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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit: I agree -: Edit Log

Tol Eressea

Feb 2 2013, 10:41am

Views: 1185
I agree -

I don't put much stock in this article; it reads more like a blog entry, or at best an opinion piece, to be agreed with or not.

There is, AFAIK, no talk of the Marquette manuscripts coming back to the UK. Why should they be? (Indeed, Christopher sent more material to Marquette whilst he was going through his father's papers). I think this idea is mere wishful thinking on the part of the author of the article. (One of my own ambitions is to visit Marquette one of these days).

As for the idea of a museum - once again, I think this is wishful thinking - folk on the internet seem happy to come up with suggestions on how others (in this case the Tolkien family) - 'ought' to be spending their time and / or disposing of their property. The family are no more museum-keepers than they are movie-makers. At the time of JRR's death Christopher was teaching at Oxford. The property where he and his family lived at the time had a barn, into which all of Tolkien's papers, diaries, books etc, were bestowed for Christopher to sort through and work on. This is where The Silmarillion as published took shape; and, I guess, probably several other projects too; such as Humphrey Carpenter's biography of Tolkien. Guy Kay gave an image of this workspace in a talk at Cheltenham many years ago. There was a long table in the middle of the floor of the barn, and against the walls were ranks of filing cabinets full of material, with boxfiles on top. A lot of stuff.

Maybe not enough to fill a museum; but to give an idea of the volume of material: Christopher didn't keep everything - for example he sold off a selection of off-prints of scholarly works which Tolkien's colleagues had presented to him over the years. These are mainly philolological; some bore his father's ownership signature. Some carried Tolkien's marginal notes. These are of great interest to collectors. From what I can tell, there were a couple of hundred of these items in the second-hand market at one time. And that is just a small part of the tolkien legacy.

Anyway; rather than set up and run a dedicated museum - (which, while it may sound to some like a kewl idea, sounds bloody impractical to me) - Christopher deposited a great part of his father's writings at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. This seems logical; given his own and his father's connections with the University of Oxford. The Tolkien Trust has set aside funds for the conservation and digital photographing of the material, which is still an ongoing project as far as I can tell; and also a fund for a curatorial position within the library itself.

Contrary to what newspapers tell us occassionally, there are no 'lost' Tolkien papers in the Bod. waiting to be found - everything is catalogued, as scholars such as Drout, and Lee & Solopova can attest.

And the family have granted permission for the Library to hold exhibitions of their Tolkien holdings, too. The largest of these was in 1992, to commemorate the centenary of Tolkien's birth. This exhibition filled the whole of the Bodleian's exhibition space; the accompanying catalogue lists 248 items (many of which are reproduced). The catalogue itself is a good sized paperback book; it's called 'JRR Tolkien: Life and Legend', and is well worth seeking out on the second hand books market.

(This post was edited by geordie on Feb 2 2013, 10:48am)

Edit Log:
Post edited by geordie (Tol Eressea) on Feb 2 2013, 10:46am
Post edited by geordie (Tol Eressea) on Feb 2 2013, 10:48am

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