Death and Immortality in Middle-earth

From Tolkien Gateway
Death and Immortality in Middle-earth
Publication Information
EditorDaniel Helen
IllustratorPeter Xavier Price
PublisherThe Tolkien Society
Released1 December 2017
SeriesPeter Roe Memorial Fund
Preceded byJourneys & Destinations
Followed byPoetry and Song in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien

Death and Immortality in Middle-earth is a collection of the proceedings of the 29th Tolkien Society Seminar held in Leeds in 2016. The book was published by The Tolkien Society in 2017 under the auspices of the Peter Roe Memorial Fund.


  • Introduction by Daniel Helen
  • "Tolkien and the Somme" by Matthew B. Rose
  • "Tolkien and T.S. Eliot: the waste land and a fallen king" by Tânia Azevedo
  • "Tolkien and disability: the narrative function of disabled characters in Middle-earth" by Irina Metzler
  • "Facing death: how characters in The Lord of the Rings meet the prospect of their own demise and the loss of others" by Giovanni Carmine Costabile
  • "The elven perspective of life, death and immortality, and its influence on humanity" by Aslı Bülbül Candaş
  • "Mortal immortals: the fallibility of elven immortality in Tolkien's writing" by Anna Milon
  • "'Gifts in harmony?': a philological exploration of Tolkien's invented words for 'life' and 'death'" by Andrew Higgins
  • "Music of life: the creation of Middle-earth" by Sarah Rose
  • "Transmission: an escape from death in Tolkien's work?" by Gaëlle Abaléa
  • "Recurrent pattern of the Fall in Tolkien's legendarium" by Massimiliano Izzo
  • "Frodo and Saruman: euformation, dysformation, and immortality in The Lord of the Rings" by Adam B. Shaeffer
  • "'Tears are the very wine of blessedness': joyful sorrow in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings" by Dimitra Fimi

From the publisher

J.R.R. Tolkien deplored allegory and rejected any suggestion that The Lord of the Rings has an inner meaning or message. In reading back the tale, however, he became aware of a dominant motif:

The real theme for me is […] Death and Immortality: the mystery of the love of the world in the hearts of a race ‘doomed’ to leave and seemingly lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race ‘doomed’ not to leave it, until its whole evil-aroused story is complete (Letters, p. 246)

Despite the lucidity of this statement, the theme of death and immortality has been left relatively unexplored in Tolkien studies. In recognition of this, and to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, The Tolkien Society called for presentations on this important topic for its seminar in Leeds on 2 July 2016. Published under the auspices of the Society’s Peter Roe Memorial Fund, this book features a collection of twelve papers delivered on the day by aspiring and established Tolkien scholars alike.

The Peter Roe Memorial Fund books
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