Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss: Steps on the Developmental Journey

Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss: Steps on the Developmental Journey

by John Rosegrant

Hardcover

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Overview

Tolkien’s enchanted worldview as literary form and as psychological struggle

Focusing on the themes of enchantment and loss in the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, this unique study incorporates elements of developmental psychology to explore both Tolkien’s life and art, deepening our understanding of the interrelationship between his biography and writing.

As John Rosegrant relates, Tolkien’s early years saw a good deal of trauma: the loss of both parents, serious illness, poverty, and battlefield action during World War I, including the loss of close friends. Yet he presents an enchanted worldview in the stories of Middle-earth, and that tension between enchantment and disenchantment—as it results from significant trauma and loss—lies at the very heart of Tolkien’s creative endeavors.

In short, Tolkien’s creative effort can be understood, especially from the perspective of his own psychological development, as a way to maintain a sense of enchantment in the face of great personal loss. Throughout our lives, at several stages we must surrender earlier forms of enchantment and develop more mature forms so that life does not become barren, drab, or dismal. As Rosegrant argues, Tolkien found ways to use his personal losses and struggles to address universal psychological issues in his art, giving his work great emotional sophistication and complexity.

Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss both deepens our understanding of Tolkien and helps us to recognize how Tolkien widens and enriches our understanding of life.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606354353
Publisher: Kent State University Press
Publication date: 01/04/2022
Pages: 220
Sales rank: 1,145,507
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Rosegrant is a practicing psychoanalyst who has published numerous papers on topics including play therapy, dreams, fairytales, Harry Potter, the World of Warcraft computer game, and Ursula Le Guin, and is also the author of The Gates of Inland Young Adult Fantasy series. His work on J. R. R. Tolkien has appeared in Tolkien Studies, Mythlore, and American Imago.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 Tolkien's Dialogue between Enchantment and Loss 15

2 My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me 32

3 Bilbo Baggins, the Master of Laketown, and the Fate of Enchantment 44

4 In Deep with The Hobbit 54

5 Mother Music 68

6 The Man-Maiden and the Spider with Horns 85

7 Seeing the Self in the Mirror of Galadriel 98

8 From the Ineluctable Wave to the Realization of Imagined Wonder 112

9 Something Has Gone Crack 129

10 The One Ring and Tom Bombadil 150

11 Late Life Loss of Transitionality 164

Epilogue 173

Notes 176

Bibliography 194

Index 203

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