Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien

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Overview

With a Foreword by John Elder and an Afterword by Tom Shippey Though not often recognized as environmental or agrarian literature, the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien demonstrate a complex and comprehensive ecological philosophy. The ecology of Middle-earth portrayed in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion brings together three potent and convincing elements of preservation and conservation--sustainable agriculture and agrarianism, horticulture independent of utilitarianism, and protection of unspoiled wilderness. Throughout his work, Tolkien reveals his vision of the natural world and environmental responsibility. Ents, Elves, and Eriador examines the underlying environmental philosophy in Tolkien's major works as well as his lesser-known stories and essays. Matthew Dickerson and Jonathan Evans evaluate Tolkien's writing, especially his Middle-earth legendarium, in the context of modern environmental literature. The authors compare Tolkien's work with that of some of the most important environmental scholars and nature writers of the past century, including Wendell Berry, John Elder, Aldo Leopold, and Scott Sanders, highlighting Tolkien's intellectual depth. A vital contribution to environmental literature and an important addition to Tolkien scholarship, Ents, Elves, and Eriador offers all fans of Tolkien a new way to understand his writings.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ents, Elves, and Eriador should...be praised for drawing attention to the multifaceted portrayal of the natural world in Tolkien's work."--Folklore" --

"It is an enjoyable and intellectually valuable read for its detailed examination of the landscape cultures of Middle-earth and their liminal overlapping of one another."--Studies in Medieval & Renaissnace Teaching" --

"Does much to show why Tolkein should be recognized as one of those who laid the foundations for and formed the environmental movement as we know it today."--Mallorn" --

"Dickerson and Evans provide a valuable discussion of concepts of stewardship as figured by Gandalf, Treebeard, Sam, Galadriel, and various kings and leaders, and how such examples bridge our inner world of fantasy and what we think of as the outer world of reality."--Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching" --

"A fine introduction to Tolkein's environmental achievement."--Flourish Book Review" --

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813124186
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Series: Culture of the Land Series
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 0.94 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Dickerson, professor and member of the environmental studies program at Middlebury College, is the author or coauthor of several books, including Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in the Lord of the Rings and From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy. Jonathan Evans, associate professor of English and director of the medieval studies program at the University of Georgia, is a member of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program faculty. His essays on J. R. R. Tolkien have been published in J. R. R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances, Tolkien the Medievalist, and The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Environmental vision through myth

    Often noted as one of the most popular writers of the 20th century, Tolkien is well known for his textured, epic sagas infused with a transcendent mythic quality sorely missed in modern literature. But he is not often recognized for a thing which is exceedingly obvious to anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or The Silmarillion: his all-pervading love of green and growing things. Tolkien was an environmentalist before there was an environmentalism movement. In the body of his writing, Dickerson and Evans here shows us, Tolkien established a threefold vision for responsible environmental stewardship: the agrarian community of the Shire, the aesthetic, conservationist horticulture of the Elves, and the preservationist "feraculture" of the Ents. Further, the authors demonstrate, through an exploration of Tolkien's own creation myth, how nature is valuable in and of itself and not for any utilitarian purpose; and how care and appreciation for the natural world is best supported and engendered by a transcendent and religious worldview such as Tolkien's own Christianity. Observantly exploring hidden corners of his writing, and citing the most current names in environmental literature such as Wendell Berry, Norman Wirzba, Aldo Leopold, John Elder, and others, Matthew Dickerson and Jonathan Evans demonstrate how Tolkien's legendarium can serve as an imaginative vision to inspire environmental feeling and action today.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 9, 2011

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