ENGL-247-01 Tolkien and Medieval Roots
Spring for 2011-2012
Also listed as MVST 247-01
J.R.R. Tolkien was a medievalist and a philologist who, by writing fiction and poetry, created a world in which his languages could live. We will read widely in medieval works from Irish, Finnish, Old English, Middle English, Icelandic and French contexts, and examine Tolkien’s biography, letters, critical and scholarly publications, and lesser known fictional works, all to get a better sense of what Tolkien knew and worked with as he wrote. We will read some of his scholarship, poetry, translations, draft work, and unfinished pieces as well as the major works /The Silmarillion/ and /The Lord of the Rings/. Our interests focus on Tolkien as both writer and scholar. The final one third of the course will be spent on careful re-reading of /The Lord of the Rings/ in light of our extensive contextual study. Students can expect to keep a regular critical journal, research and report on supplementary topics on Blackboard, write a paper on medieval texts, and finish with a substantial take-home exam. Everyone taking the course must have read /The Lord of the Rings/ prior to the first day of class, as it is simply too large and complex to come to for the first time in this class. The Jackson movies are definitely not a substitute!
Note: All students must have read The Lord of the Rings prior to the beginning of class.
Prerequisites: ENGL 040, 041, 042, or 043; or previously cross-listed Gateways from other departments.
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