“Beyond Romanticism: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Practical Agrarian Romance”

Professor Dickerson will explore one element of Tolkien’s comprehensive ecological vision expressed in his Middle-earth legendarium: the agrarianism of the Shire, and its contrast in the industrialized agriculture of Sauron and Saruman. While Tolkien’s works might be dismissed as mere romanticism–idyllic fantasy with no implications to our world–the talk will defend a claim that the underlying ecology in these works is fundamentally practical (at many levels). Thursday, October 23, 2008 4-5:30 p.m in the Prucha Archives Reading Room, John P. Raynor, S.J., Library (3rd floor).

Matthew Dickerson is the author of several books on the works of J.R.R.Tolkien, including Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings (Brazos Press, 2004); From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy (Brazos Press, 2006), which despite its title, focuses on the ideas of J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S.Lewis; and most recently, Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien (Culture of the Land) (University Press of Kentucky, 2006).

Dickerson is a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, where he is affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, the Department of Computer Science, and the Writing Program, and is also the director of the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Breadloaf. In addition to writing books about literature and ecology, he is also an avid angler and magazine and newspaper writer about fly fishing and the outdoors.

The event is free and open to all. A Marquette ID card is required to enter Raynor Library; members of the general public are welcome, but must pre-register at least 24 hours in advance of the program. Phone (414-288-5901) or Matt Blessing with questions concerning the event.