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Tolkien Studies

In addition to being the world’s most famous author of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien was a professor of early medieval English language and literature in Leeds and Oxford. I have published on the influence of Tolkien’s scholarly endeavours, as well as his Anglo-Saxon sources, on his fantasy fiction. I also regularly lecture on Tolkien (see Lectures) and teach an MA course on the medieval influences on Tolkien’s fiction (see Teaching).

  • Thijs Porck, “Reshaping the Germanic Economy of Honour: Gift Giving in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings“, in The World Tolkien Built, ed. R. Vink (Beverwijk: Unquendor & Uitgeverij IJmond, 2019), 7-26.

An article that contrasts the role of gift giving in Old English poems like Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

  • Thijs Porck, “De Middeleeuwen in Midden-aarde: J. R. R. Tolkien en zijn Oudengelse inspiratiebronnen”, in De populaire Middeleeuwen, special issue Madoc. Tijdschrift over de Middeleeuwen 32 (2018), 195–205.

An article about Tolkien’s Old English sources for a special issue on modern adaptation of the Middle Ages for a Dutch popular-scientific journal on the Middle Ages.

  • ‘New roads and secret gates, waiting around the corner: Investigating Tolkien’s other Anglo-Saxon sources’, in Tolkien Among Scholars, ed. N. Kuijpers, R. Vink and C. van Zon (2017 [for 2016], Beekbergen: Tolkien Genootschap Unquendor), 49-64 [Book for sale here for €16,50]

This article outlines briefly the methodology of studying Tolkien’s sources and then attempts to move beyond the early medieval English sources that have so often been the topic of research, such as Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon. The paper proposes hitherto unnoticed links between Tolkien’s fiction and Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, Old English law codes and early medieval English archaeology.

Publisher’s version PDF in CORE

  • ‘Tolkien Among Scholars: An Introduction’, in Tolkien Among Scholars, ed. N. Kuijpers, R. Vink and C. van Zon (2017 [for 2016], Beekbergen: Tolkien Genootschap Unquendor), 7-16 [Book for sale here for €16,50]

An introduction to the volume of conference proceedings of the international Tolkien conference ‘Tolkien Among Scholars’, organised at Leiden University (see Conferences).

Publisher’s version PDF in CORE

  • ‘The Bones in the Soup: The Anglo-Saxon Flavour of Tolkien’s The Hobbit’, in Lembas Extra: 2012 Edition, ed. C. van Zon (2012, Beekbergen: Tolkien Genootschap Unquendor), 65–74.

In this chapter, I discuss the use of Anglo-Saxon literature and culture in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Publisher’s version PDF in CORE

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