Peter Roe Series XVIII


Death and Immortality in Middle-earth: Proceedings of The Tolkien Society Seminar 2016.


J.R.R. Tolkien deplored allegory and rejected any suggestion that The Lord of the Rings has an inner meaning or message. In reading back the tale, however, he became aware of a dominant motif:

The real theme for me is […] Death and Immortality: the mystery of the love of the world in the hearts of a race “doomed” to leave and seemingly lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race “doomed” not to leave it, until its whole evil-aroused story is complete’ (Letters, p. 246).

Despite the lucidity of this statement, the theme of death and immortality has been left relatively unexplored in Tolkien studies. In recognition of this, and to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, The Tolkien Society called for presentations on this important topic for its seminar in Leeds on 3 July 2016. Published under the auspices of the Society’s Peter Roe Memorial Fund, this book features a collection of twelve papers delivered on the day by aspiring and established Tolkien scholars alike.


Introduction - Daniel Helen

Tolkien and the Somme - Matthew B. Rose 

Tolkien and T.S. Eliot: the waste land and a fallen king - Tânia Azevedo

Tolkien and disability: the narrative function of disabled characters in Middle-earth - Irina Metzler

Facing death: how characters in The Lord of the Rings meet the prospect of their own demise and the loss of others - Giovanni Carmine Costabile

The elven perspective of life, death and immortality, and its influence on humanity - Aslı Bülbül Candaş

Mortal immortals: the fallibility of elven immortality in Tolkien’s writing - Anna Milon

Gifts in harmony? A philological exploration of Tolkien’s invented words for ‘life’ and ‘death’ - Andrew Higgins

Music of life: the creation of Middle-earth - Sarah Rose 

Transmission: an escape from death in Tolkien’s work? - Gaëlle Abaléa 

Recurrent pattern of the Fall in Tolkien’s legendarium Massimiliano Izzo 

Frodo and Saruman: euformation, dysformation, and immortality in The Lord of the Rings - Adam B. Shaeffer

‘Tears are the very wine of blessedness’: joyful sorrow in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings - Dimitra Fimi [This article has won the TS Awards 2018].



Death and Immortality in Middle-earth: Peter Roe Series XVII

SKU: 9781911143338
  • Paperback edition.

    Cover Illustration: The Second Sorrow of Túrin by Peter Xavier Price

    Cover Design: Jay Johnstone

    218 Pages. 178 x 127 mm
    On Sale date 01/12/2017
    ISBN: 9781911143338

    e-Book ISBN: 9781911143345

  • "Even if one attended the seminar or watched the videos,however, one would gain something from reading the book. For one thing, severalof the essays have been revised and expanded from their oral form. [...] Almost every contribution makes some excellent points, all of them have something to offer, and a few of the essays are worth the price of the book all bythemselves. Some of the entries will be helpful starting points to those new to thefield, while others allow new perspectives even to seasoned scholars. The contributions of Metzler, Higgins, and Fimi were especially riveting andinsightful." By Dr. Amy Amendt-Raduege - Journal of Tolkien Research