Scholarship and Mythopoeia : The ideas of language and myth in the works of Owen Barfield, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien

University dissertation from Manchester : Department of English and America Studies, University of Manchester

Abstract: This thesis examines the views adopted by Barfield, Lewis and Tolkien on the phenomena of language and myth as discussed in their academic writing and fiction. Part I (Chapters I and II) focuses on the study of language. The ideas of Barfield, Lewis and Tolkien are examined and compared to those of a number of nineteenth-century predecessors such as Schlegel, Grimm, Müller, Wright and others. Part II (Chapters II, IV and V) similarly deals with myth. The comparative analysis in Chapter V also takes into account some twentieth-century theories of myuth such as those developed by Cassirer, Eliade and Jung. Part III (Chapter VI) is largely dedicated to the discussion of the origins and nature of language and myth in the creative works of Lewis and Tolkien, although one of Barfield's non-theoretical works is also examined. The final chapter draws a links between schlarship and mythopoeia as practiced by the three authors. Overall, the three Inklings are considered as part of a twentieth-century academic tradition that moves away from posivitism, which allies them with the Romantic movement.

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