Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/11661
Title: Tolkien: Cult or Culture?
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/11661
Abstract: This book, - in its original form, in a similar order for the larger themes treated, and as first published in 1969, - was the result of a National Seminar held in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, from 23rd May to 25th May, 1969. That event itself was under the auspices of the Residential Division of the then highly imaginative, innovative and nation-challenging Department of University Extension of the University of New England. There was also considerable support for the seminar from the vigorous Tolkien Society which was then flourishing remarkably at the University of Sydney. On the occasion of that seminar, the two lead lecturers were John Ryan and Hugh Crago, both of the Department of English at the much smaller university, in Armidale, in northern New South Wales. These lecturers were much concerned to sketch in the background against which discussion of Tolkien's world of creative fiction and of his related and inspiring mediaeval scholarship - as already published to that date - might the better take place. For the concern was for a clearer understanding of both the writer and of his nurture, these so significant for the better appreciation of his academic career and of his then steadily appearing corpus of writings which, even so early in the 'phenomenon', had already teased the imaginations of so many, particularly in the northern hemisphere and in the United States of America in particular. The mesmeric attraction of 'The Lord of the Rings', a bulky work selling more than a million copies in many languages before its first appearance in paperback format, was one of the literary conundrums of the post-World War II literary scene, both in England and in the United States of America, in particular. After its initial volume's publication in 1954 and the whole trilogy by 1955, this sprawling tale would soon become the most popular offbeat seller of the century, a book already read by children, academics, and both 'hippies and housewives'. The sprawling and yet often headlong moving fantasy, it was stressed at the Seminar, had created an imaginary world of vast scope, of convincing detail, and of mesmeric attraction. By then, in 1969, and with a deeper understanding, most of his readers would have agreed that Tolkien, a distinguished Oxford scholar mediaevalist, had transformed the 'traditional' fairy-tale into an adult, dignified and (some would say) tragic conception.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISBN: 9781921597411
Field of Research (FOR): 200503 British and Irish Literature
200206 Globalisation and Culture
169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950405 Religious Structures and Ritual
950499 Religion and Ethics not elsewhere classified
950504 Understanding Europes Past
HERDC Category Description: A4 Revision/New Edition of a Book
Other Links: http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21220690
Extent of Pages: 239
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Appears in Collections:Book

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