Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is, of course, neither the earliest nor the only work of fantasy that has exerted an influence on the development of the genre. Yet it is arguably one of the most important sources for many of the key texts of 20th and 21st century fantasy and is very often used as a work of reference (author xy is “the new Tolkien”, “the Tolkien of xy” etc.). Its enormous popularity has made it almost impossible to ignore or even to avoid contact with its key-elements and stock-characters, such as maps, magic rings, elves, dwarves, wizards etc. They have been adapted by numerous later writers and artists and have become familiar icons of popular culture. Writing fantasy seemed, for a long time, to offer only two choices: to write in the tradition established by Tolkien, or against it. Recent authors, however, approach the ‘tradition’ with greater freedom and while acknowledging their debt to Tolkien, they no longer feel bound by the ‘authority’ of the master. This development has been furthered by a general trend towards the transgression of genre borders and the posthumous publication of much of the background material related to the ‘sub-creation’ of Middle-earth has opened up new vistas and provided ample opportunities for independent ‘sub-creation’.
The Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena is hosting the 9th Seminar of the Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (DTG) from 27-29 April 2012. The Seminar aims at exploring the various aspects of Tolkien’s influence (or, alternatively, non-influence) on the development of fantasy and contributions (either in German or English) not only from scholars but also writers/authors and other artists are welcome.
Please send a short abstract of your paper (no longer than one page) till 30 November 2011 to Thomas Fornet-Ponse: firstname.lastname@example.org.