A fantastic analysis of Tolkien as cartographer.


The impetus for Tolkien’s writing career lies in the incredible suffering he experienced and witnessed in the trenches in World War I. On his return from France, he began to write; in writing The Hobbit, he “created a mythology for England” (Carpenter 100). His intent was to “make a body of … connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story…which [he] would dedicate simply: to England; to [his] country” (Carpenter 101). However, his entire life up to this point helped him to create and put flesh on the bones of this body. His early interest in language and his need to give his language a history and genealogy, coupled with his love of calligraphy, drawing, and poetry, work together to imbue The Hobbit with depth and substance. We don’t need to travel to this world. Through his words and maps, he draws us…

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