1. The work of Tolkien is aetiological, in that it attempts to make comprehensible the human situation of doubt, fear, and hope. Men and Elves attempt to come to terms with their environment (in two distinct ways) and with the contradiction of their opposing natures in the same environment.
--Taum Santoski, circa 1984
Tolkien's work is, of course, also etiological in an etymological sense (languages, words, and their origins) and an historical sense, in the way he built a history far deeper than most writers that allows the reader to delve into causes and reasons for events in his tales.
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