Tolkien and the Invention of Myth

From Tolkien Gateway
Tolkien and the Invention of Myth
Tolkien and the Invention of Myth.jpg
EditorJane Chance
PublisherUniversity Press of Kentucky

Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader is a scholarly book published in 2004.

By the publisher[edit | edit source]

At what stage in J.R.R. Tolkien's reading of other literatures and mythologies did he conceive of the fantastic mythology of Middle-earth that has become so deeply entrenched in contemporary culture? At what point did medieval epic and legend spark Tolkienian myth? The eighteen essays in Tolkien and the Invention of Myth examine the ancient Greek, Latin, Old Norse, Old English, and Finnish sources from which Tolkien appropriated the concepts, images, characterizations, contexts, and theories that inform his own fictional narratives The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Understanding his invented mythologies requires a rediscovery of those tales of larger-than-life gods and heroes found in northern myths. A well-rounded and essential reader for any Tolkien lover, the book includes several essays that provide background and context, explaining Tolkien's literary aesthetic and his interest in folklore, his love of philology, and the philosophical and religious underpinnings of his narratives. Among the contributors are well-known medievalists and Tolkien scholars Marjorie Burns, Michael Drout, Verlyn Flieger, David Lyle Jeffrey, Tom Shippey, and Richard West. Tolkien and the Invention of Myth identifies the various medieval mythologies woven into the elaborate tapestry of Tolkien's work, making it a vital contribution to the study of one of the twentieth century's most influential authors.

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