18 May 2014

Guest Post: 'What Hobbits Teach Us, Part 2'

by Anne Marie Gazzolo

Just as Bilbo was “chosen and selected” (The Hobbit 26) for his tasks, so are Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. The time at Crickhollow proves Aristotle’s words that friendship is “most indispensable for life.” The revelation of the conspiracy formed to ensure that Frodo does not leave on his own stuns the Ring-bearer. Merry tells his cousin of the fear that he, Pippin, and Sam have of what is ahead but also of their determination to face the peril with Frodo because of their friendship. Ralph C. Wood notes that if Sauron had heard and understood the power wrapped up in these words, “Barad-dûr would have been shaken to its foundations” (Gospel According to Tolkien 127).

Sauron would also find incomprehensible the innocent excitement of his mighty enemies, as the young hobbits dance around Frodo in celebration that their company is indeed welcome. Their fear has not left them, but the joy of being with the one they love overwhelms it. Implacable malice such as Sauron’s cannot understand such happiness; unwavering hate cannot fathom unconditional, sacrificial love; selfishness cannot penetrate the wisdom of selflessness. Love allows us to do amazing, even otherwise impossible, things, and these hobbits excel at love. “You are worth what your heart is worth,” Pope St. John Paul II said. This makes Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin priceless. As the Quest unfolds, the hobbits prove that “a friend is a friend at all times, it is for adversity that a brother is born” (Prov. 17:17).

12 May 2014

Call for Papers: "Worlds Made of Heroes"

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings – more specifically, The Fellowship of the Ring – the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies (CETAPS), and the Instituto de Literatura Comparada Margarida Losa (ILCML) have organised a Tolkien conference for November 6-7 of this year.

They are seeking papers, twenty minutes in length, which fit under the subject of "Worlds of Heroes". Suggested topics include:
  1. J. R. R. Tolkien’s works and their adaptations: intermedial dynamics
  2. Theorizing fantasy
  3. The hero’s role in fantasy and culture
  4. Travel literature and the construction of identity
  5. Ancient-classical origins of epic narratives
  6. The influence of epic fantasy on other genres
  7. Epic fantasy and mythology
  8. Epic fantasy and national identities
  9. Epic fantasy and social concerns
  10. Allegory vs reality: is this an issue or a false issue?
Interested parties should submit their proposals to tolkien@letras.up.pt by June 30. For more information on what is required, along with some other deadlines, please visit the Call for Papers link.