Something Has Gone Crack: New Perspectives on J.R.R. Tolkien in the Great War
Something has gone crack, Tolkien wrote about the first death among his tight-knit fellowship of friends in 1916, and the impact of the war haunted his writing for the rest of his life. In Tolkien's body of work, the Great War serves as a source of imagery, motifs, and examples of military operations and strategy; of central themes about conflict, comradeship, duty, and the destruction of the environment; and of personal trauma which he worked out in meaningful symbolic form throughout his life. In this volume, we collect a variety of perspectives on the war's impact on Tolkien's writing, building upon earlier work in this area by filling in gaps in the scholarship and incorporating new material. We trace major themes in Tolkien's legendarium that had their roots in, or were heavily influenced by, his war experiences. It is essential to any study of the Great War not to assume that only the most frequently heard voices are important; the experiences and viewpoints of participants outside of the mainstream are also necessary to give us a full picture of the impact of war, and were not neglected by Tolkien. We therefore also explore issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. At this point in the study of J.R.R. Tolkien's life and works, the centrally important topic of his Great War experience is by no means exhausted. Our hope is that this collection is not the last word on the topic, but instead sparks new ideas and future scholarship.
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