Of the various men in the writer’s group the Inklings who met in Oxford primarily during the 1930s and 1940s, two achieved world renown with their writings: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Each had a strong interest in the developing field of science fiction. This course covers the Inklings’ creative and personal encounters with science fiction.
Who were the fantasy authors of the 19th & early 20th century? How did they influence Tolkien? When J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) were published, they were hailed as something entirely new. In one sense they were new, in their combination of methodologies and ingredients, but Tolkien had built his modern-styled novels […]
This course will explore language invention through the works of the greatest and most prolific inventors of language for fictional works and world building – J.R.R. Tolkien.
What is the Gothic literary tradition? How is it still used today? The Gothic literary tradition began in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe and lives on in various forms across the globe through contemporary fiction, poetry, art, music, film, and television. Mad scientists, blasted heaths, abandoned ruins, elusive ghosts, charming vampires, and even little green men people its stories. […]
This course explores fantasy literature written over the past 60 years, after the popular success of The Lord of the Rings, with an examination of the works of six modern fantasy authors. Students will consider the different ways each writer has approached the fantastic and the challenges of writing it, as well as the purpose and value of reading fantasy literature in the modern world.
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” came from […]
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.
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 […]