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Abstract

This essay offers a reinterpretation of Tolkien's writings about literary criticism, which are focused on Beowulf, fairy stories, and his own works. Whereas his writings have often been taken to mean that analytic scholarship is not valid and should not be pursued, my essay takes the intellectual climate of the time into consideration and offers an alternative interpretation, according to which he did not mean to forbid these studies outright and indeed intended that scholars should continue writing them. The essay ends with a call to academics not to be discouraged by his strong language from producing analytic studies.

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