Talks on Tolkien II: Patrick Curry on Enchantment & Hypermodernity

This week, I turn to the work of Patrick Curry, best known to Tolkien readers as the author of Defending Middle-earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (revised edition Houghton Mifflin, 2004) and Deep Roots in a Time of Frost: Essays on Tolkien (Walking Tree 2014); his publications also include works such as Ecological Ethics: An Introduction (revised edition, Polity Press, 2011) as well as many papers in journals and collections. He is a Canadian-born writer and scholar who has lived in London, England for over forty years. He holds a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from University College London and has been a lecturer at the University of Kent and Bath Spa University.

I’ve said that I wanted this Talks on Tolkien summer series to focus on interdisciplinary Tolkien studies, and Dr. Curry’s research is a good example. In trying to define his approach to Tolkien or his field of research, I’ve considered ecotheory, politics, cultural studies, philosophy, religious studies, history of science, literature … any one of these labels would suit and yet not cover the whole picture.

In the following talk, “The Third Road: Faerie in Hypermodernity,” recorded in 2011, Dr. Curry takes the concept of enchantment, primarily as defined by Tolkien, and examines how enchantment and disenchantment exist in our culture. Looking at the works of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Philip Pullman, he concludes with some thoughts on “hypermodernity.”

Dr. Curry has a wonderfully informative website where you can see a list of his books and his essays, reviews, and talks, with downloadable PDFs of many of them:


As always, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.



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