A Spark of Magic in Books

By Jo Phillips

Transforming Performers
The first magician from Transforming Performers (not before 1873) removes his magical bell from a white rabbit with a flourish. The movable mechanism works so that a whole image is presented to the viewer as each flap is lifted.

The Bodleian Library in Oxford is enchanted this summer with a spellbinding exhibition, Magical Books: from the Middle Ages to Middle-earth. Fascinated by the myths, legends and magical practices that inspires authors, it features the work of five celebrated Oxford-educated authors of children’s fantasy literature: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner and Philip Pullman. It includes C.S. Lewis’s ‘Lefay notebook’ and his map of Narnia; Tolkien’s original artwork for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; as well as manuscripts of novels and poems by Alan Garner, Philip Pullman and Susan Cooper. Works that are exhibited in the public for the first time include the manuscript of ‘The Fall of Arthur’, a previously unknown work by Tolkien.

Transforming Performers
The second magician, as revealed when all four of the flaps in the diamond-shaped mechanism are lifted.

Magical Books: from the Middle Ages to Middle-earth opens on 23 May till 27 October 2013 at the Exhibition Room of The Bodleian Library, Old Schools Quad, Catte Street, Oxford.