This essay argues that J. R. R. Tolkien's prose style in The Lord of the Rings has been neglected or dismissed unfairly and that the metaphysical elements of Tolkien's Legendarium are considerably deeper and richer than critics have realized. A stylistic analysis, drawing on linguist M. A. K. Halliday's functional grammar, focuses on Theme/Subject and the processes in three excerpts from the novel which are different in subject matter, narrative function, and tone. Despite these differences, a stylistic analysis reveals similarities in the text's grammar that show how the discourses of mythology and history in Middle-earth exist on a complex continuum which unobtrusively connects the novel to The Silmarillion, “written” well before the novel but published (in different editions/variants) only after Tolkien's death. This argument, acknowledging the choice to incorporate multiple styles, registers, and languages for an aesthetic effect, notes the need for further stylistic analysis of Tolkien's work drawing on linguistic methodology.

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