AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Mythopoetic Imaginarium of J. R. R. Tolkien

by Puslojić Marija Gičić

Institution: Univerzitet u Beogradu
Year: 2016
Keywords: Џ. Р. Р. Толкин; мит; митопеја; фантазија; бајка; имагинација
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2132852
Full text PDF: https://fedorabg.bg.ac.rs/fedora/get/o:11784/bdef:Content/get


Social Sciences and Humanities - Philology / Друштвено-хуманистичке науке - Филологија / Социальные и гуманитарные науки - Филология John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973), Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature, was a man who ‘retold the cosmos’ by inventing a new history of the world, thus creating the possibilities for a new future. It is a well-known fact that Tolkien felt aggravated by the loss of Anglo-Saxon mythology to oblivion – a fate that befell many other mythological systems. Where genuine historical sources cease to exist, Tolkien recognized a need for sources of a different kind, setting himself on a narrative quest for the forgotten ancient belief, aiming to recount the truth of man and world that also had to have been the goal of the original storytellers – those real or imaginary creators of myths, epics and fairytales. Just as he was a pioneer in the interpretation of Old English literature, offering the very first reading of Beowulf as epic of literary and not only historical merit, in publishing The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) Tolkien instigated a massive landslide, the debris of which is still at our feet: the establishing of epic fantasy as a new genre that confronts factual and fantastical history, blurring (and, as we shall attempt to prove, transcending) the boundary the between the natural and the supernatural. J. R. R. Tolkien’s mythopoeic cosmogony, in its grand scope and detail, enabled its creator to enter the modern era through the main gate, while the stronghold it has in fairytale and myth created a fairly unique phenomenon whose very structure defies accustomed modes of literary interpretation. The understanding of literature as fiction proves insufficient in disentangling Tolkien’s intricate narrative weave – imagination must be apprehended as veracity in order to perceive the belief in spiritual truths that Tolkien felt mythology preserved and mythopoeia – being a creative act of narrative kind – revealed and brought closer. That is, within Tolkien’s imaginarium, imagination is not shaped into fiction as much as creation is recognized as truth. Tolkien’s entire opus serves as a certain apology of the fairy-story, that infinite supplier of beauty for this, and the other, world. Consequently, the main difficulty in critical reception lies precisely in the fact that Tolkien’s works are permeated with too much ‘Faërie’ to be interpreted as novels and too much realism to be interpreted as fairy-stories. Therein we encounter another relevant question that needs to be addresses, the role of the storyteller in the context of myth, both of ancient and modern times. The myth, which was once fact, now is only history, and it is upon us to examine whether, and to which extent, an ‘artificial’ creation can lay claim to imagination as the truth. To that effect, it is important to consider the fate of myth, especially in modern times, as well as the position of the artist who maintains not the mythic narrative but the mythic quality – the mythopoet as the modern… Advisors/Committee Members: Paunović, Zoran, 1962-.