Where in the world is middle-earth?: A post-colonial reading of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Literature

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature


College of Liberal Arts


Literature, Department of


Awarded as best thesis, 1997


J.R.R. Tolkien is held by many as the father of modern Fantasy Literature. His works are held deep and profound by scholars throughout Europe and the United States, while enjoying an immense popular following all over the world. There are countless reading societies, publications, and books about his literature and linguistics. There has been a tremendous (and still increasing) amount of Role-playing Games, Computer games, and Collectible Card games set within his fantasy world of middle-earth. He is more popular now than he has ever have been in his lifetime. However, one might think that by this time, since his acknowledgment as a 'literary' author in the 70's, there are very few things to write about his works. However, a relatively new kind of thinking has developed late in the century, and is still being developed in centers of learning throughout the world. The concern of this thinking is the means which the Western countries, former colonizers of more than half of the world until relatively recently, maintain their power over the countries that were once their colonies. This hegemony is, according to the thinking that is being called Post-colonial theory and criticism, is carried out through the maintenance of the language of the colonizers, and the issues concerning it. The primary issue that is the concern of this thesis is the maintenance of norms by which makes a text literary. And in the west, what is literary is more often than not part of the canon of (English) literature. Post-colonial criticism is traveling in two different yet complimentary directions: the first is towards a recognition of texts written by Post-colonial writers: the revision the accepted tropes and trappings which decide if a text is literary the second direction is towards the revision of the present literary canon, to expose the texts within if there is within them the oppressive concepts and ideologies that ensure the perpetuation of western hegemony. I am going this direction I am examining J.R.R. Tolkien's les

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

157 numb. leaves


Fantasy in literature; Tolkien; JRR (John Ronald Reuel); 1892-1973 -- Settings; Reader-response criticism; Middle Earth (Imaginary place); Geographical myths; Tolkien; John Ronald Reuel-- Criticism and interpretation

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