“To trees all Men are Orcs”: The environmental ethic of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The new shadow

— Stentor Danielson

5 October 2021 | Tolkien Studies, XVIII, 179

In the last few decades, a number of works have aimed to examine the environmental ethics implicit in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. The bulk of this scholarly attention has focused on the text of the published Lord of the Rings, with some secondary consideration for The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. In doing so, most scholars1 have passed over what may be Tolkien’s most explicit statement about environmental ethics in his writings about his legendarium: a debate in The New Shadow — his abortive attempt to write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings (Peoples 409 – 21) — between the characters Saelon and Borlas that directly considers the proper relationship of humans to nature, and the limits of our exploitation of it.…

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date recorded 📅2022-01-02
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