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Mimetic Theory & Middle-earth


Format: Paperback, Electronic
Author: Matthew J. Distefano
Category: Philosophy
Published: March 14, 2024


The Follow-up to the Award-Winning The Wisdom of Hobbits

Mimetic Theory & Middle-earth: Untangling Desire in Tolkien's Legendarium, by long-time author Matthew J. Distefano, delves deeply into J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, using René Girard's mimetic theory as the primary lens through which to view the good professor’s legendary texts. Exploring the influence of imitative desire on iconic heroes such as Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, and the wizard Gandalf, as well as infamous villains like Melkor, Sauron, and Saruman, this timely philosophical follow-up enriches our understanding of both literature and the human condition by shedding light on the connections between imitation, rivalry, and transcendence, ultimately leaving readers with a sense of hope, rather than despair.


An honest account

“Matthew writes with humor, profundity, and approachability. Most importantly [...] demonstrates that great works of art, as well as intellect, are not for the sole purpose of escape or theory, but are meant to move us to be the best humans (or hobbits) we can possibly be.”

— Nick Polk, The Tolkien Society