series event

Age and Ageing on JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

This seminar has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


Join the Centre for Global Chronic Conditions for a lunchtime seminar! An underappreciated aspect of The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien is in how the author dealt with death, longevity and ageing in the work. During his early years, Tolkien endured first the passing of both parents and then the deaths of most of his friends during the First World War. It was not surprising that a search for the meaning of life and death became a preoccupation of Tolkien.

Tolkien’s Roman Catholic faith underpinned his thoughts about mortality. He also found solace in Northern myths that held that there was intrinsic worth to courage in the face of our inevitable demise. Along with his colleague, CS Lewis, he took an opposing stand to JBS Haldane, Olaf Stapledon and other precursors of transhumanists, who felt that “bioengineering” would allow us to extend human life span virtually without limit. Although Tolkien acknowledged the urge to try to escape our mortality, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a story about accepting the need to allow ageing to take its natural course, and in the end to let go with all of the attendant regrets and sorrow.        

About the speaker

Prof A. Mark Clarfield received his MD from the University of Toronto and was Head of the Division of Geriatrics at the Ministry of Health in Jerusalem between 1994-2001. He was then appointed Head of Geriatrics at the Soroka Hospital  and the Sidonie Hecht Professor at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Beer sheva where he is now Emeritus. In 2009, he was appointed head of BGU’s Medical School for International Health. His research interests include Alzheimer disease and the related dementias, the organisation of health care services, medical history and ethics.  



No registration required. Seats available on first come, first served basis.