J. R. R. Tolkien, ecology, and education

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Thad A. Burkhart (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Glenn Hudak

Abstract: John Ronald Reul Tolkien (1892-1973) was an Oxford trained philologist, professor (don) at Oxford, noted scholar, and author of high fantasy literature. His The Lord of the Rings trilogy (TLOR) has sold over 150 million copies worldwide making it the second bestselling work of fiction of all time (“The Lord of the Rings,” 2014). His popularity has resurged, though it never really waned, with Peter Jackson’s big screen adaptation of Tolkien’s most famous work The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003), also in trilogy form, winning multiple Oscar Awards, and grossing over 3 billion dollars worldwide (“The Lord of the Rings,” 2014). More recently, Jackson’s three part installments of the precursor to TLOR, The Hobbit (2012-2014), have also proved highly successful in movie format. As has been long noticed by fans and critics alike, Tolkien’s works, TLOR, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion (his legendarium of Middle-earth or Arda), and other lesser known works like The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (TATB) are permeated with ecological themes and tropes. According to Morgan (2010), Tolkien’s ecology is “[grounded in a] creation-centered ethic of stewardship . . . . that holds the potential to re-enchant the world” (p. 383). Further, Morgan (2010) also says, that “The story . . . possesses significant pedagogical potential, albeit implicit in nature" (pp. 383-384). Obviously, at least to many, the Earth is in a state of ecological crisis. My dissertation investigates ecology through select high fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Specifically, I intend to address what can be construed by studying the enigmatic character of Tom Bombadil, while giving due consideration to other characters who represent or are a party to ecological concerns. This dissertation will prove that the study of Bombadil is a boon to ecological education in the forms of autodidacticism, ecopedagogy, and ecoliteracy by showing readers how the Earth should be treated and with regard to changing our current anthropocentric mindset to one that embraces a respect and reverence for nature; that is, biophilia.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Ecology, Education, Tolkien
Tolkien, J. R. R. $q (John Ronald Reuel), $d 1892-1973 $x Criticism and interpretation
Fantasy fiction, English $x History and criticism
Environmental education
Human ecology in literature

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