Authorizing Tolkien: Questions of Adaptation, Control, Dissemination, & Transformation of Tolkien's Works [Special Journal Ed.]

full name / name of organization: 
Journal of Tolkien Research

For: Theme Issue, Journal of Tolkien Research

In 2012, Christopher Tolkien gave an interview to Le Monde, a French newspaper, in which he describes himself as turning his head from the recent commercialization of his father's work: "Il ne me reste qu'une seule solution: tourner la tête."1 Fans and critics alike have had strong opinions about the validity of adaptations of Tolkien's works, beginning with the Rankin-Bass animated versions of The Hobbit and Return of the King, Ralph Bakshi's partially-rotoscoped animated adaptation, a number of video games based on Tolkien's narratives, fan fiction, fan art, etc.

These public adaptations, both commercial and amateur, are a direct reflection of the complex global receptions of Tolkien's works over the past seventy-eight years, including the ways in which his works are discussed and taught in a variety of socio-political contexts and the growing high and medieval fantasy publishing and film productions.

This proposal seeks articles about the matters of adaptation, control dissemination, and transformation of Tolkien's works (including those published by his son, Christopher), and the implications such matters have for current and future scholarship in the areas of Tolkien Studies, film and media studies, cultural studies, adaptation studies, gaming, and fan studies.

Article topics are not limited to, but can include, ideas of authority with respect to Tolkien's intellectual property" (crossing) boundaries in adaptation, expanding (even potentially negative) critiques of Tolkien's narratives, modes of retelling Tolkien's stories, the issues of adaptation into different media, original fantasy fiction and films influenced by Tolkien's work, approaches to teaching Tolkien's work, etc.

Length: (recomended): 10,000-30,000 words (including Works Cited)
Format: MLA 7th

Proposal Deadline: July 1, 2015
First Draft Deadline: December 10, 2015
Final Draft Deadline: May 10 2016 (to Journal of Tolkien Research)

Co-editors: Michael Elam (
Robin Anne Reid (