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Old 11-10-2016, 10:55 PM   #1
Zigūr
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Utopian Intersections in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien

Hello all,

I thought I might follow up on some posts I made a while ago about completing my PhD thesis. I received my Doctorate at the end of September this year.

I know some Downers were interested to read it, and it is online, but in a way only accessible to students and staff of the University of Sydney, at http://hdl.handle.net/2123/15299

If anyone's still interested in reading it, I'd potentially be willing to share it via private message or similar, but understandably I'm a wee bit leery of distributing it too freely, so I'm considering my options.

In any event, here's the Abstract:
Quote:
This thesis argues for a new approach to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and specifically his "legendarium" of narratives centred around "The Silmarillion" and The Lord of the Rings. It proposes that Tolkien's literary position may be understood productively by exploring distinct and enlightening intersections of his fiction with the modern tradition of utopian literature and with recent utopian theory. The thesis contends that these intersections primarily occur in three ways. The first intersection occurs as a consistent anti-utopian argument in Tolkien's narratives according to the programmatic sense of utopianism which was standard during Tolkien's lifetime. The second intersection reads positive "eutopianism" in Tolkien's fiction through the lens of recent critical work in utopian studies that interprets utopianism as a radical and ontological literary methodology. The third utopian intersection engages with common themes in Tolkien's work and those of his contemporaries and precursors writing in the utopian mode. This approach critically analyses Tolkien in relation to leading recent utopian theorists, including Lyman Tower Sargent's definitions of the different kinds of utopianism, Ruth Levitas's work on utopian ontology and Lucy Sargisson's transgressive utopianism, which collectively offer a broader understanding of utopianism in literature. Tolkien's literary relationship with utopian writing is established through discussing his connections with one of his major influences, William Morris. Morris's authorship of distinctly utopian prose romances, including the canonical utopian text News from Nowhere, links Tolkien to other significant literary utopians from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Edward Bellamy and H.G. Wells, as well as to his contemporaries in the mid twentieth century, such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. Addressing these intersections enables a valuable means of understanding how Tolkien's narratives of a "Secondary World" reflect, interpret and represent the major themes and issues of the twentieth century. By responding to questions of modernity, industry and tyranny, Tolkien's narratives engage with ideas central to the utopian canon. Thus his works may be recognised as a related and associated form of literary discourse. By foregrounding the intersectional nature of utopianism as a means of reading literature in general, this thesis aims to produce an improved and enhanced understanding of Tolkien and his literary position.
Anyway, I thought I'd mention that I'm grateful to the Downs for being a place in which it was possible to discuss Professor Tolkien's work with aficionados, which I'm sure was useful for keeping the mental cogs turning. Cheers.
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Old 11-11-2016, 06:40 AM   #2
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I thought I might follow up on some posts I made a while ago about completing my PhD thesis. I received my Doctorate at the end of September this year.
Congratulations!!!
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:17 AM   #3
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Congratulations. It does look interesting - especially since I am a great admirer of Orwell, and I hope you find a rewarding way to make it more widely available.
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:17 PM   #4
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:22 PM   #5
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Thanks all. It was a nice experience to be able to get a qualification while writing about something I really enjoy discussing.

Given that I hold the copyright on it, I'm probably at liberty to privately share it, but I'm just going to do a bit of background research to make sure. Don't want to put any future publication opportunities at risk, obviously.
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Old 11-12-2016, 04:33 AM   #6
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That's great! I am very happy for you. Congratulations, and thanks for thinking of us - I hope you'll be able to share it with us, I am sure many of us would be interested!
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Old 11-12-2016, 10:16 PM   #7
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AintsaY General Axiom # 240.3c applies here, I think: If it's Tolkien-related and written by Zigūr I want to read it.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:46 AM   #8
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Thumbs up Congratulations!

Congratulations on finishing with your Ph.D., Zigūr! I'd be interested in reading it, particularly in terms of connections of Tolkien's works with those utopian ones of Edward Bellamy, who was very influential in his time. I first read Looking Backward in 1987, on the centenary of its first publication, and was amused by its reference to something called the 'credit card'.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Faramir Jones View Post
Congratulations on finishing with your Ph.D., Zigūr! I'd be interested in reading it, particularly in terms of connections of Tolkien's works with those utopian ones of Edward Bellamy, who was very influential in his time. I first read Looking Backward in 1987, on the centenary of its first publication, and was amused by its reference to something called the 'credit card'.
I have quite an extensive Tolkien-Bellamy comparison in the thesis, which hopefully might be a source of interest.

I'm still just double checking everything about distribution but I should be able to send it to those who have expressed interest in it forthwith.

As I say, just send me a private message if you want to read it.

Thanks again all for the kind words.
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:05 PM   #10
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And is "A Fountain of Mirth" a part of the dissertation? I quite liked that.

And of course congratulations on a job very well done.
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:24 PM   #11
Zigūr
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And is "A Fountain of Mirth" a part of the dissertation? I quite liked that.

And of course congratulations on a job very well done.
Thanks.

Actually my paper in the new publication is largely unrelated to the thesis. I had something of a habit, for better or worse, of composing Tolkien-related things in parallel to my thesis for conferences (and this publication) rather than using parts of my existing project. I think it was so that I could have a break.

In any event I apologise for not sending this through to anyone who has requested it yet, I've had things on my mind and am still looking into publication options.
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