Mini-Lecture 9 Entering Middle-earth

Mini-Lecture 9 Entering Middle-earth - ML 9: Entering...

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ML 9: Entering Middle-earth Okay, so here we go! After several weeks reading the literature J.R.R. Tolkien himself read and built his academic career studying, we now commence studying his own epic – a vast and fascinating mythology that partakes in the ethos of this earlier Anglo-Saxon literature as much as it also finds kinship with Old Norse and Finnish mythology and, finally, with a love of language perhaps best captured by Tolkien’s enduring attachment to Welsh (the Welsh, of course, being the remnant of the original Celtic Britons forced westward by the Roman invasion into southern Britain at the advent of the new millennium). It is perhaps noteworthy that Tolkien always felt the Norman Conquest of A.D. 1066 was a personal affront, both culturally and linguistically. One thing we should never lose sight of throughout our excursion in Middle-earth is that this is, in a very real sense, England, and, more specifically, the West Midlands. Recall our reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , of which Tolkien was a great scholar. Its middle section provides an extremely descriptive representation of the terrain through which Gawain travels. This focus on landscape is recapitulated at the end of the poem. Notice throughout our reading of his epic – and I remind you again that he wrote The Lord of the Rings as a single, very long epic, not (as we have it) as what appears to be a trilogy – that it is replete with very elaborate descriptions of landscapes. Indeed, one might say, after reading the epic, that the landscape itself becomes a character, in that it is always present and fully evoked as a space. Tolkien himself
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2011 for the course ENG 320 taught by Professor Bollermann during the Spring '10 term at ASU.

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Mini-Lecture 9 Entering Middle-earth - ML 9: Entering...

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