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Conference Proceeding

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Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences Proceedings

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Few books have enjoyed the publishing success seen in the last decade by J. R. R. Tolkien's epic fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Since the time of its paperback appearance in 1965 the work has not only attracted wide popular readership but has also stimulated a considerable body of scholarly criticism.1 As a work of fantasy, Tolkien's tale of struggle surrounding a ring of power has attracted most of its commentators to the areas of myth and linguistics, two of the sources upon which the author relied most heavily. Yet for all its epic dimensions, the trilogy has thus far failed co spur a similar inquiry into another of Tolkien's vital sources, the realm of history and the historical imagination.


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