Notes and Documents SAURON, Mount Doom, and Elvish Moths: The Influence of Tolkien on Modern Science KRISTINE LARSEN .R.R. Tolkien once explained that Middle-earth was based on his "wonder and delight in the Earth as it is, particularly the natural Earth" (New York Times 18). Numerous authors have analyzed the influence of real-world science on Middle-earth, including Flieger, Quiñónez and Raggett, Manning, and Larsen. In turn, Tolkien's works have influenced a number of distinct disciplines, the most obvious being fantasy writing. In 1980, Attebery noted that "No important work of fantasy written After Tolkien is free of his influence, and many are merely halting imitations of his style and substance" (10). Even the most cursory examination of the voluminous Tolkien Music List demonstrates the impact Tolkien's subcreation has had on myriad musical genres. Less well-known is Middle-earth's influence on the teaching of composition, literature, and even astronomy (Stanton; Nelson; Larsen "Teaching"). This paper will examine a surprisingly rich yet largely neglected area of Tolkien's influence, namely that on real-world science and scientists. It has been documented that Middle-earth caught the attention of students and practitioners of science from the early days of Tolkien fandom. For example, in the
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: May 15, 2007
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