Aug
01

July Update: It’s Like the Stepford Wives, but with Child Sacrifice

It’s hard to imagine John Ronald Reuel Tolkien as anything other than a white haired hobbit don, but in John Garth’s book Tolkien and the Great War, I saw another side to Tolkien. To me, Middle Earth has always been a world apart, grounded in real mythologies but something so completely ancient in spirit that…
Read More

Jun
30

June Update: In Which Immortality Isn’t All It’s Cracked up to Be

Just yesterday I finished Kwame Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, which certainly is a lot more philosophical reading than I am used to, but is fascinating nonetheless. The brief but vivid glimpses Appiah gives of his own eclectic life–visiting the Ashanti king with his intensely patriotic Ghanaian father, eating Ramadan feasts cooked…
Read More

Jun
01

Fantasy and Nationalism: Initial Thoughts and Future Plans

Many people know of the story of Frodo, a humble hobbit who embarks on a quest, along with a fellowship of representatives of various peoples, to destroy a powerful and dangerous magic ring. Fewer people might be familiar with American Gods, in which Shadow, an ex-convict whose wife dies on the day of his release…
Read More

Apr
14

Myth of a Nation: Fantasy and Nationalism

In a letter to a publisher in 1956, J.J.R. Tolkien claims that in writing The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion he hoped to create a national mythology for England, rooted in Anglo-Saxon and Norse lore. Even though later in the very same letter Tolkien acknowledges this urge as “absurd,” the sentiment remains important to interpreting his fantasy. While mythopoeia—myth creation—is…
Read More