Monday, February 9, 2015

Literary Criticism - J.R.R. Tolkien and the concept of Applicability

J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is one of the few works of any medium or genre that sit at the top of both popular and critical opinion. While Tolkien’s narrative, in and of itself, would put the work in the company of the greatest works of fantasy, what, in my opinion, really sets it as above and beyond the greatest masterpiece of the genre is the body of literary theory that acted as a foundation for the work. While Tolkien is unquestionably the most imitated fantasy writer in history, few if any, of the thousands of books published each year seriously explore, never mind advance upon, the theoretical framework that holds the novel together. Many modern readers (and I suspect many modern fantasy writers) are not even aware that Tolkien wrote any literary theory. Because of this, I decided to do my part to spread awareness of this most overlooked part of Tolkien’s corpus by writing about one of my favorite of his theoretical ideas: the notion of Applicability.