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Tolkien, Race and Cultural History : From Fairies to Hobbits - Dimitra Fimi

Tolkien, Race and Cultural History

From Fairies to Hobbits

Paperback Published: 20th November 2008
ISBN: 9780230272842
Number Of Pages: 240

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Tolkien, Race and Cultural History, in paperback for the first time , 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 Hobbit , The 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.

Industry 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

List of Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. x
Conventions and Abbreviationsp. xiv
Introductionp. 1
His 'private and beloved nonsense': The Silmarillion and the 'Silmarillion'p. 1
A Victorian beginning and a modern endp. 5
'I hold the key': constructing a 'biographical legend'p. 6
How It All Began ...p. 9
In the Beginning Were the Fairies ...p. 13
Fairy-things and fairylandsp. 14
The creation of a sagap. 20
Fairies and elves in Tolkien's children's literaturep. 23
'Fluttering Sprites with Antennae': Victorian and Edwardian Fanciesp. 28
'Flower-and-Butterfly Minuteness': the fairy painting imageryp. 28
Peter Pan and the Cottage of Lost Playp. 34
Fading, passing, departing: the fairies' farewellp. 38
The Fairies, Faith and Folklorep. 40
'Natural' fairies and romantic religionp. 40
Brownies, nymphs, mermaids and the 'elementals'p. 45
Fairies, folklore and the 'mythology for England'p. 50
Ideal Beings, Ideal Languagesp. 63
The Cat and the Whiskers: Tolkien's Linguistic Creationp. 69
A multi-lingual novelp. 69
Examining the corpusp. 72
'Linguistic Aesthetic': Sounds, Meaning and the Pursuit of Beautyp. 76
Theorizing language invention: A Secret Vicep. 76
The theory of 'inherent linguistic predilections': English and Welshp. 80
Language attitudesp. 83
Sound symbolism and sound experimentsp. 88
Ideal Languages and Phonetic Spellingp. 93
The myth of a universal languagep. 93
Aspects of linguistic creativity: language change and language decayp. 101
Invented alphabets, universal alphabets and phonetic spellingp. 104
From Myth to Historyp. 117
The Claim to Historyp. 123
A changing cosmology: from a flat to a round worldp. 123
Reconsidering the 'framework' of the mythologyp. 125
A Hierarchical Worldp. 131
'Race' and racial anthropologyp. 132
Tolkien's views on Nazi Germany, race and languagep. 135
Focusing on Middle-earth: constructing new hierarchiesp. 141
Racial mixture: the problem of the Half-Elvenp. 151
The face of evil: the origin and appearance of the Oresp. 154
Tolkien and the charge of racismp. 157
Visualising Middle-earth: Real and Imagined Material Culturesp. 160
The idea of European prehistory and historical 'cultures'p. 163
The culture of Gondor: ship burials and winged helmetsp. 165
'Chambers', 'Windows' and the Anglo-Saxonsp. 176
Victorian countryside and relics of the industrial revolution: the material culture of the Shirep. 179
Romancing archaeologyp. 185
Epilogue: From Fairies to Hobbitsp. 189
Mistakes and inconsistenciesp. 189
The rise of the hobbits and the fairies' fatep. 194
Appendix 'And Wither Then?': Stepping into the Roadp. 200
Notesp. 204
Bibliographyp. 217
Indexp. 232
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780230272842
ISBN-10: 0230272843
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 20th November 2008
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.34 x 13.72  x 1.52
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1