• On Ways of Studying Tolkien: Notes Toward a Better (Epic) Fantasy Criticism

    Author(s):
    Dennis Wise (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    Tolkien Studies
    Subject(s):
    Critical theory, Political theory, Tolkien studies
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    J. R. R. Tolkien, Leo Strauss
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/jsfq-zb39
    Abstract:
    This article examines major academic approaches used in the study of J.R.R. Tolkien. It argues that certain themes from political philosopher Leo Strauss, by helping us to develop a new theoretical lens, can elucidate several politically salient aspects of Tolkien's work, including thymos and his dialectic between ancient and modern. Four previous (though flawed) Straussian interpretations of Tolkien are highlighted. Finally, by analyzing the tensions that arise when pairing critical theory and its attendant bias against nature with Tolkien and epic fantasy, this article argues for the timeliness of a Straussian lens for studying fantasy and Tolkien alike.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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