Tolkien’s Intellectual Landscape


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About the Book

The work of J.R.R. Tolkien has had a profound effect on contemporary fiction and filmmaking. Often disparaged by critics, Tolkien’s fiction created a market for the “fantasy trilogy” and his academic work represents an innovative contribution to the field of philology. In the 20th century, his fiction bridged the gap between “learned” and “popular” readerships. Today the fantasy genre continues to grow—even as publishers cut back on creative fiction—moving energetically into film, gaming and online fan fiction. This book describes how Tolkien’s imaginative landscape continues to entertain and inspire, drawing new generations to Middle-earth.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

E.L. Risden, emeritus professor of English at St. Norbert College, lives in De Pere, Wisconsin, where he continues to write literary and movie scholarship, speculative fiction, and occasional poetry.

Bibliographic Details

E.L. Risden
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9865-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1998-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction. The “Author of the Century” in His Century: Extending the Intellectual Landscape 1
1. Tolkien as Scholar, Narrator, Stylist 23
2. Heart of Darkness, Heart of Light: Externalizing the Internalized Quest 67
3. The World of the Text and the Expanding Waste Land 84
4. Tolkien on Heroism: Beorhtnoth, Aragorn, and Arthur 97
5. Epic, Faërie, and Myth: The Mortal and the Monstrous Body 124
6. Tolkien and Myth: Orientalism and Occidentalism 147
7. Good and Evil, Choice and Control 166
8. Teaching Tolkien and His World, and Why He Matters 181
Afterword. Mechanized Landscape and Spiritual Landscape—In Retrospect 200
Chapter Notes 213
Bibliography 222
Index 227

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Highly recommended”—Choice
  • “There are many great nuggets of insight into Tolkien’s themes and techniques to be found here, and much else of great value besides”—Magonia
  • “This is a book which it is easy to commend…it is full of gems”—Journal of Tolkien Research