Tolkien’s Classical Beowulf and England’s Heroic Age Jane Chance .R.R. Tolkien’s writing is not generally regarded today as having been greatly inu fl enced by the classics. However, in the mid--eight ies, Robert E. Morse noted that just as the modern poet “[T. S.] Eliot sees Vergil, not a Nordic myth, at the center of European civilization,” rather surprisingly, “if we look, we may find he is at the heart of Middle Earth” ( Evocation of Virgil 55). Believing that Tolkien was trying t - o un derstand how Virgil had “revitalized” the epic form—which he sought to do as well in The Lord of the Rin — gsMorse singled out their common denominator as the two authors’ shared reliance on hE ivo stc o ar tiy ( on of Virgil 53). Further, Morse added, “The languages, geography, and political ties described in The Lord of the Rings are reminiscent of Rome, the Latin League, and Rome’s empire” ( Evocation of Virgil 45). This observation may come as no surprise: Tolkien had studied both Latin and Greek from the age of eleven at K ing Edward’s School and received a Classical Exhibition Prize at Exeter, where h - e
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Oct 27, 2018
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