Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien

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Janet Brennan Croft, Leslie A. Donovan
Mythopoeic Press, 2015 - Women in literature - 349 pages
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Since the earliest scholarship on The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, critics have discussed how the works of J. R. R. Tolkien seem either to ignore women or to place them on unattainable pedestals. To remedy such claims that Tolkien's fiction has nothing useful or modern to say about women, Perilous and Fair focuses critical attention on views that interpret women in Tolkien's works and life as enacting essential, rather than merely supportive roles. Perilous and Fair includes seven classic articles as well as seven new examinations of women in Tolkien's works and life. These fourteen articles bring together perspectives not only on Tolkien's most commonly discussed female characters-- Eowyn, Galadriel, and Luthien-but also on less studied figures such as Nienna, Yavanna, Shelob, and Arwen. Among others, the collection features such diverse critical approaches and methods as literary source study, historical context, feminist theory, biographical investigation, close-reading textual analysis, Jungian archetypes, and fanfiction reader-response.

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About the author (2015)

Janet Brennan Croft is Head of Access and Delivery Services and Faculty of Research and Instructional Services at the Rutgers University libraries. She is the author of War in the Works of J. R. R. Tolkien (Praeger, 2004; winner, Mythopoeic Society Award for Inklings Studies) and has written on the Peter Jackson films, J. K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, and other authors. She is the editor or co-editor of four collections of literary essays. She also edits the refereed scholarly journal Mythlore and serves on the Mythopoeic Press Editorial Board. Leslie A. Donovan is a Professor in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico, where she teaches interdisciplinary humanities courses for undergraduates. Among her publications are studies of valkyries in The Lord of the Rings (included in this collection), Tolkien's mythology, women saints' lives in Old English prose, the character of Hunferth in Beowulf, and various pedagogical topics. She has edited Approaches to Teaching Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Other Works forthcoming from the Modern Language Association. In addition, she is the Editor of the Mythopoeic Press.

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