CFP: Worlds made of Heroes

On the 60th anniversary of the publication of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

6-7 November 2014

Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto

CETAPS – Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies

ILCML – Instituto de Literatura Comparada Margarida Losa

J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has been read and transformed in multiple ways, its narrative meticulously examined, its symbols analysed, its text regarded as configuring different allegories.

Indeed, the novels became the best-known and most celebrated epic fantasy trilogy in the 20th century preserving their preponderance throughout more recent times. Whether in literature, cinema or music, countless works have been produced in their shadow, both as mere derivative pieces and as original fictions with an active and distinctive voice. As clearly shown by numerous studies in wide areas of literary theory and criticism as well as in comparative literature, Tolkien’s legacy is both literary and cultural, and its influence pours out in many postmodern representations of man and nature, thus recreating the old traditional paths of epic fantasy and fantastic literature overall.

Derived as they were from the absorption and transformation of a sizeable body of mythological works in a number of languages, Tolkien’s mythopoetic compositions have themselves spawned a wealth of intermedial adaptations, from illustrations and radio plays to films, comic books, heavy metal and folk songs, operas, videogames, role playing games (RPG), spoofs… Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) is perhaps the greatest example of all, having contributed so far to further popularize Tolkien’s work and to awake a global epic fantasy euphoria. Literary and cultural questionings will be discussed alongside with intermedial dynamics within
the context of Tolkien’s work and its multiple versions and expansions. Ultimately, at a narratological level, a particular interest will be given to textual analyses around rhetorical/ stylistic features and devices that further reveal important ideological layers.

In order to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of the trilogy’s first volume – The Fellowship of the Ring –, the Porto Tolkien’s Conference “Worlds made of Heroes” invites submissions of 20-minute papers in English (preferably) or Portuguese in any of the above mentioned themes. Suggested topics include:

1 – J. R. R. Tolkien’s works and their adaptations: intermedial dynamics
2 – Theorizing epic fantasy
3 – The hero’s role in epic fantasy and culture
4 – Travel literature and the construction of identity
5 – Ancient-classical origins of epic narratives
6 – The influence of epic fantasy on other genres
7 – Epic fantasy and mythology
8 – Epic fantasy and national identities
9 – Epic fantasy and social concerns
10 – Allegory vs reality: is this an issue or a false issue?

Submissions should be sent by e-mail to: tolkien@letras.up.pt

Proposals must include:
– Paper’s full title
– Abstract (max. 250 words)
– Name and e-mail address (other contacts if relevant)
– Institutional affiliation
– Short bionote
Deadline for proposals: 31st May 2014
Notification of acceptance: 30th June 2014

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