One Ring to Bind Them All: Tolkien's Mythology

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"In One Ring to Bind Them All, Anne Petty shows that when viewed through the combined methodologies of Joseph Campbell, Vladimir Propp, and Claude Levi-Strauss a folkloristic/mythic structure is seen to underlie Tolkien's epic work. The Lord of the Rings is 20th-century mythology manifested in the familiar pattern of the three-stage hero quest made popular by Campbell - departure, initiation, and return - and in the elemental motifs of folktales, as discovered by Propp and expanded upon by Levi-Strauss." This cross-disciplinary analysis shows ...
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Overview

"In One Ring to Bind Them All, Anne Petty shows that when viewed through the combined methodologies of Joseph Campbell, Vladimir Propp, and Claude Levi-Strauss a folkloristic/mythic structure is seen to underlie Tolkien's epic work. The Lord of the Rings is 20th-century mythology manifested in the familiar pattern of the three-stage hero quest made popular by Campbell - departure, initiation, and return - and in the elemental motifs of folktales, as discovered by Propp and expanded upon by Levi-Strauss." This cross-disciplinary analysis shows that Tolkien presented to modern readers and other writers a rich array of reinvented mythic archetypes and icons: the desperate quest (good vs. evil); a magical object that embodies or initiates the quest (the ring); the wise wizard who oversees or aids the quest (Gandalf); the reluctant hero, an ordinary person with untapped abilities (Frodo); the hero's loyal friend and supporter (Sam); the warrior king whose true identity is hidden (Strider/Aragorm); and the goddess figure (Galadriel).
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important contribution to the study of modern mythologically based literature. The author demonstrates a sensitive awareness of Tolkien’s method." — South Atlantic Bulletin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817373283
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1979
  • Pages: 122

Meet the Author

As a senior technical writer/editor in the Information Technology field, Anne C. Petty has created numerous style guides and materials for writing seminars. She is the author of Dragons of Fantasy: All about Dragons and Those Who Create Them and Tolkien in the Land of Heroes: DIscovering the Human Spirit.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Prologue 1
Pt. 1 Departure 7
1 The Mythic Impulse 9
2 Tolkien's Prelude 17
3 Subcreation and the Three Heroes 29
Pt. 2 Initiation 43
4 Trail, Death, and Transfiguration 45
5 Unraveling the Design 67
6 Binary Opposition in Middle-earth 78
Pt. 3 Return 83
7 Pulling the Threads Together 85
8 Patterns in the Deep Structure 92
Epilogue: Tolkien as Mythmaker 103
App. A: List of Abbreviations 109
App. B: Schemes of the Tales 113
Notes 114
Selected Bibliography 118
Index 122
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