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The Gospel of Gollum by Italian scholar Ivano Sassanelli

A man stands in an olive grove. He wears glasses and has a black beard and moustache.
Ivano Sassanelli

Luna Press has acquired World English Rights for The Gospel of Gollum, by Dr Ivano Sassanelli, for release in 2025.

The first time we had the pleasure of working with Ivano Sassanelli, was for Follow Me: Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction, which came out this past summer. His article was titled, "Who Is Eru? Literary, ethical, and theological reflections about God and Religion in Tolkien’s Middle-earth".

It is, therefore, with renewed happiness that welcome Ivano officially to the Luna Family!

In 2020, his book Tolkien e il vangelo di Gollum, was released in Italy, and we are now very excited to be able to bring you his research in English.

The cover art will be by the talented Tolkien artist, Jay Johnstone.

Ivano on The Gospel of Gollum:

The Gospel of Gollum may seem like an unusual title for a text about Fantasy and such a particular character. We have often wondered what Gollum represents: the symbol of the internal struggle between Good and Evil. Or, the prototype of a schizophrenic and a bipolar person. Or, finally, the perfect representation of an addict. In our opinion, he is none of these. Tolkien himself says that Gollum is not a “type” but he is a creature who, in given circumstances, behaves in certain ways. Sméagol and Gollum are not two antithetical and opposite parts: we cannot have a Manichean vision of this character. Gollum is like each of us: in a constant struggle between different, sometimes conflicting, ways of reasoning; with the same confusing thoughts that put us in crisis. It is precisely in this internal diatribe that the Pity and Mercy of many characters, such as Eru, Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and Faramir, find their way through the pages.

In The Gospel of Gollum, we ask ourselves: could Tolkien have, as a man, a Catholic, and a writer, constructed the character of Gollum as a possible exemplification or personification of the passage from the Gospel of Luke: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Lk 12,34)?

To answer this question, we will use an academic approach tasked with showing some of the most important aspects of Gollum’s life and Italian Tolkien scholarship.

About Ivano Sassanelli:

He was born in Bari (Apulia-Italy) in 1986 and is Adjunct Professor of Canon Law at the Apulian Theological Faculty of Bari. He was awarded Bachelor’s Degree in Theology at the Apulian Theological Faculty of Bari (2010), Licence in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas – Angelicum of Rome (2013), Doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome (2015), Master Degree in Law at the LUM University of Casamassima-Bari (2017) and Ph.D. in Bioethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum of Rome (2023). He is the Director of the Academic and Interdisciplinary Series of Fantastic Studies and Contemporary Culture “Eucatastrophe” (Dots Edizioni, Bari) and the Co-director of the series “Diritto canonico, comparazione giuridica e multiculturalità” at the Cacucci Editor of Bari. He studies the relationship between Ethics, Religion, Communication, and Fantasy in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Exhibition “The Tree of Tales”. In March 2023 he participated as a speaker at the Conference “G.B. Smith and J.R.R. Tolkien: a meaningful friendship” at the Corpus Christi College – University of Oxford. He has published several scientific articles and academic essays (for example: Religious and Catholic: Primary and Secondary World in Tolkien’s Letter no. 142, in G. Pezzini – E. O’Brien (eds.), Tolkien and the Relation between Sub-creation and Reality, inInklings Studies Supplement, vol. 3, 2023, pp. 107-127; and Who Is Eru?. Literary, ethical, and theological reflections about God and Religion in Tolkien’s Middle-earth", in F.T. Barbini (ed.), Follow Me: Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Luna Press Publishing, Edinburgh 2023, pp. 1-19) and five monographs (such as: Il Professore e il Poeta. Viaggio nel desiderio umano con Tolkien e Dante, Dots Edizioni, Bari 2023; and Tolkien e il vangelo di Gollum, Cacucci, Bari 2020).



The Gospel of Gollum will be released in 2025 - keep in touch through our newsletter to follow the publication progress.

Once again: Welcome, Ivano!

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