Mapping Middle-Earth

Mapping Middle-Earth Environmental and Political Narratives in J. R. R. Tolkien's Cartographies - Perspectives on Fantasy

Hardback (22 Feb 2024)

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Publisher's Synopsis

In this cutting-edge study of Tolkien's most critically neglected maps, Anahit Behrooz examines how cartography has traditionally been bound up in facilitating power. Far more than just illustrations to aid understanding of the story, Tolkien's corpus of maps are crucial to understanding the broader narratives between humans and their political and environmental landscapes within his legendarium. Undertaking a diegetic literary analysis of the maps as examples of Middle-earth's own cultural output, Behrooz reveals a sub-created tradition of cartography that articulates specific power dynamics between mapmaker, map reader, and what is being mapped, as well as the human/nonhuman binary that represents human's control over the natural world. Mapping Middle-earth surveys how Tolkien frames cartography as an inherently political act that embodies a desire for control of that which it maps. In turn, it analyses harmful contemporary engagements with land that intersect with, but also move beyond, cartography such as environmental damage; human-induced geological change; and the natural and bodily costs of political violence and imperialism. Using historical, eco-critical, and postcolonial frameworks, and such theorists as Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway and Edward Said, this book explores Tolkien's employment of particular generic tropes including medievalism, fantasy, and the interplay between image and text to highlight, and at times correct, his contemporary socio-political epoch and its destructive relationship with the wider world.

Book information

ISBN: 9781350290761
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (UK)
Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
Pub date:
Language: English
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 454g
Height: 234mm
Width: 156mm
Spine width: 25mm