Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Abounding Creativity of Middle-earth: An Appreciation of J.R.R. Tolkien

I considerJ.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) and Middle-earth (timeless), and I find myself eventually arriving at Homer.

Tolkien in World War I
I’ve been reading about Homer and his Iliad and Odyssey, and the work that’s been underway for several years on what’s believed to be the tomb of Odysseus, or someone like him. We’re still learning that stories we believe to be myths, in the contemporary sense of that word, may actually be grounded in historical fact. It doesn’t mean they’re completely and historically accurate, but it does mean that the oral tradition they come from may be more historical than we realized.

Homer’s works were considered more fiction than anything else, until 1870, when the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the site that is now considered the battleground of the Trojan War. Troy turned out to be a real place.

When he was young, Tolkien found himself fascinated with the Edda, the collections of prose and poetry written in Iceland in the 13thcentury. These writings were themselves collections of stories from much earlier times that continued until the Viking Age. The Edda is our main source of knowledge of Norse mythology, and it would exercise a significant influence on The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings, and indeed all of Tolkien’s writings.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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