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Papers of John Avery, teacher and linguist


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The papers comprise Avery's typescript translation of The Lord of the Rings, and related correspondence between Avery and Robertson-Mellor with numerous notes and queries relating to the translation.


  • Creation: 1960-2008


1.0 Linear metre (6 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Romansh

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 12684/1].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 12684/1-6

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12684


Translation by John Avery of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, into the Swiss language, Romansch, and his correspondence with his former professor, Geoffrey Robertson-Mellor regarding the translation.

Biographical / Historical

John Avery (1935-2015) studied French and Spanish at Bristol University, 1956-1959, where he acquired an interest in the Romansch language from his professor, Geoffrey Robertson-Mellor (1921-2008). He took a post-graduate teaching qualification at Exeter and began teaching modern languages at Bishop Ullathorne Roman Catholic High School in Coventry in 1960, remaining at the school for the rest of his career. He began an MA in Romansch in 1962 and first travelled to Switzerland the following year, where he met Paul Casanova (1933-2017), a Catholic priest and Romansch speaker. In the same year he began to translate The Lord of the Rings into Romansch. In 1966 he was introduced to Father Paul's sister, Blanca Casanova, and they were married in 1968. They settled in Coventry and had three children. Avery completed his MA in 1975. He retired from teaching in 1993 and completed his translation in 2006.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The translation of The Lord of the Rings and Avery's letters to Robertson-Mellor were given to the library by Jane Everson, daughter of Geoffrey Robertson-Mellor in July 2017.

The letters from Robertson-Mellor to Avery were given to the library by Beatrice Avery, daughter of John Avery in October 2017.

Catalogue of the papers of John Avery
Catherine McIlwaine
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom