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The Great Tales Never End: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien

by Edited by Richard Ovenden, Catherine McIlwaine


Over more than four decades J.R.R. Tolkien’s son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien, published some twenty-four volumes of his father’s work, much more than his father had succeeded in publishing during his own lifetime. Standing on the mountain of his son’s colossal publishing effort and extraordinary scholarship, readers today are therefore able to survey and understand the vastness of the landscape of Tolkien’s legendarium.

This collection of essays by world-renowned scholars, together with family reminiscences, sheds new light on J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, his son Christopher’s unique gifts in communicating and interpreting that work and the debt owed to Christopher by the many Tolkien scholars who were privileged to work with him. What was Tolkien’s intended ending for The Lord of the Rings? Did it leave echoes in the stripped-down version that was actually published? What was the audience’s response to the first ever adaptation of The Lord of the Rings – a radio dramatization that has now been deleted forever from the BBC’s archives? What was the significance of the extraordinary array of doorways which confronted the hobbits as they journeyed through Middle-earth?

The book is illustrated with colour reproductions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s manuscripts, maps, drawings and letters and, with the kind permission of his estate, photographs of Christopher Tolkien and extracts from his works, some of which have never been seen before, making this volume essential reading for Tolkien scholars, readers and fans.

Richard Ovenden OBE is Bodley’s Librarian. Catherine McIlwaine is the Tolkien Archivist at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.


Catherine Mcllwaine: INTRODUCTION wt Timeline
Maxime H. Pascal: EULOGY (Delivered at Christopher Tolkien’s Funeral, and Translated from the French by Baillie Tolkien)
Priscilla Tolkien: A PERSONAL MEMORY
Vincent Ferré: THE SON BEHIND THE FATHER (Christopher Tolkien as a Writer)
John Garth: THE CHRONOLOGY OF CREATION (How J.R.R. Tolkien Misremembered the Beginnings of his Mythology)
Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: I WISELY STARTED WITH A MAP’ J.R.R. Tolkien as Cartographer
Stuart D. Lee: A MILESTONE IN BBC HISTORY? (The 1955-56 Radio Dramatization of The Lord ofthe Rings)
Brian Sibley: ‘DOWN FROM THE DOOR WHERE IT BEGAN...’ (Portal images in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings)
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The Great Tales Never End: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (2022-08-04)

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