Journal of Inklings Studies

Judith Wolfe, editor

Volume 11, № 2

15 October 2021

In this issue: 1 peer-reviewed article, 4 reviews.

Peer-reviewed articles

💲 ‘The Eagles are coming!’: A pneumatological reinterpretation of the Old Germanic beasts of battle’

Łukasz Neubauer, p. 169

J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination is invariably abundant in all sorts of peoples, races, and other forms of intelligent life, including those whose prototypes could be encountered in the natural world and which found their way into Tolkien’s fiction with little alteration to their physical properties and only some modification of their often deep-rooted framework of cultural associations in Indo-European lore. This last group includes, amongst others, the Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Tolkien’s dangerous machine’, whose two principal affiliations appear to be with, on the one hand, the pre-Christian beliefs of the Germanic peoples (via the so-called beasts of battle) and, on the other, the pneumatological soteriology of the Roman Catholic Church (via the eagle as a creative recasting of the evangelical dove’). The present article is an attempt to demonstrate that these seemingly incompatible ingredients in fact came to be quite seamlessly unified in The Hobbit and, in particular, The Lord of the Rings, providing even more depth to the powerful Christian substratum of Tolkien’s fiction.


Utopian and Dystopian Themes in Tolkien’s Legendarium: Mark Doyle

Alastair Whyte, p. 244

It is encouraging to witness the increasing volume of scholarship examining the relationship of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction with utopian and dystopian modes of literature. It was of course Tom Shippey who, in The Road to Middle-earth, prominently placed Tolkien among dystopian authors such as Orwell, Golding, and Vonnegut as fantasists […] confronting the fearful and horrible issues of political life’.1 Chester Scoville similarly observed that William Morris’s significant and often surprisingly overlooked2 influence on Tolkien establishes a clear connection between Tolkien’s fantasy’ and the canon of utopian literature, however much Morris’s and Tolkien’s representations differ. As such, Mark Doyle’s Utopian and Dystopian Themes in Tolkien’s Legendarium is a welcome addition to this growing field of scholarship.…

The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Places that Inspired Middle-earth: John Garth

Oronzo Cilli, p. 247

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I honestly wonder whether that is true as I turn the pages of The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Places that Inspired Middle-earth by John Garth. This new book is proof, if any were needed, that Garth’s research constitutes a fundamental pillar in the reconstruction of Tolkien’s biography and the inspirations for his work. The writing is direct and engaging, its journalistic style gracefully conveying Garth’s extensive research.…

Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages: Holly Ordway

Martin Simonson, p. 260

When attending a Tolkien seminar in Jena in 2007, I remember talking with a medievalist scholar and friend who had recently researched Tolkien’s readings in the Bodleian archives. At the time, I was putting the finishing touches to a book about the dialogue between different narrative genres in The Lord of the Rings, both ancient and modern, and I was feeling a little frustrated about the lack of serious scholarship on Tolkien’s engagement with post-medieval literature. When I asked my medievalist friend if all he found were references to Old and Middle English texts, I was overheard by another colleague, sitting next to us. Why, of course,’ the latter exclaimed with an astonished smile; what did you expect?’ I agreed that the medieval emphasis was only to be expected in Tolkien’s professional life but then went on – to my second colleague’s barely concealed mirth – to express a wish to see a full list of Tolkien’s personal readings. There was more to a writer’s education than just his professional life, and I felt that something was missing in the overall picture of his influences. My incredulous colleague now laughed out loud.…

Gleanings from Tolkien’s Garden: Selected Essays: Renée Vink

Claudio A. Testi, p. 268

This volume is a selection of some of the writings of Renée Vink, one of the ablest experts on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Hence, the publication of this anthology is received with great pleasure and gratitude. The pleasure is given by having such interesting articles collected in a single text, which together bear the unmistakable stamp of Vink’s work. The gratitude is directed not only towards the publisher but also to the author herself, who tirelessly explored the many diverse elements of Tolkien’s works as few others have done.…

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date recorded 📅2022-01-16
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