Master of Arts (MA)
First Advisor's Name
Lesley A. Northup
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Oren Baruch Stier
Third Advisor's Name
Tolkien, Myth, Fantasy, Religion, Literature, Enchantment, Modernism, Mythopoeia, Poetic, Mysticism
Date of Defense
J.R.R. Tolkien was not only an author of fantasy but also a philologist who theorized about myth. Theorists have employed various methods of analyzing myth, and this thesis integrates several analyses, including Tolkien’s. I address the roles of doctrine, ritual, cross-cultural patterns, mythic expressions in literature, the literary effect of myth, evolution of language and consciousness, and individual invention over inheritance and diffusion. Beyond Tolkien’s English and Catholic background, I argue for eclectic influence on Tolkien, including resonance with Buddhism.
Tolkien views mythopoeia, literary mythmaking, in terms of sub-creation, human invention in the image of God as creator. Key mythopoetic tools include eucatastrophe, the happy ending’s sudden turn to poignant joy, and enchantment, the realization of imagined wonder, which is epitomized by the character of Tom Bombadil and contrasted with modernist techno-magic seeking to alter and dominate the world. I conclude by interpreting Tolkien’s mythmaking as a form of mysticism.
Gorelick, Adam D., "The Enchanter's Spell: J.R.R. Tolkien's Mythopoetic Response to Modernism" (2013). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1022.
Classical Literature and Philology Commons, Comparative Methodologies and Theories Commons, Folklore Commons, History of Religion Commons, Indo-European Linguistics and Philology Commons, Literature in English, British Isles Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Other English Language and Literature Commons, Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons
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