||The British Library
December 11, 2001
The Man, the Movie...
A different side to the creator of Middle-Earth was revealed
today, as J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts and printed editions went on display. They were
unveiled at the British Library by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, one of Tolkien's own
creations, who is currently appearing in the West End hit The Hobbit.
The displays include letters and notes from Tolkien to his grandson, many of which
accompanied Christmas gifts and money. They are written in his unmistakably ornate
calligraphic hand, using a broad-nibbed pen similar to a quill. Also on display are rare
first edition copies of The Hobbit and the first illustrated edition of The Lord of the
Rings trilogy, and some examples of Tolkien memorabilia, including a role-playing game and
In one letter Tolkien talks of losing his privacy having become become an unwilling
celebrity. He is all set to move into a flat in Merton College following the death of his
wife, but complains that he will no longer be protected from 'Hoopers, Snoopers, Goopers,
press-gangs, phone-bugs, and transatlantic lion hunters and gargoyle-fanciers'.
Sally Brown, Curator of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library said: 'The
forthcoming film of The Lord of the Rings demonstrates Tolkien's enduring appeal, and we
wanted to mark this occasion by displaying some interesting associated items. The letters
show the affectionate family man that we do not glimpse in his fiction, and the books show
how the stories have been illustrated before this big screen adaptation.'
Entry to the British Library exhibitions is free, and all are welcome. This display will
run until the end of January. For further information please contact Craig Westwood in The
British Library Press Office on 020 7412 7115, or email firstname.lastname@example.org