Prophecy and Future-telling in Tolkien and Related Authors

deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Tolkien Studies / Tarot & Other Methods of Divination, Popular Culture Association
contact email: 

Prophecy and Future-telling in Tolkien and Related Authors


Call for Papers

Tolkien Studies / Tarot & Other Methods of Divination

at the

Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association conference

Washington, DC, 17-20 April 2019


And many other things Ilúvatar spoke to the Ainur at that time, and because of their memory of his words, and the knowledge that each has of the music that he himself made, the Ainur know much of what was, and is, and is to come, and few things are unseen by them. Yet some things there are that they cannot see […]  (The Silmarillon)


Future-telling abounds in mythopoeic literature, where it takes on many forms: dreams, intuitions, predictions, premonitions, prophecies, visions, and more. Tolkien made extensive use of future-telling in his writings, particularly The Lord of the Rings. At times, his characters seek knowledge of the future deliberately by studying prophecies, or by the use of tools and special techniques; at others, it comes to them spontaneously through memory and the unconscious.


We are seeking papers on all aspects of future-telling in Tolkien's writings for this co-sponsored session, including, but not limited to, studies of future-telling techniques and effects, relevance to character and plot development, and comparisons to relevant works and characters, such as King Arthur, Merlin, and Macbeth.


We hope to round out the session(s) with papers on future-telling in the works of other Inklings and related authors, notably Charles Williams's The Greater Trumps and C.S. Lewis's Narnia books, and perhaps Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.


Papers may address any of Tolkien's legendarium and related works and their film adaptations.


Prospective participants in these sessions are asked to submit their papers to the Tolkien Studies area (for tech-related administrative simplicity). Papers addressing other aspects of future-telling should be submitted to the Tarot/Divination area.


Queries are welcomed by both area chairs.


Deadline for Paper Proposals: 1 October 2018


Tolkien Studies Area Chair: Robin Reid

Tarot/Divination Area Chair: Emily E. Auger