Previously unseen Tolkien works to be displayed in major exhibition


Middle-earth map

The Bodleian Libraries have compiled an unprecedented selection of materials – many previously unseen – about Beren and Lúthien, lead characters in a love story by J.R.R.Tolkien about a mortal man and an elf maiden.

The tale appears in several of Tolkien's works, in brief in the posthumously published novel The Silmarillion (1977) and more fully in the recent Beren and Lúthien (2017), both edited by the author’s son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien.

The mythical tale of romance sees mortal Beren and elf Lúthien embark on a quest together and fall in love. Following the final battle Lúthien revives the mortally-wounded Beren by renouncing her own immortality.

Original manuscripts and illustrations related to this under-explored story, including Tolkien's illustrations of heraldry for both Beren and Lúthien, will be displayed as part of the Bodleian Libraries' major forthcoming exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth (1 June – 28 October 2018). The exhibition will explore the full breadth of Tolkien's unique literary imagination, ranging from his creation of Middle-earth to his life and work as an artist, poet, medievalist and scholar of languages.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated book, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth to be published by Bodleian Library Publishing on 1 June 2018.

Entry to Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth (1 June - 28 October 2018) is by ticket only. Tickets can be reserved on the day or in advance online at