Tolkien and Lewis on language in their scholarly work
2013 (English)In: Of butterflies and birds, of dialects and genres: Essays in honour of Philip Shaw / [ed] Nils-Lennart Johannesson, Gunnel Melchers, and Beyza Björkman, Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2013, 305-324 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
This article compares Tolkien’s and Lewis’s views on language as expressed in their scholarly work. I show that Tolkien’s approach to the study of language is, above all, that of a comparative philologist. In particular, he shares many ideas with the initiators of the science of language, Bopp, Rask and Grimm, who studied languages in close relation to their literature and history. Tolkien also continues the tradition of “imaginative scholarship”, but separates his scholarly investigations from his philological imagination. Lewis largely remains an amateur in the area of language study. On the one hand, he appears to be influenced by Barfield and Tolkien, but on the other, he holds on to his own views with regard to metaphor and meaning. His interest in the study of language derives from the professional need of a literary historian, and his inspiration to write about words arises from ‘moralistic purposes’. In the context of the twentieth century, the two Inklings’ views appear to be anti-positivist. The interest taken by Barfield, Tolkien, and, to a certain extent, Lewis, in the beginnings of language and its association with poetry and myth allies them with a number of nineteenth-century language scholars.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2013. 305-324 p.
Stockholm studies in English, ISSN 0346-6272 ; 104
history of language studies, Tolkien, Lewis
Research subject English
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91060ISBN: 978-91-87235-37-5ISBN: 978-91-87235-34-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-91060DiVA: diva2:630295