Date of Award

Spring 2014

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Patrick Fleming

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott Rubarth


From the intimate nature of the characterization of an entirely new race of men-in-miniature and their home, where "peace and quiet and good, tilled Earth" (Tolkien 1) are held in the highest esteem, to the belching volcanoes, fires and lung-searing smoke of industry in the land of Mordor, J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings brings the vision of the Arts and Crafts Movement to life and delivers a cautionary tale of the highest order. This is accomplished by crafting a mirror image of the world in which the author lived, reimagining its social and industrial history. A close examination of the core belief structure of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the men who influenced this movement illustrate what they were trying to accomplish through their wholesale rejection of the Industrial Revolution. Examining this information alongside Tolkien’s writings and appreciating the works attributed to these same Arts and Crafts leaders illuminates how these larger concepts and ideas have been translated and adapted into the three books which make up The Lord of the Rings. Through understanding the lens by which the Arts and Crafts Movement focused, a clear and relevant picture is painted of a visionary creator and an idealized fantasy realm that encompasses and ultimately elevates that which is beautiful, useful, sustainable and purposeful while warning us against the horrors which could be brought about through rampant industrialization and the worship of material culture.

Rights Holder

Gina L. Hewitt