The passing of a truly great scholar – Christopher Tolkien

It is with sadness that we have learned that writer and scholar Christopher Tolkien passed away on 15 January at the age of 95.

Our thoughts are with his wife, Baillie, and the rest of the Tolkien family. Christopher will be remembered for his continued commitment to, and publication of, his father’s unfinished works, which include The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Beren And Lúthien and The History of Middle-earth. It was Christopher who donated the Tolkien Archive to the Bodleian Libraries where the archive has been kept since 1979. It comprises the largest collection of original Tolkien manuscripts and drawings in the world.

Bodleian Library Publishing has been in the process of publishing a volume of essays to be presented as a Festschrift for Christopher Tolkien. This will now be published as a memorial volume to appear in 2020.

Bodley’s Librarian, Richard Ovenden OBE, said,

Christopher Tolkien was a truly great scholar and writer, and his literary relationship with his father was unique in the world of letters. The Bodleian is immensely proud to have had a relationship with him since his days as an undergraduate, and after he deposited his father’s archive with us we worked very closely indeed, on exhibitions, publications and supporting his continued editing of his father’s unfinished work. It was a great honour to present him with the Bodley Medal in 2016, and I would like to express my sincere sympathy, on behalf of the Libraries to Baillie and the rest of the Tolkien family.