In the Beginning was the Word: How Medieval Text Became Fantasy Art
Anna Waymack and I are making available a talk we gave in Oct. 2018 at Boundary Crossings: the 2018 International Conference on Medievalism. Our presentation was Tolkien, maps, memory, and medievalisms.
In the presentation we begin to trace the connections between Tolkien’s prefatory maps and the world-building mnemonics that Bede and other authors engaged in.We’re happy to present the talk here on my site, . Our talk is the basis for a forthcoming article, and will forms part of a developing book project. We argue that Tolkien’s maps are medievalisms — not because of their appearance, but because of where they appear. Tolkien’s maps, and indeed his process for world-building, hearken back to medieval techniques for imagining and remembering the world. And because of Tolkien’s enormous influence on the fantasy / sci-fi genre, his work acts as a bridge between medieval textual maps and the maps that sit at the front of modern genre books, or those that begin every Game of Thrones episode.