Friday, January 17, 2014

Sample Abstract: "Which Way I Fly Is Middle-earth; Myself Am Middle-earth"

The text below is a sample of an abstract which I take from another website I maintain.  It was submitted to a conference at which it was subsequently presented.

Much of the scholarly attention which has been devoted to Tolkien since the publication of The Lord of the Rings has focused on the Northern European derivation of the characters, cultures, and terms in his works.  Certainly, the author's own comments regarding his articulation of language in the works--notably Appendix F in Lord of the Rings and several of the author's notes in "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan" in Unfinished Tales--and his own professional background substantiate such and approach.  Too, the assertions of such critics as Lin Carter support the Northern sources of Tolkien's work.

While assertions of Northern European derivation of the Middle-earth corpus are valid (even the name "Middle-earth" evokes images of Odin and Thor), a number of other critics, such as John Gough, Kathleen E. Dubs, and Kathleen O'Neill, postulate that Tolkien's works operate in a more Christian than Northern Pagan mode.  Such critics, while not inarticulate in their assertions, have yet to adequately explore what may be one of the strongest parallels between Christian theological writings and parts of the Middle-earth corpus; the correspondences between Milton's Paradise Lost and Tolkien's creation narratives are prominent, but largely unexplored.  Conducting such an exploration would serve to more fully ground Tolkien's work in the English Christian context others have asserted as being present.

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