John Molyneux, a veteran socialist activist, offered a Marxist analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world in a 2010 essay.
Molyneux was a huge fan of Tolkien and attempted to account for the popular appeal of the author’s books. He examined Tolkien’s worldview, not his personal political opinions, which he believed were expressed primarily in the overall vision of Middle Earth as an imagined society. Molyneux contended that Tolkien’s right-wing and reactionary worldview, which airbrushed poverty and oppression out of the picture, did not correspond to actual historical episodes. In Molyneux’s view, Tolkien’s work contained a romantic critique of industrial capitalism that is an important part of its vast popular appeal. Molyneux’s essay explored the relationship between Tolkien’s reactionary outlook and his audience and analyzed issues of history, ideology, and art.
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