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BnF Chroniques magazine (Sep-Dec 2019) review

Sep 17, 2019 (edited)
2019/9/17 16:49:38 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

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The Bibliothèque nationale de France puts out a magazine covering their exhibitions and other events three times per year. The most recent issue number 86, covering September through December 2019, features their Tolkien exhibition, "Voyage en Terre du Milieu" (Journey in Middle-earth) on both front and back covers, and has significant coverage on pages 6 through 13.

Inside the magazine, we learn a little more about the forthcoming Exhibition Catalogue, in that it is 304 pages long and has 200 illustrations from the exhibits. The exhibition itself will have almost 300 items on display, with approximately 200 from Tolkien himself, and the remainder from other items in the BnF collection that show context and historical references around Tolkien's life and the mythologies and histories he drew from.

Tolkien illustrations reproduced in the magazine are:
  • A full two page spread of a 1972 photograph of Tolkien smoking a pipe by Billet Potter, P. 6-7
  • The Doors of Durin (Bodleian collection, 1953), p. 9
  • Halls of Manwe on the Mountains of the World above Faerie (Bodleian collection, 1928), p. 10 (full page)
  • Conversation with Smaug (Bodleian collection, 1937), p. 11
  • The first Father Christmas Letter (Bodleian collection, 1920), p. 11
  • The Annotated Map of Middle-earth (Bodleian collection, 1969), p. 13
  • Map of Rohan, Gondor and Mordor (Bodleian collection, 1944), p. 13

Pages 8-9 have an in-depth interview with Vincent Ferré and Frédéric Manfrin, the organizers of the exhibition. Page 11 is an interview with Baille Tolkien, where she expresses her happiness at the reception Tolkien has had in France, and the respect with which is writings have always been treated and especially in the preparations for the current exhibition. She also talks about Christopher and the Father Christmas Letters, and a brief overview of Christopher's role as literary executor for JRRT's estate. Page twelve has two brief pieces written by French authors influcenced by Tolkien - Pascal Bacqué and Thomas Reverdy. All content is, of course, in French.

The magazine can be downloaded as a pdf directly here or from the home page of the Chroniques magazine here.

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