#42—Interview: Bill Fliss, Tolkien archivist


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It finally happened: The Tolkien Heads traveled all the way to Milwaukee to meet with Bill Fliss, the archivist at Marquette University’s Special Collections whose purview includes the J. R. R. Tolkien Collection, a veritable smial of Tolkien’s original manuscripts, sketches, and other fantastic mathoms.

In our interview, Bill told us all about what sort of things are held in the collection, what advancements are on the horizon for management of the archive, and what the public is able to see. Bill gave us some fascinating insights into the light that the collection sheds on the genesis and evolution of Tolkien’s ideas, and we learned a lot about what changes were made to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings before and after publication.

Of course, we also talked about Bill’s favorite Tolkien passages, and attempted to answer the question of whether an archive belongs high in a tower or deep in the earth.


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