Sleeps a song in things abounding
that keep dreaming to be heard:
Earth's tune will start resounding
if you find the magic word.
Joseph v. Eichendorff's (1788-1857) famous poem "Wünschelrute" expresses what lies at the heart of the romantic weltanschauung: a transcendent secret surrounds us and can be accessed by romantic individuals with the help of poetry and art. As a consequence of this romantic perspective the world regains its fundamental magical quality. Although dating back to the first half of the 19th century, the romantic weltanschauung underlies the life and work of many representatives of later periods, J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) amongst them.
This new monography by Julian Eilmann fills a void in Tolkien scholarship by means of an analysis and appreciation of the genuinely romantic quality of his legendarium. Eilmann traces the romantic elements and motifs in Tolkien's poetic theory and literary work and puts them into the historical context of Romanticism, focussing especially on Tolkien's often neglected poetry in which the romantic spirit manifests itself most vividly. The book furthermore examines the romantic motifs in classic fantasy novels like George MacDonald's Phantastes (1858) or Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924), thus illustrating the significant influence of romantic aesthetics on modern fantasy literature. Tolkien's defense of romantic imagination and his immense popularity make him one of the most influential representatives of the romantic spirit in the 20th and 21st centuries.