Lineup announced for “JRR Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” at the Haggerty Museum of Art

The Haggerty Museum of Art and Raynor Memorial Libraries have announced a slate of programs, including a series of lectures, in conjunction with the collaborative exhibition “JRR Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript”. The exhibition will feature the original manuscripts created by JRR Tolkien for his literary classics “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings” and other works.

Lecture series

  • Thursday, September 22, 5 p.m.: “Editing the Tolkienian Manuscript,” presented by Carl Hostetter
    Carl Hostetter is a NASA computer scientist who has earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on the languages ​​invented by JRR Tolkien. He is a key member of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, an elite group of four Tolkien scholars who have been granted special access by the Tolkien Estate to the author’s unpublished linguistic manuscripts. These linguists have published numerous articles on the languages ​​invented by Tolkien, notably in “Vinyar Tengwar”, a peer-reviewed journal edited by Hostetter.

    Hostetter is one of Tolkien’s most experienced manuscript students. His ability to read and interpret Tolkien’s notoriously difficult writing is second to none. Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020) commissioned Hostetter to edit his father’s final volume of published writings, released in 2021 as “The Nature of Middle-earth”. Hostetter’s work is highly regarded by Tolkien scholars. His volume “Tolkien’s Legendarium” – co-edited with Verlyn Flieger – is considered one of the best collections of essays on Tolkien’s underworld history.

  • Thursday, October 13, 5 p.m.: Tolkien’s Faith and the Foundations of Middle-earth”, presented by Holly Ordway
    Holly Ordway is a rising star among Tolkien scholars. His 2021 book “The Modern Reading of Tolkien” is a tour de force destined to become a classic of Tolkien’s studies. Ordway demonstrated that Tolkien, generally labeled as a medievalist, was remarkably well read in modern literature. His work shows how many modern works affected Tolkien’s creative output. Currently on the faculty of Houston Baptist University, Ordway has taught English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and MiraCosta College. She specializes in JRR Tolkien and, more generally, in mythopoetic literature. Ordway’s current research project is a treatment of a book on Catholicism by Tolkien, suitable for a Jesuit Catholic university such as Marquette.
  • Thursday, November 17, 5 p.m.: “Whispering Leaves: How Tolkien’s Manuscripts Reveal the Secrets of His Creativity”, presented by John Garth
    A trained journalist, John Garth has gained an international reputation as a leading writer on JRR Tolkien and a popular commentator on Tolkien’s works and life. His published works include the recent “The Worlds of JRR Tolkien” (2020). His first masterpiece, “Tolkien and the Great War” (2003), is universally recognized as a classic in the field of Tolkien studies. Garth, who has made a special study of Tolkien’s manuscripts, will focus his lecture on a manuscript which is part of Marquette’s collection and has never been exhibited or published before. He will demonstrate his renowned historical research skills by analyzing the manuscript and using it to unravel ideas about Tolkien’s experiences during World War II.

All lectures will take place at the Haggerty Museum of Art and will include time for questions and answers. The lectures will be broadcast online for the public who wish to attend virtually. Due to limited capacity, advance reservations will be required and can be made online.

Other program highlights include:

  • Virtual Symposium “Mythical Pasts, Fantastic Futures: The Middle Ages in Modern Visual Culture”, September 8-9: During this fully virtual symposium for both academics and the general public, 10-12 academics will present papers and participate in panel discussions. The symposium is organized in conjunction with The Getty, where the exhibition “The Fantasy of the Middle Ages” will be presented this summer.
  • Doors Open Milwaukee/Marquette University Parents Weekend, Sept. 24-Sept. 25: This weekend features free admission, self-guided tours, captivating exhibits and more.
  • Community Day, Saturday October 8: Partner organizations will conduct interactive activities and experiences, including book-making, world-building, games, and art-making.


Lectures and programs will be free. Tickets for the exhibition “JRR Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” are on sale now. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for seniors and active military (with ID). Friends of the Haggerty Museum of Art members, K-12 educators, children 17 and under, and Marquette University students, faculty, and staff are free with advance reservations and upon presentation of a valid identity document. The exhibition will be open until 8 p.m. on the evening of each conference.

About the Haggerty Art Museum

The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University is an innovative nexus of interdisciplinary learning where creativity, intellect, and social justice intersect. Located in the heart of the Near West Side, adjacent to downtown Milwaukee and open daily, the museum is one of the most accessible arts venues in the city.

About Cody E. Vaughn

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