The Body in Tolkien’s Legendarium

Essays on Middle-earth Corporeality


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About the Book

The timely collection of essays is thematically unified around the subject of corporeality. Its theoretical underpinnings emerge out of feminist, foucauldian, patristic and queer hermeneutics. The book is organized into categories specific to transformation, spirit versus body, discourse, and source material. More than one essay focuses on female bodies and on the monstrous or evil body. While Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is central to most analyses, authors also cover The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and material in The History of Middle-earth.

About the Author(s)

Christopher Vaccaro is a senior lecturer at the University of Vermont. He has published on Tolkien and Cynewulf’s Elene and lives in Burlington, Vermont.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Christopher Vaccaro

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7478-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0388-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Abbreviations vii
Introduction (Christopher Vaccaro) 1

Part I. The Transformation of the Body
The Body in Question: The Unhealed Wounds of Frodo Baggins (Verlyn Flieger) 12
Incorporeality and Transformation in The Lord of the Rings (Yvette Kisor) 20
Frodo’s Body: Liminality and the Experience of War (Anna Smol) 39

Part II. The Body and the Spirit
The Hröa and Fëa of Middle-earth: Health, Ecology and the War (Matthew Dickerson) 64
The Ugly Elf: Orc Bodies, Perversion, and Redemption in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings (Jolanta N. Komornicka) 83

Part III. The Discursive Body
Light (noun, 1) or Light (adjective, 14b)? Female Bodies and Femininities in The Lord of the Rings (Robin Anne Reid) 98
A Body of Myth: Representing Sauron in The Lord of the Rings (Gergely Nagy) 119

Part IV. The Body and the Source Material
Emblematic Bodies: Tolkien and the Depiction of Female Physical Presence (James T. Williamson) 134
Extending the Reach of the Invisible Hand: A Gift Looks for Gain in the Gifting Economy of Middle-earth (Jennifer Culver) 157
Tolkien’s Whimsical Mode: Physicalities in The Hobbit (Christopher Vaccaro) 170

About the Contributors 187
Index 189

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “valuable…illuminating analysis”—Medievally Speaking
  • “a solid collection”—Mythlore