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The Shire of Pastoral Idyll

An evening talk

The Shire of Pastoral Idyll

Book The Shire of Pastoral Idyll

Thursday, 29 June at 6.30pm 

£7.50 per person. 

Doors open at 5pm, with the opportunity to visit The Magic of Middle-earth exhibition before the talk begins (included in ticket) 

A talk with Dr Craig Jordan-Baker, University of Brighton


Following a long tradition in Classical and Medieval literature of the pastoral idyll, The Shire represents a vision of a pleasant and settled society. It serves as a contrast both to the pomp and ambition of the world of Men (Gondor) and to the corruption and malice of Mordor. This talk will consider how The Shire is represented and will argue that while it can be seen as an overly romantic vision, Tolkien is ultimately at pains to stress both the ecological and political vulnerability of one of his most memorable landscapes.  

The Fellowship of the Ring spends considerable time describing the Shire, particularly when Frodo and Samwise set out on their journey. With the help of artwork and photography, this talk will focus on this early part of the text both for its richness of detail, but also for how it helps readers understand why the Shire- and by extension, Middle Earth, is worth fighting for.