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Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader
by Jane Chance
At what stage in J.R.R. Tolkien's reading of other literatures and mythologies did he conceive of the fantastic mythology of Middle-earth that has become so deeply entrenched in contemporary culture? At what point did medieval epic and legend spark Tolkenian myth? The 18 essays in this volume examine the ancient Greek, Latin, Old Norse, Old English and Finnish sources from which Tolkien appropriated the concepts, images, characterizations, contexts and theories that inform his own fictional narratives, The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. Understanding his invented mythologies requires a rediscovery of those tales of larger-than-life gods and heroes found in northern myths. essays that provide background and context, explaining Tolkien's literary aesthetic and his interest in folklore, his love of philosophy and the philosophical and religious underpinnings of his narratives. Among the contributors are well-known medievalists and Tolkien scholars Marjorie Burns, Michael Drout, Verlyn Flieger, Davi Lyle Jeffrey, Tom Shippey and Richard West. The book identifies the various medieval mythologies woven into the elaborate tapestry of Tolkien's work, making it a vital contribution to the study of one of the 20th century's most influential authors.
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