This dissertation is an exploration of the Romance tropes that exist in J.R.R. Tolkien s The
Lord of the Rings. It concentrates on the numerous Romance tropes and details evident in
Tolkien s characters and setting while focusing on how these tropes function within the
greater Romance genre. Examples from various other Romances are used to augment the
argument, but particular mention is made of the Romances or pieces of literature that
Tolkien translated and worked on in his lifetime, including: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,
Sir Orfeo, The Pearl, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, The Fall of Arthur, and Beowulf.
The dissertation focuses on Tolkien s The Lord of the Rings, which has been responsible for
the renaissance of modern fantasy in the twentieth-century. It begins by raising the
contentious issue of whether Tolkien s book may be regarded as a Romance. The work of
Helen Cooper (2009), Gillian Beer (1970) and Northrop Frye (1973 and 1976) forms the
basis of this theoretical discussion. The Romance tropes evident in the analysis of the
characters and setting of The Lord of the Rings provide an interesting starting point for
further discussion of the Romance tropes that exist elsewhere in Tolkien s work, and one
hopes that more research into this will follow.