Tolkein and Medievalism

“The Monsters Do Not Depart: Re-Unifying Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and Christian in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.”
In The Year’s Work in Medievalism. Ed. Gwendolyn A. Morgan. Wipf & Stock: Eugene, 2007.

Invented or authentic, historical accuracy was incredibly important to Tolkien’s vision of Middle-earth. Therefore, it was not enough to mimic the Anglo-Saxon “theory of courage”-its roots had to be unearthed. And, as a devout Catholic, Tolkien insisted that the inspired heroism of the AnglO-Saxons, entirely forgotten in modern England, must have roots in an older religious pantheon. For Tolkien, these quests for lineage-proper or invented-inexorably lead him back to the Norse tradition. If Middle-earth was to be a true saving mythology for England, it had to reflect Anglo-Saxon heroism and the ancient Norse pantheon, while also allOWing for his Christian beliefs to co-exist. The ombination of these attributes infuses god-inspired courage in the heroes of Middle-eanh, even after the “powers” have departed.

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