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Amazon, which alone had paid $ 250 million for the rights to a "Lord of the Ring" award, was reportedly able to spend $ 500 million or more for two seasons on production and marketing for the series ,
USA TODAY

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's rich mythological worlds do not shy away from their love for the author of the trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit"

Now Marquette University – which contains an extensive collection of Tolkien's notes, manuscripts, initial drafts and maps and artwork – would like to Listen to fans for an oral history project hoping to get 6,000 recordings.

Why 6,000 oral stories? Tolkien experts already know that, but for people who have never heard of a hobbit, this is the number of Rohirrim drivers.

Tolkien Fandom's Oral History project recently launched with little fanfare I'm not coming to Milwaukee to give a short play on why Tolkien is the greatest author of all time.

The archivist of Marquette University, Bill Fliss, leafs through some of the books on J.R.R. Tolkien in the John P. Raynor Library. Fliss has started collecting verbal stories from Tolkien fans, hoping to get 6,000 – the same number as the riders of the Rohirrim in Lord of the Rings. (Photo: Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The official announcement is Monday, the Tolkien Reading Day, an annual event to promote the reading of the works of Tolkien. Why on March 25 This is the day in Tolkien's schedule when the ring was destroyed.

Everyone is welcome to join the Oral History project, whether they are fans of the books or fans of the films, or both. Whether elves, hobbits, humans, dwarves, wizards or orcs. Probably no orcs who were not fans.

"Marquette is a kind of pilgrimage site for Tolkien fans, and I thought we should get their votes," says William Fliss, curator of the Tolkien collection of Marquette.

Fans only have three minutes to explain why they love Tolkien. To help people distill their thoughts, Fliss asks them to answer three questions:

  • When are you first looking at the works of J.R.R. Tolkien?
  • Why are you a Tolkien fan?
  • What did he mean for you?

Everyone must sign a donation agreement that makes the Marquette interview a present and becomes part of the Tolkien collection. While oral hearings have been made in person (about 65 were collected), Fliss has found a way, like people who can not come to Milwaukee, to record their oral history.

Instead of waiting to reach his goal of 6,000, Fliss will publish the oral stories publicly and add them to groups of 120 in the Tolkien Collection. For "The Lord of the Rings" includes a section of Rohirrim fighters, called eored, 120.

He hopes that famous Tolkien fans like "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" director Peter Jackson, "The Late Show" star Stephen Colbert and former President Barack Obama will volunteer to record their thoughts? "I would certainly welcome that," says Fliss.

Although Tolkien's scholars and enthusiastic fans know about the collection at Marquette, it is surprising to many who wonder how a Jesuit university in Milwaukee ended up with more than 11,000 pages. The process of creating The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and lesser known books "Farmer Giles of Ham" and "Mr. Bliss"

When Marquette built a new library, she completed librarian William in 1956 to fill bookshelves. Ready contacted Catholic writers, including Tolkien, a linguist whose expertise in Anglo-Saxon and Middle English languages ​​formed the basis for a rich imagination that established the world of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Aragorn and Gollum.

Through an agent, Ready was the first Tolkien to ask if he would sell his papers. Tolkien answered yes in 1957. It was that simple.

Marquette bought a treasure chest of papers containing the hardcover volume of The Hobbit's last page proofs, which contained a list of names that would receive 10 free copies of Tolkien's editors. At the top of the list are the initials "CSL" crossed out, perhaps because Tolkien's close friend CS Lewis received a free copy to write a newspaper review.

The Marquette Collection contains pages on which Tolkien wrote his stories about essay books for students and wastes because paper was scarce during World War II. On the back of an Air Force reporter – Tolkien was an Overseer during World War II – he noted the Moon's observations to help him find a lunar calendar for The Lord of the Rings. There is also a menu where Tolkien wrote down the size of a hobbit's foot to find out how fast and far a hobbit can travel.

In addition to Tolkien's papers, Marquette also collects Tolkien's fandom, including fanzines, books, calendars, toys, and movie memorabilia.

Each interview is transcribed and can be searched for keywords. The names will be kept secret, but ages and hometowns will be available.

Caitlin Helmers' Marquette student, who recorded her oral history this month, was aged A fan of 9 when her mother released her just before the movies "The Hobbit." Tolkien's appeal to Helmers, who loves medieval history, also includes his vivid writing.

"I've always admired that he can create evocative scenes as an author. All books have a really positive message about cooperation, about the need to play no major role in achieving something, "says Helmers, who deals with international affairs.

Tolkien is the rare writer of every generation new readers since "The Hobbit" was published in 1937, followed by "The Lord of the Rings", 1954. Like Helmers, many individuals who have delivered their oral history so far have been introduced by one parent to the author.

It is enlightening to hear people talk about Tolkien.

"Some people talk about how they met them all the time, while others mention this very quickly and then talk about what he means to them or why they are a fan." says Fliss. [19659005] "I'm impressed by the number of people Tolkien has helped them deal with in difficult moments of their lives. "

To participate in the Tolkien-Oral History Project of Marquette University, contact the archivist William Fliss, [email protected] to arrange an appointment personal interview Tolkien fans can not come to Milwaukee, they can arrange a videoconference interview.

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