The library has compiled what it calls “an unprecedented selection of materials” exploring the love story of Beren and Lúthien, a mortal man and an elf maiden. The story features in a number of Tolkien’s works, including The Silmarillion and 2017’s Beren and Lúthien, both published posthumously and edited by the author’s son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien.
The story follows the pair as they head out on a quest and fall in love, ending after the final battle, when “Lúthien revives the mortally-wounded Beren by renouncing her own immortality”. Now, original manuscripts and illustrations relating to the story will go on display as part of the exhibition, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, which will run 1 June to 28 October 2018. For fans of the famed Lord of the Rings writer, there will be a host of Tolkien items on display, like manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters and artefacts, exploring his work an artist, poet, medievalist and scholar of languages.
Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien archivist at the Bodleian Libraries and curator of the upcoming exhibition, said in a statement: “the aim of this exhibition is to take visitors beyond what they may already know about the work of this extraordinary author – his talent as an artist, linguist and creator of the many different characters who lived in Middle-earth. The story of Beren and Lúthien resonates with us today more than ever because it speaks of the possibility that love can transcend the differences that sometimes separate us.” Admission is free, but guests can only visit the exhibition with a ticket, which can be reserved on the day or in advance online here.
Oxford is already on the map for literature lovers, as the British city has been home to writers like Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis. Most recently, the city made another appearance in Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage that had avid readers ready for a visit.