The Great War and Tolkien's Memory: an examination of World War I themes in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.1. INTRODUCTION
J. R. R. TOLKIEN “Tolkien” redirects here. For other uses, see Tolkien (disambiguation).
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was a English philologist, writer and university professor, best known as the author of The Hobbit and was one of a generation of Englishmen "caught by youth" during World War I. The Hobbit A microprocessor from AT&T that was used in a variety of portable devices. It is no longer made.
1. Hobbit - A Scheme to C compiler by Tanel Tammet <firstname.lastname@example.org>. and The Lord of the Rings are by no means allegories of that or any other war, yet the impact of the Great War is evident. Tolkien disliked criticism that focused on details of the author's life, but he could not entirely deny the influence of his experience on his work; as he points out in the Introduction to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, "the ways in which a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex" (1.7). What Tolkien forged from his experiences differs greatly from the writing of "canonical" World War I authors like Robert Graves Noun 1. Robert Graves - English writer known for his interest in mythology and in the classics (1895-1985)
Graves, Robert Ranke Graves and Siegfried Sassoon Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE MC (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English poet and author. He became known as a writer of satirical anti-war verse during World War I, but later won acclaim for his prose work. in both subject matter and tone, but he explores many of the same themes they do.
Paul Fussell Paul Fussell (born March 22, 1924, Pasadena, California, USA) is a cultural and literary historian, and professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. brilliantly analyzes the major themes of British post-World War I writing in The Great War and Modern Memory. He concentrates mainly on the poets, memoirists, and novelists who wrote during and just after the war, and how their writing exhibited the new emphasis on irony that he feels is the typical literary mode of reaction to the war. Fussell traces the literary roots of this type of irony to Thomas Hardy's 1914 collection of poems, Satires of Circumstance Satires of Circumstance is a collection of poems by English poet Thomas Hardy, and was published in 1914. External links
For someone familiar with Toilcien, reading The Great War and Modern Memory is a disconcerting dis·con·cert
tr.v. dis·con·cert·ed, dis·con·cert·ing, dis·con·certs
1. To upset the self-possession of; ruffle. See Synonyms at embarrass.
2. experience. As Hugh Brogan Hugh Brogan is a British history professor and biographer.
A 1959 graduate of Cambridge University, Brogan has been on the history faculty of the University of Essex since 1974.
He is the son of Denis Brogan. observed, "the 1914 war as Fussell describes it is unmistakably the War of the Ring" (361). The Lord of the Rings is clearly outside the scope of Fussell's argument; nevertheless, it feels like there is a Tolkien-sized hole running through the whole book. The "bizarre inverse quest (Fussell, Great 41) of the soldiers on their way to the front resonates throughout Frodo's quest to destroy the Ring, and almost every theme in Fussell's critique appears somewhere in Tolkien's work. The inevitable question arises: why, when so many of his contemporaries found the ironic mode the only appropriate mode for remembering and communicating their war experiences and exploring these themes, did Tolkien choose the heroic? This essay examines how several of the themes Fussell identifies appear in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and how Tolkien's treatment of them sets him apart from his fellow post- World War I writers.
2. TOLKIEN'S WAR EXPERIENCES
Several months after England declared war on Germany in 1914, Tolkien signed up for a program that allowed him to finish his BA while taking officers' training, and when he completed his degree in 1915 he was assigned to the Lancashire Fusiliers The Lancashire Fusiliers was a British infantry regiment that was amalgamated with other Fusilier regiments in 1968 to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. History
Formation and early history as a second lieutenant. He was trained in signalling and appointed battalion signalling officer, and was posted to France in June 1916. After three weeks at Etaples his battalion was sent to the front, arriving at the Somme in the pouring rain at the end of June.
As Tolkien admitted in a 1944 letter to his son Christopher, "I was not a good officer." He spent a good deal of time working on his Elvish (character) elvish - 1. The Tengwar of Feanor, a table of letterforms resembling the beautiful Celtic half-uncial hand of the "Book of Kells". Invented and described by J.R.R. languages and histories at meals, during lectures, and even in dugouts while under fire (Letters 78).
On July 14th, two weeks after the commencement of the Battle of the Somme, Tolkien's battalion went into action. He survived a number of engagements; but while as a signalling officer it is unclear how much hand-to-hand combat
Hand-to-Hand Combat is the twentieth episode of Mobile Suit Gundam. Plot summary
Tempers flare as Ryu and Fraw stand in Amuro's cell. he might have seen up close, there was no avoiding what Tolkien called the "animal horror" of the trenches (Letters 72). On October 27th he came down with trench fever trench fever: see rickettsia. , and was shipped back to England on November 8th. As Tolkien said in the Introduction to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, "it seems now often forgotten that to be caught by youth in 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead" (1.7). Tolkien spent the rest of the war convalescing in various infirmaries in England, becoming almost well and then succumbing to fever again, before finally being declared fit for duty just before the war ended in November 1918. During his convalescence convalescence /con·va·les·cence/ (kon?vah-les´ins) the stage of recovery from an illness, operation, or injury.
1. he wrote his first draft of "The F all of Gondolin," and he worked on other tales during his recovery as well (Carpenter 72-99).
C. S. Lewis wrote:
[Tolkien's] war has the very quality of the war my generation knew. It is all here: the endless, unintelligible UNINTELLIGIBLE. That which cannot be understood.
2. When a law, a contract, or will, is unintelligible, it has no effect whatever. Vide Construction, and the authorities there referred to. movement, the sinister quiet of the front when 'everything is now ready,' the flying civilians, the lively, vivid friendships, the background of something like despair and the merry foreground, and such heaven-sent windfalls as a cache of tobacco 'salvaged' from a ruin. (39-40)
Tolkien did explicitly acknowledge his debt to his war experiences in several places. He once commented: "My 'Sam Gamgee' is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself" (Carpenter 81). And in a 1960 letter he wrote, "[t]he Dead Marshes Literature
Once the ancient battlefield of Dagorlad, the Dead Marshes lie north-west of the Morannon, the principal entrance to Mordor. Several battles were fought here, most notably the Battle of Dagorlad at the end of the Second Age when the Last Alliance met the forces of and the Morannon owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme" (Letters 303). (Of course, he does go on to say that they owe more to the stories of William Morris Noun 1. William Morris - English poet and craftsman (1834-1896)
Morris .) One of the most telling quotes is from "On Fairy-stories "On Fairy-Stories" is an essay by J. R. R. Tolkien which discusses the fairy-story as a literary form. It was initially written for presentation by Tolkien as the Andrew Lang lecture at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, in 1939. ," where Tolkien says "[a] taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology phi·lol·o·gy
1. Literary study or classical scholarship.
2. See historical linguistics.
[Middle English philologie, from Latin philologia, love of learning on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war" (Reader 42). It shows he was already thinking in terms of expressing himself through the means of the fairy-tale; as I will argue later, this predisposed pre·dis·pose
v. pre·dis·posed, pre·dis·pos·ing, pre·dis·pos·es
a. To make (someone) inclined to something in advance: Tolkien to fit his war experiences into this framework from the start, rather than into the realistic and ironic form many other writers used.
3. OTHER CRITICS ON TOLKIEN AND WORLD WAR I
Hugh Brogan is one of several critics who have noticed the applicability of Fussell's critique to Tolkien's writing. In "Tolkien's Great War," he says the war "lay like a cloud on the consciousness of the English [...] heaviest on the souls of those who had been combatants" (352). As he points out, Tolkien makes very few references to World War I in any of his published writings. But he compares the passage where Tolkien describes the downfall of Sauron as a wind-blown cloud to a remarkably similar paragraph from Siegfried Sassoon's Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man is a novel by Siegfried Sassoon, first published in 1928. It won both the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, being immediately recognised as a classic of English literature. ; both were clearly influenced by memories of shells bursting and smoke floating away. As Brogan asks, "if the Great War could break through so vividly at such an important moment of The Lord of the Rings, may it not have manifested itself elsewhere?" (354). Brogan's conclusion is that the quest-form allowed Tolkien to express what the Great War meant to him and to write as meaningful a commentary on the war as Graves or Sassoon did.
Brogan discusses Fussell's list of pre- and post-war vocabulary, in which flamboyant words common in pre-war romances and adventure stories, like comrade, strife, summons, and foe, are contrasted with direct and unromantic postwar usages like friend, war, draft-notice, and enemy (Fussell, Great 21-2). Tolkien, the "passionate philologist phi·lol·o·gy
1. Literary study or classical scholarship.
2. See historical linguistics.
[Middle English philologie, from Latin philologia, love of learning " (Brogan 355), was highly sensitive Adj. 1. highly sensitive - readily affected by various agents; "a highly sensitive explosive is easily exploded by a shock"; "a sensitive colloid is readily coagulated" to the nuances of language and was capable of varying his tone with great skill. In many places he used the solemn, alliterative al·lit·er·a·tive
Of, showing, or characterized by alliteration.
al·liter·a vocabulary and inverted sentence An inverted sentence is one in which the subject appears after the verb. This construction causes the subject to receive more emphasis.
An exception occurs when the verb is intransitive:
tr.v. hal·lowed, hal·low·ing, hal·lows
1. To make or set apart as holy.
2. To respect or honor greatly; revere. were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates" (191). Brogan asks how Tolkien, sensitive as he was, "could have gone through the Great War, with all its rants and lies, and still com e our committed to a 'feudal' literary style. His tenacity on this point looks like an act of deliberate defiance of modern history" (356).
I would suggest that this "deliberate defiance" was an integral part of the task of sub-creation, supporting Tolkien's theory that of one of the functions of Fantasy is Escape-the escape of a prisoner, not the escape from reality, but still a distancing from the everyday and mundane. The vocabulary rejected by the ironists is natural to Middle-earth, and Middle-earth could nor exist without it.
Barton Friedman also examines Tolkien's World War I experiences through Fussell's critique. In "Tolkien and David Jones David Jones is a common name, particularly in Wales, and there have been several well-known individuals with this name. Variations include Dave Jones and Davy Jones. ," Friedman compares the scene where Sam falls in the Dead Marshes and sees dead faces in the water to passages from Sassoon's Memoirs of an Infantry Officer Memoirs of an Infantry Officer is a novel by Siegfried Sassoon, first published in 1930. It is a fictionalised account of Sassoon's own life during and immediately after World War One. , Plowman's A Subaltern SUBALTERN. A kind of officer who exercises his authority under the superintendence and control of a superior. on the Somme, and Masefield's The Old Front Line, all describing corpses in the mud of No-Man's Land No-Man's land Hand surgery A fanciful term for the fibrous sheath of the flexor tendons of the hand, specifically in the zone from the distal palmar crease to the proximal interphalangeal joint. See Rule of threes. . Still, Tolkien's descriptions of the horrors of war lack the graphic detail seen in other writers and seem to Friedman almost "antiseptic" (118). He compares the way Tolkien and Jones idealized i·de·al·ize
v. i·de·al·ized, i·de·al·iz·ing, i·de·al·iz·es
1. To regard as ideal.
2. To make or envision as ideal.
1. and romanticized war, and rejected "technology unchecked by spiritual values" (120)-practically the definition of the hellish novelty of World War I in the eyes of an anti-modernist like Tolkien. Friedman concludes that Tolkien and Jones both strove to apply fundamental spiritual truths to the Great War.
Several other critics also speak to Tolkien's wartime experiences, though without reference to Fussell's theories. Verlyn Flieger Verlyn Flieger (1933-) is an author, editor, and professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland at College Park. She specializes in comparative mythology and modern fantasy, especially the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.
Flieger holds an M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. in A Question of Time examines Tolkien's dislocation from his own time. She sees much of the tension and melancholy of Middle-earth resting in Tolkien's "nostalgic longing for a return to a lost past coupled with the knowledge that this was impossible save in the realm of the imagination" (3), and observes, "he put his Hobbits In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Hobbits are a fictional race related to Men. They first appear in The Hobbit and play an important role in the The Lord of the Rings story.
This is a list of hobbits that are mentioned by name in Tolkien's works. in a world that moved too fast for them, and then forced them to keep up with it" (7). She calls Tolkien "at once reactionary and avant-garde, turning [his back] on the modernism that had turned its back on the past" (17), and considers the writing of authors like Graves part of "an antiromantic reaction, a militant and narrowly defined modernity that arose after World War I" (234). For Tolkien, writing was at once an escape, an attempt to communicate the experience of the Great War, and a way of working out his vision of the interdependence of the real worl d and Faerie.
Tom Shippey Thomas Alan Shippey (born September 9, 1943) is a scholar of medieval literature, including Anglo-Saxon England, and of modern fantasy and science fiction, in particular the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, about whom he has written several scholarly studies. addresses some aspects of Tolkien's war experiences in The Road to Middle-earth. He discusses the concept of defeatism de·feat·ism
Acceptance of or resignation to the prospect of defeat.
de·featist adj. & n. , a word that did not enter the English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. until 1918, and how any hint of a willingness to give up and negotiate terms with the enemy is roundly rejected by the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. As Shippey puts it, "[w]ith his best friends dead in Flanders Tolkien had cause to hate that idea like poison" (Road 116). Even Denethor, convinced of the inevitable failure of Gondor and her allies, commits suicide and advises everyone else to do the same, rather than be a slave under a puppet government Noun 1. puppet government - a government that is appointed by and whose affairs are directed by an outside authority that may impose hardships on those governed
pupet regime, puppet state .
One of Shippey's main aims in this book was to examine Tolkien's theory of courage, a theory based on the northern heroic spirit and described in "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son":
Heart shall be bolder, harder be purpose,
more proud the spirit as our power lessens!
Mind shall not falter nor mood waver,
though doom shall come and dark conquer. (Reader 17)
Tolkien's characters at their best exhibit a "courage undiluted by confidence--but at the same time untainted by rage and despair" (Shippey, Road 119). They can be cheerful without hope, sad but not unhappy, and above all determined to "see it through"--an attitude common enough among first-hand accounts of soldiers in the trenches. Shippey concludes that, unlike many writers of his generation, Tolkien "had not been alienated even by the Great War from the traditions in which he had been brought up," and retained certain "fundamental decencies" that provoked "automatic derision from much of the literary world" (217).
Now I will examine three themes that Fussell discusses in great detail in The Great War and Modern Memory, and describe where and how they are played out in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I will conclude by showing how Tolkien moved past irony as the only proper response to the war, the response chosen by writers like Sassoon and Graves, and chose instead to mythologize my·thol·o·gize
v. my·thol·o·gized, my·thol·o·giz·ing, my·thol·o·giz·es
To convert into myth; mythicize.
1. To construct or relate a myth.
2. his experiences.
4A. THE PASTORAL MOMENT
For Fussell, war is the "ultimate anti-pastoral," destroying nature while raking place within it. He sees the English pastoral tradition as unique in several ways. One is its mixture of "highly sophisticated literary pastoralism Pastoralism
mountainous region of ancient Greece; legendary for pastoral innocence of people. [Gk. Hist.: NCE, 136; Rom. Lit.: Eclogues; Span. Lit. " combined with "a unique actual ruralism" (Great 231). It has its roots both in British imperialism, which encouraged in its exiles an idealized mental image of "home," and the Industrial Revolution, which transformed the rural countryside within a generation. Both of these may have been influences on Tolkien, given his birth in South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. and the industrialization industrialization
Process of converting to a socioeconomic order in which industry is dominant. The changes that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th century led the way for the early industrializing nations of western Europe and of the English countryside where he grew up. Fussell further refines on this theme:
Recourse to the pastoral is an English mode of both fully gauging the calamities of the Great War and imaginatively protecting oneself against them. Pastoral reference, whether to literature or to actual rural localities and objects, is a way of invoking a code to hint by antithesis at the indescribable; at the same time, it is a comfort in itself, like rum, a deep dugout, or a wooly wool·y
adj. & n.
Variant of woolly.
Adj. 1. wooly - having a fluffy character or appearance
soft - yielding readily to pressure or weight
2. vest. (Great 235)
The pastoral landscape in Tolkien can include the works of men, elves, and hobbits, if they are in harmony with nature. A well-tended farm is pastoral; a city like Minas Tirith
Minas Tirith (IPA: ['minæs 'tɪɹiθ]), originally named can be pastoral if it has gardens and families in it. After the King is restored, "[t]he evil things will be driven out of the waste-lands. Indeed the waste in time will be waste no longer, and there will be people and fields where once there was wilderness" (LotR 3.272). Even a dwarf-cave can be in harmony with nature; Gimli's rhapsody (1) A subscription-based online music service from RealNetworks that gives users unlimited access to a vast library of major and independent label music. Within a single interface, Rhapsody provides access to streaming music, Internet radio and extensive music information and on the Glittering Caves of Aglarond (2.152-53) stands in stark contrast to descriptions of Mona, where the dwarves dwarves
A plural of dwarf. delved too deep.
The enemy forces in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are deeply antipastoral. The Desolation of Smaug, once "green and fair" (Hobbit 216), is now bleak and barren. The orcs were bred to be the opposite of the elves, and "[I]t seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way" (LotR 2.22). Saruman "has a mind of metal and wheels" and a special enmity for trees--"there are wastes of stump and bramble bramble, name for plants of the genus Rubus [Lat.,=red, for the color of the juice]. This complex genus of the family Rosaceae (rose family), with representatives in many parts of the world, includes the blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, where once there were singing groves" (2.76-77). Sauron does nor just destroy nature but uses and perverts it. When he dwelt dwelt
A past tense and a past participle of dwell. in Mirkwood, the forest was an unwholesome place inhabited by spiders. Morgul Vale is a parody of the pastoral: "Wide flats lay on either bank, shadowy meads filled with pale white flowers. Luminous these were too, beautiful and yet horrible of shape, like the demented forms in an uneasy dream; and they gave forth a faint sickening charnel-smell; an odour of rottenness filled the air" (2.313). Mount Doom, under his dominion, makes a noise like "a ru mour and a trouble as of great engines throbbing throb
intr.v. throbbed, throb·bing, throbs
1. To beat rapidly or violently, as the heart; pound.
2. To vibrate, pulsate, or sound with a steady pronounced rhythm: and labouring" (3.222).
Tolkien uses a comparison to the pastoral ideal to show the depth of Frodo's torment and what he has lost by carrying the Ring. When he first begins to understand about his quest, he says, "I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable bear·a·ble
That can be endured: bearable pain; a bearable schedule.
bear ; I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again" (1.71). His last summer in the Shire is reminiscent of the glorious Summer of 1914 in England, the calm before the storm. But by the end, Frodo says, "I tried to remember the Brandywine, and Woody End, and The Water running through the mill at Hobbiton. But I can't see them now" (3.195); "No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me" (3.215).
Fussell also feels that the English pastoral is distinguished by the "special kind of sense [the English make] out of the classical tag Et in arcadia ego "Et in Arcadia ego" is a Latin phrase that most famously appears as the title of two paintings by Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665). They are pastoral paintings depicting idealized shepherds from classical antiquity, clustering around an austere tomb. [...] they take it to mean (correctly) 'Even in Arcadia I, Death, hold sway'" (Great 245-46). The Old Forest is a prime example of this. The Withywindle valley is "the center from which all the queerness comes" (LotR 1.124), where Old Man Willow In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Old Man Willow is a fictional character, appearing in The Lord of the Rings. He was a willow in the Old Forest from which much of the Forest's hatred of walking things came. is filled with "pride and rooted wisdom, and with malice" (1.14 1). Lorien is a nearly perfect Arcadia, but "those who bring some evil with them" (1.353) find their doom there.
Yet balancing this theme is its opposite: finding a pastoral oasis in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of destruction. Like many Great War memoirs, the action of much of The Lord of the Rings, particularly The Fellowship of the Ring, consists of "bucolic interludes [...] sandwiched between bouts of violence and terror" (Fussell, Great 236). These moments of pastoral peace indicate the norm by which the surrounding horrors should be judged. Rivendell and Lorien are obvious pastoral oases, but it is the smaller moments-as C. S. Lewis called them, "heaven-sent windfalls" (40)- that are more reminiscent of life in the trenches. For example, Merry and Pippin Pippin. For Frankish rulers thus named, use Pepin.
A multimedia game and Internet machine from Apple that used the PowerPC architecture and a limited version of the Mac OS. create a minor pastoral oasis after escaping from the orcs, by pausing for a bite of lembas: "The taste brought back to them the memory of fair faces, and laughter, and wholesome food in quiet days now far away. For a while they ate thoughtfully, sitting in the dark, heedless of the cries and sounds of battle nearby" (LotR 2.61).
The pastoral oasis in The Hobbit is less clearly defined by contrast with its surroundings, because except for the final battle the action of the book does not take place in a landscape dominated by war. And the "pastoral moment" usually does not occur immediately after a moment of great stress; after the party escapes the Trolls, there is still a long march before they reach Rivendell, and between the battle with the wargs and goblins and the stay in Beorn's house, the party spends the night with the Eagles, which Bilbo bil·bo 1
n. pl. bil·boes
An iron bar to which sliding fetters are attached, formerly used to shackle the feet of prisoners.
[Origin unknown.] at least does not find entirely restful rest·ful
1. Affording, marked by, or suggesting rest; tranquil. See Synonyms at comfortable.
2. Being at rest; quiet.
rest . The transition from danger to a place of refuge is more gradual.
The pastoral refuge contains in it a "clarifying or restorative force" (Fussell, Great 239). Rivendell restores and heals the hobbits and Strider after their flight from Weathertop, and the Council of Elrond In The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Council of Elrond is a fictional secret council called by Elrond in Rivendell in order to decide what should be done with the One Ring. clarifies their mission; as Tolkien comments in a 1951 letter, Rivendell is "not a scene of action but of reflection" (Letters 153). Their stay in Lorien helps the Company recover from the death of Gandalf in a place "where the days bring healing not decay" (LotR 2.106), but is clarifying in a more dangerous way when Galadriel tests the survivors and reveals confusing visions to Frodo and Sam. Ithilien, on the edge of war, restores the spirits of Sam and Frodo: "the hobbits breathed deep, and suddenly Sam laughed, for heart's ease not for jest" (2.259). And here again they have their mission clarified by advice from Faramir. Later, as they rest in the mountains of Mordor, Sam sees a star through the clouds: "The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken for·sake
tr.v. for·sook , for·sak·en , for·sak·ing, for·sakes
1. To give up (something formerly held dear); renounce: forsook liquor.
2. land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing; there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach" (3.199).
Leaving or losing the pastoral oasis creates a sense of melancholy. As the Company departed from Lorien, it seemed as if the land was "slipping backward, like a bright ship masted with enchanted en·chant
tr.v. en·chant·ed, en·chant·ing, en·chants
1. To cast a spell over; bewitch.
2. To attract and delight; entrance. See Synonyms at charm. trees, sailing on to forgotten shores, while they sat helpless upon the margin of the grey and leafless world" (1.393). The Elves sing melancholy songs anticipating the day when they shall have to leave Middle-earth. Fussell quotes a review of Edmund Blunden's Undertones of War, which says of the author that "the sight of a rich and fruitful land, much like his own, laid waste was an additional torment" (Great 259); Tolkien describes many places blighted by the Enemy as once having been fair and green (the Wizard's Vale comes to mind), making his crimes against nature all the darker.
The pastoral is also a reminder that "ecstasy [is] still an active motif in the universe" (Fussell, Great 242), that the Shadow really is small and passing in Nature's scheme of things. When Sam, Frodo, and Gollum come to the crossroads at sunset, they see that the orcs have defaced de·face
tr.v. de·faced, de·fac·ing, de·fac·es
1. To mar or spoil the appearance or surface of; disfigure.
2. To impair the usefulness, value, or influence of.
3. the statue of the king, setting a rock in place of the king's head:
[...] Frodo saw the old king's head: it was lying rolled away by the roadside. "Look, Sam!" he cried [...] "The king has got a crown again!" [...]
[....] A trailing plant with flowers like small white stars had bound itself across the brows as if in reverence for the fallen king, and in the crevices of his stony hair yellow stonecrop stonecrop, common name for members of the Crassulaceae (also called orpine, or hen-and-chickens, family), a family of succulent, fleshy herbs and shrubs mostly inhabiting arid regions in many parts of the world. gleamed.
"They cannot conquer forever!" (LotR 2.311) (1)
Pastoral ecstasy segues into the ecstatic relief of the arrival of Rohan at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields is the battle for the city of Minas Tirith between the forces of Gondor and its allies, and the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. . The Lord of the Nazgul confronts Gandalf at the gates At the Gates are a Swedish melodic death metal band. They are one of the forebears of the Gothenburg sound of heavy metal along with other bands of the Gothenburg metal scene like Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. of Minas Tirith, and a pastoral image breaks his spell:
And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry wiz·ard·ry
n. pl. wiz·ard·ries
1. The art, skill, or practice of a wizard; sorcery.
a. A power or effect that appears magical by its capacity to transform: or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. [...] Great horns of the North wildly blowing. (3.103)
And yet the final pastoral oasis, the most important one of which the rest are but dim reflections, is home: "[...] there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap" (3.311).
4B. RITUAL AND ROMANCE
The intensity of war reduces life to its essentials and creates a desire to understand and control experiences by fitting them into a structure that gives meaning to chaos. For the soldier in the field, ritual is a charm for maintaining an aura of normalcy nor·mal·cy
Noun 1. normalcy - being within certain limits that define the range of normal functioning
normality amid surrounding chaos. Frodo's ritual of continuing to celebrate Bilbo's birthday (1.51) provides a sense of continuity and connection. The rituals of courtly love courtly love, philosophy of love and code of lovemaking that flourished in France and England during the Middle Ages. Although its origins are obscure, it probably derived from the works of Ovid, various Middle Eastern ideas popular at the time, and the songs of the offer Gimli a behavior pattern into which he can properly channel and enact his feelings for Galadriel. These rituals give him a legitimate way to respond to the "love and understanding" he sees "in the heart of an enemy" (1.137).
Ritual helps define mutual roles, as when Frodo ritually takes responsibility for Gollum: "Sam sighed audibly; and not at the courtesies, of which, as any hobbit would, he thoroughly approved. Indeed in the Shire such a matter would have required a great many more words and bows" (2.300). Ritual is a way to center and channel healing powers, as Aragorn does when he sings over the blade that wounded Frodo (1.210). And ritual provides a template for responding to overwhelming events, as when Sam ritually passes through the stages of mourning and composes Frodo's body after the attack by Shelob (2.340).
The way the hobbits joke about serious emotions has elements of ritual, as they do it to protect themselves from despair and to show "a decent solicitude so·lic·i·tude
1. The state of being solicitous; care or concern, as for the well-being of another. See Synonyms at anxiety.
2. A cause of anxiety or concern. Often used in the plural. for the feelings" of the person with whom they are speaking (Fussell, Great 182). After their capture by the Orcs, Merry greets Pippin with "So you've come on this little expedition, too? Where do we get bed and breakfast?" (LotR 2.52). Aragorn teases Merry about his tobacco after healing him from the Black Breath (3.146). These comic exchanges are reminders of the celebrated British phlegm phlegm
humor effecting temperament of sluggishness. [Medieval Physiology: Hall, 130]
See : Laziness in the trenches, the "stoical sto·ic
1. One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.
2. Stoic A member of an originally Greek school of philosophy, founded by Zeno about 308 reticence" and "formulaic understatement" that could lead a young officer to describe life in the trenches as "darned darned
Adj. 1. darned - expletives used informally as intensifiers; "he's a blasted idiot"; "it's a blamed shame"; "a blame cold winter"; "not a blessed dime"; "I'll be damned (or blessed or darned or unpleasant," or the unrelenting rain as a certain dampness" (Fussell, Great 181). Legolas and Gimli demonstrate this trick of being "entirely unflappable" in their slightly macabre competition at the Battle of Helm's Deep The valley was blocked over its entire width by the natural series of hills called Helm's Dike and behind that lay the fortress of Aglarond or the Hornburg, at the entrance to the Glittering Caves. . Bilbo sets the tone in The Hobbit when he describes the Battle of Five Armies as "very uncomfortable, not to say distressing" (297).
"Romance" can be considered as a sort of meta-ritual, blending individual rituals into the pattern of the Quest. Soldiers of a literary bent saw their lives taking on the quest-pattern; as Fussell points out, "The experiences of a man going up the line to his destiny cannot help seeming to him like those of a hero of medieval romance if his imagination has been steeped in actual literary romances or their equivalent" (Great 135). Fussell lists the three stages of the quest as described by Northrop Frye (the journey, the struggle, and the exaltation of the hero) and comments that "it is impossible not to be struck by the similarity between this conventional 'romance' pattern and the standard experience re-enacted and formalized for·mal·ize
tr.v. for·mal·ized, for·mal·iz·ing, for·mal·iz·es
1. To give a definite form or shape to.
a. To make formal.
b. in memoirs of the war" (130). The writers who came closest to mythologizing their experiences, like David Jones in In Parenthesis parenthesis: see punctuation.
The left parenthesis "(" and right parenthesis ")" are used to delineate one expression from another. For example, in the query list for size="34" and (color = "red" or color ="green") , used the quest-romance to structure their stories, as Tolkien did in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The quest-structure and the hero's journeys of Bi lbo and Frodo have been thoroughly examined elsewhere and clearly follow the pattern of separation, initiation, and return as defined by Joseph Campbell Noun 1. Joseph Campbell - United States mythologist (1904-1987)
Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (30). (2)
The journey, or separation, stage of the quest is often characterized by rituals of meeting and parting, and by ritual interactions with strangers. When the Companions prepare to leave Rivendell, the charge laid on Frodo, the parting gifts "Parting Gifts" is episode 10 of season 1 in the television show Angel. See also List of Angel (series) episodes. Plot synopsis
Summary and advice, and the sounding of Boromir's horn are traditional signs of the beginning of a formal quest (LotR 1.288-94). Similar rituals take place in L6rien. The Two Towers is particularly rich in such interactions, as the broken Company pursues its several paths, beginning with the farewell to Boromir (2.19), and continuing with interactions with the Rohirrim, the Ents Ents
treelike creatures who shelter and defend the friends of Frodo. [Br. Lit.: J. R. R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings]
See : Trees , and Faramir's company.
A failure to follow the script in these interactions, as when Gollum turns his back on the farewells between Faramir and Frodo (2.304), is a "refusal of the call" (Campbell 59); the character refuses the opportunity to take the hero's journey and cuts himself off from his community. The preliminaries to the Battle of the Five Armies in The Hobbit are conducted in a series of ritual exchanges that define each
side's position, and it is when Thorin breaks the ritual sequence by shooting at the herald that battle becomes inevitable (277). Although Elrond laid no oath on the Ring-bearer's companions, it is understood that they are to protect Frodo, and when Boromir breaks this unspoken promise and tries to take the Ring, he turns fatally aside from his hero-journey (LotR 1.414-16, 2.16).
A hero who accomplishes the journey and the struggle is marked by a change that sets him apart from the community to which he returns. Those who have been through an experience like the Great War, through such "inexpressible terror long and inexplicably endured" (Fussell, Great 115), are like initiates in a mystery religion; they cannot make their experiences comprehensible to those who have not shared them, whether it is taboo to discuss them or not. As Aragorn says in refusing to discuss his experiences in Mona, "the memory is very evil" (Lot R 1.310). Sam, Merry, and Pippin settle back into the Shire seeming little changed, although Sam initially does not know how to explain his experiences to Rose in less than "a week's answer" (3.288); however, Frodo, "wounded with knife, and sting, and tooth, and a long burden" (3.268), can never be healed in Middle-earth.
Interestingly, Verlyn Flieger compares this inability to communicate on the part of Great War veterans to that of travelers returning from Faerie, although for them that which cannot be described is beautiful, not horrible (219). In his essay "On Fairy-Stories," Tolkien says one of the qualities of Faerie is that it is indescribable; Fussell comments on the "inadequacy of language itself to convey the facts about trench warfare trench warfare. Although trenches were used in ancient and medieval warfare, in the American Civil War, and in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), they did not become important until World War I. " (Great 170). Flieger goes on to say:
In the way that extremes can sometimes meet, War and Faerie have a certain resemblance to one another. Both are set beyond the reach of ordinary human experience. Both are equally indifferent to the needs of ordinary humanity. Both can change those who return [...] Perhaps worst of all, both war and Faerie can change out of all recognition the wanderer's perception of the world to which he returns, so that never again can it be what it once was. (224)
4C. THE SENSE OF NATIONAL LITERATURE
Fussell points out that the typical British soldier of World War I was surprisingly well versed in his literary heritage. Popular education and self-improvement had wide appeal at this time, and led to a feeling that literature was "near the center of normal experience" and accessible to all, not just to intellectuals (Fussell, Great 157-8). Letters written by Other Ranks show a surprisingly broad range of literary allusion, not only demonstrating their familiarity with literature but also presupposing the same familiarity on the part of their correspondents at home. The efficiency of the postal service postal service, arrangements made by a government for the transmission of letters, packages, and periodicals, and for related services. Early courier systems for government use were organized in the Persian Empire under Cyrus, in the Roman Empire, and in medieval to the Front meant that a steady supply of books was available to the troops; The Oxford Book of English Verse was especially popular.
At its simplest level, literature was a consolation and a reassurance. Many soldiers drew great comfort from comparing themselves to Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress Pilgrim’s Progress
Bunyan’s allegory of life. [Br. Lit.: Eagle, 458]
See : Journey . In the same way, many characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have a thorough grounding in the songs and legends of Middle-earth, and can draw consolation from past events with which they feel connected. Bilbo feels comforted when he discovers his sword was forged in Gondolin "for the goblinwars of which so many songs had been sung" (Hobbit 80). The dwarves use their songs to stiffen stiff·en
tr. & intr.v. stiff·ened, stiff·en·ing, stiff·ens
To make or become stiff or stiffer.
stiff their resolve under siege. When Gandalf tells Frodo the history of the Ring, he speaks of the alliance of men and elves at the end of the Second Age, and says, "This is a chapter of history which it might be good to recall; for there was sorrow then too, and gathering dark, but great valour, and great deeds that were not wholly vain" (LotR 1.61). Frodo's laughter at Sam's performance of The Oliphaunt "released him from hesitation" (LotR 2.255), and the besieged be·siege
tr.v. be·sieged, be·sieg·ing, be·sieg·es
1. To surround with hostile forces.
2. To crowd around; hem in.
The game is based loosely on the concepts from SameGame. of Minas Tirith took comfort in singing "amid the gloom some staves of the Lay of Nimrodel, or other songs of the Vale on Anduin out of vanished years" (3.98).
Sam in particular is sensitive to the consolations of literature, cheering Frodo with his imaginings imaginings
speculative thoughts about what might be the case or what might happen; fantasies: lurid imaginings of how their tale might sound when their adventure is over (2.322), and in the Tower of Cirith Ungol The Tower of Cirith Ungol is a fictional building in the The Lord of the Rings.
The Tower of Cirth Ungol is a watchtower on the border of Mordor. The Tower of Cirith Ungol was located high in the Mountains of Shadow overlooking the pass that was called Cirith Ungol , when things seem darkest, "moved by what thought in his heart he could not tell, Sam began to sing. [...] snatches of Mr. Bilbo's rhymes that came into his mind like fleeting glimpses of the country of his home. And then suddenly new strength rose in him" (3.184-85).
Familiarity with literature also helped the soldiers interpret their experiences, by finding "an analog in a well-known literary text" (Fussell, Great 137), or by placing their experiences "in the tradition" so they can be understood (146). Again it is Sam, "crazy about stories of the old days" (LotR 1.32), and Tolkien's closest representation of the common but well-read soldier, who expresses this best (in a passage that is also an excellent meditation on Tolkien's theory of courage):
"The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for [...] because they were exciting and life was a bit dull [...] But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually [...] But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because the'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on [...] I wonder what sort of a tale we've fallen into?" (2.320-21)
Throughout The Lord of the Rings, characters comment that they feel like they are "inside a song" (1.365), or that they are taking part in an adventure with roots deep in the past. This feeling is underscored by the immense age of races like the Elves and the Ents, who actually lived through the old stories and to whom Men are but "a passing tale" (2.155). The imagery of "being in a song" is a logical development from Tolkien's underlying mythology, where originally the Valar sang the world into being. Participants in the Great War often had a sense that they were acting in a play; wearing costumes, delivering their lines, making grand entrances and final exits; while this is not a metaphor Tolkien used very often, it has its parallels to the feeling of being in a song or tale. Fussell comments that, in retrospect, because of the odd ironies and overall theatricality of the war, "sometimes it is really hard to shake off the conviction that this war has been written by someone" (Great 241).
Aragorn, Sam, and the older Bilbo are all unusually conscious of their place in history and connections to the past and future through story. As Bilbo asks in Rivendell, "Don't adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story" (LotR 1.244). He wonders if he will live long enough to hear about Frodo's part in the story, and Gandalf reminds him, "If you had really started this affair, you might be expected to finish it. But you know well enough now that starting is too great a claim for any, and that only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero" (1.283).
Aragorn is always mindful of the weight of history behind him and the hopes riding on his success. Even Sam, who has little pretence about the importance of his part in history, knows that he is involved in a never-ending story. When Sam talks about the tale of Beren and Luthien and realizes that the light in Galadriel's phial can be traced back to the Silmaril, he says, "'Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?' 'No, they never end as tales,' said Frodo. 'But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended'" (2.321). And the last thing Sam says to Frodo on the slopes of Mount Doom before the Eagles come is: "'What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven't we? [...1 I wish I could hear it told! Do you think they'll say: Now comes the story of Nine-fingered Frodo and the Ring of Doom? [....] I wish I could hear it! And I wonder how it will go on after our part"' (3.228-29).
The chapter "The Field of Cormallen" (3.226-35) ties together all three of these themes. The history of the Ring-bearer's mission is placed in the national literature and turned into myth; the heroes are honored with great ritual which becomes part of an annual, "national" ritual through the changed date of the New Year; and the whole is placed in an idealized pastoral setting emphasizing healing, rebirth, and contrast to war. This is the idyllic celebration of the returning warrior. In contrast, the Scouring scouring
characterized by scour.
a colloquial name for secondary nutritional copper deficiency. of the Shire and the lack of respect for Frodo that so troubles Sam is reality seen through the "disillusionment Disillusionment
loses innocence through WWI experience. [Am. Lit.: “The Killers”]
Angry Young Men
disillusioned postwar writers of Britain, such as Osborne and Amis. [Br. Lit. of the returned veteran" (Shippey, Author 156). But as Frodo knows so well, it is the part of some heroes to give things up "so that others may keep them" (LotR 3.309).
5. MYTHOLOGIZING THE WAR
The important question remains: Why, in the light of his war experiences, did Tolkien choose the literary mode he did, when so many of his fellow veteran-writers used the ironic style in their poetry and memoirs--in fact, felt with Hemingway that the heroic style was rendered almost obscene by the unprecedented slaughter, stupidity, and waste of the war?
It may have been because major parts of Middle-earth's mythology and history were already forming in his mind before the war began, as background to his Elvish languages, and his experiences naturally fit themselves into this waiting framework. Brogan states that while Tolkien's project of a mythology for England "did nor survive the Somme unaltered," it might not have survived at all "but for the advanced stage of the linguistic inventions with which it was bound up" (357).
While Fussell is most concerned with irony, he does examine some works that incorporate mythological material, like David Jones's epic poem Noun 1. epic poem - a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds
epic, heroic poem, epos
poem, verse form - a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines
chanson de geste - Old French epic poems In Parenthesis, and notes Northrop Frye's conclusion that in the cycle of literary styles, the ironic mode "moves steadily towards myth, and the dim outlines of sacrificial rituals and dying gods begin to reappear in it" (Frye 42). He firmly refutes Bernard Bergonzi's conclusion that "[r] he dominant movement in the literature of the Great War was [...] from a myth-dominated to a demythologized de·my·thol·o·gize
tr.v. de·my·thol·o·gized, de·my·thol·o·giz·ing, de·my·thol·o·giz·es
1. To rid of mythological elements in order to discover the underlying meaning: world" (Bergonzi 198). Fussell says, "No; almost the opposite. In one sense the movement was towards myth, towards a revival of the cultic, the mystical, the sacrificial, the prophetic, the sacramental, and the universally significant" (Great 131).
Fussell says of Jones's work that he showed a "desire to rescue and reinvigorate traditional pre-industrial religious and ethical connotations" (Great 145) and to "[re-attach] traditional meaning to the unprecedented actualities of war" (146). The first goal is very like Tolkien's hope of reviving his ideal of a Northern mythology and morality; intentionally or not, Tolkien achieved the second goal as well. His chosen subject matter and use of the quest-pattern led logically to a high-romance mode and vocabulary, and therefore to a more heroic interpretation of war.
But while the Battle of Pelennor Fields In the J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth, the Pelennor Fields were the townlands and fields of Minas Tirith, the second capital city of Gondor. The name Pelennor means fenced land in Sindarin. is one of the most stirring events in the tale, with the Rohirrim singing "for the joy of battle was on them" (LotR 3.113), and great deeds performed by the Men of Gondor, we also see the battle from the point of view of Pippin in Minas Tirith and Merry with the Riders of Rohan. Like the experience of the common soldier in the trenches of World War I, their part is far from glorious; there is tedious waiting, a sense of uselessness and futility, terror and pain and ugliness. But instead of falling back on irony as the proper response, the hobbits illustrate Tolkien's ideal of courage, going on in spite of being without hope. Their determination "master[s] all the grief and horror [...] giving it dignity and significance" (Brogan 358).
The creation of a world in which heroic deeds could still be done might also be, as Brogan put it, "therapy for a mind wounded in war" (358). It was a place to retreat to, but not an escape, unless in the sense that Tolkien used the word "Escape" in "On Fairy-stories." W. H. R. Rivers William Halse Rivers Rivers M.D.(Lond.), F.R.C.P.(Lond.), F.R.S., Medical Officer, Craiglockhart War Hospital (March 12, 1864 - 4 June, 1922) was an English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist and psychiatrist, best known for his work with shell-shocked soldiers during World , the psychiatrist who treated Graves, Owen, and Sassoon at the Craiglockhart officers' hospital, commented on how his patients processed the war through the dreams he recorded, "transform[ing] reality into a more bearable nightmare" (Friedman 122). Friedman notes how these dreams and nightmares repeat the romance-pattern, drawing on fairy-tale images and the hero-journey sequence. As Campbell puts it, "[d] ream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream" (19), but while their dreams might be moving toward myth, their writing on the war was consciously realistic and ironic. Their closeness to the war in time and their direct use of it as subject matter may have prevented these writers from mythologizing their war exp eriences in writing.
In contrast, Tolkien did not write The Lord of the Rings until many years after the war, and perhaps his experiences had more time to become part of his "personalized myth." Writing to his son Christopher, stationed in South Africa during World War II and thinking about writing himself, Tolkien describes his attempts to write during the Great War and how he settled on fairy story:
So I took to 'escapism': or really transforming experience into another form and symbol with Morgoth and Orcs and the Eldalie (representing beauty and grace of life and artefact See artifact. ) and so on; and it has stood me in good stead in many hard years since and I still draw on the conceptions then hammered out. (Letters 85)
Tolkien's rejection of the ironic mode shows that he did not allow himself to be utterly alienated by his war experiences. Irony in The Lord of the Rings is used as a plot device or to show character--not as an underlying literary mode or philosophy. Shippey, using references from World War II, points to ironic reflections of the uselessness of the Maginot line in the outwall around Minas Tirith, the Rammas Echor, and speaks of hints of "Vichyism and quislings, of puppet governments and demilitarized zones" (Road 128). In his most recent book, he also discusses the ironic gaps between what the characters know and what the reader knows--a sort of meta-irony (Century 110). Tolkien's failed men of power, Saruman and Denethor, sometimes speak in ironic tones, using their knowledge (which may be false, as in the case of Denethor's vision of the Corsairs of Umbar The Corsairs of Umbar were a fleet of Men of Umbar in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, allied to Sauron in his war against Gondor. Literature
Umbar was an old Númenórean haven settled by the King's Men ) to mock the ignorance of other characters. However, these are examples of irony in service to the plot, not irony as an attitude.
Tolkien must have recognized that sustained irony is a sterile mode; there is no consolation in it. A proper fairy tale offers "Fantasy, Recovery, Escape, and Consolation" (Reader 46). If "courage without hope" is what Tolkien witnessed among the common soldiers and what he wanted to save out of the wreck of war, irony was not the way to express it-only fairy tale would do.
World War I was without precedent, and one of the major turning points in world history, not just because of its geopolitical ge·o·pol·i·tics
n. (used with a sing. verb)
1. The study of the relationship among politics and geography, demography, and economics, especially with respect to the foreign policy of a nation.
a. consequences but also because of its status as the first "global, total, modern war" (Strachan 1). Fussell describes two ways in which the writers who served in the Great War tried to sort our and communicate their memories. He gives precedence to the ironic method, concentrating on "satires of circumstance" and official stupidity, exemplified by Robert Graves. But he also discusses attempts to mythologize the war and relate it to heroic romance, as David Jones did.
Since Tolkien was a student of myths and heroic literature, it is possible that his choice of mode was based in part on the staying-power of the fairy-story Besides offering the artist a vast scope for sub-creation and a way to integrate the soul-satisfying four functions of fairy-stories, the mythical mode has a certain permanence about it not found in realistic depictions of contemporary events. As Shippey puts it in Author of the Century, "myth and applicability are timeless, allegory and legend time-constrained" (188).
In the end Tolkien's works may well outlast out·last
tr.v. out·last·ed, out·last·ing, out·lasts
To last longer than.
to last longer than
Verb 1. those of the canonical war poets and memoirists, no matter how meaningful their work. Fussell pointed out in an essay that "those who wonder where the war poets are may not have found them because they have not lowered their gaze sufficiently to rake in the popular tradition" (Boy 220). Tolkien's stories will always be able to speak directly to a wide audience unfamiliar with his life and times, yet will have greater significance for the reader who understands the influence of the Great War on his writing and our world. Perhaps one reason Tolkien is so frequently voted 'Author of the Century" is because he took what was a pivotal event in world history and transformed it into a comprehensible myth, to help us understand how our world has changed and learn how we can still live in it with courage.
(1.) There is a very strange echo of this scene in a line from David Jones's In Parenthesis, where The Queen of the Wood decorates the dead with wild-flowers: "Emil has a curious crown, it's made of golden saxifrage" (185).
(2.) For example, Anne Petty's One Ring to Bind Them All: Tolkien's Mythology (U of Alabama P, 1979) uses Joseph Campbell, Vladimir Propp, and Claude Levi-Strauss to analyze the plot of The Lord of the Rings.
Bergonzi, Bernard. Heroes' Twilight: A Study of the Literature of the Great War. 1965. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1980.
Brogan, Hugh. "Tolkien's Great War." Children and Their Books: A Celebration of the Work of lona and Peter Opie. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Oxford UP, 1989. 351-67.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1968.
Carpenter, Humphrey. Tolkien: A Biography. Boston: Houghton, 1977.
Flieger, Verlyn. A Question of Time: J. R. R. Tolkien's Road to Faerie. Kent: Kent State UP, 1997.
Friedman, Barton. "Tolkien and David Jones: The Great War and The War of the Ring." Clio 11.2 (1982): 115-36.
Frye, Northrop. The Anatomy of Criticism Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Princeton University Press, 1957) attempts to formulate an overall view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism derived exclusively from literature. : Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1971.
Fussell, Paul. The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations. New York: Oxford UP, 1982.
---. The Great War and Modern Memory. New York: Oxford UP, 1975.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. 1927. New York: Scribner's, 1957.
Jones, David. In Parenthesis. London: Faber, 1937.
Larkin, Philip. Collected Poems. London: Marvell P. 1988.
Lewis, C. S. "The Dethronement de·throne
tr.v. de·throned, de·thron·ing, de·thrones
1. To remove from the throne; depose.
2. To remove from a prominent or powerful position. of Power." A Reader's Companion to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. New York: Quality Paperback Books, 1995. 37-42.
Petty, Anne. One Ring to Bind Them All: Tolkien's Mythology. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1979.
Shippey, T. A. J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. London: HarperCollins, 2000.
---. The Road to Middle-earth. Boston: Houghton, 1983.
Strachan, Hew, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War. New York: Oxford UP, 1998.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton, 1966.
---. The Letters off. R. R. Tolkien. Ed. Humphrey Carpenter. Boston: Houghton, 1981.
---. The Lord of the Rings. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton, 1965.
---. The Tolkien Reader. New York: Ballantine, 1966.
Janet Brennan Croft is the Head of Access Services at the University of Oklahoma University of Oklahoma, abbreviated OU, is a coeducational public research university located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. Libraries. She received her MLS See multilevel security. from Indiana University, and has published several articles on librarianship. She is currently working on a book on war in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and is active in the Popular Culture Association nationally and regionally.