Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)

Abstract

J.R.R. Tolkien's work is often classified as fitting into the genre of mythopoeia, or invented mythology. Written at a time when those alive could yet remember hints of an agrarian society despite being forcibly thrust forward, through two world wars, into a time of excellence industrialism, The Lord of the Rings explores, on the surface, the battle between good and evil. Underlying that battle, however, is a battle between the idyllic and peaceful world of an agrarian society and the looming, autocratic, dirty, and uncaring world of industrialism. Joseph Campbell, typically thought of as one of the greatest scholars of myth, learned from Professor Heinrich Zimmer that myth provides a psychological road map for the finding of oneself in the labyrinth of the complex modern world. While Tolkien himself stated that the events of his life, including the experiences of war and industrialism, did not in any way influence the work, I argue that the events that occurred in England between 1937 and 1945, when the work was written, are quite definitely reflected within.

Rights

Copyright 2011 Jonathan Feld

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