JRR TOLKIEN PDF
Annotated Hobbit (), and J. R. R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography by Wayne G. Hammond, with the assistance of Douglas A. Anderson (). Douglas. THE LETTERS OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN. A selection edited by. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of. Christopher Tolkien. London. GEORGE ALLEN &. The Silmarillion, foundation of the imagined world of J. R. R. Tolkien, was Tolkien describes and documents the later history of The Silmarillion, from the time.
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J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is often erroneously called a trilogy, when it is in fact a single novel, consisting of six books plus appendices, sometimes. PDF | Catalog of an exhibition held at the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, 21 October A Brief History of Marquette's J.R.R. Tolkien Collection. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | We discuss the progress of Tolkien criticism over the past nineteen years, since Shippey's first book on Tolkien, and attempt to situate.
Introduction There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him and he was glad.
But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest harkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Iluvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony.
Tolkien, in his collected works, developed the mythology, history and peoples of his universe, Arda, including the use and differentiation of fourteen distinct languages, in varying levels of detail. The creation and use of these many different forms and means of speech is a political act on the part of Tolkien, whose creation of Arda faces the challenges of war, imperialism and international conflicts.
Language in Arda is not only a means of communication and interaction, but also a mechanism of power and authority, as each language that Tolkien creates becomes a symbol of political boundaries. Tolkien, in creating his many languages, also created recognizable socio-political communities in which the language would exist and operate, as the difference of culture and the functional vocabularies required and mirrored the creation of language.
By linking the linguistic and the political, Tolkien demonstrates that culture is inseparable from vocabulary and the development of a common tongue. The contrast between the singular monolithic language of Mordor and the multiple means of annunciation under the rule of Gondor is a political comment on the positive value of a multiplicity without interference or intervention. The presentation of Gondorian, or Westron culture as a benevolent presence in contrast to the forceful violence of Black Speech idealizes the non-prosthelitizing and non-invasive power-structure.
Tolkien represents both the homogenous and heterogeneous linguistic-cultural groups positively, as long as the community does not attempt dominance or oppression over alternate cultural constructions. Influence without interference is a pacifist ideal of benevolent leadership and non-politicized interaction and alliance. Language is a constructed space of play and potential interpretation, as the variety of vocabularies present in the history of Arda and Middle-earth interact and intersect in peaceful forms.
This thesis will explicate the multiple spaces of articulation and interpretation through the lens of Derridian theories of language. The presence of difference without successful assimilation opens up multiple cultural spaces concurrently.
In a text where the primary exchange between communities is not currency but storytelling, history and poetry, language becomes the coin of the realm. As an individual who knew, read and understood multiple languages, Tolkien was well versed in the range of differences in idiom, terminology and ideology existent within the constraints of any given language. His knowledge of the definition and classification of language through the recognition and establishment of difference would mean that within his creation of Arda and the languages therein he would be aware of the inclusion of differential elements to establish limits between them.
The races and communities in Arda were constructed around the particularities of their individual language, which contains elements and grammatical structures isolated from others with a conscientious awareness of that difference. These twelve volumes contain stories of secondary characters from The Lord of the Rings, songs, poetry and copious tales filling in the details of the early ages of Valinor, Middle- earth and the region called Beleriand.
These tomes explicate the minutiae of the history, answering omissions from The Silmarillion and describing the development of cultures, settlements, political alliances, wars, peace treaties and other inter- and intranational concerns while also detailing the romances and emotional lives of a few key characters. Despite all the descriptions of every other aspect of the world, the philosopher is omitted.
Instead, Tolkien constructs a collection of races and cultures that appear to develop their own systems of belief, value, power and government as if by either accident or natural design. It is these self-generated ideologies, as well as government structures and power relations, which operate within the purview of language instead of under the guidance of a physical individual.
Others, turning to a less biographical approach, look to the psychological elements of the text as the central touchstone, applying the analytical tools of Jung and Freud to understand the texts as presentations of a subconscious journey.
There is a wealth of references available, from the early Anglo-Saxon names and language components visible in the Rohirrim to the almost direct quotation from The Wanderer in the poetry of the Rohirrim sung by Aragorn Lee.
Others, such as Anne Petty or Ruth Noel, have dissected the work to explore the potential retextualizations, sometimes offering a number of options for the source or analogue. As a result, the analysis looks away from the text and to the author seeking answers from the writer rather than the work. But fairy stories offer also, in a peculiar degree or mode, these things: Fantasy, Recovery, Escape, Consolation, all things which children have, as a rule, less need than older people.
Most of them are nowadays very commonly considered to be bad for anybody. Other scholars, still fixated on form or structure and textual inherencies, examine the principles of composition Tolkien utilized in his creation of Middle-earth Brisbois, Drout.
Taking that modern preservationist perspective a step further are critics such as John West, Fleming Rutledge, Patrick Curry and Paul Kocher, who look at the social principles which Tolkien perpetuates with his text, arguing that they adhere to the natural flow and progression of mythic hero-quests and fairy tales and reify the dominant principles of the Western, Judeo-Christian social structure.
Although the search for archetypal representations does yield a number of compelling examples, the results are as limited as the mythological cataloguing attempted by the intertextual critics. Gandalf, unlike Saruman, retains his ties with Fairie; he is still one of the Maiar despite his human incarnation. Gandalf sees this potential in himself recognizes the negative aspects of his own shadow when he vehemently refuses possession of the Ring.
The wholesome aspects of the unconscious the West win out in their battle with the negative aspects the East. The psychological critics point to the archetypal relevance of these choices on the part of Tolkien as having the transmission of incredible power take place within the physical manifestation of the unconscious. The reduction of the battle scene between Bilbo and Gollum disregards the riddling banter and the use of language as weaponry.
Again, while the analysis provides an interesting metaphor for the journey of the subconscious, it fails to contribute to analysis of the text beyond the imposition of psychoanalytical terminology. Not only did he borrow heavily from early medieval lexicons, but he also developed his own languages, complete with script and grammatical principles. Taking apart the language and looking at the components which have been used, critics have drawn conclusions about the character, the role and the development of the story that are encoded in the name, as David Lyle Jeffrey does with the character of Aragorn: The limitation of the current linguistic study is the intent dissection of the textual elements, looking at the minutiae of names, elements of words and the potential sources, rather than seeking a more inclusive construction of language within the text as a central theme and component, as the earlier quotation from Jeffrey exemplifies.
Rather than looking at language within the context of Arda, it is removed from the world in which it operates in order to be dismantled. The religious critics seek out the values and principles consistent with Catholic or Christian doctrine in the works of Tolkien, foregrounding their presence as the central element in the text. The argument goes back and forth between those critics who question the balance of Boethian Ethics with Christian doctrine, the use of the pagan and pantheistic early mythologies paired with comparatively modern Judeo-Christian concepts.
Also, the level of specificity and dissection which are required in order to draw out the virtues in the midst of the plot, character and scene development leads to a disregard of the other textual elements which contextualize these virtues, removing them from their space within Middle-earth. There seems to be little in the way of middle ground between these two critical approaches that either disavow any examination of personal experience or look at nothing else.
Tolkien, like any other writer, was influenced by a multiplicity of sources, including his studies and personal reading, his life experience and his education. Tolkien, then, could not have been wholly disconnected from the activities and interests of the wars as he claimed to be. His letters to Christopher are full of commentary on World War II, the actions of the opposing sides and the political ramifications of one side or the other winning the war. Tolkien was a politically astute individual and understood the interaction between ideologies in the international arena.
Despite the presence of this commentary, writers and critics have continued to look to either the ancient mythologies which Tolkien openly retextualized and reinterpreted or ascribed to him a form of repressed rejuvenation of war-time experiences in scenes like the Dead Marshes, the charge of Pellinor Fields or the horrific wasteland setting of Mordor.
To look only at The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it is easy for a critic to see the presence of governments and power structures that mirror the political formations and ideologies of Western countries at the time of the World War II. This limited examination disregards the long history of Middle-earth, which has had a far longer development than what is available to those reading solely about the War of the Ring. Just as the history of Earth and its peoples cannot be captured and explained by looking only at the events and interactions of the World Wars, the history of the peoples and powers of Middle-earth extend beyond their descriptions in the history of War of the Ring.
Tolkien created a diverse group of peoples, including the complicated elements of race and species as factors in determining political organization, but he still presents a series of social structures that demonstrate various forms of ideology and power relation. While looking to the catalogue of languages and grammars which Tolkien had mastery of or the components of those vocabularies used in Arda is a complex and interesting study, it holds as much relevance and application as the mythological or religious critics.
The use of cultural and political demarcation through language separates communities and political practices, as the reader can track the traditions and practices of a community through the linguistic contact and influence they have undergone through their history.
The powerful play of interpretation, the constant awareness of differance within the text demonstrates the ability of language to open space for interaction and non-violent conflict resolution. Language, as a mechanism of communication, plays a central role in the activity of Middle-earth and is often substituted for weaponry and physical violence.
Although in The Hobbit the hero, Bilbo Baggins, brandishes an Elven blade which he names Sting, the sword plays little role in his adventures other than to provide him with a sense of confidence and security. H , His ability to riddle saves him from Gollum, wins him his safety and the One Ring, and finally provides the method of unseating Smaug from his treasure pile. Bilbo does not even carry Sting when he faces Smaug, but instead riddles and plays naming games to protect himself, while concealing himself with the Ring.
No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it. Ruth Noel points out that: The refusal of physicality in the face of conflict or threat is reiterated in The Return of the King where Sam and Frodo wield words, not weapons, in order to escape the tower of Cirith Ungol, and to break the dark power which held it together: For, why he did not know, his thought sprang back suddenly to the Elves in the Shire, and the song that drove away the Black Rider in the trees.
The will of the Watchers was broken with a suddenness like the snapping of a cord, and Frodo and Sam stumbled forward. Then they ran. Through the gate and past the great seated figures with their glittering eyes. There was a crack. The keystone of the arch crashed almost on their heels, and the wall above crumbled, and fell in ruin. In The Hobbit, the defeat of Smaug is directly tied to the presence of a figure that understands the language of the thrush: He started — but it was only an old thrush.
Unafraid it perched by his ear and it brought him news. Marveling he found he could understand its tongue, for he was of the race of Dale. The capacity to communicate with the external world, to interact and represent the interests of the people, is recognized as a valid aspect of leadership. The theme of multilingualism as indicative of authority and empowerment continues to be evident in The Lord of the Rings in the two most powerful figures, Aragorn and Gandalf.
Gandalf, through his journeys between many peoples, has adopted many titles. Beyond this, both figures have learned and internalized many languages. Aragorn, when traveling with the Hobbits, demonstrates an understanding to the point of translation of Elvish poetry and myth, as he is able to tell the Hobbits, stories of Tinuviel. The power of these figures rests in their ability to understand, but not belong to, multiple peoples and multiple vocabularies.
Despite being a history of the War of the Ring, battle, warfare and physical violence are described in only five percent of the book1. The texts neither dwell on violent encounters, nor revel in the description of bloodshed.
Instead, battles are narratorily addressed in a strategic and detached manner. Tolkien even describes, through the experiences of his characters, the power of the preparatory anxiety, the moments before the battle envelopes them.
The descriptions of Merry and Pippin are most inexperienced in battle yet caught in the wartime experience through their respective oaths to Rohan and Gondor. These two characters demonstrate the anticipatory fear clearly RK, V, iii, ; RK, V, iv, , as does the narrative portrayal of Gondor before the siege: It was dark and dim all day.
From the sunless dawn until evening the heavy shadow had deepened, and all hearts in the City were oppressed. Far above a great cloud streamed slowly westward from the Black Land, devouring light, borne upon a wind of war; but below the air was still and breathless, as if all the Vale of Anduin waited for the onset of a ruinous storm.
RK, V, iv, 1 44 of the pages in the HarperCollins edition. Every battle ends with death, sacrifice, loss, without which triumph would not be possible. Victory costs dearly, and Tolkien does not write a battle with substantial gains without tempering it with substantial loss. Horror and mourning, two attitudes to the battlefield death, appear side by side. The Ring, the objective embodiment of power and corruption in Middle- earth, is a danger to whosoever possesses or attempts to wield it and is marked as such with the script of the Black Speech along its inside.
The danger and corruption is understood by Gandalf, advisor to the Fellowship and guide from the Ainur, when the destruction of the Ring of Power is deemed an act of folly: It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! Throughout the progress of the Ring from The Shire to its eventual destination in Mount Doom, numerous individuals are tested with the offer of power to use in battle, to face the enemy with his own weapon.
The decision has two outcomes, to either attempt to embrace the power of the One, the physical weapon, and be destroyed by it, as Boromir nearly was had he claimed the ring, or to deny it and accept limitations of non-confrontation, as typified by the response of Galadriel: The only way to destroy the weapon is through physical sacrifice, both by the ring-bearer and his companions.
We must make ourselves the bait, […] We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it may well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands; so that even if Barad-dur be thrown down, we shall not live to see a new age. But this, I deem, is our duty. RK, V, ix, His act is not one of aggression or physical contest, but rather a tactical act of distraction, a sacrifice to gain and hold the attention of an enemy without hope of true military confrontation.
He achieves such a distraction through a show of force and, upon arriving at the Black Gates, through the concealment of his most fearful weapon: Aragorn knows the power of the word, and his refusal to use his weapon when faced with the enemy causes greater fear in the herald than had his sword been drawn.
Aragorn does not address the herald, never speaking to the enemy who comes out to taunt him at the Gates, because his silence, his refusal to reveal his strength and enter into the challenge, is more unnerving because in heraldic exchange the only weapon available is speech.
This strategy is contrary to the ideals of warrior society, where physical prowess and the ability to overcome devastating odds in military conquest was a means of gaining immortality, as explained by Leo Carruthers in his analysis of Beowulf: Aragorn, as the heir to the throne of Gondor, should traditionally uphold these values.
Instead, he counters the ideal of the Germanic warrior, seeking peace and stability over victorious battle or glorious death.
An understanding of the source materials, specifically the values and principles active in the medieval texts, provides a basis for the reading of retextualizations and shifts. Galadriel rules her Elven environment with similar composure and resplendence, enhanced by allusions to light and radiance common in valkyrie imagery. The code of honour and system of valour in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic literature understood the primary social currency to be brave deeds and acts of physical strength, as those medieval societies were under the constant threat of war and invasion.
To gain renown for themselves or for their leader, individuals would seek out battles and physical contests. Immortality was based on earthly achievement and the honour warriors garnered for themselves in their mortal deeds. Garth explores the challenge that Tolkien presents to the traditional nationalist dogma proliferated during the war through his use of the voices of his narrators and characters.
Tolkien eschewed polemical rhetoric, part of the evil of tyranny and orthodoxy that he opposed. In his work, a multitude of characters speak in diverse voices, but the author stays well out of sight. Frodo, after seeing desolation and death all across Middle-earth, returns to the Shire and still holds to his non-violent values: He tries to preserve the space apart from warfare and death, maintaining that the community does not need to partake in conflicts that have occurred elsewhere, as they can negotiate and use means other than violence to bring about the change they need in the Shire.
The ideal of non-conflict appears in the social writings of England from the s through both world wars, though the direction of these groups had a greater focus on non- participation and peaceful protest rather than on the power of the word as Tolkien did. Communities like the Peace Pledge Union PPU , the No-Conscription Fellowship, the Quakers, the Conscientious Objectors and those who were not active in any group but held to the beliefs that warfare was unnecessary challenged the national ideals that had driven the country to the point of international conflict and eventually war.
War, which to us is wrong. War, which the peoples do not seek, will only be made impossible when men, who so believe, remain steadfast to their convictions. Conscience, it is true, has been recognised in the Act, but it has been placed at the mercy of tribunals.
We are prepared to answer for our faith before any tribunal, but we cannot accept any exemption that would compel those who hate war to kill by proxy or set them to tasks which would help in the furtherance of war. Middleton Murry, the presentation of the national ideal as a justification for warfare and international conflict was insufficient. Workers of Great Britain, you have no quarrel with the workers of Europe. The future is dark, but in the solidarity of the workers lies the hope which shall, once again, bring light to the peoples of Europe.
Though the use of publications and public forums to forward the ideals of the pacifist communities was common within the specific nations, the individual philosophers failed to make the connection between international negotiation and stability, communication and interaction, language and peace. The idea of conscientious objection, religious belief and even public organization is not innately present in the idea of pacifism, which is merely the belief that it is for the best to avoid international conflicts.
The means by which peace should be reached is not implicit in the definition, leaving the method open to interpretation. Although Tolkien came to the conclusion that language and communication was central, others advocated non-cooperation, while others supported the war effort in non-aggressive means as an example of patriotic service without feeling they were compromising their values.
Non-combat roles played a significant part in World War I, as over of the approximately 16, registered conscientious objectors participated in the war-effort in units such as the Non-Combatant Corps Brock The idea of non-cooperation, to put an end to action or activity on the part of the government through passive protest, was advocated in these situations by writers like Fenner Brockway, who looked to the Indian response to the British as exemplary: Each community develops an individual system of political operation based on their distinct social needs, creating or adopting laws and traditions only as befits the community.
The power of language, as a weapon and means of political assertion, acts as the mechanism for the creation of space for different voices, views and political frameworks. Every voice which will recognize the right of others to exist is accepted, creating a system of political and linguistic interaction which counters the international system to which Tolkien was subject.
The use of Derridian theory as a means of exploring the text reveals the potential play of absent and present elements of the pacifist and medievalist values in the language and construction of power in Middle-earth.
In his construction of Middle-earth, Tolkien based the creation of races and communities around language as a mechanism of both definition and differentiation. His attention to linguistic detail reveals how the social and political behaviours of the various peoples are bound by exchanges of language. Due to this careful intertwining on the part of Tolkien, the social structure and interaction of the peoples of Middle-earth can be explored through a Derridian reading of language and linguistic theories.
The balance of the numerous communities described in the narrative Tolkien constructed is visible through the exploration of play and differance in the interactions of the peoples of Middle-earth. Play in Derridian linguistic theory presents the idea that words are read and destabilized not only by the systems of signification present to the text, but also those that are not.
The space of play is made possible through the denial of the centre, the refusal to accept the false construction of an arbitrary authority. As center, it is the point at which the substitution of contents, elements, or terms is no longer possible. It is when one recognizes that absence of an origin that one comes to recognize language as a play of elements unrestricted by a totalizing, untransferable centre. The removal of a single center or point of origin allows for a play of presence and absence, as the chain of signification of the indefinite sign is made possible through the concept of differance: It is also the becoming-space of the spoken chain — which has been called temporal or linear; a becoming space which makes possible both writing and every correspondence between speech and writing, every passage from one to the other.
Points 27 — italics in original To look at the power of play as an infinite series of significations and substitutions in the absence of a stable or active center, recognizing the space of differance created in the chain of signification and metonymic correlation, is to challenge language as a construction. Removal of the certainty of the origin opens the space of play, countering any single authority that could impose denotation upon discourse. In the construction of a series of languages and constantly shifting systems of interaction, Tolkien removes the origin of language in the opening of The Silmarillion.
After the initial acts of creation, Iluvatar is absented through the textual history of Arda, by the different narrative voices. He is a centre external to the system he is supposed to define, and the construction of the history of Middle-earth eliminates him from the story after the initial act of creation. Language develops within the communities of Middle-earth without a totalizing authority dictating the signs, signifiers and codes of interaction.
The lack of a guiding force leaves space for play of absent and present metonyms both within and between languages. Derrida recognizes that the play of terms and concepts within the interpretive space of a single language is mirrored in the play of ideas between different languages and their interaction.
As the peoples of Middle-earth interact and intermingle, their systems of language are in active discourse, as interpretation and definition face multiple simultaneous influences. Tolkien, in his multiplicity of languages and their corresponding communities, constructs a world in which political and social boundaries are delineated through language.
Within the ranking order of the peoples created by Iluvatar, Tolkien demonstrates the flow of power and the tenuous state of authority through his primary delineator, language. The initial teaching of language is an exchange of power, introducing knowledge and civilization to a community otherwise uninitiated.
Aule, one of the Ainur, first teaches language to his created peoples, the Dwarves, which becomes the most prized possession of their societies, preserved with utter secrecy. Their power of self-delineation and expression is legitimized in the act of a deistic figure accepting and using the language of the Elves. The Ainur do not impose a name or definition on the Quendi in a tongue foreign to them.
Instead, the Ainur respect their new language and speak to the Quendi in the vocabulary they themselves developed. While it appears a minor change, the prefix is an assertion of linguistic and, therefore, social validity: Tolkien openly drew upon different medieval cultures in his work, developing whole communities based upon the language, social organization and political practices of actual historical societies: I turned them into forms of speech related to English.
Since the Rohirrim are represented as recent comers out of the North, and users of an archaic Mannish language relatively untouched by the influence of the Eldarin, I have turned their names into forms like but not identical with Old English. These are all Old Norse Dwarf- names. Letters — italics in original In his use of medieval social boundaries and traditions, Tolkien does not merely recreate historical communities but brings them into contact with societies that do not appear modeled on medieval modes.
Pacifist peoples, such as the Hobbits, encountering traditional medieval states such as the Rohirrim bring the two social perspectives into contact. In drawing on both the medieval and the modern concepts of warfare, the traditions of valour and honour and the critique of nationalist ideals are in contact in the work and are forced to interact in the events of Middle-earth. The values of the traditional warrior society cannot be definitive when introduced to an alternate set of beliefs with a different philosophical basis, nor can pacifist philosophy present a case for reasonable non-confrontation when faced with violent threats and irrational warfare.
In a warrior society, life is temporary but glory and honour are eternal: Pacifist philosophy sees no glory in warfare and instead holds the preservation of life as paramount.
Bilbo escapes the Misty Mountain caverns due to his refusal to use his weapon, and his denial of the Dwarvish traditions prevents war, as he gives away the Arkenstone, an item of great value, to balance potential bargaining between the Dwarves and the Elves and Men of the Dale.
Although Bilbo is changed by the journey, and he has certainly altered the events around him, his fundamental pacifism remains. The composition of the Fellowship who will carry the Ring to Mount Doom demonstrates the diversity of peoples involved in the struggle against Sauron, as it is a mix of pacifist Hobbits, warrior men, and socially isolated figures, namely the Dwarf and the Elf. As Pippin takes up his post in the halls of Gondor, he is asked to sing for Denethor and he finds his music wholly inappropriate for such a setting: The medieval characters are not shamed into abandoning their weaponry and the pacifist communities are not driven onto Pellenor Fields or compelled to challenge Mordor at the Black Gates.
The play of the two concepts takes place in the choices and actions of individual characters, that cross political and linguistic boundaries to find a means of resolution to the threat of war. The crossing of individual characters into alternate societies and the shifting of political arrangements both within and between communities points to a fluid hierarchy and a space for interaction and change at the margins.
There remained, of course, the ancient tradition concerning the high king at Fornost, or Norbury as they called it, away north of the Shire.
Yet the Hobbits still said of wild folk and wicked things such as trolls that they had not heard of the king. For they attributed to the king of old all their essential laws; and usually they kept the laws of free will, because they were The Rules as they said , both ancient and just.
FR, Prologue, 9 The arrival of the Edain in the north did not alter the behaviour and organization of the Hobbits, but merely imposed an external set of ideals that they could choose to follow or not. The tolerance demonstrated among the self-sufficient communities of Fornost and The Shire takes away the need for intervention, oppression, or the imposition of language and beliefs by one community upon another. This sense of mutual toleration is apparent across Middle-earth, as the Rohirrim are aware of the Pukel Men and the Ents without feeling the need to intervene in their lives and culture.
The recognition of commonalities and the tolerance of difference enable peaceful cohabitation and eventually an alliance against a common, oppressive enemy.
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Book of Unfinished Tales
It is because of this constructed means of distinction that, when looking at the political organization and interaction of these nations, the most useful mechanism of study is not a scope of international relations theory, but rather a study of language and the play of linguistic systems of signification. The awareness of alternate spheres of understanding, as the different nations interact and develop, is evident in the instances within the narrative texts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that language is mentioned or discussed.
The most feared language is the Black Speech, which peoples in lands other than Mordor are loathe to speak, attributing to it a form of power. Upon finding the script letters emblazoned in the Ring, Gandalf identifies them: The language itself has significance, even for a figure such as Gandalf, who is not bound to a single cultural or linguistic group. Again, at the beginning of the text of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien constructs a scene in which Frodo comes into contact with a foreign tongue, though it is one with which he has more familiarity.
The recognition of different tongues and the power which these languages carry is a recognition of difference and interpretive space.
As limited communication takes place between the Rohirrim and the Pukel-men, both within the text or within the mythical history of Middle-earth, or Merry and Pippin endeavor to explain the self-definition of Hobbits to Treebeard, the attempt to bridge language differences take place. Cultural groups make evaluations through language, as Frodo is mesmerized by the Elven tongue, with no concern for what is being said, or even by whom: The recognition of difference can inspire admiration, as Frodo marvels at the language and melody of the singing of Rivendell, or can elicit fearful aversion, as Gandalf shies away from reading aloud the ancient script on the One Ring.
The link between the transmission of political or social pedagogy and the instruction of language has been studied by a great number of linguistic and anthropological critics, as the internalization of vocabulary is a means of internalizing the social norms of a new culture.
As Dennis Baron has pointed out: Language change and the development of language standards are features not only of time passing but of conscious innovation and social conditioning as well. As Tolkien composed the histories of multiple peoples to justify the formation, change and amalgamation of languages, he linked the introduction of new elements to the incursion of political communities upon one another. Although communities are not forced into political subservience, a separated space is created in Middle-earth, as the return of the King to Minas Tirith does not result in the blending of communities or the gradual formation of a homogenized state.
In the series of power-relationships constructed in Middle-earth, Tolkien does not permit the primary figure of power and authority to remain in a central role. After Iluvatar sets Arda in motion, teaches the Ainur to sing and shapes their creation of Middle-earth, he is no longer an active presence within the text. His role ends after the act of creation, as Iluvatar is removed in the narrative as the centre of interpretation and authority for both the First and Second Born of Middle-earth.
Treebeard, an Ent and an ancient being, recognizes the transitory nature of not only the land, but also its populations and its language: What are you, I wonder? I cannot place you. You do not seem to come in the old lists that I learned when I was young. But that was a long, long time ago, and they may have made new lists […] Who calls you hobbits, though? That does not sound elvish to me. Elves made all the old words: Not only is Treebeard exposed to a new term, but also the concept of self-naming is introduced by the Hobbits, as is the existence of languages based on systems external to the Elves.
Each culture has a different point of origin for its language, as some are taught by the Ainur, such as the Dwarves or Ents, some are self-taught, as in the communities of the Quendi, and some developed through the influence of surrounding cultures as the Hobbits have. The lack of consistency in the formation of language and vocabulary reflects the diverse histories of the peoples in Middle-earth.
Tolkien shows an exchange of ideas in the form of redressing language and vocabulary to suit a changing world.
As lists and peoples may change, so must the terms used. While Westron is adopted as a common tongue for diplomacy and trade, each community maintains its individual identity as codified in their language. Derrida describes the need for metonymic association and the interaction of concepts and constructions not readily active in the interpretive moment: It is because of differance that the movement of signification is possible only if each so-called present element, each element appearing on the scene of presence, is related to something other than itself, thereby keeping within itself the mark of the past element, and already letting itself be vitiated by the mark of its relation to the future element, this trace being related no less to what is called the future than to what is called the past, and constituting what is called the present by means of this very relation to what it is not: Blinds , italics in original Each community, in its contact with another external vocabulary, develops a new system of interrelations in its own terms and ideas.
A single term passed through political communities carries different weight and value, as each translation is just as valid and erroneous simultaneously and all terms are present to one another in the space of differance. Iluvatar teaches song to the Ainur, establishes Middle-earth but then is absented from the entirety of the narrative to follow. There is never a point at which either Elves or Men come into contact with Iluvatar, their creator, the deistic figure who has established their races.
The centre of the system of creation and definition for the Ainur and the Eldar, as well as the Edain who follow, is absent. This name is used by Orome, one of the Ainur, in an act of recognition of the individual identity and language of the Elves. The language, knowledge and culture of the Quendi is developed entirely internally, as they are not beholden to a central authority or deistic figure, but only to themselves.
In the Ages of Middle-earth that follow, communities develop individual means of speech and interaction, either self-defined or guided by the intervention of the Ainur, until their vocabulary is altered by an encounter with a different culture.
The Eldar, the first race to inhabit Middle-earth, develop a language and system of naming which is then their means of self-definition, as Quendi. The Dwarves and Ents, both races created by Ainur rather than Iluvatar, are created with the gift of language from their inception. They generally do not share this language, as their vocabularies and ideas are not shared outside of their own communities, except with a rare few of the Edain early in the First Age. The use of language as a means of social and political definition is blurred in the interactions and allegiances of the Third Age.
I serve only the Lord of the Mark, Theoden King son of Thengel, […] We do not serve the Power of the Black Land far away, but neither are we yet at open war with him; […] but we desire only to be free, and to live as we have lived, keeping our own, and serving no foreign lord, good or evil. The previous openness of the community, which enabled the sharing of language and the mechanisms of cooperation between the Rohirrim and the Gondorian state, has closed in the intervening years of international isolation, undone by the presence of a threat insurmountable by any single community.
Boromir, at the council of Elrond, makes a clear case for the inability of the Gondorian people to hold against the threat of Mordor: Smoke rises once more from Orodruin that we call Mount Doom.
The power of the Black Land grows and we are hard beset. The amassing of the power of the Black Lands leads to the council and interaction of many peoples and the formation of the Fellowship of the Ring, a representative group of individuals from across Middle-earth. The threat of a dominant Mordor, a linguistically and culturally oppressive force, demands the cooperation of many language communities for the preservation of their freedom against the Nameless Enemy.
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Book of Unfinished Tales
Language is as a tool within the exchanges of Middle-earth used to delineate borders and the inclusion of individuals in foreign communities, either lengthening borders and influence through widespread education or increasing isolation through the limiting of language proliferation. From the moment of genesis of Middle-earth, Iluvatar limits his influence in the new space, as his authority only reaches as far as the Ainur.
There is no established political hierarchy under Iluvatar, who becomes an absentee creator. By imparting language and vocabulary, the Gondorian state also shares their cultural practices and sense of hierarchy with the other communities. Partial acceptance or integration of ideas is a limited inclusion of foreign culture and identity, but not an overwhelming of the local culture and social practice.
By maintaining a linguistic and political presence, the Gondorian state is able to provide protection and guidance to other communities without ever incurring upon cultural practices. The further the language of the Gondorian state spreads, the further the knowledge of the King, the Law and an ordered political community are made available.
All three cultures use geographic conditions to their advantage to avoid the incursion of outsiders into their community, though there are a limited few in these societies who learn the language of trade and interaction and are able to communicate when necessary. By preventing others from learning their language, closed communities are able to limit the potential involvement of outsiders. In his construction of language to be a political currency, Tolkien creates a system of international interaction that has the potential to be non-invasive, non-dominating paternalism, as the influence of external states is integrated in individual communities by choice.
The cooperation between the different communities on a political level is a continuation of the language interactions and intermingling. The influence of culture through language, as made apparent through the interaction between the Edain in the Northern Kingdom and the peoples in the surrounding communities, is a means by which more politically stable states can provide non-invasive guidance to fledgling communities.
This development of Westron comes during the population migration, development and disbanding of communities of Elves, Men, Dwarves, Hobbits and Ents.
This means that throughout the establishment of Eldar and Edain as regional authorities, multiple dialects and languages were at play rather than a single form of speech. The multiple present terms of speech and concepts simultaneously at work are exemplary of the Derridian slippage, as the languages are in state of contact and influence during the development of political and social boundaries, rather than a single dictating force acting to mold the construction of other states.
The forces and figures of power within the chronicles of the War of the Ring do not fit within established or stable communities, but rather exist as marginal individuals who supplement and redefine the distinct peoples. The substitution of an origin of language in the form of writing is a way to fill the existent absence.
Derrida points to the supplement as an external entity in the formation and understanding of language, as it does not exist within the structure of the language itself but fulfills the lack in presence: Moreover, literally, it has never taken place: If it were, it would not be what it is, a supplement, taking and keeping the place of the other.
No ontology can think its operation. That is the danger. The danger of the supplement supplanting the absent origin is the fear of constructing a false centre. Aragorn does not hold to the traditional values and practices of the hereditary line he comes to fulfill, as he recognizes the difference between his lineage and his character: Aragorn is constructed as a figure outside of traditional community boundaries, in lineage and language.
As the Gondorian King in exile, Aragorn lives as part of the Edain community in the north of Middle-earth, living on the fringes of a number of communities, passing in and out of social settings.
In the structures of Gondor, Aragorn is both the reestablishment of the old hierarchies and hereditary lines and a disavowal of those traditions, thus supplementing the system experiencing an absence of origin.
Further, Aragorn is a multilingual character, with an active understanding of numerous vocabularies. In his active involvement in the battles against Mordor and the dominance of the Black Speech, Gandalf has a developed understanding of multiple languages across Middle-earth, including the Black Speech itself.
Gandalf moves from one community to another, not bound by borders or cultural restrictions.
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien.pdf
As a figure on the margins, he too becomes supplemental in the Derridian sense. He acts as an agent of the Ainur, but does not seek to replace their role in the metaphysical constructions of the different communities.
The Ainur send the Istari as a means of countering the power of Sauron, yet through the power of free will and individuality, Gandalf is the only one who remains to counter that power. These messengers, however, are not bound to the Ainur or their intents, as the originary forces of Middle-earth do not impose their will or control upon the communities of Middle-earth UT In his work in the communities of Middle-earth, Gandalf acts to counter the forces of Sauron.
He does so as a supplement who denies the mimetic function, as he stays to the margins and refuses to maintain a space in any community for an extended period. His transience prevents his entrenchment in a given community, and his entrenchment as a false origin or interpretive centre.
The power of songs and poetry is seen in the many tales and stories external to the narrative to the War of the Ring. Tolkien constructs a rich oral culture for the Elves, something only hinted at in the narratives of the Third Age. This specific incident is demonstrative of both the power of language and the ability of Gandalf to transcend cultural boundaries in his travels and work as an agent of the Ainur. The traditional values of warrior culture and the modern constructions of nationalistic imperialism are both emptied of value in the space of difference where multilingual supplemental figures act as points of authority and agents of change within the set structures and communities of Middle-earth.
The lack of a single absolute language provides a differentiation between the Gondorian and Sindarin states and the dark forces of Melkor and Sauron, who have a single language and an oppressive ambition. By writing a history in which most nations do not impose authority on another culture, Tolkien removes from Middle-earth the threat and imposition of colonization beyond the demonized forces of Melkor and Sauron.
Although the political establishment of the Shire and the Hobbit communities takes place under the guidance and presence of the Edain, the dialect closely associated with Hobbit speech patterns is not Adunaic or Westron, but rather Rohirric, or the language of the Rohirrim. Multiple forces of influence are present, not a single authority or colonizer. As the Edain establish the boundaries of communities, there is no pressure of social and linguistic change, as the Hobbits demonstrate.
The proximity of the strong state-system of Men does not alter or affect the socio-cultural developments of other communities, as the gradual creation of an international language and a strong Gondor respects the existent communities. In the community of Bree, specifically, there are also settlements of Hobbits. In Germanic literature there are only two that are significant. Both are referred to Beowulf, one in the main story, and the other one is mentioned by a minstrel praising Beowulf.
Yet, as far as we know anything about these old poets, we know this: So, we have two main features in these stories: In addition to this, if there is something to criticize in the poem is not the dragon, but rather its characteristics which do not make it dragon enough! There are passages in the poem in which this dragon shows its bestial life and thought, but the conception approaches draconitas rather than draco: All this makes Beowulf what it should be, a poem with a nice and well-preserved balance.
The hero, and not a standard hero, faced with a foe more evil than any human from nowhere J. However, Tolkien does not want to deny the worth of the hero by accepting Grendel and the dragon19; old heroes are men caught in the chains of circumstances or of their own character, torn between duties equally sacred, dying with their backs to the wall. In such heroes we may see the exaltation of undefeated will, which receives doctrinal expression in the words of Byrhtwold at the battle of Maldon.
The theme of the inevitable defeat has been put at the center of the poem Beowulf, in which we may see a man at war with the hostile world J. Tolkien , page 13 19 J. This explains why the tone in the poem is so high and its theme so low, and precisely the theme gives dignity the tone.
Cyclops can be, at the same time, under the divine protection of some gods e. Poseidon or hated by someone else e. Zeus , in Germanic literature monsters are identified only as foes of the gods. Therefore, Beowulf is almost a Christian knight J. In the poem we can notice a fusion, and not a confusion, because of the contact between old and new, a product of thought and deep emotion.
One of the most potent elements in that fusion is the Northern courage: Although we know almost nothing about the English pre-Christian mythology, we are quite sure that the heroic temper in ancient England and Scandinavia converge to the same point. So, men prove turn out to be allied of the gods and we are conscious of them after the hostility against the monsters.
In England this idea was brought into touch with Christendom and with the Scriptures: Like Virgil he was learned enough in the vernacular to have an historical perspective. He knew much about the old days, and though his knowledge was rich and poetical rather than accurate, he was certain about one thing: It has been hypothesized that the influence of Latin epic e.
Aeneid on Beowulf is perceptible and explains the development of the long and studied poem in early England. Tolkien , page 15 21 J. The southern gods do not have to face any menace and they are not under future doom, yet their offspring on earth might be heroes or even other creatures hostile to men. The gods are not allies of men in their war against these or other monsters. On the other hand, the Norse gods are doomed with their allies to death.
Their battle is with the monsters and the outer darkness and they gather heroes for the last defense. In addition, we have to remember that the poet of Beowulf saw clearly: For these reason, Tolkien reckons that the passages in Beowulf concerning the giants and their war with God, together with the two mentions of Cain are especially important.
This is not due, however, to mere confusion, but rather it is an indication of the precise point at which an imagination was triggered. It is for this reason that elements of the Bible and pagan ones coexist. In Beowulf we have an historical poem about the pagan past, or at least an attempt of it; it is a poem written by a learned man writing about the old times, who was looking back on the heroism. Beowulf is not an actual picture of historic Denmark or Geatland or Sweden during the sixth century.
We may divide it into two opposed portions: The structure reveals itself as simple and solid and it is in each part diversified. Anyway, the poem is not to be as an exciting narrative or a romantic tale. The very nature of Old English meter is often misjudged.
In it there is not any rhythmic pattern progressing from the beginning of a line to the end. The lines do not give the idea to be a tune, instead they are more like masonry than music.
It is a composition not a tune J. They describe three crucial moments in a heroic life: Beowulf cannot be criticized or comprehended, if its original audience is imagined possessing only Bewoulf in isolation. It is a heroic-elegiac poem; somehow its first 3, lines are a prelude to a dirge. Therefore, to honour the figure of the hero, it is necessary that the final foe should not some Swedish prince, or treacherous friend, but a dragon: Once more Tolkien notices an important aspect: It is just because the main foes are inhuman that the story acquires further substance and splendor.
In conclusion, Professor Tolkien asserts that Beowulf may not be the greatest poem of the western word, but it has its own peculiarity because of its unknown time and place of composition. Its language has essential kinship with Modern English and it raises the interest of northern people Until the dragon comes.
Besides its value as literature work, a question is still without an answer: At the same time, it seems a pity to junk it: A shrew got tamed, a valkyrie-figure? We do not know. The other one is that Tolkien has always taken Beowulf seriously as a historical source Furthermore, we have other reasons to re-think about the historical value of Beowulf.
In the poem, the Danish king Hrothgar is going to build the hall Heorot which attracts the rage of Grendel. But the idea that it might be true was always rejected until recent times. As a matter of fact, in summer archaeologists found, after over twenty years of excavations, not only one hall but six of them. There is another gem.
Besides the critics, what really counts here is its influence on literature in general, indeed, as Acocella asserts, the essay is not just one of the finest written about the poem but one the finest essays on English literature more in general Tolkien succeeded in making Beowulf a work, whose characteristics will be the basis of an immense genre known as fantasy literature. The turning point is indeed when he approached the work to translate it. Translation and the research of the significance of the words in the poem made possible an accurate analysis of it.
So, what is behind this? Why Tolkien? Philology cannot be bound to a simple love of words, it encompasses various disciplines, from linguistics to literature, and it works like a great linking point in humanities. Thanks to philology Tolkien has no longer remained just a scholar or professor but he has become a great writer. Dragons and monsters represent something strong in human imagination and only in our imagination we can feel free.
Dragons and monsters were useful for him when he wrote The Hobbit, we may assert that Smaug the dragon resembles the dragon in Beowulf, but including much more details about its intellect and personality Moreover, the character of the monster is in every culture a material reproduction of fear, dread or anxiety of people.
Later, this conception of the invented characters, as a personification of human feelings, was transposed into horror and gothic literature e. It seems that the tradition with dragons is at the base of some great pieces of literature started with Beowulf in the Dark Ages, come back with Tolkien and carried on till today with the huge production in fantasy probably the most famous contemporary work is A Song of Ice and Fire by George Martin. The dragon, I would say, is an emblem of fantasy imagination and probably the most representative.
Frodo, I do understand. I know now. They kept going.
Because they were holding on to something. It is a sort of end added by Professor Tolkien to the well-known poem The Battle of Maldon, whose date of composition is still being debated by scholars, perhaps between the 10th and 11th century. The text has come to us without the first and last page, so it begins in medias res. Moreover, Tolkien scholars have taken up his arguments for the evaluation of leader-figures in his own works of fiction Honegger, The context of the battle is really singular.
In spite of their bigger number of warriors, the only way to connect the Northmen to the mainland is represented by a causeway, difficult to cross if well defended like in the case of the Battle of Thermopylae in BC. Before the battle, Olaf Tryggvason has demanded an enormous tribute in return for peace but earl Beorhtnoth firmly declined the proposal.
Then the Vikings try to force the passage but Beorhtnoth needs only a few brave men on the causeway and some archers in the rearguard in order to stop the invasion J. At this point lines 84 — 88 , the manuscript of The Battle of Maldon gives us unclear information: The hateful strangers hatched a plot — they asked if they could have access to lead their foot troops across the bridge28 This extract sounds very strange: As you can notice, the keyword here is plot.
Although the poet is not clear, it is likely that Olaf Tryggvason resorts to a plot making a kind of psychological provocation to earl Beorhtnoth. As a matter of fact, earl Beorhtnoth is famous for his courage and valour in battle, and despite being at the dusk of his life, he would never retreat from his final battle.
A hero who fought a dragon in spite of his age and then was lamented as the greatest of all heroes. In other words, Beorhtnoth interprets the request of the Viking leader as a proposal of eternal glory. Therefore, Beorhtnoth commands to leave the passage. Later the two armies line up on the plain and the battle is a bloodbath with an expected result: Most of the English think that their commander is beating a retreat, so they swerve towards the forest, whereas the faithful soldiers continue to fight the foes vigorously, following the example of their lord.
Our thoughts will be the firmer, our hearts will be the keener, our spirits will be stronger as our strength diminishes29 In these lines it is clearly pointed out that the heroism grows when the possibility of success decreases. Then the loyalty to the lord till death comes up in the following lines — He will mourn who thinks to escape this war-play now. I am old. I will not go from here, but by the side of my lord — by such a beloved man — I intend to lie.
And this concept will survive through the centuries until our age e. So, in Maldon one by one the men of earl Beorhtnoth found their end on the battlefield. During the last century there were some attempts to conclude the poem. It is a possible end in modern prose where Borges imagines that some English soldiers have left the battle finding shelter in the near forest.
They are guided by Aidan and they are not noblemen but peasants. Aidan explains why Beorhtnoth had let the Vikings pass: He wanted to impress the invaders by his own courage. After that, Aidan proposes to rest and wait that Northmen head for the village of Maldon: The Englishmen will be in ambush from the sides of the path and they will die during the fight in order to honour their loyalty debt to the lord Beorhtnoth.
However, this mission will exclude a son of Aidan: Werferth, whose task will be to write the story of the battle and spread the heroism of the dead soldiers to posterity. Werferth begs to remain but the will of Aidan is unchangeable: Aidan knows that literature is useful to do things, it is a sort of continuation of the battle with other means, and literature is a very important martial art.
So, Maldon becomes a symbolic place where the armed struggle turns into dialectics and rhetoric Wu Ming 4, a. However, if Professor Tolkien commented this comparison, he would say that only the battle fought by Leonidas and his Spartans is worthy of praises and good words. It is well-known that the Spartan war code does not differ much from the Germanic one in terms of bravery in battle and death in battle as the greatest rewards in life, anyway we have to remember that the sacrifice of the Spartans has some more logical terms than the useless bloodbath wanted by Beorhtnoth.
Indeed, the Spartans fought a battle that they initially did not want to, but then they realized that it was necessary in order to save Greece from Persian invaders giving more time to other poleis to prepare their armies.
But why is the battle of Beorhtnoth and his followers just a useless bloodbath? Professor Tolkien points out that the core of the poem The Battle of Maldon lies in lines 89 — According to Wu Ming 4, it is the translation of the word ofermode made by Tolkien that clarifies the message of the poet. Indeed, Wu Ming 4 mentions that previously the provided translations, in particular the ones made by W.
Being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble. This matter of pride, in terms of honor and glory after death, tends to grow and become a necessity to excess. Not only this excess goes beyond need and duty, but interferes with them.
Like Beowulf, Beorhtnoth does more 31 cfr. But Beowulf has no allegiance with the Danes or Hrothgar, his glory is the honour of his people, the Geats and their lord Hygelac.
Furthermore, his excess of chivalry has no limits, it will be present even when Beowulf is an old king. He will not lead any forces to the dragon, as a wise king would do, but he will use only a sword to face the beast. Eventually the destruction of the dragon is achieved thanks to Wiglaf, a subordinate of Beowulf. Tolkien does not mean that dying for a right cause is madness, but treating a desperate battle as a sporting match is an act of foolishness.
Probably the behaviour of the main character is due to a personal defect moulded also by aristocratic concepts of traditional tales and verses of poets. Beorhtnoth was wrong and he died for his folly J. There are two poets who study scrupulously the heroic and chivalrous: In addiction we might include in the middle the poet of Maldon. Sir Gawain is in plain intention a criticism or valuation of a whole code of sentiment and conduct, in which heroic courage is only a part, with different loyalties to serve.
He is involved in peril because of his loyalty, but, first of all, there is to secure the safety and the dignity of his lord, King Arthur. It is no accident that in this poem, as in Maldon and in Beowulf, we have a criticism of the lord, of the owner of the allegiance.
In conclusion, the concept of loyalty and chivalry is a way for the lord to gain credit, but he must not exploit that involving a useless danger. As a matter of fact, Hygelac does not decide arbitrarly to send Beowulf to Denmark, on the contrary he tries to restrain him from a rash adventure.
At the end of the poem Wiglaf and the Geats try to restrain their king from a rash adventure too. It is set in the evening after the battle and the main characters are two emissaries of the abbot of Ely, their task is to find the remains of earl Beorhtnoth and give him a honourable burial.
Tida is an old man who has the experience of war and is sarcastic about the destiny of heroes, while Totta is a young admirer of warriors and he glorifies them. The result is a tragicomic dialogue between them and it is underlined the fact that Beorhtnoth has yielded more his honour than the safety of himself, his country and his people. As I said, Tolkien obviously does not disagree with the value of obedience towards the lord, however the faith, even if not guilty because inside a series of virtues, is misplaced.
After all, we must reiterate that Tolkien took part in World War I and he was conscious that thousands of soldiers were treated just like beasts in a slaughterhouse. So, is this not a critique of the models imposed by the feudal system? Here Wu Ming 4 suggests us that the refusal to imposed orders is represented by the figure of fugitives.
The forest itself becomes a concept, a place which welcomes outlaws but also rebels. Obviously, they are renegades and outcasts, but they are also the future defenders of their country Wu Ming 4, a.
Moreover, the figure of the rebel must not be considered far from our time, just think about partisans in World War II: They are still associated with an idea of hope in order to continue the battle. Through his prose work and the subcreative art Tolkien is able to go beyond the ethical dichotomy which he has reached, and thanks to his great narrative capability he magnificently responds to the challenge brought by the darkest age ever.
He has generated an apparently harmless and gentle hero whose hairy feet are not suitable for sabatons. A hero who firstly would rather dig a hole in a lost corner of Middle-earth, but then he would become the centre embracing the destiny of the whole world. Sam embodies the simple soldier in World War I, who is afraid of dying and in the battlefield, he is able to put one foot in front of another in order to come back home safe and sound. According to Clark and Bowman32, Sam, so Tolkien too, rejects the idea of the Northern heroic spirit and becomes a kind of anti-Beorhtnoth.
Hobbits are the demonstration that everyone can make this world a better place by little daily gestures, slight actions that contrast the darkness. Compared to hobbits, men cannot carry through such tasks because easily bribable, dwarves are too avaricious and elves too little hopeful.
A dark lord like Sauron cannot deal only with people who live a life like a hobbit. A life characterized by good food, happiness and temperance. Tolkien, The Hobbit 32 Clark and Timmons , pp. I have more times insisted on the fact that Tolkien is a great writer and narrator because he is first of all a great philologist.
All this philological work involves difficulties and uncertainties, if we try to analyze the tolkienian anthology item by item. The literary universe of Tolkien allows us several perspectives and different levels of interpretation: But, studying and reconstructing these references lead us to a deeper comprehension of the texts themselves Ferrari, However, his success surpasses the literary field and includes other forms of arts in particular cinema and music, two worlds to which I am very attached together with literature.
As a matter of fact, thanks to the relative cinematographic transpositions I could meet Tolkien and his universe only at the age of nine and, beyond some bad reviews by well- known personalities e. Christopher Tolkien , the most important role played by the three movies by Peter Jackson has been to make the works of J.
Tolkien known to a wider audience. Since that moment I have not been renouncing to continue the exploration of his universe and it can still amaze me. Nevertheless, the fantasy genre, even in our time, is often stigmatized as a trivial and childish work. Especially from the older generation, rooted in the obsolete precepts of literary production, in which the creative liberty of the writer is delimited by reality.
Nowadays Tolkien was normally remembered as the writer who established the genre of serious heroic fantasy.
Anyway, heroic fantasy already existed before Tolkien, even on ambitious scale e. The Worm Ourobouros by E. In the USA, two school of writers centered on rival, or complementary, pulp fiction magazines, Weird Tales and Unknown. Among the major contributors to Weird Tales were H. Lovecraft and Robert E. Both the horror stories of the former and the sword-and-sorcery tales of the latter resembled Tolkien in creating generations of imitators and aspirant continuators.
Yet we have to consider two things about the works of J.I have more times insisted on the fact that Tolkien is a great writer and narrator because he is first of all a great philologist. Floral DesignsSee the note to no. Pictures by JRR Tolkien. Tolkien is one of the most exciting experience for the one who loves literature. He will mourn who thinks to escape this war-play now. Actually, the translation was completed by , namely almost two decades before the election as Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, two decades of further study of Old English poetry, if we also consider his program of lectures and classes.