This paper intends to analyse the representation and narrative function of the bat in Tolkienian cosmology, in Middle-earth and beyond. Although, at first glance, it appears to be a secondary animal, it actually proves to be a constant and, as we will attempt to highlight, a significant presence. Along with diachronic survey of classical, medieval and, in part, Gothic literature sources - which allows us to reconstruct the formation of a precise West European negative imagery of the animal, to which Tolkien refers - we will then attempt to argue how the bat is often employed as a mirror image, in opposition to something else, to emphasise the duality of a landscape (in Roverandom, the shadow bats in the light part of the moon and the white dragon in the dark one) of certain characters (such as the antithetical pair of Thuringwethil and Lúthien) or, again, to express opposing but complementary actions (as the bats and the eagles in The Battle of the Five Armies in the Hobbit).



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