Roberto Arduini (ed.), The Broken Scythe

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Death and Immortality in the Works of JRR Tolkien

Walking Tree, 2012. Paperback.

What is the central theme of The Lord of the Rings? J.R.R. Tolkien's answer to this apparently simple question may surprise some readers: "I do not think that even Power or Domination is the real centre of my story [...] The real theme for me is about something much more permanent and difficult: Death and Immortality" (Letters no. 186). Despite this very clear statement, only a small number of published studies have focused on these two themes. This collection of essays by Italian scholars aims at filling this lacuna in the critical scholarship. The nine papers, introduced by Verlyn Flieger's preface, are the result of a two-year interdisciplinary project that concentrated on death and immortality and provide a fascinating, multi-facetted exploration of these fundamental aspects of Tolkien's work.

A Eulogy of Finitude:
Anthropology, Eschatology and Philosophy of History in Tolkien
Franco Manni

Tolkien's Legendarium as a meditatio mortis
Claudio A. Testi

Tolkien, Death and Time: the Fairy Story within the Picture
Roberto Arduini

On the Edge of the Perilous Realm
Lorenzo Gammarelli

The Wrong Path of the Sub-creator:
from the Fall to the Machine and the Escape from Mortality
Alberto Ladavas

"In the Mounds of Mundburg":
Death, War and Memory in Middle-earth
Simone Bonechi

Death, Immortality and their Escapes:
Memory and Longevity
Andrea Monda

Logic and Theology in Tolkien's Thanatology
Claudio A. Testi

A Misplaced Envy:
Analogies and Differences between Elves and Men on the Idea of Pain
Giampaolo Canzonieri *