[T]he process by which a fringe subculture, through its idiosyncratic reception of Tolkien’s fiction, ultimately came to define the “medieval” imagery, pacing, and plotting of one of the most popular film series in history is a relatively recent development. What was once a conception of Tolkien’s medieval fantasy realm held by an eccentric few has since become the predominant visualization of the medieval world– Tolkien’s and otherwise– held by the generations, like Menand’s nephew, raised in a world of personal computers. —Courtney M. Booker —Byte-Sized Middle Ages: Tolkein, Film, and the Digital Imagination (PDF) (University of British Columbia)
The article includes an unsurprising but detailed treatment of the relationship between Tolkien, Dungeons and Dragons, and Colossal Cave Adventure, drawing from canonical sources.
I don’t think I learned anything
knew about Adventure from reading this article, but Booker has connected enough of the dots that I’m relieved I can just quote her him in an article I’m working on, rather than have to write it all out myself.
If you’re on a slow connection, try Google’s HTML cache.
One of the many reasons why a PDF isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The PDF doesn’t contain any of the publication information. I had to get it from the author’s homepage.
“Byte-sized Middle Ages: Tolkien, Film, and the Digital Imagination,” Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 35 (2004): 145-74.
Update, 12 Jan 2006: The URL moved. I’ve updated it.