Friday, April 22, 2011

Final Project Ideas

I'm mainly interested in the meaning of history to Tolkien. He spent years upon years creating a world and a history, and then he wove The Lord of the Rings into this history. So, did the Lord of the Rings have a historical purpose? Does the enormous body of sub-created history behind Lord of the Rings make it more significant or powerful to us, as readers? Following from these questions, here's my idea for the final project:

Write the 12-15 page paper addressing these questions. As a starting point, I would probably look at the history itself. Does it follow a logical historical pattern, that can actually translate to what we consider to be history? Is it really supposed to act as history, or merely as legend? If it's purpose is to act as legend, does this necessarily disqualify it from being history? From here, I would move on to the junction of Tolkien's sub-created history and the actual story of Lord of the Rings. Is the "history" necessary to the story? Where do we see it, and what role does it play? Could we appreciate The Lord of the Rings without the historical backdrop? Lastly, I would look at some of Tolkien's outside sources, like his Letters, and The Notion Club Papers. In both of these sources, he touches upon his actual feelings concerning history, and the significance that they have for him and potentially his readers. Does the claims he makes about history in these sources translate to his sub-created history, and then into LotR?   I would, ideally, be able to find sources that expounded readers' views on Tolkien's "history" and it's place in LotR, but I'm not sure if those are available in published print (I don't think I can cite this blog!). If I could find something like that, however, I would be able to make a claim concerning whether or not Tolkien's "history" affected readers the way he wanted it to. That would be my ideal conclusion, but I'm not sure if it's possible....

El. O'B

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