‘Tolkien’s Medicinal Medieval World: Illness and Healing in Middle-earth’

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Annie Brust, Kent State University/Geauga
contact email: 

This Collection: This collection focuses on and explores the concepts of illness and healing in association with Tolkien’s medieval connections and Middle-earth. Proposals/Articles should explore ideas on how a specific text, character, concept or aspect of the author’s work impacts the world of illness and healing, as characterized by medieval concepts and/or the medieval influence of Tolkien’s worlds/texts.   

In times of uncertainty, literature provides unique insight into human turmoil—both cultural and physical.  J.R.R. Tolkien’s reimagining of the medieval world and its systemic problems, provide a first-hand account—albeit fictional—of the real and gruesome harshness of illness and pain that plague humanity today. This session will look at the unique ways Tolkien's writing—as influenced from medieval text—treats illness, healing, and triumph over worldwide struggle through herbal remedy, unification of culture and confrontation of systemic hatred. Middle-earth serves as microcosm of hope against systemic illness and danger; and in effect heals a broken world. 

Scholars interesting in contributing to the collection on ‘Tolkien’s Medicinal Medieval World: Illness and Healing in Middle-earth’ should submit an abstract of 250-400 words, and a biographical statement of 100 words to the volume editor, Annie Brust, at abrust@kent.edu. An academic independent publisher has expressed preliminary interest in publishing the collection, therefore accepted abstracts will be included in the formal project proposal to be vetted through their peer review process. Again, submissions should focus on the concepts and healing throughout Tolkien’s works and consider real world implications as well as those implied through medieval context and fantasy. Articles should be between 5000-8000 words and in Chicago style. Please contact abrust@kent.edu with any questions related to this project.  

 Submit proposals by August 1, 2021, or complete articles (peer-reviewed only) by February 15, 2022, to editor abrust@kent.edu