College of Arts and Sciences
art, authorship, beauty, Coleridge, craftsmanship, domination, dunamis, enchantment, fancy, fëa, fëar, fire, Flame Imperishable, goeteia, Great Tale, Holy Spirit, Imperishable Flame, light, machine, magia, magic, magician, Middle-earth, Music of the Ainur, necromancy, occult, power, Second Music, Secret Fire, soul, spell, spirit, story, subcreate, subcreation, sub-creation, subcreator, telos, Tolkien
Aesthetics | Catholic Studies | Children's and Young Adult Literature | Christianity | Fine Arts | Literature in English, British Isles | Modern Literature | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Theory and Criticism
Toth, Nathanael S., "Enchantment: A Teleology" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 867.
Despite the highly developed nature of his fictional world, Middle-earth, Tolkien never formally laid out a tabulated magic system for his fantasy creation. Nevertheless, unlike many stories by others in the fantasy genre, the magic he does include is far from just a shallow, world-building mechanism. Instead, it encapsulates the core theme of his fiction and the purposes which Ilúvatar (the God of Middle-earth) has given to the story’s many characters.
This paper will examine the nature and function of this magic from many angles: the identification of good magic with art and evil magic with domination; the delineation between good and evil magics; the source of magic; the intricate relation between magic and the inner being of the individual; the connection between magic and the activity of Ilúvatar; and the status of magic as a multi-level, self-conscious contemplation of Story itself. In other words, this paper will be a teleology of magic, an exploration of Tolkien’s purpose and meaning for this power in his work.
Aesthetics Commons, Catholic Studies Commons, Children's and Young Adult Literature Commons, Christianity Commons, Fine Arts Commons, Literature in English, British Isles Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons, Theory and Criticism Commons