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An Inspired Alias? J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins ‘Underhill’ and Fr Gerard Albert Plunket ‘Underhill’, O.P. (1744–1814)1

An Inspired Alias? J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins ‘Underhill’ and Fr Gerard Albert Plunket... One of the most significant instances of renaming in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s use of Underhill as a traveling name, has not been the subject of scholarly analysis. This article argues that Tolkien may have chosen the name Underhill for his central protagonist due to the specific inspiration of Fr Albert Plunket ‘Underhill’ (1744–1814), the English Dominican priest who founded the eighteenth-century Catholic mission at Leeds and who, alone, prevented the abandonment of the English province by the Dominican moment. Like Frodo, in his quest to destroy the Ring, it was Fr Albert alone who refused to give up hope and persevere whatever the odds. Moreover, like Frodo, Fr Albert and his wider family adopted the use of Underhill as an alias to avoid danger and persecution. This article analyses these and other parallels between the life of Fr Albert ‘Underhill’ in the primary world and Frodo ‘Underhill’ in the secondary, situates Fr Albert’s life in its wider historical contexts, and demonstrates the occasions and routes by which Tolkien could have been made aware of Fr Albert and his pivotal role in the re-evangelization of Protestant England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Inklings Studies Edinburgh University Press

An Inspired Alias? J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins ‘Underhill’ and Fr Gerard Albert Plunket ‘Underhill’, O.P. (1744–1814)1

Journal of Inklings Studies , Volume 12 (2): 23 – Oct 1, 2022

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2045-8797
eISSN
2045-8800
DOI
10.3366/ink.2022.0153
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

One of the most significant instances of renaming in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s use of Underhill as a traveling name, has not been the subject of scholarly analysis. This article argues that Tolkien may have chosen the name Underhill for his central protagonist due to the specific inspiration of Fr Albert Plunket ‘Underhill’ (1744–1814), the English Dominican priest who founded the eighteenth-century Catholic mission at Leeds and who, alone, prevented the abandonment of the English province by the Dominican moment. Like Frodo, in his quest to destroy the Ring, it was Fr Albert alone who refused to give up hope and persevere whatever the odds. Moreover, like Frodo, Fr Albert and his wider family adopted the use of Underhill as an alias to avoid danger and persecution. This article analyses these and other parallels between the life of Fr Albert ‘Underhill’ in the primary world and Frodo ‘Underhill’ in the secondary, situates Fr Albert’s life in its wider historical contexts, and demonstrates the occasions and routes by which Tolkien could have been made aware of Fr Albert and his pivotal role in the re-evangelization of Protestant England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Journal

Journal of Inklings StudiesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2022

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