday, April 22, 2019

Tolkien Exhibition

From EW:
The Lord of the Rings was first published in the mid-’50s, and, along with the rest of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, was intended to provide Great Britain with its very own formative mythology (the kind that he thought had been displaced by the 11th century Norman conquest). Nevertheless, the stories have always found a passionate following in America. “Many young Americans are involved in the stories in a way that I am not,” the author told The New York Times in 1967, as if he saw even then the shape that obsessive pop culture fandom would take over the following half-century. 
Now the “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” exhibit at New York City’s Morgan Library & Museum provides some fans a rare chance to see an extensive public display of original Tolkien material culled from Oxford’s Bodleian Library and other collections. There are the kinds of historical documents you could expect from a museum: Black-and-white photographs of Tolkien’s parents in South Africa (where he was born), before they both died young. There are photos of Tolkien himself throughout different stages of his life, as well as his wife, Edith. But there’s a touch of unique personality to it as well. Because Tolkien was an orphan, he was under the guardianship of Father Francis Morgan (no relation to the library), who forbid him from pursuing a relationship with the non-Catholic Edith…at least until Tolkien could come of age, graduate Oxford, and make such decisions for himself. So, to motivate himself academically, Tolkien kept a record of his number of hours worked, and kisses that Edith owed him in return; you can see the cute document in the exhibit. (Read more.)

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