Memories of borders: On the borders of memory: Beleriand as elegiac landscape

— Cami D. Agan, Professor of Language and Literature, Oklahoma Christian University

Paper given 6 July 2022 at IMC 2022 Session 1033

The IMC theme of borders coincides with an ongoing concern of my work: the ways in which Beleriand, both as actual landscape and as a lost memory, functions as the elegiac repository for Tolkien’s legendarium. For the Crossing Borders in Middle-Earth’ panel at Leeds, I seek to examine the ways vital narratives — the Great Tales and others — repeatedly establish and traverse borders/​boundaries in Beleriand, particularly in the wake of the Noldor’s arrival. Simultaneously, the narratives also register a sense of loss as Morgoth ultimately renders the borders porous and indefensible. Lastly, the very notion of Beleriand’ — a landscape that disappears from the inhabitable lands of Arda during the War of Wrath — haunts the borders of memory, personal, cultural, and poetic, and thus remains ever textually present (and elegized) in maps, names, and tales.

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date recorded 📅2022-01-24
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