Scandinavian Lit. & J.R.R Tolkien Notes The Hobbit & The Lord of The Rings
The Saga of The Volsungs • Unknown Icelandic author • Wrote in the 13th century, sometime between 1200 and 1270 • Possibly based on older Norse verse called Eddic poetry. • The Saga was passed in the old tradition of word of mouth. • Became widely known throughout Europe in the 19th century.
Saga Notes Cont. • Translated into many different languages • Primary source for writers of fantasy • J.R.R Tolkien pulled many ideas from the Saga including: • the sword that was reformed • rings of power • the dragon on the hoard • the creature Gollum.
J.R.R Tolkien History & Works
History • John Ronald Reuel Tolkien • Born January 3, 1892 • Died September 2, 1973 • English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor at Oxford .
World War I • Tolkien was a 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army. • He served as a signal officer until he came down with trench fever. • Tolkien spent the remainder of the war between hospitals and garrison duties.
After WWI • Tolkien’s first civilian job was at the Oxford English Dictionary where he worked on the history and etymology of words of Germanic origin beginning with the letter W. • 1924- Professor at the University of Leeds • Created A Middle English Vocabulary • Translated Sir Gawain and The Green Knight & Pearl
Middle Earth & It’s Creation • Tolkien would scribble an inexplicable note in a student's exam book: “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” • This grew into a story he told his children. • 1936 a version of it came to the attention of the publishing firm of George Allen and Unwin who published it as The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, in 1937.
The Lord of The Rings • So determined was Tolkien to get every detail right that it took him more than a decade to complete the 12-book "Lord of the Rings.“ • He often left off writing the story for months to hash out a linguistic problem or historical inconsistency. • The Lord of the Rings appeared in 1954-1955 in three parts: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.
LOTR Continued • Some critics deplored its fantasy setting, archaic language, and utter earnestness. • C. S. Lewis, praised it for its straightforward narrative, imagination, and Tolkien's blatant love of language. • The books did not reach the height of their popularity until they finally appeared in paperback. • Tolkien disliked paperbacks and hadn't authorized a paperback edition. • In 1965, however, Ace Books exploited a legal loophole and published an unauthorized paperback version of The Lord of the Rings.
LOTR Continued • Nearly 50 years after its publication, Tolkien's epic tale has sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into more than 25 languages.
J.R.R. Tolkien: After his death • After Tolkien's death his son Christopher endeavored to complete his father's life work. • He edited The Silmarillion and saw it published in 1977. • In 1980 he began to publish the rest of his father's incomplete writings, culminating in the 12-volume History of Middle-earth series.
Themes found in The Fellowship of The Ring • The Corrupting Influence of Power • The Inevitability of Decline • The Power of Myth • Light vs. Dark or Good vs. Evil
Motifs Found in The Fellowship of The Ring • Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes. • Songs and Singing • The Road • “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” • Prophecy