Cami D. Agan, Professor of Language and Literature, Oklahoma Christian University; Maria Alberto, University of Utah; Rebecca Davis, Instructor, Murray State College; Kenton L. Sena, Instructor, Lewis Honors College; and Kaelyn Harris, University of Kentucky
The Cities and Strongholds of Middle-earth panels bring together eight of the chapters to appear in the upcoming volume of the same name from MythPress. The volume explores the habitations of Middle-earth across the ages, as well as the cultures responsible for those built structures. Presenters will briefly explain their chapters in order to leave plenty of room for discussion.
Janet Brennan Croft, Associate University Librarian for Content Discovery, University of Northern Iowa; David L. Emerson; David Bratman, independent scholar; and Verlyn Flieger, Professor Emerita, Department of English, University of Maryland
Tolkien’s love of word play legitimizes considering the linguistic closeness of errantry, Eärendil , and errand. This leads to the points this panel will consider: Tolkien has more than once taken themes and motifs first used in a lighter story and woven them, in more serious form, into his broader legendarium; for example, The Hobbit’s Bard presages Aragorn, and its lower-case ring the centrally important Ring of the longer work. Eärendil is supposed to have been the subject of one of the great tales, but we never get it in its full form, or more comparably, in multiple forms over many years in various degrees of fullness, like the story of Beren and Lúthien. Do the points of similarity between “Errantry” and “Eärendil was a mariner” deserve a closer look? In addition to the reused metrical format, parallel incidents, repeated vocabulary and even lines, there is“bewilderment” and wakening from it to remember an errand — an errand never defined for us, as Eärendil’s tale is errand never defined for us, as Eärendil’s tale is never fully defined.
Giovanni Carmine Costabile
In his seminal 1939 Andrew Lang lecture “On Fairy-Stories,” Tolkien proposed what we might term his most extensive pronouncement on his own fiction and underlying poetics, as well as an analysis of Fairy-Stories constituting a referential and authoritative statement on the matter. The importance of the subsequently published text, chiefly cited from Christopher Tolkien’s posthumous edited version in The Monsters and the Critics, or, more recently, in Douglas A. Anderson’s and Verlyn Flieger’s critical edition, simply cannot be overstated.
In the light of such awareness, I would like to examine Tolkien’s antecedents as far as his chief arguments are concerned, beginning with fellow Pembroke College Professor Robert George Collingwood’s philosophy as published in 2004 from the manuscript of his 1936 Folk Lore Society lectures, by the title The Philosophy of Enchantment, which was paraphrased in titling the present account. In fact, Collingwood therein touched on many of the subjects treated in Tolkien’s lecture, also agreeing with him in many respects, therefore an evaluation should be given as to how the two thinkers’ minds stand in comparison to each other, especially regarding, for example, their common references concerning the study of the origins of Fairy-Stories, their shared critique of the exclusive association of aforesaid tales with children, as well as their concepts of Magic and Enchantment, and their negative views on modern technology. Subsequently, I would like to focus on the key terms of Tolkien’s theory of Subcreation by pointing out how all four— Subcreation by pointing out how all fourFantasy, Escape, Recovery, and Consolationpowerfully resound with theological significance, and even more strikingly so in the case of the latter couple. Fantasy in its technical theological meaning was compared to God’s light bestowing understanding to human minds in Reginald
Pecock’s 15th century theological treatise titled The Book of Faith. Pecock’s The Rule of Christian Religion is also an example of the conception of Christian Salvation as Escape from damnation. In another work, titled Patience, of the anonymous 14th century of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which Tolkien edited, line 394 reads: “Alle cryed for care to þe Kyng of heven, Recoverer of þe Creator þay cryed uch one”. Finally, the Consolator par excellence, according to the New Testament, is the Holy Spirit, whom is sent by God to the Apostles after Christ’s ascension to Heaven. It is interesting to point this out, also in the light of another known fact hardly pointed out in this respect, although probably relevant: despite the awareness that Tolkien may have been influenced by 6th century thinker Boethius, especially in his Old English translation, seemingly it has always escaped the critic’s eye the fact that his referential work so translated is titled: The Consolation of Philosophy.