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The Art of The Lord of the Rings: A Defense of the Aesthetic

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This article provides something of a corrective to the ongoing trend in Tolkien studies to read his fiction theologically and attach aspects of it to specific Christian doctrine and practice. Tolkien made his resistance to such “symbolic or allegorical” interpretation very clear in his letters. I argue that recognizing and reading Tolkien as a literary artist provides a more appropriate method by which we may appreciate The Lord of the Rings as the author intended, as literary art. Through such an approach, we may also come to a more accurate understanding of how Tolkien’s faith, as a Catholic Christian writer, enriches his masterpiece. Evidence for my argument comes from Tolkien’s writings and The Lord of the Rings, in which Tolkien’s aesthetic criteria for the art of story-telling is most fully embodied and demonstrated.

Affiliations: 1: Belmont Abbey College

10.1163/15685292-01805002
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/content/journals/10.1163/15685292-01805002
2014-01-01
2018-09-21

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