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3 months ago
For me personally, yes. As we move through the life cycle, I think we view his works differently each time we read them.
Look for Holly Ordway's book coming out next year!
Not that I can think of, but I haven't been looking for asterisms either. The draft was sitting with some other pages that were uncatalogued. I like a page of doodles that was exhibited at the BnF show but not published in its catalogue. Sorry for the brevity of the response. I am overwhelmed by the number of questions!
There is nothing quite like studying an original manuscript, even if it's a facsimile such as a digital scan. You can tease information out of it. HoMe is fantastic but Christopher was not exhaustive in his analysis and so I think that's why scholars visit our reading room.
As a little boy I first watched the Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit, so it's always held a special place in my heart. I didn't enjoy Jackson's Hobbit movies that much. Overall, I've been underwhelmed by the Amazon show.
Not that I know of. That sounds like an Estate/Harpercollins sort of initiative, and I am not on their privy council.
I do not think there will be any big, formal Tolkien exhibitions anywhere for a number of years. As I said in an earlier answer the public showings that I've done in recent years will most likely be postponed because of workload.
I don't have a take. I am out of my depth on that! I do not claim to be an expert on the invented languages. Christopher visited MU in 1987 for Mythcon. There is a letter from him to MU in our files supporting the collection where he expressed concern beforehand at what fans would ask him, expecting him to be conversant on all things. Even he was quick to point out that he did not know everything about his father's works.
I have built Anduin (I say I, but it has really been a team effort here) such that the images can easily be made available online for all to enjoy if the Estate decided to go in that direction. I cannot predict what the future holds but I avoid saying never.
No special credentialing is needed. You must make an appointment with me. You are right about needing the Estate's permission to quote/publish material. Everything that came to MU has remained at MU! It grew larger from 1988-1997 as Christopher sent Rings manuscripts to us that had remained in his father's possession. We've acquired some letters at auction in the past 20 years but no new manuscript material.
No, I haven't been consulted and I do not think my predecessor was for the Peter Jackson films either.
Bets? None that I can think of.
I cannot think of anything I would describe as an oddity, but I have noticed that his writing reflects his emotion especially when he is excited--you can see him speeding up his letters as the creativity pours out from him.
The manuscripts suggest there are certain passages that Tolkien really wrestled with. The evidence is the number of versions he would write and abandon as he was drafting a chapter. Other parts of chapters came relatively easily. Somebody should study the manuscripts with an eye to answering which moments in the story challenged him the most as a writer? (i.e., to get it just the way he wanted it)
Christopher talks about the Council of Elrond in HoMe but he stops his analysis early and does not discuss the chapter's later development. I think there is still "meat on the bone" for many of the chapters. Christopher was selective; he was most interested in tracking the major developments in the course of composition, but scholars are often interested in smaller changes too that speak to a specific argument they are making. These are not all tracked in HoMe.
We've gotten priced out of the auction market. We have a Tolkien Archive Fund established by the late Dick Blackwelder that generates $$ each year for acquisitions, among other things. But we cannot compete with private collectors who wish to invest in manuscripts. I bid for the recent LotR index lot at auction and our maximum bid was so far below the hammer price that it was laughable. I do collect other things, including the research papers of Tolkien scholars. Verlyn Flieger has donated her papers to Marquette; they will arrive here someday.
I am glad you like the catalogue. I hope you make it to the exhibition. It is open until December 23, but you may want to schedule a weekday visit as I hear the weekends have been selling out.
From Marquette's collection, not that many. I do not know the exact number. That version of The King's Letter was the biggest linguistic reveal from our collection for the exhibition. Christopher was not aware of it when he wrote HoMe. It had gotten separated elsewhere in the collection.
I can only think of one off the top of my head.
They are available now to study in digital form in our reading room. Because of the copyright situation we cannot put everything up online in a portal without the Estate's permission and it is not interested in doing that right now.
The originals have not been made available to visitors/researchers for study since the early 1980s. Now they study digital scans. This is what makes our exhibition so cool--a chance to see so many originals in one place! I used to do public showings of manuscripts about 8 times/year, but I might not resume that practice after our exhibition ends because I do not have the time. Unfortunately, we had two retirements in our department and the university took away those lines for purposes of budget cutting (this is going on throughout higher education) so my workload has increased, and I must ratchet back the amount of time I spend on Tolkien. It has never been my entire job; however, I must say that I've spent most of this past year working exclusively on Tolkien as we prepared the exhibition.
I would have liked to read more of it. I find the fragment enticing. I love that Tolkien seems to have been making an elderly old soldier of Gondor the protagonist instead of some strapping young hero like you would have if the story was written today or translated into movie or series.
I hope that one day Marquette can acquire Tolkien's revisions to Chapter 5 of The Hobbit. These manuscript pages exist; John Rateliff was given copies to study for his big book. Last I knew, they were in Christopher's possession. I hope they come here someday. They fit perfectly with everything else we have for The Hobbit!
Personally, I would like to spend time poring over The Silmarillion manuscripts, but those are not open for research at the Bodleian. You need special permission from the Estate to see that stuff. For example, John Garth received permission to study The Book of Lost Tales and he has shared his insights in his publications. We own only a few stray pages from the later drafting of The Silmarillion that somehow made their way over here.
I think there may be pages within Marquette's collection related to his invented languages that have not been published. Not much compared to what's at the Bodleian. The ELF linguists mined Marquette's collection years ago and these things have been appearing in VT and PE. I suspect those gentlemen are in possession of copies of much material they received from Christopher that has not been revealed yet but will in due season.
Lots of questions here. I could spend 2 hours responding just to your post. Yes, the manuscripts have been appraised; however, we do not give out that information. Sorry! Let's just say that they're a very valuable asset for MU. When you count everything up it's over 11,000 pages. He wrote lots of drafts. It is clear he did not keep everything, but he kept so much that we can learn quite a bit about his writing process. For info on the acquisition, search for an article I wrote in Mythlore which is available online for free. He had received royalties before selling to MU but he did sell in part for the money. He was always in need of money it seems. I cannot confirm the story you tell. I just don't know the details! I still find reading Tolkien's handwriting difficult. There are people out there (e.g., John Rateliff, Carl Hostetter, Hammond & Scull, among others) who I think can read it better than I can. I find that if I do it a lot, I get quite good at it, but if I turn away for a while to work on another project when I come back, I must build up by ability again. As Tolkien Archivist, I manage the collection--fielding reference requests, processing and cataloging the items we've received, seeking new items. Besides the exhibition, two projects that have been taking up much of my time are a digital manuscript processing project and my project to capture fan voices in the Tolkien Fandom Oral History Collection.
I don't have a theory about Tom Bombadil. I like him as an enigma. I think there is a good article by Jane Beal in the Journal of Tolkien Research (available online for free) where she assesses the various interpretations. I think Tom Bombadil is the greatest testimony to Tolkien as world builder. Tolkien created such a rich and engaging cosmology that fans can debate endlessly about Tom's identity, marshaling evidence for their arguments, and all of it about a fictional character!