Tolkien's implicit but central Catholic faith hidden in his works such as the Lord of The Rings

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Beyond the world of rings, wizards and hobbits is one man: J.R.R. Tolkien. And a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome is dedicated to exploring the man behind these books.

Co-curator, Tolkien Exhibit

The idea is that visitors can come and discover things they didn't know about him, that they were curious about. The exhibition is not meant to say everything. It was not created for that. There are no interpretations of his books because it is good for the reader to have his own ideas and can get inspired to read Tolkien's books. But the exhibit has aspects of his life, his creations.

The different rooms of the museum are filled with items that tell the story of Tolkien as more than just a world famous author but as a professor and father, including his desk, notes and objects from his childhood.

Co-curator, Tolkien Exhibit

We have the trunk Tolkien's mother used with him and Hilary when they returned from South Africa in 1895. It is a trunk that had never left England and never moved. Before, it was only possible to see it at the Birmingham Oratory and so we are grateful to have it here. There are also editions in 52 languages from Iran, Cuba, Ukraine, Russia and Canada. Different editions published all over the world to give an idea of the greatness of this author who has no limits.

Tolkien's Catholic faith was a big part of his life and it inspired many aspects of his works. And Cilli says that what makes Tolkien beloved by Christians and non-Christians worldwide is that he writes about faith without making his books religious.

Co-curator, Tolkien Exhibit

In fact, there are no religious themes in his books. But readers can sense its presence. There is providence; there is mercy. But there is no prayer, no worship. And this is a very important aspect of Tolkien. Tolkien conveys a message but he doesn't need to write it down explicitly.

The exhibit marks the 50th annviersary of Tolkien's death and celebrates five decades since the first publication of the Hobbit in Italy.


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