Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, a declared fan of the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, inaugurated an exhibition in Rome on Wednesday dedicated to the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, whose work is often celebrated by the far right.
Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the British author and the first publication of The Hobbit in Italian, the exhibition was designed and promoted by the Italian Ministry of Culture with the strong support of the head of government. Aged 46, Georgia Meloni has often spoken of her childhood passion for Tolkien's fantastic work. “I think Tolkien could say better than us what conservatives believe in,” she told the New York Times in 2022.
In her 2021 autobiography, the Prime Minister recounted that she was used, within the youth movement of the Italian post-fascist MSI party, to don disguises from the universe of The Lord of the Rings. According to her writings, she had a particular passion for the character of Sam, the traveling companion of the hero Frodo. “He’s just a hobbit, a gardener. But without him, Frodo would never have succeeded in his mission,” she wrote.
Several authors have looked at the attraction that the universe of The Lord of the Rings has on the far right, where traditions and identities are celebrated. J.R.R Tolkien “was a convinced Catholic who glorified the values of tradition, community and the history to which we belong – a true conservative, one could say,” Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano declared in September .
The Italian government financed the exhibition to the tune of 250,000 euros, according to the daily La Repubblica. Some point out, however, that Tolkien was also very popular within the hippie movement in the 1960s in the United States.