Lectures Series, Saturday 27th June

audience at the Festival Talks

Lectures Series, Saturday 27th June


Product Description

A series of Lectures on Tolkien in the 20th Century

Dr Liam Campbell                                 Mirror of the Age: Tolkien and the 20th Century

Abstract: Many critics have dismissed Tolkien’s tales as elegiac, escapist fantasies that have nothing to say to or about the modern world. This talk seeks to assert that far from being an ‘escapist’ writer of fantasy, Tolkien was a writer primarily concerned with the defining issues of the twentieth century: an age that bore witness to humanity’s most horrific wars, the rise of the machine and a systematic assault on the green places of the world. The paper argues that all of this is observable in the arc of Tolkien’s fiction and as such he was a writer whose work is a valid and vital mirroring of the challenges of the contemporary world.


Dr Patrick Curry                                   The Two Faces of Faerie in Tolkien’s Work

Abstract: This talk will consider the vital importance and meaning of Faerie or enchantment in Tolkien’s work. It is a value and a concept which faces two ways: ‘in’ to his literary fiction, as symbolised especially by the Elves,  and ‘out’, where ‘the disecnhantment of the world’ (in Max Weber’s famous phrase) steadily gathered pace throughout the twentieth century. The paper  will try to identify some specific characteristics and dynamics of enchantment in both cases, and show how it has resulted in Tolkien’s books paradoxical modern status: extraordinary popularity and determined marginalization.


Professor John Gillespie                       Tolkien, Lewis and the Inklings: Christian Creativity in Action?

Abstract: C S Lewis and the Inklings played a key role in the development of Tolkien as a writer. This paper will examine the dynamics of their relationships and how their shared Christian faith affected his literary creations.


Dr Allan G Turner                                 Landscape Comes Alive

Abstract: A particularly memorable image in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is that of the shadowy army of trees marching down the slopes to attack Isengard. However, many others of his landscapes also convey a sense of life and movement. This is because, in addition to purely naturalistic descriptions, Tolkien describes many of the features in such a way that they seem to have a life of their own, although in many cases it is done so subtly that the reader may not be consciously aware of it. I want to explore the stylistic devices by which Tolkien makes his characters appear to move through an animate landscape which is one of the great attractions of Middle-earth.

Location: The Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan                  Time: 11am                           Cost: 15pp* cost includes refreshments