Tolkien I (Fall Semester) covers some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s less familiar and more challenging works. The course begins with a reading and discussion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s well-known essay of literary criticism, “On Fairy-Stories,” before turning to consider how he implemented many of those ideas in his own fairy-story, “Smith of Wooten Major.” From there, the bulk of the semester will be spent on a work many have started but few have finished, The Silmarillion, in which is told the history of the Elves in Middle-earth beginning with the creation of the world and leading up to the period of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The semester will conclude with a reading of Tolkien’s profound and delightful allegory and self-parodying short story, “Leaf by Niggle.” Throughout this class, special attention will be given both to Tolkien’s literary craft and to his philosophical and theological thought.
Tolkien II (Spring Semester) is devoted to a reading and discussion of Tolkien’s famous masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. While Tolkien II may be taken separately from Tolkien I, this course will nevertheless draw upon and apply many of the literary, philosophical, and theological insights developed in Tolkien I.
Required Books for Tolkien I:
- Tree and Leaf, Tolkien
- Morgoth’s Ring, Tolkien
- The Silmarillion, Tolkien (Paperback) OR
- The Silmarillion, Tolkien (Hardback)
Required Books for Tolkien II:
- The Lord of the Ring’s Trilogy, Tolkien