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Tolkien, Race and Cultural History
 
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Tolkien, Race and Cultural History
From Fairies to Hobbits
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
20 Nov 2008
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£69.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780230219519
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28 Jul 2010
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£19.99
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Tolkien, Race and Cultural History explores the evolution of Tolkien's mythology by examining how it changed as a result of Tolkien's life story and contemporary cultural and intellectual history. The book considers Tolkien's creative writing as an ever-developing 'legendarium': an interconnected web of stories, poems and essays, from his early poems in the 1910s to his latest writings in the early 1970s. Consequently, the book is not restricted to a discussion of Tolkien's best-known works only (The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion) but examines the whole corpus of his legendarium, including the 12-volume History of Middle-earth series, which has received little attention from critics. This new approach and scope brings to light neglected aspects of Tolkien's imaginative vision and addresses key features of Tolkien's creativity: the centrality of the Elves and the role of linguistic invention in his legendarium, as well as race and material culture in Middle-earth.


Description

Tolkien, Race and Cultural History explores the evolution of Tolkien's mythology by examining how it changed as a result of Tolkien's life story and contemporary cultural and intellectual history. The book considers Tolkien's creative writing as an ever-developing 'legendarium': an interconnected web of stories, poems and essays, from his early poems in the 1910s to his latest writings in the early 1970s. Consequently, the book is not restricted to a discussion of Tolkien's best-known works only (The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion) but examines the whole corpus of his legendarium, including the 12-volume History of Middle-earth series, which has received little attention from critics. This new approach and scope brings to light neglected aspects of Tolkien's imaginative vision and addresses key features of Tolkien's creativity: the centrality of the Elves and the role of linguistic invention in his legendarium, as well as race and material culture in Middle-earth.


Reviews

Winner ofthe Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies 2010

Short listed for the Katharine Briggs Award 2009

'Dimitra Fimi's Tolkien, Race and Cultural History traces the evolution of the legendarium with admirable care...This scholarly yet approachable book is filled with...surprising fragments.' - Jon Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

'Fimi's book reads so well that it's hard to believe that it's an academic tome' - Henry Gee, Mallorn

'constitutes an important contribution to Tolkien studies...the author brings together (often for the first time) relevant research from cultural history and lays out her arguments fair and square...Fimi's book has given us some answers but has also opened up some avenues for future research. What more can we ask for?' Thomas Honegger, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat, Germany


'...a rich study into Tolkien's creative impulses and the influences that worked on those impulses in the course of a long creative life...any reader interested in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien...is in for a treat. The book is intelligently argued and full of interesting ideas and approaches, offering fresh insights into Tolkien's authorship...you will find plenty of stimulating and thought-provoking material to make the book well worth reading.'
- Nils-Lennart Johannesson, English Today


'Until now, Tolkien has generally been studied in isolation, or as the father of modern fantasy-writing, but this book shows how his work was rooted in the mental world of his contemporaries and the immediately preceding generation. As Tolkien scholarship becomes more analytical, Fimi's study provides essential new insights.' - Jacqueline Simpson, The Folklore Society


Contents

List of Figures
Conventions and Abbreviations
Introduction
PART I: HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In the Beginning were the Fairies...
'Fluttering Sprites with Antennae': Victorian and Edwardian Fancies
The Fairies, Faith and Folklore
PART II: IDEAL BEINGS, IDEAL LANGUAGES
The Cat and the Whiskers: Tolkien's Linguistic Creation
'Linguistic Aesthetic': Sounds, Meaning and the Pursuit of Beauty
Ideal Languages and Phonetic Spelling
PART III: FROM MYTH TO HISTORY
The Claim to History
A Hierarchical World
Visualising Middle-earth: Real and Imagined Material Cultures
Epilogue: From Fairies to Hobbits
Appendix: 'And Wither Then?': Stepping into the Road
Bibliography
Index


Authors

DIMITRA FIMI lectures in English Literature at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC). Her research interests include the history of fantasy literature, folklore and popular culture, literary adaptations, and the interaction between literature and visual culture.