Children’s fantasy authors explored at the Bodleian

Date Posted: 22/05/2013

Magical Books: from the Middle Ages to Middle-earth, an exhibition celebrating the work of five authors of children’s fantasy literature, runs in the Exhibition Room at the Bodleian Library in Oxford from 23rd May until 27th October.

The Magical Books exhibition will include a selection of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original artwork for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; C.S. Lewis’s ‘Lefay notebook’ and his map of Narnia; and manuscripts of novels and poems by Alan Garner, Philip Pullman and Susan Cooper.

The exhibition will also celebrate the authors’ links with Oxford and with the historic Bodleian Library in particular. All five authors were Oxford-educated and are considered members of the group of writers informally known as the ‘Oxford School’.

On public display for the first time will be the manuscript of The Fall of Arthur, a previously unknown work by Tolkien. The poem was one of several projects left uncompleted at the time of the author’s death, and is published for the first time on 23rd May, the day the exhibition opens.

Demonic spell books and magic manuscripts

The Bodleian Library’s collections also include some of the books and manuscripts that contain the myths, legends and magical practices on which these authors freely drew inspiration.

The medieval Duke Humfrey’s Library is the reading room in which both Lewis and Tolkien as Oxford dons researched manuscripts and rare books, and where Alan Garner consulted the demonic spellbooks in the Ashmole and Rawlinson collections.

Magical Books: from the Middle Ages to Middle-earthruns in the Exhibition Room at the Bodleian until 27th October.

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