Monday, March 14, 2016

Faulty premise, but some outstanding work …

… The University Bookman: Modernists in Middle-Earth. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

[HelenLasseter] Freeh’s scholarship is top-notch. She is intimately familiar with all of Tolkien’s writings, and she uses his essay on Beowulf to bolster her analysis of The Silmarillion. Instead of specious comparisons to authors Tolkien probably did not read, she fluently discusses Anglo-Saxon concepts that were part of the architecture of Tolkien’s mind, such as wyrd (roughly “fate”), lof(roughly “posthumous fame”), and ofermod (roughly “hubris”). She also cites connections to texts that are keys to Tolkien’s thinking, such as the Finnish Kalevala.
The late Daniel Grotta, in J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth, which I had the privilege of editing, was among the first to draw the connection between Tolkien's work and his war experiences. Tolkien had good reason to dislike the modern world.

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