Online Articles of Interest
The articles listed below are certainly interesting, and worthy of reading. You’re probably asking yourself why they aren’t suitable for quoting in a school paper, though. It all comes down to remembering your CARS:
Credibility – is the source trustworthy? Is the author a well known authority on this subject? Has the material been reviewed by an editor or other source? What are the author’s credentials?
Accuracy – is the source up to date, detailed, complete, and correct?
Reasonableness – is the source fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, and with no slanted tone?
Support – does the source provide author information, and sources cited?
Of the above, the one that should most concern you in this instance is the first — credibility. Anybody can slap up a page about Tolkien or his works — what you have to do is be careful not to quote just anybody in your paper. Keep in mind that the Internet is a vast place — you could find anything that you could possibly conceive of to support your position if you tried hard enough. What is important is that you find positions and people who are credible sources to include in your papers — and the ones listed here, although of interest, do not fully meet the credibility test.
Degallier, Patrick. An analysis of the presence of evil in Beowulf and The Lord of the Rings. A long dissertation on the evil found in Lord of the Rings and Beowulf. Has several interesting points, as well as a good bibliography.†
Hargrove, Gene. Who is Tom Bombadil? Another essay similar to the one by Steuard Jensen, but comes to different conclusions. It’s very well written and contains links to other sources about Tom Bombadil. This, as well as the other article on Tom Bombadil, may not be considered ‘safe’ to use as a source for a paper, but it can certainly give you ideas as a starting off point.*
Jensen, Steuard. What is Tom Bombadil? The author, Steuard Jenson wrote this essay with help from usenet newsgroups and message boards, using them all to answer the complex question, “where did Tom come from?” Jensen does a lot of background research into most of Tolkien’s works in order to formulate his answer. Gives the reader a lot to think about.*
Kessler, Brian. Tolkien and the War. This essay (or mini-book) examines and attempts to refute the critics who try to categorize Tolkien as a post-WWI (and consequently as a post- WWII) author, or who try to base his works in either of the great wars. Kessler uses many outside resources apart from Tolkien’s works, including literature from actual war novelists, to back up his arguments that Tolkien’s literature should not be associated with WWI or WWII. Reads like a very long research paper.*
Lawless, Warren. Writings on Middle-Earth. A collection of 9 essays by Warren Lawless that inquire into historical aspects of Middle-Earth. They appear to be well-researched and present Tolkien’s themes combined with Lawless’ own creativity and imagination.*
Rilstone, Andrew. Is Tolkien Actually Any Good?. Rilstone has a very unusual perspective on why the works of Tolkien are special to a lot of people. He, in general, didn’t like Tolkien’s style of writing or the “over-complex history” that Tolkien came up with, but rather “it was the idea-of-elves, the idea-of-orcs, the idea-of-caves and the idea-of-dwarves. Dwarves; I read Tolkien because it was the only place I knew where I could get them.” It’s a very cool article to and is well-written and easy to read. Oh, and he really seems to like the dwarves!*
Vanheus, Peter. Elf and Faerie : The development of Elves in Tolkien’s Mythology. This article compares Tolkien’s elves to the concept of faeries and elves in other pieces of literature, and to the concept of faeries and elves that many people commonly think of. Also talks a little bit about where Tolkien may have gotten his ideas for the elves in his books. Written for the Tolkien Society periodical and uses several other published resources to form his arguments. It’s a very interesting read especially if you are interested in the other types of faeries and elves present in other literary works.*
* Abstract by Ringhilwen
† Abstract by Rivka