"Something Has Gone Crack"

From Tolkien Gateway
"Something Has Gone Crack"
New Perspectives on J.R.R. Tolkien in the Great War
Publication Information
EditorJanet Brennan Croft and Annika Röttinger
IllustratorMatthias Fechner
PublisherWalking Tree Publishers
Released23 September 2019
SeriesCormarë Series
Preceded bySub-creating Arda
Followed byTolkien and the Classics

"Something Has Gone Crack": New Perspectives on J.R.R. Tolkien in the Great War is a collection of essays edited by Janet Brennan Croft and Annika Röttinger. It was published as No. 41 in the Cormarë Series.


by Janet Brennan Croft
by Annika Röttinger
Section I
The Conduct of War: Reading the Great War in Middle-earth's Wars
  • "A Steep Learning Curve: Tolkien and the British Army on the Somme" by Tom Shippey and John Bourne
  • "Strategic Blunders in the First Age Great Battles: Tolkien's Commentary on World War I" by Glenn E. Peterson
  • "The Great War in Middle-earth – or: Where to Find Modern Warfare in The Lord of the Rings" by Annika Röttinger
  • "Aspects of Total War in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings" by Tal Tovy
Section II
Biography: The Personal Becomes Art
  • "Fault Lines Beneath the Crack" by John Rosegrant
  • "Tolkien in East Yorkshire, 1917-18: A Hemlock Glade, Two Towers, The Houses of Healing and a Beacon" by Michael Flowers
  • "Two Poets at War: J.R.R. Tolkien and Ernst Jünger in the Battle of the Somme, a Semiotic Approach" by Wilhelm Kuehs
Section III
Roots of Major Themes in The Legendarium in the Great War
  • "Revenants and Angels: Tolkien, Machen, and Mons" by John Garth
  • "'Worried by Silence': Some Possible Resonances of Combat-related Stress in The Lord of the Rings" by Łukasz Neubauer
  • "Tolkien Underground: The 'Troglodyte War' in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings" by Victoria Holtz Wodzak
  • "Narrating the Missed Encounter with the Loss of a World: The Lord of the Rings' Testimony to Modern Ecology" by Molly Volanth Hall
  • "Bodies in War: Medieval and Modern Tensions in 'The Homecoming'" by Anna Smol
Section IV
Alterity: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in War
  • "Angels of Care and Houses of Healing in World War I: Their Possible Influence on Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings" by Lynn Schlesinger
  • "Mighty Men of War: The Impact of Gender and War in the Work of J.R.R. Tolkien" by Felicity Gilbert
  • "Contemporary Reflections of War: Soldier-Servant Relationships in The Lord of the Rings and Downton Abbey" by Alicia Fox-Lenz
  • "'No Englander May Hinder Me': Éowyn the Highland Pipe Major and Other Highlights of Tolkien's Awareness of Sexual, Class and Ethnic Divisions in Wartime" by Giovanni Costabile

From the publisher

"Something has gone crack," Tolkien wrote about the first death among his tight-knit fellowship of friends in 1916, and the impact of the war haunted his writing for the rest of his life. In Tolkien's body of work, the Great War serves as a source of imagery, motifs, and examples of military operations and strategy; of central themes about conflict, comradeship, duty, and the destruction of the environment; and of personal trauma which he worked out in meaningful symbolic form throughout his life.

In this volume, we collect a variety of perspectives on the war's impact on Tolkien's writing, building upon earlier work in this area by filling in gaps in the scholarship and incorporating new material. We trace major themes in Tolkien's legendarium that had their roots in, or were heavily influenced by, his war experiences. It is essential to any study of the Great War not to assume that only the most frequently heard voices are important; the experiences and viewpoints of participants outside of the mainstream are also necessary to give us a full picture of the impact of war, and were not neglected by Tolkien. We therefore also explore issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

At this point in the study of J.R.R. Tolkien's life and works, the centrally important topic of his Great War experience is by no means exhausted. Our hope is that this collection is not the last word on the topic, but instead sparks new ideas and future scholarship.

External links

Cormarë Series volumes
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