The fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of The Lord of the Rings, the enormously popular and influential masterpiece of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, is celebrated in these twenty papers presented at the Marquette University Tolkien conference of 21–23 October 2004. They are published in honor of the late Dr. Richard E. Blackwelder, who gave his important Tolkien collection to the Marquette University Libraries, long a major center for Tolkien research. Half of the papers in this book focus on The Lord of the Rings, while others investigate the larger body of Tolkien’s achievements, as a writer of fiction, a maker of language, and one of the leading philologists of his day.
The contributors to The Lord of the Rings, 1954–2004 include a “who’s who” of scholars in Tolkien studies: Douglas A. Anderson, David Bratman, Marjorie Burns, Jane Chance, Michael D.C. Drout, Matthew A. Fisher, Verlyn Flieger, Mike Foster, John Garth, Wayne G. Hammond, Carl F. Hostetter, Sumner G. Hunnewell, John D. Rateliff, Christina Scull, T.A. Shippey, Arden R. Smith, Paul Edmund Thomas, Richard C. West, and Arne Zettersten. As preface, Charles B. Elston, former director of Special Collections and University Archives, provides a reminiscence of Dr. Blackwelder and his generosity to Marquette. Fans and students of Tolkien alike will find these essays informative and entertaining.