The concept of the "long defeat" in Tolkien's works has been widely studied, and connections drawn to the scientific idea of entropy. This paper extends those studies through the lenses of the history and popularization of science in Tolkien's lifetime, in particular drawing connections to the so-called phoenix or cyclic universe models. In addition, previously published work on cyclical time in Tolkien's works is extended to include scientific concepts of the three arrows of time.


Expanded from a combination of two conference presentations, the keynote of the April 2, 2022 Tolkien in Vermont Conference (University of Vermont) and the June 24, 2022 Myth, Imagination, Literature: 6th Tolkien Conference in Budapest (Virtual)



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