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In this volume, Anne Petty aims to show that when viewed through the combined methodologies of Joseph Campbell, Vladimir Propp, and Claude Levi-Strauss a folkloristic/mythic structure is seen to underlie Tolkien's epic work. "The Lord of the Rings" is 20th-century mythology manifested in the familiar pattern of the three-stage hero quest made popular by Campbell - departure, initiation, and return - and in the elemental motifs of folktales, as discovered by Propp and expanded upon by Levi-Strauss. This cross-disciplinary analysis shows that Tolkien presented to modern readers and other writers a rich array of reinvented mythic archetypes and icons; the desperate quest (good vs evil); a magical object that embodies or initiates the quest (the ring); the wise wizard who oversees or aids the quest (Gandalf); the reluctant hero, an ordinary person with untapped abilities (Frodo); the hero's loyal friend and supporter (Sam); the warrior king whose true identity is hidden (Strider/Aragorn); and the goddess figure (Galadriel) amongst others. Petty asserts her idea that through "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" Tolkien created a fully realized world that evokes a sense of authentic history and is imbued with clarity and a beauty of linguistic expression, a world that continues to draw new audiences to the myth of Middle Earth.
The University of Alabama Press
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