J.R.R. Tolkien deplored allegory and rejected any suggestion that The Lord of the Rings has an inner meaning or message. In reading back the tale, however, he became aware of a dominant motif:
The real theme for me is […] Death and Immortality: the mystery of the love of the world in the hearts of a race ‘doomed’ to leave and seemingly lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race ‘doomed’ not to leave it, until its whole evil-aroused story is complete’ (Letters, p. 246)
Despite the lucidity of this statement, the theme of death and immortality has been left relatively unexplored in Tolkien studies. In recognition of this, and to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, The Tolkien Society called for presentations on this important topic for its seminar in Leeds on 3 July 2016. Published under the auspices of the Society’s Peter Roe Memorial Fund, this book features a collection of twelve papers delivered on the day by aspiring and established Tolkien scholars alike.
Tolkien and the Somme
Matthew B. Rose
Tolkien and T.S. Eliot: the waste land and a fallen king
Tolkien and disability: the narrative function of disabled characters in Middle-earth
Facing death: how characters in The Lord of the Rings meet the prospect of their own demise and the loss of others
Giovanni Carmine Costabile
The elven perspective of life, death and immortality, and its influence on humanity
Aslı Bülbül Candaş
Mortal immortals: the fallibility of elven immortality in Tolkien’s writing
‘Gifts in harmony?’: a philological exploration of Tolkien’s invented words for ‘life’ and ‘death’
Music of life: the creation of Middle-earth
Transmission: an escape from death in Tolkien’s work?
Recurrent pattern of the Fall in Tolkien’s legendarium
Frodo and Saruman: euformation, dysformation, and immortality in The Lord of the Rings
Adam B. Shaeffer
‘Tears are the very wine of blessedness’: joyful sorrow in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
Publication Date: 1 December 2017
Publisher: Luna Press Publishing
Product Dimensions: 178 x 127 mm
Page Numbers: 218
An e-book version is also available on all major platforms for just £6.99. Search for “Death and Immortality in Middle-earth” or the ISBN-13: 978-1-911143-34-5.