The Magic of Humour: Comic Effects in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

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dc.contributor.advisor Lovell-Smith, R en
dc.contributor.advisor Marquis, C en Blydenburgh, William en 2012-07-18T21:07:52Z en 2012 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This study shows how humour is not only an important tool in the sub-creation of Middle-earth, but also demonstrates humour's many similarities to the fantasy Tolkien theorised. Humour, its sources and its manifestations, aids in creating a believable ideological framework in building a convincing secondary world. Riddles, jokes, and laughter create communal atmosphere and feeling of belonging, even when a physical environment is alien to us. Comrades, especially in anxiety-inducing situations, together subcreate a reality of their choosing. The humour in Tolkien's narrative art, like 'fantasy', offers recovery, consolation, and escape. My aim in this thesis is to give humour, a rarely discussed aspect of Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the attention it deserves. I explain how his subtly humorous effects are achieved, and to show what they contribute to the overall design of the sequence of four novels which narrate the story of the Hobbits' contribution to the history of Middle-earth. In particular, my interest in this thesis is in determining where the comic effects of these books, whether 'latent' or actively funny, fit in the grand design of Tolkien's two most popular works of fantasy. By using Tolkien's own theory alongside narrative, humour, riddles, jokes, and laughter I explore the reciprocal relationship between fantasy and humour. Historical information will be used to a sketch the 'Englishness' of the Hobbits, an important transplantation of personality from our world to Middle-earth, which has since been identified with and claimed by cultures around the world. Additional insight will be gained through the union of Tolkien criticism with theories of literature, humour, riddles, jokes, and laughter. The first chapter of my thesis, 'Humour', analyses the sources of humour in Middleearth and its situational usages. The second chapter, 'Riddles', shows how the riddles of Middle-earth, embodiments of humour, emulate the ways we perceive and interpret our physical and spiritual realities. The third chapter, 'Jokes and Laughter', looks at the magical power of words in Tolkien's work, the joke's relation to this concept, and laughter's role in divinity, truth, and the moral landscape of Middle-earth. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title The Magic of Humour: Comic Effects in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 358430 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2012-07-19 en

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