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The "Lost" Subject of Middle-earth: The Constitution of the Subject in the Figure of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings

The "Lost" Subject of Middle-earth: The Constitution of the Subject in the Figure of Gollum in... GERGELY NAGY ne of the greatest things about The Lord of the Rings is that it takes language seriously,1 and it does so in more than one sense. The text contains a variety of linguistic and stylistic registers in elaborately wrought rhetorical structures which often "cluster" around characters or points of the narration, frameworks which characterize one figure or one situation, charging these textual foci with a great depth of poetic reserve. It also takes poetic and stylistic convention seriously: Tolkien's use of different literary traditions, styles, and modes of writing has often been noted.2 But in this remarkable awareness of the centrality of language, The Lord of the Rings also places emphasis on the source of the linguistic utterance, the forces that produce language--the speaking subject on the one hand, and the frameworks inside which that subject is situated on the other.3 The speaking subject of Middle-earth is somewhat different from that of the "real world"--as is only fitting in a fiction which is itself radically different from "consensus reality." For one thing, Tolkien's medieval(ist) point of view is constantly visible in the background suppositions of meaning-production in Middle-earth: the subject in this world is part of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tolkien Studies West Virginia University Press

The "Lost" Subject of Middle-earth: The Constitution of the Subject in the Figure of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien Studies , Volume 3 (1) – May 9, 2006

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
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Copyright © 2006 West Virginia University Press.
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1547-3163
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Abstract

GERGELY NAGY ne of the greatest things about The Lord of the Rings is that it takes language seriously,1 and it does so in more than one sense. The text contains a variety of linguistic and stylistic registers in elaborately wrought rhetorical structures which often "cluster" around characters or points of the narration, frameworks which characterize one figure or one situation, charging these textual foci with a great depth of poetic reserve. It also takes poetic and stylistic convention seriously: Tolkien's use of different literary traditions, styles, and modes of writing has often been noted.2 But in this remarkable awareness of the centrality of language, The Lord of the Rings also places emphasis on the source of the linguistic utterance, the forces that produce language--the speaking subject on the one hand, and the frameworks inside which that subject is situated on the other.3 The speaking subject of Middle-earth is somewhat different from that of the "real world"--as is only fitting in a fiction which is itself radically different from "consensus reality." For one thing, Tolkien's medieval(ist) point of view is constantly visible in the background suppositions of meaning-production in Middle-earth: the subject in this world is part of

Journal

Tolkien StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: May 9, 2006

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