Tolkien Gateway

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth
Tolkien Maker of Middle-earth.jpg
EditorCatherine McIlwaine
PublisherBodleian Library
Released1 June 2018
FormatHardcover/Collector's edition/Paperback

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is a book from the publishing division of the Bodleian Library and edited by Tolkien archivist Catherine McIlwaine. The book features "illustrations, letters and other material from J.R.R. Tolkien's archives" at the Bodleian and Marquette University, such as "draft manuscripts of The Hobbit, Middle-Earth [sic!] illustrations and paintings by Tolkien, and 'letters from admirers including W H Auden, Joni Mitchell and Iris Murdoch'".[1]


  • Foreword
  • Essays
  • Catalogue
    • Reading Tolkien
    • Childhood
    • Student Days
    • Sheer Invention
    • The Silmarillion
    • The Professor's Study
    • The Hobbit
    • The Lord of the Rings
    • Mapping The Lord of the Rings
  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgements
  • Select Bibliography
  • Picture Credits
  • Exhibition Items
  • Index

From the publisher

This richly illustrated book explores the huge creative endeavour behind Tolkien’s enduring popularity. Lavishly illustrated with over 300 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 ‘Faërie’ 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 J.R.R. Tolkien – scholarly, literary, creative and domestic – offering a rich and detailed understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary author.


  1. Tom Tivnan, "Bodleian Library unearths new Tolkien" dated 14 March 2017, (accessed 14 March 2017)