Periodizing Tolkien: The romantic modern

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter, instead of fixing J.R.R. Tolkien down to one “era,” aims to give its due to the temporal fluidity that Christopher Tolkien and Verlyn Flieger emphasize. The argument is simple: Tolkien was a child of the nineteenth century who came of age in the twentieth; he was, in other words, a “Romantic Modern.” In addressing Tolkien the “Romantic,” the chapter focuses almost exclusively on literature. It also focuses on culture and politics, the arenas where Tolkien the “Modern” comes to the fore. Nineteenth-century reconstruction, not twentieth-century deconstruction, was the keynote of Tolkien's art. He was interested in diachrony and the continuous development revealed by historical philology, not in the structuralist synchrony of Saussurian linguistics or inorganic palimpsests of past and present.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien
EditorsStuart D. Lee
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781119691457
ISBN (Print)9781119691402
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • historical philology
  • literary culture
  • Romantic Modern
  • Tolkien's art


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