Review: Death, Dying, and LotR

At Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research I have a review published of Amy Amendt-Radeuge’s book The Sweet and the Bitter: Death and Dying in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

It’s one of those books that touched on all my favorite subjects: Tolkien, medieval studies, medievalism, and cultural criticism. Here’s a snippet from my review:

…chapter five reasserts the interplay between the theme of death and Tolkien’s notion of “hope without guarantees,” and the strong link between modern Western society and medieval Northern European culture. None of the characters espouse certain knowledge of life after death, yet all the good deaths demonstrate that a life well-lived affords hope beyond the grave. The uncertainty of death also establishes the foundation for the enduring relevance of Tolkien’s work. Amendt-Raduege argues that “by showing death as both a positive and negative . . . Tolkien’s text offers each of us the means to prepare for our own eventual ends” (110).