ENGL375 - J.R.R. Tolkien: Middle-earth and Beyond

Credit only granted for: ENGL375 or ENGL479D. Formerly: ENGL479D.

Introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien's best-known texts, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," and beyond. Tolkien's source material, themes, and writing style; the mythology of Tolkien's world as found in his posthumously published works; exploration of some of Tolkien's lesser-known works, such as "Farmer Giles of Ham," Smith of Wooten Major," "The Fall of Arthur," "The Legend of Roverandom" and his essay on "Beowulf."

This course will introduce Tolkien’s best-known texts, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but will go (per the course title) “beyond” these familiar seas in three ways. We will look at aspects of Tolkien’s source material, themes, and writing style that even veteran readers of the texts will find new and challenging. Secondly, in his posthumously published works, we will explore the mythology of Tolkien’s world in The Silmarillion and other readings of the First and Second Ages, taking us beyond the geographical boundaries of Middle-earth. Finally, we will go beyond the world of the hobbits and wizards by studying some of Tolkien’s lesser-known works. Readings may include The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wooten Major, The Fall of Arthur, The Children of Hurin, and his seminal essays on Beowulf and Fairy stories. The course will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online lecture and discussion.