International Tolkien Reading Day: Theme of Friendship

Today, March 25 (the date of Sauron’s downfall) is Tolkien Reading Day, which originated with the Tolkien Society and finds readers around the world. The Tolkien Society has chosen “friendship” as the theme for 2015.

I hope you will read some Tolkien today. The theme of friendship can be explored in many ways in Tolkien, but if you’re interested in reading more about Tolkien’s handling of male friendships, you can take a look at a couple of articles I’ve written about the subject. The first is titled “ ‘Oh…Oh…Frodo!’: Readings of Male Intimacy in The Lord of the Rings” which was published in the scholarly journal Modern Fiction Studies in 2004. If you have a library subscription to Project Muse you can get it that way, but it’s also available on my Research webpage, or as a pdf download from the link above.

Another essay on the theme is the paper I delivered at the Tolkien 2005 conference in Birmingham, which was published in the Proceedings, The Ring Goes Ever On. A slightly expanded and revised version of that paper is available from my university’s digital repository (the Mount e-Commons) here: “Male Friendship in The Lord of the Rings: Medievalism, The First World War, and Contemporary Rewritings”.

Both of these articles place Tolkien’s representation of friendship in the context of World War I writers and include a look at contemporary fan fiction as an extension of some aspects of that.

A more recent piece has been published in a book edited by Christopher Vaccaro titled The Body in Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on Middle-earth Corporeality (McFarland, 2013). My essay, “Frodo’s Body: Liminality and the Experience of War” focuses on the psychological and physical state of Frodo, once again in the context of war writing, but it also includes a look at the role of his friend Sam. The link above will take you to the pre-publication version of the essay.

Happy Reading Day!

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