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.
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.
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: Katharine Kerr, Larry Correia, Jim Butcher, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey and Patrick Rothfuss. 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.
This course explores the creation of the Star Wars canon, its history as a cultural phenomenon and its staying power as a story. Students will examine its genre inspirations, historical parallels, political implications, mythological echoes, and evolving multimedia forms to unpack the traditions and ideas that inspired the story – and continue to inspire it.
This course explores the life of J.R.R. Tolkien and the impact his experiences had on his work, with a particular focus on the World War I and World War II time periods. In addition to studying Tolkien as a wartime writer, students will learn how these experiences relate to some of his other passions in myth and fairy-tale, the medieval, and the invention of languages.
How did Tolkien’s poetry change over time? How did Tolkien’s views of fairies change (or not) over time? From his undergraduate days through the final phase of his literary career, Tolkien was a prolific poet. No matter what he was doing or how overwhelmed with other work he was, he continued to produce poems. Indeed, […]
This course explores the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his impact on literature and popular culture. Students will study the foundations of Lovecraft’s writing, the meaning behind his works, along with his cosmic vision and legacy.
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 […]
What does it mean to be human? Are we alone? What wonders or terrors will tomorrow hold? 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?” This course will consider the development of the genre from the […]
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 […]