The Story of the Hobbit

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 not the […]

Introduction to Old Norse

The first half of this course provides a focus on Old Icelandic grammar, and the second half allows students to begin reading from a selection of Old Icelandic prose and poetic texts.

Science Fiction, Part I

Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she explores the ways in which the literature of science fiction over time has asked the question: “What if?”

Literature, Film, and Technoculture

This course surveys a range of literary and cinematic narratives that explore the growth, acceleration, and consequences of modern technoculture. Works of literature will be placed alongside films and embedded historically within debates and developments.

Chaucer II: The Canterbury Tales

In this class we will study of the great classics of English literature, The Canterbury Tales, in which we see Chaucer at the height of his poetic abilities, mixing sensitive characterization with stunningly complex storytelling.

Introduction to Germanic Philology II

This class provides an introduction to Germanic comparative philology in a broad sense. Students are not expected to have prior familiarity with any language other than modern English.

Beowulf Through Tolkien

How did Tolkien view Beowulf? How did Beowulf influence Tolkien? Tolkien’s involvement with Beowulf was lifelong. His 1936 lecture to the British Academy on “the Monsters and the Critics” has been said to be the most-cited academic paper of all time, in the humanities. But he also lectured to undergraduates until he retired in 1957 – and then […]

Tolkien’s Poetry

In this class, we will examine Tolkien’s short poetic works in detail, taking a chronological look at Tolkien’s career through the window of his poetry.

The Potter Saga

In this course, students will discuss the ancestors to the Harry Potter phenomenon, while examining the works and traditions that inform the Harry Potter universe.

Norse Myths and Sagas

This course provides an introduction to the myths and sagas of medieval Scandinavia.

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