My earlier paper for this class began with a description of how my own childhood experiences contributed to my feeling ‘at home’ in Tolkien’s Shire. But through all the decades since my first introduction to that world, I have been content to simply be a reader. I have always been a bit in awe of people who channel their love of Middle-earth into more concrete expression: those who write fan-fiction, compose music, sew their own elven gowns or hammer out their own blades. So when I first saw an example online of a full-size ‘hobbit house,’ it seemed like only a larger manifestation of that same impulse. As I read blogs and articles about various hobbit homes, however, I began to realize that there is something different about this phenomenon. Hobbit homes are finding their way out of fandom and into the wider world.
This study explores how the reception of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has changed over time in regard to Galadriel and her relinquishing of the One Ring with an especial focus on 21st century reception. Divided into two main sections, the first section makes use of Dimitra Fimi and J. R. R. Tolkien’s letters to provide a framework for examining my own response to Galadriel and her refusal of the Ring. The second section uses a cultural studies approach to investigate the reception of Galadriel with respect to 21st century readers and fans based on five online texts.
One major component of the gothic tradition that has been persistently overlooked, and yet has been present since the beginning is organized religion. Most, if not all, gothic stories deal with the church as an institution. The gothic genre has always had, and continues to have, a very split view of the church. Sometimes the church is portrayed as a positive institution, sometimes negative. In order to understand the complex nature of the relationship between gothic literature and organized religion, several aspects need to be examined: the gothic elements of the church, the positive and negative aspects of the institution, and the role of the church as seen throughout gothic literature.
That Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin Tales were an important precedent for Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of Sherlock Holmes is well known. From Watson remarking to Holmes in A Study in Scarlet that “you remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin” (24), the influence can be felt throughout the canon…Poe’s “Tales of Ratiocination” are not so much detective stories in the mode pioneered by Doyle and adapted by the likes of Sayers and Christie, but rather stand as exempla for the treatise which their narrator denies having written. If Conan Doyle took anything from Poe it was this – the use of his stories to explore a philosophy of rationalism. “Explore” rather than “exemplify”, since Sherlock is not the only rational creature in his universe (difficult though that might be for Sherlock to grasp). His brother Mycroft, his ally Lestrade, and his nemesis Moriarty are all ratiocinators of a sort, as are others. None of them are Holmes of course, but that, as we shall see, is the point.