Uses the characters Sméagol and Déagol as jumping-off points to explore issues of secrecy, surveillance, propaganda, and censorship that were increasingly coming to the fore during World War I and the inter-war years. Although significant issues in their own right, these trends also point to a growing individual privileging of self-concealment and discretion over openness and intimacy, a process that dehumanized and eroded the social fabric. The Ring crystallizes these concerns into a single object, and Gollum’s relationship to it especially creates a tangle of themes of revealing and concealing. Also discusses Tolkien’s peculiar talent for “creation from philology” building on dēagan and smēagan, Old English word-elements invoking hiding, concealing, investigation, secrecy, interrogation, and private thought.
Copyright held by Artist
Online Winter Seminar
February 4-5, 2022 (Friday evening, Saturday all day)
Mythcon 52: The Mythic, the Fantastic, and the Alien
Albuquerque, New Mexico; July 29 - August 1, 2022