Persuasive speaking is an important part of J.R.R. Tolkien's fiction, and the wizards Gandalf and Saruman are often the most skilled orators and speakers in the Middle-earth stories. Literary critics and Tolkien scholars (including the author in his prior publications) have spent much time discussing how the oratory of the wizards helps to advance the narrative action within the stories as well as add depth to the wizards themselves and the other characters. Many critics describe the speech of Saruman as 'sophistry,' but does the white wizard really personify the rhetoric of the historical Sophists? The author explores this question, and he also discusses how both Gandalf and Saruman embody not only the Sophist and Classical views of speech and oratory, but how the two wizards embody the underlying philosophies of these two systems of thought.
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Mythcon 52: The Mythic, the Fantastic, and the Alien
Albuquerque, New Mexico; July 29 - August 1, 2022