Back to All Events

The “lost connections” of Tolkien’s first map of The Lord of the Rings: Part II, Context: Medieval & Modern

  • International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds, LS2 9JT UK (map)

Tolkien’s “First Map” of The Lord of the Rings is a “strange, battered, fascinating, extremely complicated and highly characteristic document,” according to his son Christopher, “and it has an exceedingly ‘Elvish’ and archaic air. … It is wrinkled, creased, and broken from constant use, so that connections are lost.…” Karen Wynn Fonstad held that “Tolkien was envisioning his world much as our Medieval cartographers viewed our own,” but is it Medieval?

We will investigate the history of this map that served as Tolkien’s main reference and working map for years, until it broke under the strain; we’ll literally unwrinkle it, de-crease it, and repair it, in the search for lost connections in Middle-earth space and real-earth time.

Session 330 at International Medieval Congress Leeds 2019