Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Michael Gavin

Second Reader

Dr. W. Matthew J. Simmons


Using a technique called “distant reading”, which aggregates and analyzes large amounts of data with computational models that can be used to understand literature and find insights or patterns that may otherwise be undetectable, this paper seeks to understand the system of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Middle-earth through a statistical approach. In an attempt to provide an entirely different view on his work, this paper examines semantic aspects of Tolkien’s corpus and how they complement the narrative structure, with particular emphasis on the topographic landscape and the journeys of specific characters through the space of Middle-earth itself.

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