The Utopian Function of Fairy Tales and Fantasy: Ernst Bloch the Marxist and J. R. R. Tolkien the Catholic
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The Utopian Function of Fairy Tales and Fantasy: Ernst Bloch the Marxist and J. R. R. Tolkien the Catholic—it might seem somewhat incongruous if not risky to couple the names of Ernst Bloch and J. R. R. Tolkien. It is almost like taking two names in vain at the same time. But in the name of the fairy tale anything goes. Bloch, hardly known in the Western world except to erudite scholars and theologians, endeavored to unravel the resilient latent qualities of humankind manifested in the struggle for a better world. He viewed these qualities as constituting a principle of hope and illuminating the possibility for human beings to change and become makers of their own history. Despite differences, this chapter shows that Tolkien’s humanistic and idealistic concerns are remarkably similar to those of Bloch. This chapter also includes a thorough study of Tolkien’s The Hobbit.