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The “lost connections” of Tolkien’s first map of The Lord of the Rings: Part I, Deconstruction

  • 16th Tolkien in Vermont conference at UVM 85 S Prospect Street Burlington, VT 05405 USA (map)

Thirty years ago, the “strange, battered, fascinating” first map of The Lord of the Rings was described by Christopher Tolkien as “wrinkled, creased, and broken from constant use, so that connections are lost.” This paper examines the original construction of the map, its presentation and representation over the decades, and the lost connections and information that might yet be recovered from this “‘Elvish’ and archaic” document. It further will demonstrate that not everything about this map — as reproduced in publications and as presented in the “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” exhibit — is as it seems. And finally, it will suggest a method for discussing the map as it may have existed at various points in time.