In news that will make nerd hearts stop the world over, a map of Middle-earth annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien has been uncovered. The map was found in an old copy of The Lord of the Rings in Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford, and according to a representative from the shop, this map is “the finest piece of Tolkien ephemera to emerge in the last 20 years at least.”
The map is an incredible testament to the exact detail that Tolkien put into his work. According to Blackwell’s, the map proves that “the city of Ravenna [Italy] is the inspiration behind Minas Tirith — a key location in the third book of the Lord of The Rings trilogy.” In addition, Hobbiton has the same latitudinal location as Oxford, where Tolkien spent many years as a professor of Anglo-Saxon. Belgrade, Cyprus, and Jerusalem are also referenced in the notes, showing even more real-world locations that inspired the realms of Middle-earth. It also serves as a testament to the collaboration between Tolkien and the illustrator Pauline Baynes.
Henry Gott, a first-edition specialist at Blackwell’s, cannot stress enough how incredible a find this map is, both to fans of Tolkien’s work and for scholarship, calling it “an exciting and important discovery: new to scholarship (though its existence is implied by correspondence between the two), it demonstrates the care exercised by both in their mapping of Tolkien’s creative vision.”
The map is currently on display at Blackwell’s, but they are planning to sell it later this month for £60,000. Anyone want to pool together their funds for a joint purchase?
(Via the Guardian)