StoryGraph Saturday: Perilous and Fair

StoryGraph Saturday is a weekly thing where I randomly choose a book from my To Read pile on StoryGraph and show it off to both remind myself that it’s there and to show it to you in case you might find it interesting, too.


Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien
edited by Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie A. Donovan
Nonfiction/Tolkien scholarship
358 pages

From The StoryGraph:

Since the earliest scholarship on The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, critics have discussed how the works of J. R. R. Tolkien seem either to ignore women or to place them on unattainable pedestals. To remedy such claims that Tolkien’s fiction has nothing useful or modern to say about women, Perilous and Fair focuses critical attention on views that interpret women in Tolkien’s works and life as enacting essential, rather than merely supportive roles.

Perilous and Fair includes seven classic articles as well as seven new examinations of women in Tolkien’s works and life. These fourteen articles bring together perspectives not only on Tolkien’s most commonly discussed female characters—Éowyn, Galadriel, and Lúthien—but also on less studied figures such as Nienna, Yavanna, Shelob, and Arwen. Among others, the collection features such diverse critical approaches and methods as literary source study, historical context, feminist theory, biographical investigation, close-reading textual analysis, Jungian archetypes, and fanfiction reader-response.


I think I first saw this book over at Pages Unbound, and I immediately added it to my TBR. The women in Tolkien’s works are seriously underappreciated by most of the SFF community, and I want to learn more about them, as well as to learn more about other people’s perspectives on such characters as Nienna and Arwen. I don’t know how scholarly these essays will be, but I’m sure I’ll find at least some of them fascinating.

4 thoughts on “StoryGraph Saturday: Perilous and Fair

  1. Interesting, this is a new one to me. If you read it I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts. And I had to laugh when I saw Shelob. It made me wonder if there might have been another with the same name that I’d forgotten or not come across yet. 🙂

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