TWO new books are being published to coincide with the Bodleian Library’s new exhibition on Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth launches at the Weston Library in Broad Street on Friday, June 1 and runs until October 28.

It will feature more than 200 items, half of which have never been displayed before, from the library’s extensive Tolkien Archive and Marquette University’s Tolkien Collection, as well as from important private collections.

Oxford Mail:

A statement on the Bodleian’s website said: “This seminal exhibition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see this magnitude of Tolkien-related materials together.

“The various manuscripts, artworks, maps, letters and artefacts have been gathered from the UK, the US and France.

"Many will be reunited in Oxford for the first time since the death of JRR Tolkien more than 40 years ago, in a city where he spent most of his adult life, first as a student of classics in 1911, and eventually as a professor of English language and literature.”

To mark the major exhibition, the library’s publishing arm has commissioned two new books, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth by Catherine McIlwaine, the Tolkien archivist at the Bodleian, and Tolkien Treasures by the same author.

The first book is lavishly illustrated with more than 300 images of Tolkien’s manuscripts, drawings, maps and letters and traces the creative process behind The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

The hardback book costing £40 also reproduces some personal photographs and private papers which have never been seen before.

Billboards across the city are publicising the exhibition and Blackwell’s are expecting to sell hundreds of Tolkien-related books.

In Tolkien Treasures, price £12, Ms McIlwaine showcases the highlights of the Tolkien archives held at the Bodleian.

It focuses on JRR Tolkien’s childhood in the Midlands and his experience in the First World War, as well as his studies at school and at Oxford University’s Exeter College.

The fantasy author was the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College from 1925 1945. He wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings while he was living in Northmoor Road in North Oxford.

A collector’s edition of Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, bound in cloth and printed with special endpapers reproducing Tolkien’s drawing of Mirkwood, is being priced at £295.

Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition, the most extensive collection of Tolkien materials gathered since the 1950s, which will include a specially-commissioned 3D map of Middle-earth.