“Dead Faces: J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Sergei Lukenyenko: War and Terrorism in Fantasy Literature"

3:30 pm on Tuesday, February 4, 2014
5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Room 113, Metcalf Science Center (SCI)
Danny Orbach, advanced doctoral candidate in History at Harvard University and IHI Graduate Fellow, will speak on how different paradigms of modern war are represented in fantasy literature, and how this relates to general processes of cultural change. He considers strategic ideas and paradigms underlying some of the most famous fantasy works of the 20th Century, from The Lord of the Rings through Night Watch, Sergei Lukenyenko's dark fantasy on the Cold War. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic, is pervaded by war, from skirmishes to battles to a larger than life "total world war" to shape an entire historical age. Tolkien, a WWI veteran, was influenced to the core by his experience in the trenches, echoed in descriptions such as Mordor and the Dead Marshes. But did his experience of modern total war have more covert influences on his created world? And on modern fantasy literature in general? And how did he maintain an older, even old-fashioned view of war as an arena of personal virtue in face of his experiences on the Western Front?