Programming announced for “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” at Haggerty Museum of Art

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

Lecture Series

  • Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m.: “Editing the Tolkienian Manuscript,” presented by Carl Hostetter
    Carl Hostetter is a computer scientist at NASA who has earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s invented languages. He is a key member of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, an elite group of four Tolkien scholars whom the Tolkien Estate has entrusted with special access to the author’s unpublished linguistic manuscripts. These linguists have published extensively on Tolkien’s invented languages, including in “Vinyar Tengwar,” a peer-reviewed journal that Hostetter edits.Hostetter is one of the most experienced students of Tolkien’s manuscripts. His ability to read and interpret Tolkien’s notoriously difficult handwriting is second to none. Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020) entrusted Hostetter with editing his father’s last volume of published writings, released in 2021 under the title, “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 the history of Tolkien’s secondary world.
  • Thursday, Oct. 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. Her 2021 book “Tolkien’s Modern Reading” is a tour de force destined to become a classic in Tolkien studies. Ordway demonstrated that Tolkien, usually pigeonholed as a medievalist, was remarkably well read in modern literature. Her work shows how many modern works affected Tolkien’s creative output. Currently on faculty at Houston Baptist University, Ordway has taught English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and MiraCosta College. She specializes in J.R.R. Tolkien and, more generally, in mythopoeic literature. Ordway’s current research project is a book-length treatment of Tolkien’s Catholicism, fitting for a Catholic, Jesuit university such as Marquette.
  • Thursday, Nov. 17, 5 p.m.: “Whispering Leaves: How Tolkien’s Manuscripts Reveal the Secrets of His Creativity,” presented by John Garth
    Trained as a journalist, John Garth has gained an international reputation as a leading writer about J.R.R. Tolkien and a popular commentator on Tolkien’s works and life. His published works include the recent “The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien” (2020). His earlier masterpiece, “Tolkien and the Great War” (2003), is universally acknowledged 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 that is part of Marquette’s collection and has never previously been exhibited or published. He will demonstrate his renowned historical research skills by analyzing the manuscript and using it to tease out insights about Tolkien’s experiences during the Second World War.

All lectures will be held at the Haggerty Museum of Art and will include time for questions and answers. The lectures will be streamed online for audiences who wish to attend virtually. Due to limited capacity, advanced reservations will be required and can be made online.

Other programming highlights include:

  • “Mythical Pasts, Fantasy Futures: The Middle Ages in Modern Visual Culture” Virtual Symposium, Sept. 8-9: During this entirely virtual symposium meant for both scholarly and general audiences, 10-12 scholars will present papers and participate in panel discussions. The symposium is jointly organized with The Getty, where the exhibition “The Fantasy of the Middle Ages” will be on view this summer.
  • Doors Open Milwaukee/Marquette University Parents Weekend, Sept. 24-Sept. 25: This weekend features free admission, self-guided tours, compelling exhibitions and more.
  • Community Day, Saturday, Oct. 8: Partnering organizations will lead interactive activities and experiences, including bookmaking, world-building, gaming and artmaking.


The lectures and programs will be free of charge. Tickets for the “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” exhibition are on sale now. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizen and active military (with I.D.). Friends of the Haggerty Museum of Art members, K-12 educators, children aged 17 and under, and Marquette University students, faculty members, and staff members are free with advance reservations and a valid I.D. The exhibition will be open until 8 p.m. on the night of each lecture.

About the Haggerty Museum of Art

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.