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The Great Tales Never End to be published next year

A new collection of essays – The Great Tales Never End: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien – edited by Richard Ovenden and Catherine McIlwaine will be published by Bodleian Libraries in June 2022.

The Great Tales Never End
The Great Tales Never End (click to expand)

The book aims to shed light on Christopher Tolkien’s work over several decades and 24 edited volumes, as well as some important reflections on Tolkien’s works. The book runs to 240 pages and includes 51 full- colour images, reproduced with permission. The book is edited by Richard Ovenden and Catherine McIlwaine. Ovenden is Bodley’s Librarian, whilst Catherine McIlwaine is the Tolkien Archivist at the Bodleian Library, responsible for the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition and accompanying book.

The book includes many contributions from well-known scholars and others including: Maxime H. Pascal, Priscilla Tolkien, Vincent Ferré, Verlyn Flieger, John Garth, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, Carl F. Hostetter, Stuart D. Lee, Tom Shippey, and Brian Sibley.

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.

The Great Tales Never End: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien will be published by Bodleian Libraries in June 2022 for £40. ISBN: 9781851245659

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 2,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter.