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Tolkien the Medievalist
Tolkien the Medievalist
Tolkien the Medievalist explores how Tolkien’s creative worlds were shaped by his
own scholarship on medieval literature. In trying to create a “mythology for
England” in the space of his fiction, Tolkien inevitably drew upon extant
medieval languages and literatures.
This is the first recent collection to examine anew the question of Tolkien’s
medievalness. Interdisciplinary in approach, the essays explore Tolkien’s position
within the context of twentieth-century medieval scholarship and religious
movements and his use of various works of medieval literature as a palimpsest
for the development of his own ideas.
In the first section, essays focus on how Professor Tolkien invested his profes-
sional interests in his writing and how those works and the movements of his day
may have affected his fiction. The second and third sections focus on specific
episodes, characters, concepts, and images and how they correspond to medieval
literary antecedents, in Old Norse, Old and Middle English, medieval Latin, and
in medieval Catholicism. In the fourth section, essays explain how mythological
retextualization in his fiction assumes a medieval form.
Essential reading for all scholars interested in J. R. R Tolkien, this work will
also be of vital interest to those working in the fields of medieval history and
literature, literary history, and literature in the early twentieth century.
Jane Chance ,Professor of English,teaches medieval literature and J. R. R.
Tolkien at Rice University, Houston, Texas. Among her seventeen books are
Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England , The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power ,
and two guest-edited issues of Studies in Medievalism . She also edits two series,the
Library of Medieval Women and the Greenwood Guides to Historic Events in
the Medieval World.
Routledge Studies in Medieval Religion
and Culture
Edited by George Ferzoco, University of Leicester
and Carolyn Muessig, University of Bristol
This series aims to present developments and debates within the field of
medieval religion and culture. It will provide a broad range of case studies and
theoretical perspectives, covering a variety of topics, theories, and issues.
1 Gender and Holiness
Men, Women and Saints in Late Medieval Europe
Edited by Samantha J. E. Riches and Sarah Salih
2 The Invention of Saintliness
Edited by Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker
3 Tolkien the Medievalist
Edited by Jane Chance
Tolkien the Medievalist
Edited by Jane Chance
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First published 2003
by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003.
© 2003 Selection and editorial material, Jane Chance;
individual chapters, the contributors
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced
or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means,
now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording,
or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Tolkien the medievalist/edited by Jane Chance – (Routledge Studies in medieval religion and culture)
Includes bibliographic references and index.
1. Tolkien J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892–1973 – Knowledge and
learning. 2. Medievalism – England – History – 20th century. 3. Fantasy
fiction, English – Medieval influences. 4. Literature, Medieval –
Appreciation – England. 5. Middle earth (Imaginary place).
6. Medievalism in literature. 7. Middle ages in literature. 8. Mythology in
literature. I. Chance, Jane, 1945 – II. Series.
ISBN 0-203-21801-9 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-27362-1 (Adobe eReader Format)
(Print Edition)
ISBN 0–415–28944–0
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