C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien are two of the most widely read fantasy and science fiction authors in the modern era; however, their works are rarely studied together. Students will examine the friendship and work of Lewis and Tolkien in this course and their influence upon each other.
Where did J.K. Rowling get her inspiration from? Why is Harry Potter so popular? How do the movies change the story of Harry Potter? In this course we will discuss the ancestors to the Harry Potter phenomenon, examine the specific works and traditions that inform the Harry Potter universe, study the Harry Potter texts in depth, and, perhaps most importantly, consider why […]
This is a one-semester, three-credit course that consists of reading, research, and assignments completed in one-on-one consultation with an adviser.
Students may register for this course only after their thesis topic is approved by the thesis coordinator.
This is a one-semester, three-credit course during which students will write their thesis, the culminating project for an M.A. in Language & Literature. Prerequisite: LITZ6398: Thesis Research
How did Tolkien’s imagination evolve over time? What did Tolkien think about fairy tales, and how did he show this in his scholarly work and in his fiction? In this course, students will read Tolkien’s two critical essays, Beowulf, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings to explore how his world and his myth developed over […]
Audit Options How does “The Story of Kullervo” relate to Kalevala? How does Sigurd and Gudrún relate to The Volsung Saga? How does The Fall of Arthur relate to the medieval Arthur legends? Tolkien once said his immediate response to reading any medieval story was to want to write one like it. He did. Three times. “The Story of Kullervo” […]
Audit Options What were the literary precursors to The Hobbit? What inspired Tolkien to write The Hobbit? This course will examine the life of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We will examine several important precursors of the book, works that helped establish the genre in which Tolkien was writing, or which influenced Tolkien’s own thinking. We will then read […]
Audit Options “Tales of ratiocination,” as Edgar Allan Poe called them, are the intellectual sibling of science fiction, born of the same parents: the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Poe created the first scientific detective, C. Auguste Dupin, who in turn paved the way for one of the most enduring and beloved literary characters of all time, […]
Audit Options Old English (Anglo-Saxon) is the earliest recorded stage of English, spoken in Britain during the early Middle Ages. A wealth of literature and poetry is written in the language, including justly famous works such as The Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, and above all Beowulf. Old English is also the starting point for the study of […]
Audit Options Folklore is a major source of modern imaginative literature and popular culture. Think of supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts and fairies, all populating the oral stories of generations of peoples. Think about the tales you heard as a child, “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella,” “Snow-White” (among many others), the origins of […]