“The Lady and Our Lady: Galadriel as a ‘Reflexion’ of Mary,” A Signum Thesis Theatre on Tolkien & Catholicism by Mickey Corso (Mon, Aug 3, 3pm EST)

I am very excited to announce that Signum University MA student Mickey Corso will present his thesis “The Lady and Our Lady: Galadriel as a ‘Reflexion’ of Mary” to the public on Monday, Aug 3rd, at 3pm Eastern. Besides the fact that a strong consideration of J.R.R. Tolkien and his Roman Catholic context along this line is sorely needed, I am proud to be Mickey’s Supervisor. Mickey will spend a few minutes presenting his ideas, and then he will respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. I hope that you can join in, ask some difficult and helpful questions, and deepen your connection to Tolkien’s works.

The event is free and open, but limited to 100 participants. Sign up here: https://signumuniversity.org/event/thesis-theater-mickey-corso/.

Thesis Abstract

J.R.R. Tolkien asserted that

“The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision” (Letters 142).

In particular, Tolkien noted the influence of his devotion to the Virgin Mary on the character of Galadriel:

“I think it is true that I owe much of this character to Christian and Catholic teaching and imagination about Mary” (Letters 320).

While many Tolkien scholars and critics have affirmed or argued against this connection, there is no comprehensive presentation of specific evidence for Tolkien’s claim through a close reading of the text in the context of Tolkien’s English Catholic piety and worldview.

This thesis investigates such evidence and demonstrates a reciprocal applicability, or reflexion, between Tolkien’s primary world devotion to Mary and his secondary world Galadriel. After articulating what Marian pious practices were widespread in early twentieth century Catholicism in England and considering the probability that Tolkien engaged in such practices, the thesis traces Galadriel’s depiction through the manuscript history into final form and relates it to prayers and teachings current in Marian piety to shed light on Galadriel’s development.

About the Presenter

Michael J. Corso, Ph.D. is a lifelong Tolkien fan who is excited to have earned a degree at Signum University. He also has a doctorate in Theology and Education from Boston College and is currently the chair of the theology department at Catholic Memorial School in Boston—where he regularly brings up Tolkien to his students. “Mickey,” as he is known to family and friends, is married to Catherine, his wife of 35 years, and has two daughters, Rebecca and Elise, who are themselves enthusiasts of all things Middle-earth.

About Signum Thesis Theaters

Our graduate students write a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theatre is where they can present their thesis to the Signum community and wider public, enabling them to explain their research in detail, and respond to questions from the audience.

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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4 Responses to “The Lady and Our Lady: Galadriel as a ‘Reflexion’ of Mary,” A Signum Thesis Theatre on Tolkien & Catholicism by Mickey Corso (Mon, Aug 3, 3pm EST)

  1. Carolyn Priest-Dorman says:

    I was prevented (by technical issues) from attending this thesis presentation but am deeply interested in the topic. Is there some way I can acquire a copy of his thesis to read?


    • Hi Carolyn, we should be posting the talk on Youtube and we will see about the PDF of the thesis itself.


      • Carolyn Priest-Dorman says:

        Great news; thank you so much! I have found the YouTube video and look forward to watching it. If there are steps I must take to request a copy of the thesis, please let me know and I’ll happily undertake them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: An Essential Reading List from C.S. Lewis: An Experiment on An Experiment in Criticism (Throwback Thursday) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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