Tolkien’s use of “The Battle of Maldon”

Bowman, Mary R. “Refining the Gold: Tolkien, The Battle of Maldon, and the Northern Theory of Courage.” Tolkien Studies 7 (2010): 91-115. A worthwhile even if not overly profound examination of Tolkien’s use of notable themes (especially courage) and scenes from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Battle of Maldon. Argues that Tolkien successfully incorporates into his fiction the German notions of heroism and courage, particularly the idea of “indomitability,” while at the same time purging them of their more pagan, despairing elements. (For a related study comparing Tolkien’s work and Old English poetry, in this case, The Two Towers and Beowulf—with a brief discussion of The Battle of Maldon—see Fehrenbacher, “Beowulf as Fairy-Story.”)

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