One ring to rule them all... - About.com

One ring to rule them all...
About.com - June 2, 2004

The success of Peter Jackson's cinematic adaptation of The Lord of the Rings is a double-edged sword for J.R.R. Tolkien scholars endeavoring a serious study of the author's works. In a culture in which the camera is mightier than the pen, The Lord of the Rings has expanded its fan-base by hundreds of millions overnight. This gives scholars like Michael D.C. Drout an advantage when trying to bring Tolkien Studies, a new scholarly journal on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, to press.

On the flip side of this is the Trekkie phenomenon: The Lord of the Rings fanatics producing amateur creative work by the fortressload and disseminating it over the internet. While Mr. Drout admits there is a place for such endeavor, Tolkien Studies sets the bar a wee bit higher academically. In an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education ("Reaching for the Ring," June 2004), Drout describes the problem:

"Someone can write an article like the one I'm hoping to run soon that offers a poststructuralist-psychoanalytic reading of Gollum," he says. "It's brilliant. It's up there with the best critical work you might find written about Faulkner or Hemingway or Toni Morrison. But if you put that article next to somebody's pencil sketch of Queen Galadriel's mirror, or an article about 'stir-fried Balrog's wings,' no one will take it seriously."

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