Tolkien Society Hybrid Seminar 2024 – Tolkien’s Romantic Resonances
6 July 2024
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HIlton Leeds City and Online

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a short conference of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarship.The Society held three seminars in 2021 (Twenty-first Century Receptions of Tolkien, Tolkien and Diversity, and Translating and Illustrating Tolkien) and their online setting has seen increased interest with over 700 attendees from 52 countries at ‘Tolkien and Diversity’. After the seminar, all paper recordings from the seminars are uploaded onto the Tolkien Society’s YouTube channel. We are delighted to run hybrid seminars where delegates can enjoy discussions on Tolkien in person and online.

Tolkien’s Romantic Resonances

Saturday 6th July
(Free Hybrid Event) Hilton Leeds City

As early as The Book of Lost Tales (1910s-1930s) Tolkien’s prose and poetry was infused with elements of the stylistics, aesthetics, and philosophies of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Romantics. Although it has been shown that Tolkien learnt about and read a range of Romantic works, his dialogue with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief” in ‘On Fairy-stories’ has dominated the intersections between Romantic and Tolkien studies. This has overshadowed the role that Romantic influences played in the shaping of Middle-earth, as well as the Romantic legacies in Victorian literature and art that had a significant impact on Tolkien’s writing. While Tolkien clearly rejected certain forms of Romanticism, he worked within a literary tradition that was partially shaped by the Romantics.

This seminar seeks fresh and innovative readings of Tolkien’s Romantic Resonances that are in dialogue with modern scholarship on Romanticisms, Romantic aesthetics and Romantic-period histories. The seminar understands ‘Romanticism’ and the ‘Romantic’ as complex, nuanced terms that elude simplification, traditional historical markers, and solely Anglocentric readings. We welcome proposals that address the broader application of the terms.

Papers may address but are in no way limited to the following topics:

  • Parallels between Tolkien’s narratives and artistic, musical, philosophical, European, transatlantic, Nordic, and global Romanticisms
  • Underexplored relationships between Tolkien’s works and British Romantic-period writing
  • Mediations and transformations of Romantic aesthetics and stylistics in Tolkien’s writings
  • Tolkien’s rejections of Romanticism and the Romantic
  • Links between the Romantics, Victorians, and Tolkien
  • Parallels between Tolkien’s works and Romantic philosophies
  • Romantic resonances in adaptations and receptions of Tolkien
  • Tolkien’s inheritance of Romantic medievalism, myth, and nation building
  • Tolkien’s negotiations with the Romantic Gothic and antiquarian traditions
  • Applications of Romantic irony
  • Romantic theories of nature and the imagination in Tolkien’s writings


The programme is currently being finalised but below are the speakers and paper titles in alphabetical order. The programme will consist of online and in-person papers. You can read the abstracts here.


Timothy Morton – The Grey-Rain Curtain Turned All to Silver Glass: Heavenly Tolkien

  • “Fled is that Music:” Elvish Art as Romantic Portal
    Cami Agan
  • ‘The Passion of Fear’ or ‘The Passion of Love’? Aesthetics, Gender, and Tolkien’s ‘Man-maiden’
    Sara Brown
  • “The Footsteps of Nature”: How Shelley’s Philosophy of Poetic Language is Revived in Middle-earth
    Bethany Cole
  • A Scandinavian Legend in Old English Letters: Tracing the Echo of the Romantic Poet in Tolkien’s ‘Beowulf’
    Lea Grosen Jørgensen
  • “Enslav’d, the Daughters of Albion weep”: Rape, Enslavement, and Objectification of Tolkien’s Aredhel and Blake’s Oothoon
    Kristine Larsen
  • “Not a novel, but an heroic romance”: Novel Anxieties and the Legacy of Gothic and Romantic Fiction in The Lord of the Rings
    Katie Lund
  • Re-enchantment in the Romantic Imagination of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and J.R.R. Tolkien
    Mariana Rios Maldonado & Andoni Cossio
  • Word and Image: Tolkien, Blake, and the Idea of the Romantic manuscript
    Annise Rogers
  • “I am a link in the chain”: Victorian Transformations of British Romanticism and their Influence on Tolkien
    Will Sherwood
  • “Fiery the Angels rose”: The Romantic Prometheanism of Tolkien’s Enemies
    Robert Tally


Sign up to attend this years hybrid seminar here.

An informal innmoot—a visit to the local pub—will be held on Friday 5th July.

The papers will be recorded and uploaded onto the Tolkien Society YouTube channel after the event.

International Medieval Congress

There will be six Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2024, sponsored by The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow.

Visit Dr Andrew Higgins’ blog for more information. Be aware that this year the IMC is taking place before the seminar.

There will be six Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2024:

  • Tolkien Medieval Roots and Modern Branches (Monday 1st July 2024: 11:115-12:45 GMT)
  • Tolkien’s Medieval Sub-Creation in Crisis(Monday 1st July: 16:30-18:00 GMT)
  • Racial Medievalism in Tolkien Studies: A Session Celebrating the Works of Professor Dimitra Fimi, Founder of Tolkien at Leeds (Tuesday 2nd July 2024: 11:15-12:45 GMT)
  • Bodily Crises in Tolkien’s Medievalism Session 1 (Weds 3rd July: 14:15-15:45 GMT)
  • Bodily Crises in Tolkien’s Medievalism Session 2 (Weds 3rd July: 16:30-18:00 GMT)
  • Crisis in Researching Tolkien: The Annual Tolkien at Leeds Roundtable (Weds 3rd July: 19:00-20:00 GMT)


Hilton Leeds City, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4BX

The hotel is roughly three minutes from Leeds train station. Leave the station via the main exit near Marks and Spencers. Cross the road via the pedestrian crossing and go down the staircase to the right of the taxi rank. At the bottom of the stairs take a right and continue along the road and under the recently refurbished railway bridge. Hilton Leeds City is located approximately 200m on the right.