Cover image for The Lord of the rings and philosophy : one book to rule them all
The Lord of the rings and philosophy : one book to rule them all
Bassham, Gregory, 1959-
Publication Information:
Chicago : Open Court ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 240 pages ; 23 cm.
Pt. 1. The ring. The rings of Tolkien and Plato : lessons in power, choice, and morality / Eric Katz -- The cracks of doom : the threat of emerging technologies and Tolkien's rings of power / Theodore Schick -- "My precious" : Tolkien's fetishized ring / Alison Milbank -- pt. 2. The quest for happiness. Tolkien's six keys to happiness / Gregory Bassham -- The quests of Sam and Gollum for the happy life / Jorge J.E. Gracia -- "Farewell to Lórien" : the bounded joy of existentialists and elves / Eric Bronson -- pt. 3. Good and evil in Middle-earth. Überhobbits : Tolkien, Nietzsche, and the will to power / Douglas K. Blount -- Tolkien and the nature of evil / Scott A. Davison -- Virtue and vice in The Lord of the rings / Aeon J. Skoble -- pt. 4. Time and mortality. Choosing to die : the gift of mortality in Middle-earth / Bill Davis -- Tolkien, modernism, and the importance of tradition / Joe Kraus -- Tolkien's green time : environmental themes in The Lord of the rings / Andrew Light -- pt. 5. Ends and endings. Providence and the dramatic unity of The Lord of the rings / Thomas Hibbs -- Talking trees and walking mountains : Buddhist and Taoist themes in The Lord of the rings / Jennifer L. McMahan and B. Steve Csaki -- Sam and Frodo's excellent adventure : Tolkien's journey motif / J. Lenore Wright -- Happy endings and religious hope : The Lord of the rings as an epic fairy tale / John J. Davenport.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6039.O32 L6356 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Lord of the Rings is intended to be applicable to the real world of relationships, religion, pleasure, pain, and politics. Tolkien himself said that his grand tale of wizards, orcs, hobbits, and elves was aimed at truth and good morals in the actual world.
Analysis of the popular appeal of The Lord of the Rings (on websites and elsewhere) shows that Tolkien fans are hungry for discussion of the urgent moral and cosmological issues arising out of this fantastic epic story.
Can political power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is it morally wrong to give up hope? Can we find meaning in chance events?
In The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, seventeen young philosophy professors, all of them ardent Tolkien fans and most of them contributors to the four earlier volumes in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series, address some of these important issues and show how clues to their solutions may be found in the imaginary world of Middle-earth. The book is divided into five sections, concerned with Power and the Ring, the Quest for Happiness, Good and Evil in Middle-earth, Time and Mortality,and the Relevance

Table of Contents

Eric KatzTheodore SchickAlison MilbankGregory BasshamJorge J.E. GraciaEric BronsonDouglas K. BlountScott A. DavisonAeon J. SkobleBill DavisJoe KrausAndrew LightThomas HibbsJennifer L. McMahon and B. Steve CsakiJ. Lenore WrightJohn J. Davenport
Acknowledgmentsp. x
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introduction: The Wisdom of Middle-earthp. 1
Part I The Ringp. 3
1. The Rings of Tolkien and Plato: Lessons in Power, Choice, and Moralityp. 5
2. The Cracks of Doom: The Threat of Emerging Technologies and Tolkien's Rings of Powerp. 21
3. "My Precious": Tolkien's Fetishized Ringp. 33
Part II The Quest for Happinessp. 47
4. Tolkien's Six Keys to Happinessp. 49
5. The Quests of Sam and Gollum for the Happy Lifep. 61
6. "Farewell to Lorien": The Bounded Joy of Existentialists and Elvesp. 72
Part III Good and Evil in Middle-Earthp. 85
7. Uberhobbits: Tolkien, Nietzsche, and the Will to Powerp. 87
8. Tolkien and the Nature of Evilp. 99
9. Virtue and Vice in The Lord of the Ringsp. 110
Part IV Time and Mortalityp. 121
10. Choosing to Die: The Gift of Mortality in Middle-earthp. 123
11. Tolkien, Modernism, and the Importance of Traditionp. 137
12. Tolkien's Green Time: Environmental Themes in The Lord of the Ringsp. 150
Part V Ends and Endingsp. 165
13. Providence and the Dramatic Unity of The Lord of the Ringsp. 167
14. Talking Trees and Walking Mountains: Buddhist and Taoist Themes in The Lord of the Ringsp. 179
15. Sam and Frodo's Excellent Adventure: Tolkien's Journey Motifp. 192
16. Happy Endings and Religious Hope: The Lord of the Rings as an Epic Fairy Talep. 204
The Wisdom of the Philosophersp. 219
The Fellowship of the Bookp. 225
The Wizard's Indexp. 229