Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-9867-5 • Hardback • November 2019 • $100.00 • (£77.00)
978-1-4985-9869-9 • Paperback • February 2022 • $39.99 • (£31.00)
978-1-4985-9868-2 • eBook • November 2019 • $90.00 • (£69.00)
Mark G. Doyle is professor of English and chair of the Humanities Department at Marion Military Institute.
Introduction: Tolkien’s Popularity and Its Relationship with His Utopian and Dystopian Themes
Chapter 1: Tolkien and Traditional Utopias and Dystopias
Chapter 2: The Sources of Tolkien’s Utopian and Dystopian Vision
Chapter 3: How the Environment Becomes Creation in Tolkien’s Societies
Chapter 4: Tolkien’s Utopian and Dystopian Mythology
Chapter 5: Tolkien’s Utopian and Dystopian Politics
Epilogue: The Struggle for Tolkien’s Utopian and Dystopian Legacy
Mark Doyle’s Utopia and Dystopia in Tolkien's Legendarium contributes to the growing body of scholarly work demonstrating how deeply Tolkien’s literary imagination is rooted in social, ethical, philosophical, and religious traditions from the middle ages to the 20th century. In prose that is at once academically rigorous yet accessible to all readers, Professor Doyle gives the lie to naive assumptions that Tolkien’s legendarium as a whole springs from (or coddles) simplistic idealism or dewy-eyed romanticism. The author analyzes Tolkien’s works within the larger history of utopian and dystopian literary genres from Victorian medievalism to 20th-century modernism and postmodernism. Properly respectful that the sources of Tolkien’s environmental ethic are more religious and Catholic than secular and Romantic, Professor Doyle mediates the false dichotomy of pagan/Christian exposed in Claudio Testi’s Pagan Saints in Middle-earth and satisfyingly situates Tolkien’s religiously inspired environmentalism in the context of papal encyclicals touching on society, the good life, and the good creation of a good Creator. His book can be read profitably alongside Marc DiPaolo’s Fire and Snow and Susan Jeffers’s Arda Inhabited, whose themes are corroborated and extended in this book. Uniquely, Doyle explores elements of anarchism, distributionism, and Toryism in Tolkien’s political philosophy, which espoused an ethic of freedom that is not antinomian but recognizes that authoritarian controls aiming at the construction of utopias invariably have results opposed to their idealistic aims, to the detriment and destruction of the good. The book is essential.
— Jonathan Evans, University of Georgia
Blending historical analysis of Tolkien's medieval sourcing with hypercontemporary ecocritical insight, Mark Doyle's Utopia and Dystopia in Tolkien's Legendarium inaugurates a new age for the study of Lord of the Rings as it unpacks both the utopian impulses that have led so many readers to wish Middle-earth was their home and the ever-resurgent dystopian tendencies that threaten to conquer both that world and this one.
— Gerry Canavan, Associate Professor of 20th and 21st Century Literature, Marquette University, author of Octavia E. Butler