CYNTHIA M. COHEN hen The Lord of the Rings was originally published (in 1954 and 1955), it became the first literary work to portray tree-like beings as ontologically distinct from regular trees. Before The Lord of the Rings and during Tolkien's lifetime, other authors who had imagined trees that did not behave or appear like trees of the Primary World had conceived of these creatures simply as trees--strange, extraordinary, malicious, or friendly trees--and they perceived no need to further distinguish them. For the purposes of this article, literary trees are divided into four categories: (1) trees that do nothing unusual, appearing essentially as Primary World trees; (2) trees that remain rooted in the ground but are able to talk, think, and/or feel; (3) trees that remain rooted but can move their branches or trunks as trees of the Primary World cannot; and (4) trees that can uproot themselves, physically moving from one place to another. These categories are augmentations: trees in all categories but the first can talk, think, and/or feel; and trees in the fourth category can move their branches or trunks as well as relocate themselves. When these categories are applied to The Lord of the
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jun 14, 2009
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