Section 2 : Sources and
Nils Ivar Agøy
- Quid Hinieldus cum Christo? - New Perspectives on
Tolkien's Theological Dilemma and his Sub-Creation
- In the 1920s and 1930s Tolkien's developing, and
to all appearances pagan, legendarium
posed a theological dilemma to its devoutly
Christian author. How could it be reconciled with
his faith? There are striking parallels with the
Danish theologian, poet and philologist N.F.S.
Grundtvig (1783-1872). This paper will try to
establish whether Tolkien's answer, which is only
partly to be found in "On
Fairy-Stories", was directly influenced by
Grundtvig's attempts at reconciling Norse myths
- Tolkien's Experiment with Time: The Lost Road,
"The Notion Club Papers" and J.W. Dunne.
- Tolkien's two time-travel stories, The Lost
Road and "The Notion Club Papers",
derive their mode of operation from a theory of
time as a field proposed in 1927 by J.W. Dunne.
This paper explores the relationship between
Dunne's theory and the fictive psychology of
dream and memory that provides a working basis
for Tolkien's time travel.
- Higher Argument: Tolkien and the tradition of Vision,
Epic and Prophecy.
- This paper attempts to place Tolkien's fiction in
a distinctively English literary context: a
tradition of visionary writing which strives
toward national epic, existing from Spenser
through Milton (and in certain respects, Blake)
- An Anthropologist in Middle-earth.
- The author is an anthropologist who works as a
campaigner for indigenous people's rights. From
this perspective she has some thoughts about
Tolkien's work as a vision of an unwesternized
Europe, and on the re-enchantment of the world.
Charles E. Noad
- Frodo and his Spectre: Blakean Resonances in Tolkien.
- Comparisons between Blake and Tolkien are
tempting, not least because of superficial
resemblances, but more valid comparisons can be
made in their treatment of similar underlying
themes. One such is that shown in the opposition
of Los and his Spectre (Blake) and of Frodo and
Gollum (Tolkien), where a comparison points up
the outlooks and limitations of both writers.
Gloriana St. Clair
- An Overview of the Northern Influences on Tolkien's
- J.R.R. Tolkien studied the Old Norse literature
and mythology thoroughly. While knowing Northern
literature does not provide a key to unlock the
meanings of his major works, his characters,
creatures, implements, customs, incidents, and
themes do have antecedents in the Eddas and
sagas. This paper assesses the extent and impact
of those antecedents.
Gloriana St. Clair
- Volsunga Saga and Narn: Some Analogies.
- "Narn", one of the works in the
Unfinished Tales, has many parallels
with the thirteenth-century Old Norse
"Volsunga Saga", which Tolkien read and
studied. This paper will assess comparisons
between the heroes, women, dragons, plots and
tokens for their contribution to understanding
Tolkien's relationship to his sources, and will
note Tolkien's craft in source-assimilation.
- Tolkien's Revision of the Romantic Tradition.
- This paper explores Tolkien's vision of fantasy
within the broader historical context of
Romanticism, clarifying the ways in which he
inherits and revises Romantic views of the
creative imagination via the concept of
"sub-creation". Possible links with
Coleridge's thought are considered, especially
with respect to the uses of Romanticism in the
context of Christianity.
- Tolkien as a Post-War Writer.
- The Lord of the Rings, though unique in
many ways, is only one of a series of fantasies
published by English authors before, during, and
just after World War II, works united in their
deep concern with the nature of evil and their
authors' belief that politics had given them a
novel understanding of this ancient concept. This
paper sets Tolkien in this contemporary context
and considers what has been unique in his
understanding of the modern world.
- Where do Elves go to? Tolkien and a Fantasy Tradition.
- The departure of the Elves from Middle-earth
haunted Tolkien's imagination, but it has also
fascinated many other writers before and since.
After Kipling and Tolkien, the twin pivots in
recent literary ideas about Elves, the destiny of
the Elves is being treated in more and more
diverse ways. But Hy Braseal is so hard to
imagine, given the Americas in this century: how
can the people of the starlight still "go
west"? Most go "in" instead, into
humanity or into places (and computer programs)
with that special Elf-friendly charge.
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