Rome Exhibition on Tolkien Shows Conservative Roots

Culture - November 17, 2023


Half a century ago the first Italian edition of Lo Hobbit was published in Italian bookstores. Still fifty years ago that brilliant man named John Ronald Reuel Tolkien left earthly life. To pay homage to the man who has given so much to humanity through the creation of his fantasy worlds, the epic of his characters and the value system well impressed in each of them, the Italian government has created an exhibition entitled “Tolkien. Man, Professor, Author”. This was wanted in particular by the Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano. It is held at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome. Readers and lovers of the Lord of the Rings trilogy can visit it from November 16 to February 11, 2024. A complete collection like never before. Hundreds of photos, documents, videos, posters and even letters from Italian publishers. Details about the man, the father and the friend as well as the author and his works. Obviously there are also the memorabilia of film adaptations.

It also emerges the strong relationship that Tolkien has with Italy, a country he visited in 1955 traveling from Venice to Assisi, and his regret of not being able to speak the Italian language. “I am in love with Italian, and I feel rather lost without the possibility of trying to speak it”, he writes in a letter in his diary entitled Giornale d’Italia.

In addition, the dispute is put to an end that since Giorgia Meloni came to the government of the nation seems to be particularly passionate about the Italian cultural and intellectual world. John R. R. Tolkien is a conservative and the Italian left has always looked at him with repugnance. On the left it has always been stated that in 1968 the Lord of the Rings was the “Bible of the Hippies”. It is not a mistake but as an argument seems rather hasty and reductive in front of a refined linguist and scholar of ancient peoples like Tolkien. He, in a modernist Anglican Britain, in the company of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton has always declared himself fiercely Catholic and conservative. It is also the iron opposition to materialism that makes possible the creation of fantastic worlds. In addition, among the various documents made public at the extraordinary exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art, you can read the letters with which the publishers of the left crushed the works of Tolkien. In fact, the first publishing house in Italy that decided to publish the entire work was Rusconi. This happened in the 70s when it was considered close to the world of the right. What was, instead, always in Italy the publishing house that first published The Hobbit? It was 1973 and who decided to do it was Adelphi, also ostracized on the left because it does not conform to the single thought that, above all, in that period was wanted to impose.

It will be precisely in those books that, right from that historical period until today, the Italian youth right will be able to find a new world from which to draw. The most important metapolitical example was the Hobbit Camps, those places where it all started. It is also thanks to those experiences that today Giorgia Meloni governs the nation. It is also thanks to that struggle between good and evil that today conservatives are so appreciated. Thank you, professor. As you would say: “The world is really full of dangers, and there are many dark places; but there are still beautiful things, and despite that love is everywhere mixed with pain, it grows perhaps stronger”.