11 October 2013
A rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is returning to the Bodleian for the last two weeks of the exhibition, Magical books: from the Middle Ages to Middle-earth. The book will be on exclusive display in the exhibition room between 12 and 27 October.
The volume, which includes annotations and more than twenty drawings by author J.K. Rowling, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for the record price of £150,000 last May. Rowling's personal annotations cover forty-three pages and include references to the Harry Potter series as a whole and also the film adaptations. On the title page J.K. Rowling noted below the title that this book ‘changed my life forever’. She also wrote the following remarks next to a drawn crest: ‘Perhaps Hufflepuff House might have received the respect it deserves from fans if I’d stayed with my original idea of a bear to represent it.’
This rare edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sits alongside a selection of Tolkien’s original artwork for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and his manuscript of a previously unknown poem, ‘The Fall of Arthur’; 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, many of which are exhibited here for the first time.
The volume was sold at auction together with other annotated first edition books by 50 UK and Commonwealth writers to raise funds for English PEN, the founding centre of a global literary network which campaigns for freedom of expression.