Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J. R. R. Tolkien
Editor: Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kaščáková
Date Of Publication: Dec 2010
One wonders whether there really is a need for another volume of essays on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Clearly there is. Especially when the volume takes new directions, employs new approaches, focuses on different texts, or reviews and then challenges received wisdom. This volume intends to do all that. The entries on sources and analogues in The Lord of the Rings, a favorite topic, are still able to take new directions. The analyses of Tolkien’s literary art, less common in Tolkien criticism, focus on character—especially that of Tom Bombadil—in which two different conclusions are reached. But characterization is also seen in the light of different literary techniques, motifs, and symbols. A unique contribution examines the place of linguistics in Tolkien’s literary art, employing Gricean concepts in an analysis of The Lay of the Children of Húrin. And a quite timely essay presents a new interpretation of Tolkien’s attitude toward the environment, especially in the character of Tom Bombadil. In sum, this volume covers new ground, and treads some well-worn paths; but here the well-worn path takes a new turn, taking not only scholars but general readers further into the complex and provocative world of Middle-earth, and beyond.
Before her work in Europe, Kathleen Dubs taught and held administrative positions at a number of American universities and liberal arts colleges. She is currently on the faculty of Arts and Letters at Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia, and the Institute of English Studies at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary. Her most recent publications include “Devising Meaning in Genesis B,” the reprint of “Fate, Providence, and Chance: Boethian Philosophy in The Lord of the Rings,” and the entry “Fortune and Fate” in The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. “Harry Bailey: Chaucer’s Critic?” and “Sleeping in Beowulf” are forthcoming.
Janka Kaščáková took her PhD from Comenius University, Bratislava, and teaches English literature at the Department of English language and literature at Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia. The main focus of her research is modernism and the modernist short story, with a specialization in Katherine Mansfield. She also conducts research in fantasy literature, especially the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. In addition to her forthcoming publications on Mansfield, on whom she has presented several papers, she has also presented papers on Tolkien’s work. Her article “Elves and Orcs in the Fictional World of J. R. R. Tolkien” is forthcoming.
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